Defensive Driving

DF Safety Health and Safety Tips, Personal Safety Guide

Driving is a risk factor that most are exposed to every day. Whether you are driving to and from work, or as part of your job, we all face potentially serious incidents from occurring as a result of driving. 

As a society, we have gotten comfortable with the task of driving that we often don’t think about the impact of loss that can occur. Loss can come in many forms, from vehicle damage, increased insurance premiums, and most devastating of all, loss of life.  

We must practice defensive driving every day in order to drive safely and make it home to our loved ones. 

Statistics (2017): 

  • Total # of collisions recorded In Alberta: 142,467 
  • Property damage collisions (over $2,000) represented 90.6% (129,126) of this total  
  •  9.2% (13,082) were non-fatal injury collisions.  
  • Fatal collisions accounted for 0.2% (259) of the total reported collisions 

The majority of vehicular collisions are influenced by the following factors: 

  • Speeding 
  • distracted driving, and  
  • driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  

All factors on this list are easily avoidable, therefore, most collisions are preventable. 


The standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, ANSI/ASSE Z15.1, defines defensive driving skills as: “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.”  

In order to practice defensive driving, we need to follow more than just the basic traffic laws. We achieve this by following the law and incorporating specific driving techniques and practices into our daily routine. Some examples are as follow: 

  • Determine the condition of your vehicle by doing a quick walk around the perimeter. Furthermore, this is a good time to check for hazards before you put your vehicle in reverse. 
  • Always leave at least two car lengths between you and the car in front of you. Increase this distance to five car lengths in less-than-ideal conditions. 
  • Pay attention to and always follow the speed limit. They are there for a reason. 
  • NEVER use your cellphone while driving. Texting or talking while driving significantly increases your chances of getting in a collision. Always use a hands-free device if necessary. 
  • Always use signal lights and be sure to signal ahead of time to communicate your intensions to other drivers. 

Well, there you have it! You can improve your overall reaction time to potential incidents that driving causes by being aware. Take a few extra minutes before getting in your vehicle to check your surroundings. While driving, pay attention to your own driving habits but also the driving habits of others. 

Have a great week!