We all know that defensive driving school courses offer discounts on your insurance premiums, but do you understand what defensive driving actually means? It is something that we all should seek to comprehend and employ on our regular, day-to-day driving basis, but the fact that drivers training and drivers ed classes aren’t required can make it difficult to do so. Defensive driving may sound inherently self-explanatory, but if you’re unsure of the specifics involved, check out the list below.
- Look ahead and expect the unexpected. Being prepared is often the best line of defense against accidents. Keeping an eye out on the behavior of other drivers can let you know whether they are a potential risk.
- Control your speed. Going fast is fun, we’re not arguing that, but it isn’t worth your life (or the life of another driver). Be smart and follow the speed limit.
- Maintain a safe following distance. The DMV suggests you should allow one car length of space for every 10 mph you’re traveling; if the person in front of you suddenly brakes, you need to have enough time to react so you don’t rear-end them. On the thruway, where speeds can reach up to 65 mph, it is vital that you follow this rule.
- Drive safely depending on weather/road conditions. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) go the speed limit if the roads are covered with ice, or it’s raining so heavily that you can barely see the car in front of you. Know your car (a.k.a. what it can and can’t handle) and use your best judgment based on the situation.
- Be alert and distraction free. Don’t use your cell phone while you drive, even just to glance at. It only takes one second for an accident to happen; your text/phone call can wait. This includes eating — wait until you reach your destination before diving into that fast food bag.
Unfortunately, beginner driving courses aren’t required to obtain your license, so many new drivers do not get the training they need before heading out on the road. Teens are especially at risk: the fatality rate for those between 16 and 19 is four times that of drivers aged 25 to 29. It may be less fun, but driving defensively is the more responsible choice. Impulsive driving isn’t worth your life; find a defensive driving course near you today.