As a responsible driver, you follow all of the rules of the road to keep you and others safe. Unfortunately, even the safest driver could become the victim of a serious car accident if others on the road do not exercise the same care and caution.
Although you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you can reduce the chances of getting into an accident by using defensive driving techniques and strategies. Defensive driving means remaining alert and prepared for whatever may happen on the road.
Although you can learn defensive driving in greater detail by taking a state-approved course, there are a few defensive driving tips that every driver should know and practice to help make the roads a safer place.
What Is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that uses safe driving strategies to allow you to anticipate and address hazards on the road. Defensive driving goes beyond simply following traffic laws and basic tips for operating a vehicle.
It includes developing skills that allow drivers to anticipate situations and make well-informed decisions, based on the road, traffic, and environmental conditions. Defensive driving allows a motorist to reduce their risk of getting into an accident in spite of the conditions and other drivers around them.
5 Essential Defensive Driving Tips
Drivers can learn about defensive driving by taking a defensive driving class. Classes are offered through various media, including in-person, through correspondence, or increasingly online. Completing a defensive driving class can have a number of benefits, including reduced insurance rates, guaranteed insurance rates that won’t increase, or a reduction of license points.
Below are some of the most important defensive driving tips you should remember any time you get behind the wheel:
- Plan Ahead
- It can often seem natural for new and inexperienced drivers to simply look directly in front of their vehicle. However, proper defensive driving requires you to look as far ahead as possible down the road for details or other signs that indicate a hazard or a potential hazard that may develop.
- You should also begin to think about where you are going and what maneuvers you will need to make, such as changing lanes, getting off a highway exit, or making a left or right turn, long before you are only mere feet from making that maneuver. This may mean, for example, shifting over into the lane you need to be in 2-3 miles before you need to be in that lane, simply because there is a safe opportunity to do so.
- Finally, planning ahead also means having an escape plan at all times. What can you do and what maneuvers can you make if an emergency situation were to develop in front of your vehicle, like a pedestrian or animal running out in front of your car or another vehicle on the road spinning out of control?
- Watch Your Speed
- It may seem like a cliché to say that “speed kills,” but experience often shows that accidents and serious injuries happen more frequently in accidents where at least one of the vehicles involved was speeding. The faster you go, the longer it will take your vehicle to stop, if necessary, and the greater the force of the impact if you do get into a collision.
- Of course, you should also follow along with the flow of traffic, so long as it doesn’t exceed posted limits. Traveling slower than the flow of traffic, especially outside the rightmost lane, means you pose a risk of a rear-end collision or another accident as traffic traveling faster than you must move to avoid you.
- Maintain a Proper Following Distance
- You should always ensure that you have sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to safely stop, even if the vehicle in front suddenly makes an emergency stop. You should keep in mind the type and size of your vehicle and the type and size of the vehicle in front of you. If you have a motorcycle in front of you, for example, you should remember that a motorcycle can stop in a much shorter distance for the same speed than a car, truck, or SUV can.
- Expect the Unexpected
- Even when you are traveling down the highway in steady traffic, you should never let your guard down. You never know when an emergency may arise around you on the road. Another vehicle may experience a tire blowout. Another driver may suddenly try to merge or change lanes without signaling. An object may fall onto the roadway from a truck or other vehicle. A person or animal may run out into the road. You should always remain alert for any emergencies to arise and always have a plan of what you will do if those emergencies do arise.
- Avoid Distractions
- Many of us are glued to our cell phones, even when we get behind the wheel. However, when you are driving, you need to avoid letting yourself be distracted by anything that may take your attention off the road and the operation of your vehicle, such as a text or phone call, using your car’s radio or infotainment system, eating, setting a destination into navigation, or interacting with other occupants of your vehicle.
- Every moment you take your focus off the road is a moment when an emergency can arise, and you cannot respond to that emergency. By the time you do put your focus back on the road, it may be too late to safely respond.
Contact Derek L. Hall, PC, an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in a car accident in Mississippi through no fault of your own, contact the experienced attorneys at Derek L. Hall, P.C. to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Talk to us about your case and learn more about your legal rights and options and how our knowledgeable car accident lawyers can help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. We can get you more.