Want to know the best defensive driving tips and techniques?

When you first learned to drive, odds are you got defensive driving tips from whoever taught you. There’s a special emphasis on defensive driving tips when teenagers are behind the wheel for the first time, especially if they are learning from a driving class at school.

This is true for a variety of reasons:
  • Teens need time to develop muscle memory to get out of risky situations on the road
  • In general, teens are seen as more likely to take risks like speeding than older drivers
  • It is much easier to avoid car accidents when you know the danger other drivers pose

In short, defensive driving emphasizes identifying hazards and reducing risks whenever you are on the road. Defensive driving tips & techniques help you protect yourself and others. By staying out of the situations that can lead to preventable accidents, you are also saving time and money for everyone.

Safe driving is a matter of learning defensive driving tips and putting them into practice whenever you have the opportunity. As these habits become second nature, you will be much less likely to get into accidents.

Here Are Some Defensive Driving Tips & Techniques Everyone Should Know:

1. Reduce Distractions Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous issues on today’s roads, and is involved in hundreds of thousands of accidents every year. Distractions are anything that takes your attention off the road, including things like: eating, applying makeup, even listening to the radio or having a conversation. The best way to drive safely is to take care of everything you need to do before you get behind the wheel.

2. Turn Off Your Cell Phone Your cell phone is the biggest distraction around, so it deserves a special mention. Thousands of people are involved in serious accidents every year due to texting and driving. Before your trip, turn your phone to Do Not Disturb, muting all notifications and incoming calls. Turn off all the apps you can. If using GPS, be sure you are set to hands-free mode and do not use any other apps.

3. Avoid Driving When You Don’t Feel Well Many factors can put you in a situation where reaction time is slower. Most drivers know a single beer may put them over a legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), but lack of sleep can impair you just as badly. If you currently have an illness that affects vision, hearing, concentration, or range of motion, limit driving as much as possible. Anger and other emotions can also affect driving, so strive to stay calm.

4. Avoid Driving In Extremely Harsh Conditions Many of the worst traffic accidents had aggravating factors that made a problem more likely to happen. In general, it is easier to drive during the day, in conditions of high visibility. Driving at night is much more risky, and trips at night while it is raining are among the most dangerous to any motorist. When you have the option, limit the time you spend driving in any adverse weather.

5. Put Safety First A “safety mindset” extends to all parts of the driving process. Simply starting every trip by buckling your seat belt will make you much more attentive to safety for the rest of the ride. Always be sure to lock your doors before you pull out of the driveway, too. In an accident, an unlocked door can come open, which may expose you to risk of a fall or damage to other vehicles.

6. Be Alert To Your Surroundings Being alert while driving means actively checking your mirrors and scanning the situation ahead of you. Maintain awareness of what’s going on 20 to 30 seconds up the road so you can mitigate the effect of others’ bad driving. Slow down if you notice someone driving aggressively or erratically. If you are in danger, get off the roadway by turning right or taking the next exit. If all else fails, pull over.

7. Follow The 4-Second Rule In any driving situation, the greatest risk of collision is in front of you. While you can’t stop someone from applying the brakes too quickly, you can manage the distance between the front of your vehicle and the back of theirs. The best way is to keep four seconds of distance ahead of you. Add one second for rain, one for fog, one for nighttime driving, and one if following a motorcycle or big rig.

8. Assume The Worst It might not be polite to say, but you should never rely on other drivers to do the right thing! That even includes basic courtesies like moving out of the way or allowing you to merge. Drivers can and will run red lights, ignore stop signs, and more. Consider what you will do in situations like these so they don’t catch you by surprise should they actually happen, as they often will.

9. Drive Under The Speed Limit The speed limit is set for optimal weather, traffic, and roadway conditions. In many situations, you will need to drive five miles under the limit to ensure safety. If traffic permits, you can even slow down further. Very few roads have a “minimum speed” that you would run afoul of. A lower speed makes it easier to control your vehicle, especially when the road is slick due to rain or snow.

10. Keep An Escape Route Open In driving, as in life, it is always good to have an escape plan in case things go wrong. While you are driving, be aware of the vehicles nearby. Their positions relative to you and where you need to go will help you pick out the best way to avoid hazards. If the driver ahead of you starts acting erratic or you notice debris in the road, you will be able to move toward safety as fast as possible.

11. Manage Issues One At A Time Sometimes, you will be in a situation where there are multiple road hazards to contend with. Do your best to stay focused and deal with the most immediate problem first. For example, if you’re driving on an icy road, maintaining control of your vehicle comes before switching lanes to avoid a slowdown up ahead. If road conditions are overwhelming, stop for a while until the weather or traffic improves.

12. Do Not Drive Too Long Without Breaks If you’re on a long trip, it’s wise to stop occasionally for rest. Your eyes could tire out after too much time looking at the road. Likewise, your energy level can get low from sitting still for too long. Try to plan out big journeys so you can stop every 90 minutes or two hours. It only takes ten minutes or so to feel refreshed!

These defensive driving tips & techniques can go a long way – literally. But even the best defensive driving doesn’t prevent every accident. Protect yourself with a great auto insurance policy here at Check out your options now or contact our team for more information.