Someone once said, “It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road.” How true that is in today’s world.

Defensive driving involves more than just driving safely. It incorporates a number of proactive steps and behaviors to make sure accidents are avoided altogether. It assumes that other drivers on the road will cause accidents even if a person is already doing their best to drive safely. As a result, knowing some of the best of these techniques can not only avoid damage and increases in insurance bills, it can also potentially avoid getting hurt while driving a car on public streets.

Proper Mindset

In other environments the term “situational awareness” is used. For drivers, the proper mindset involves always anticipating the worst risks and driving in a way to avoid them. This can mean leaving space in front behind another car, avoiding getting boxed in, moving to a different lane when someone is driving erratic nearby and more. Whatever the case, the driver is always looking for where another driver will make a mistake, such as blowing red light intersection. This even involves anticipating bad behavior when a person has the right of way such as a green light in an intersection.

Personal Safety Checked

Some of the best defensive driving also involves assuming an accident will occur and having safety measures in place. This means wearing a seat belt, activating driver and passenger air bags for deployment in an impact, and having a seat belt cutter tool handy for escape afterwards. These tools don’t work if they are not used and engaged. So a driver needs to actively use the equipment to get the best defensive benefit from harm.

Pay Attention

Drivers who are busy fiddling with radio, music, headphones, a cell phone, eating, or talking to another passenger without watching the road essentially get distracted. It only takes seconds for an accident to occur, which can happen by looking elsewhere or dropping a piece of food and trying to grab it, looking away from the road. The best avoidance technique in an instant risk is to see it coming and react, but that can’t happen if the person is not paying full attention to driving.

Avoid Big Commercial Trucks

Drivers of commercial trucks and semis can’t see completely around them. Further, they are moving a significant amount of weight that takes time to slow down due to inertia. Avoiding such vehicles completely can prevent accident risks due to sudden stops, jack-knifing trailers, explosive accident with flammable material tankers and more. The more distance from these vehicles is better. Very often due to size a commercial truck accident can easily take out five to ten cars before anyone realizes what’s going on.

Hold That Steering Wheel

Too often drivers use the steering wheel with one hand or a few fingers. That casual grip won’t be able to do much if the car is suddenly bumped or the driver needs to make a quick change. Having both hands on the steering wheel increases the reaction time and response by critical seconds, providing better and stronger control of the steering wheel. Practicing good grip technique always will provide a proactive ability to move the car as needed immediately.


Defensive driving means assuming the worst will happen and planning how to avoid it or lessen the potential damage. Drivers who travel with this mindset generally avoid more problems and have less damage when accidents do occur. It also helps save on insurance coverage cost increases after the fact as well.