10 important defensive driving techniques you need to know (2023)

Last update:27. June 2021|

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One every dayan average of 3700 peopledie in traffic accidents around the world. More than in the United States alone32,000 peoplelose their lives in traffic accidents that injure more than 2 million people every year.

The leading cause of automobile accidents in the United States is distracted driving. This means that many of the everyday accidents could have been prevented if drivers had paid more attention to the road.

Would you like to learn how to become a defensive driver to protect yourself, your passengers and your fellow passengers?

If so, stay with us as we discuss the top 10 defensive driving techniques you should be using right away.

1. Always be prepared

If you drive frequently, it quickly becomes too casual. Given that many of his recent trips have been uneventful, it's easy to assume that all will be well this time around.

However, what it means to drive a vehicle on the road should never be taken too lightly.

(Video) 10 Defensive Driving Tips for Newly Licensed Drivers

You should always keep both hands on the wheel, sit up straight instead of hunched over, pay attention to the road conditions and other vehicles, and generally be alert.

Being aware in this way allows you to spot dangers from afar. When you see a danger, you can take safe preventive measures to keep your driving environment safe and avoid a collision. This may mean a safe lane change, slowdown, or some other action.

2. Concentrate on driving and on the road

One of the most important defensive driving strategies is to stay focused and not get distracted. This means that you should not use your mobile phone or other electronic devices while driving. To resist temptation, save them.

It also means that if you feel tired, you should stop and rest. Driving when you're drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving when you've had too much to drink.

You want to make sure of that toodon't start dreamingor disconnect while driving. It's also important not to get distracted by what's going on in your car instead of paying attention to the road.

Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by things you see outside of the car that have nothing to do with defensive driving. It could be an accident, something odd on the side of the road, or a funny traffic sign. Instead, you need to stay focused and make sure you stay away from other drivers who might get distracted.

Finally, don't try to multitask while driving. This means that you are not allowed to put on make-up, eat or drink while driving. If you need to do any of these activities, stop and take a minute to do them while you're off the road.

(Video) 5 Defensive Driving Strategies To Become A Safer, Smarter Driver

3. Always keep an eye on your surroundings and scan ahead

If you want to know how to become a better driver, you should learn not to just focus on the car in front of you. Instead, you should be aware of your general surroundings and be on the lookout for potential dangers. You should also make it a habit to use your mirrors to look out for potentially dangerous situations behind you.

4. Always try to anticipate a possible risk

Once you learn to be more aware of your surroundings, you will want to learn how to predict a risky situation. Therefore, you must have a plan as to what type of actions, if any, you may need to take to protect yourself from this potential risk.

For example, let's say you're driving and notice that a truck on the freeway has building materials on the back that aren't strapped securely. You must be able to recognize that this poses a risk and move safely away from the truck. If the truck is likely to injure other drivers on the road, stop when you reach the next exit to report the danger to the police.

5. Keep a safe distance from vehicles around you

As you learn to become a defensive driver, there is a simple rule of thumb that will help you understand how far away you should be from the car in front of you. It's known as the three-second rule. This means there must be at least three seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, based on your current speed.

There are a number of situations where you may want to leave even more space. These include traffic jams, poor road conditions, poor weather conditions, when you are behind a large truck, motorcycle or bus, or when there is another vehicle behind you. Check out this article for more information on what you can do about itRide a motorcycle safely.

You should also make sure you have enough space between you and the vehicles alongside and behind you. To keep a safe distance from vehicles next to you, make sure to drive in the center of your lane. It is also important to understand where other vehicles' blind spots may be and avoid driving there.

If you see a vehicle behind you, change lanes when you can safely pull away from the vehicle. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't change lanes, you can slam on the brakes slightly to let them know you're slowing down so they can overtake.

(Video) 5 defensive driving tips for new drivers

In some situations, you may not be able to change lanes or slow down. Or, unfortunately, the driver keeps following you even if you do one of these things. If this is the case, leave the road whenever you find a safe opportunity to be overtaken.

6. Do not drive into another vehicle's blind spot

You never want to drive into another vehicle's blind spot. If other people don't practice defensive driving skills, they may become distracted, forgetful, tired, or lazy and not check their blind spot before changing lanes.

7. Don't expect others to drive carefully

As you learn to become a better driver, you can easily assume that other drivers will apply the same care and approach that you are applying to the task at hand. However, this will not always be the case.

When driving, it's important to pay attention to the things you can control. What you can control in the situation is your own direction and not someone else's. Therefore, you cannot expect them to use the same defensive driving strategies as you.

8. Keep your distance from tired, mean or drunk drivers

Sometimes when you're on the road, you might notice a driver who seems to be driving poorly. He may be driving on the lane marker or middle lane, speeding or slowing, twisting lanes, or using tracking. If you notice such drivers, it is best to distance yourself from them and their vehicles.

9. Stay out of potential street hoopla situations

As you drive, you may notice a driver who seems annoyed with your driving. Maybe they honked at you or drove recklessly. In such situations, it is important not to get involvedangry driversomehow.

That means you should avoid eye contact with them. Instead, you should slow down and allow him to move away from you. It's never a good idea to upset someone who is obviously already angry, even if you feel like you're right.

(Video) Demonstration Of Defensive Driving Techniques You Should Know

10. Don't keep changing lanes and signaling others when changing lanes.

The risk of being involved in an accident increases if you keep slipping between cars and changing lanes unnecessarily. Therefore, you should avoid it unless it is necessary.

When you need to change lanes, communicate with other drivers using turn signals, vehicle lights, or hand signals. Just as you can't read other drivers' minds, they don't know what you're going to do either. By using the communication tools available to you, you can help keep yourself as safe as possible.

Defensive driving: It pays off!

Learning defensive driving strategies can help you stay safe on the road. Many Americans are so used to driving that it has become a casual affair. However, this is one more reason for you to learn how to become a defensive driver so other distracted drivers don't endanger your safety or endanger you.

Interested in taking a defensive driving course in your state? In this case, use this function to searcha local school near you.

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  • FAQs

    What are the 10 habits of defensive driving? ›

    10 Safe Driving Habits
    • Defensive driving. ...
    • Never drive tired. ...
    • Avoid car distractions. ...
    • Use your turn signals. ...
    • Drive slower. ...
    • Driving in bad weather. ...
    • Avoid driving too close to tractor-trailers. ...
    • Wear your seat belt.
    Aug 9, 2021

    What are the 10 most common driving errors? ›

    The 10 Most Common Driving Mistakes
    • Failure to Drive in a Single Lane. ...
    • Unsafe Lane Changes. ...
    • Following Too Closely. ...
    • Driving Too Slowly. ...
    • Faulty Evasive Action. ...
    • Driving While Tired. ...
    • Driving Too Fast (Speeding) ...
    • Cyclist Failing to Yield to a Motor Vehicle.
    Jun 30, 2022

    How do you master the 10 basic rules of driving? ›

    Ask RTSA
    Mar 7, 2020

    What are the 8 components of defensive driving? ›

    Defensive driving techniques to protect yourself on the road
    • Keep looking ahead.
    • Check your mirrors.
    • Stay alert and take breaks if needed.
    • Avoid distractions.
    • Be prepared for anything.
    • Leave space and keep your distance.
    • References:
    May 10, 2020

    What are defensive techniques? ›

    0-Technique: The defender lines up face-to-face with the center. 1-Technique: The defender lines up on the center's outside shoulder. 2-Technique: The defender lines up on the guard's inside shoulder. 3-Technique: The defender lines up on the guard's outside shoulder, between the guard and the tackle.

    What are the 3 basic principles of defensive driving? ›

    Although there are many specific techniques involved in professional and defensive driving, I would like to explain three key concepts that I believe are cornerstones to this skillset: 1) preventability versus fault, 2) following distance, and 3) detachment from other drivers.

    What are safe driving techniques? ›

    Maintain safety on the roads with these safe driving tips
    • Carry Your Documents In The Car At All Times. ...
    • Wear Safety Gear While Driving. ...
    • Stick To Speed Limits. ...
    • Keep A Safe Distance With The Car In Front Of You. ...
    • Do Not Drink And Drive. ...
    • Maintain The Car In Good Condition.
    • Practise Defensive Driving.
    • Avoid Distractions.

    What are 5 distractions while driving? ›

    Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving.
    They were:
    • more likely to not always wear a seat belt;
    • more likely to ride with a driver who had been drinking alcohol; and.
    • more likely to drive after drinking alcohol.

    What are some of the top 11 driving errors? ›

    Terms in this set (11)
    • not staying in your lane.
    • driving 5 mph or more above the speed limit.
    • driving to fast through a curve.
    • bad search at an intersection and thus pulled in front of cross traffic.
    • Involved lack of attention at an intersection.
    • Improper evasive action.
    • failed to maintain visual lead.

    What are the 5 F's to check before driving? ›

    Before entering the vehicle , walk around it in a circle and check for the 5 F'S:
    • Flats (air pressure, cuts, Tread wear)
    • Fluids (any leaks)
    • Fractures (windshield, vehicle body, glass, bulbs)
    • Filth (dirt, snow, mud)
    • Freedom (space behind or in front of the car, to be able to move off safely)

    What is the most important rule of driving? ›

    Now, let's talk about road safety rules for drivers. In India, drivers must obey traffic signals, such as stop signs and traffic lights, and follow posted speed limits. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and avoid distractions, such as using their phones while driving.

    What are the 4 elements of defensive driving? ›

    It's called The LLLC Defensive Driving Principles™, but we just call it “Triple-L-C.” Using the Four Driving Principles of Safety, Look Ahead, Look Around, Leave Room, and Communicate, gives you the time and information you need to avoid an accident and be an all-around better driver.

    What are the 4 essential characteristics of defensive driver? ›

    keep your emotions under control. resist the temptation to make risky maneuvers. pass only when safe. remain courteous, even when other drivers are not.

    What is the most important skill of defensive driving? ›

    Awareness is key to defensive driving, ensuring you are aware of potential hazards and other road users' actions around you, enabling you to take pro-active action to avoid an incident. To enable you to anticipate hazards, look 15 seconds ahead, giving yourself time to react.

    What are defensive driving behaviors? ›

    Description: The defensive driver tries to recognize potentially hazardous situations sufficiently in advance to allow time to safely maneuver past them. The defensive driver assumes that other drivers may make mistakes and is on guard in the event an error is made.

    What are the 5 critical driving behaviors? ›

    6 Essential Safe Driving Behaviors
    • Buckle up. Seat belt use is the single most effective strategy for reducing crash deaths and injuries. ...
    • Wear a helmet. ...
    • Restrict teen drivers. ...
    • Slow down. ...
    • Stop. ...
    • Stay sober.
    May 11, 2014

    What is the most important part of defensive driving? ›

    The most important element of defensive driving is being aware of safe driving habits and putting them into action. Be aware of all road rules, signs and speed limits, at all times.

    What is a 2 second rule in driving? ›

    The 2-second rule is a technique used to estimate a safe following distance between your vehicle and the traffic ahead. It is a general rule of thumb taught in every driving school across the United States. The premise is that by following behind traffic by two seconds, you will have the time and space to brake safely.

    What are the 4 A's of effective defensive driving? ›

    In the past, some have called the topics in this lesson Aggression, Alcohol, Accidents and Awareness.

    What is the most important rule of driving safety? ›

    First, buckle up. Basic car safety always encourages the use of seat belts and car seats. They're one of your best defenses in a crash. And it's the law.

    What are the four C's of driving? ›

    The 4Cs (crash history, family concerns, clinical condition, and cognitive functions): a screening tool for the evaluation of the at-risk driver. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010 Jun;58(6):1104-8. doi: 10.1111/j.

    What are 4 common distractions while driving? ›

    Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road.

    What are the 3 riskiest driving behaviors? ›

    The 5 Deadliest Driving Habits
    1. Speeding. This is common knowledge: speed increases the danger of collisions by increasing their impact and, therefore, increasing the possibility of injury or death. ...
    2. DUI. ...
    3. Aggressive Driving and Road Rage. ...
    4. Failure to Yield Right of Way. ...
    5. Distracted Driving.
    Dec 13, 2022


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