What does defensive driving mean? (2023)

Last update:June 27, 2021|

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Driving on the freeway can be a stressful and irritating experience. Your safety depends on the ability of other road users to drive. When someone interrupts you or doesn't check your blind spot, it's easy to become stressed, anxious, or angry.

Your main objective every time you drive is to reach your destination safely. Learning to stay calm and avoid an accident are key aspects of defensive driving.

Defensive driving is a valuable skill set that gives you the ability to defend yourself while driving. This includes avoiding collisions caused by unsuspecting drivers, drunk drivers or driversbad weather.

Not familiar with defensive driving? Then you are absolutely right with us. Here you'll find everything you need to know about defensive driving to become a better and safer driver on the road.

What is defensive driving?

Do you remember the last accident or near accident you had while driving? If you avoided the accident, do you remember how you avoided it?

Defensive driving is more than just avoiding accidents and hoping for the best. This practice is a set of skills that will help you identify potential hazards and adjust your driving to avoid an accident. By anticipating situations, you can act immediately to avoid a potentially dangerous accident.

The skills needed for defensive driving are a combination of preparation, observation and appropriate response. Defensive drivers follow these key practices:

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  • Always plan for the unexpected
  • control your speed
  • Respect other drivers on the road
  • Ready to react to other drivers
  • Never assume the intentions of other drivers
  • Adapt driving to different road conditions
  • Always alert and not distracted while driving

Unfortunately, many drivers don't follow these simple driving practices. With today's technology needed to make everything fast, it's easy for drivers to accelerate and drive distracted. Defensive driving is more important than ever to ensure your journeys are always safe.

Defensive driving tips

If you're new to defensive driving or want to brush up on your skills, here are some tips you can start practicing today. Everyone, at any age, should take the time to improve their defensive driving skills. Here are some tips you can follow to improve your driving today.

keep a safe distance

Do you remember the driving skills you learned when you started driving? One of the first things drivers learn is to keep a safe distance between themselves and other cars on the road.

The optimal distance between cars depends on their speed. The general rule of thumb is to leave a three-second gap between you and the car in front of you.

To measure this gap, look at a specific object that the vehicle passes, such as a car. B. a tree, a mailbox, or a road sign. As they pass you, start counting the seconds it takes you to reach the same object.

If the count is greater than three seconds and you are driving slowly or below the speed limit, it is safe to increase your speed. If your count was less than three seconds, you must slow down.

Those who drive at a slower speed will have an interval of less than three seconds between vehicles. It is easier and faster to stop a slower moving vehicle. This does not mean that you can reduce the three second rule to one or two seconds, as it increases your chances of having an accident.

Driving at higher speeds should increase that three-second difference. Faster cars have more momentum and take longer to stop.

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Drive at a safe speed

Your driving speed affects how quickly you can stop your vehicle in an emergency. Your driving speed should vary according to current road conditions. Never exceed a “reasonable and safe” speed, even if the speed limit is higher.

For example, a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour must travel about 120 feet before coming to a complete stop. This includes approximately 60 feet of reaction time and 50 to 60 feet of braking time.

The same vehicle traveling at 60 miles per hour takes 360 feet before coming to a complete stop. That includes about 130 feet of reaction time and 190 feet of braking.

If it is raining or snowing heavily, you should drive slower. Beware of other drivers who may not have 4WD or 4WD capabilities in their cars.

Use semper o pisca-pisca

Use the turn signal every time you turn or change lanes. Many drivers believe that their turn signals are not always necessary, or believe that they can change lanes or turn without disturbing other drivers.

This is not wise thinking. Turn signals are required for everyone within sight of your vehicle, even if you don't see them. This includes not only other drivers, but also pedestrians andracing cyclistas well as.

Be careful of your surroundings

Always examine your surroundings while driving. Watch out for pedestrians or cyclists along the road, cars ahead and behind you, and anything on either side of your vehicle. A car can pull into or out of your lane at any time.Pedestrians can cross the street.get wet.

By using the mirrors and looking around all sides of the vehicle, you can maintain a safe distance around the vehicle. You can see potential accidents and react quickly. The better you know your surroundings, the safer you will drive.

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plan ahead

Scanning your environment precedes planning. By seeing what's going on around your vehicle, you can slow down and decide if you need to stop.

Pre-planning also includes evasive maneuvers. If the vehicle goes up in front of youcar accident, you can quickly decide whether changing lanes or pulling onto the shoulder is the best idea. This will help you to avoid the accident and protect you and the people in your vehicle.

Do not assume the driving intentions of others.

Never assume a driver will follow the same safe driving practices as you. Many drivers can change lanes without using a turn signal, while others forget to check their blind spots. Some drivers may flash the blinker but not turn or turn in the opposite direction of the blinker.

Pay attention to other road users and don't make assumptions about their driving intentions.

Do you feel you need more in-depth or hands-on training? Consider taking a course at a defensive driving school. These schools welcomepeople of all agesand all driving skills.

The aim of a defensive driving course is to improve your driving skills so that you are a safer driver on the road.

Is defensive driving school the same as driver training?

Defensive driving and driver education are not the same thing. Driver education may include defensive driving skills, but the focus is on teaching the individual to drive, read road signs and know traffic laws.

Defensive driving courses focus on improving your driving skills to avoid accidents and avoid breaking the law when driving. Here are some skills you'll learn if you take a defensive driving course.

(Video) Defensive Driving Training Video

Psychological factors in driving.

You can learn to control the psychological factors of your driving experience. On a defensive driving course, you will learn to remain calm while driving and reduce feelings of stress, fatigue and anger. These psychological skills improve your attitude and concentration while driving.

human factors

A defensive driving course will remind you of the effects drugs and alcohol have on a person while driving. These drug and alcohol topics include state laws and how drinking and driving affect your ability to drive. Cover legal and emotional consequencesdriving under influence.

Accident prevention techniques

The most valuable driving skills are knowing how to identify potential hazards and how to avoid an accident. During the course, you will learn many of the defensive driving practices listed above, as well as an understanding of vehicular emergencies and how to share the road safely.

On some courses, use a driving simulator to practice defensive driving.


A defensive driving course teaches statistics and facts about vehicle accidents. From there, they address the dynamics of the accident, such as second collisions and the importance of safety equipment. You will learn how the speed, impact and size of the object can affect the severity of an accident.

Advantages of a Defensive Driving Course

The main benefit of taking a defensive driving course is that you will become a better and safer driver. Other benefits include reduction of points on the driver's license after a traffic ticket or accident. SomeCar insuranceReduce your insurance premiums by up to 10% after taking a defensive driving course.

Most defense classes last between four and eight hours. You can take classes online or in person, depending on the school.

Hone your defensive driving skills

Learning and following defensive driving techniques is the best way to avoid accidents and stay safe on the road. Defensive driving not only benefits you, but others on the road as well!

(Video) 15 Defensive Driving Secrets That Can Save Your Life

Do you think defensive driving training is right for you? look at ourDefensive Driving Course Selectionnear you to get started today!


What does defensive driving mean quizlet? ›

Defensive driving means: Operating your vehicle in a manner that optimizes the safety for both yourself and those around you. When it looks like a collision may happen, many drivers panic, and fail to react.

What is defensive driving select your answer quizlet? ›

Driving defensively means a driver must do everything possible to prevent a collision. The ultimate goal is to save lives. Which of the following is a defensive driving action? Maintaining adequate following distance in order to prevent a collision. How would a defensive driver handle driving in the rain?

What is the definition of defensive driving and what are some examples? ›

noun. the practice of using driving strategies that minimize risk and help avoid accidents, as by predicting hazards on the road (often used attributively): Get an insurance discount by taking a defensive driving course.

What are 2 examples of defensive driving? ›

Wear your seatbelt, watch out for dangerous drivers, keep your hands on the wheel, and use your mirrors to stay aware of what's going on around you.

What does defensive mean in driving? ›

Defensive driving is a set of safe responses to potential hazards, including other drivers, damaged road surfaces, debris, inclement weather, and more. Getting behind the wheel isn't risk-free, and employing defensive driving techniques can help keep you and other drivers safe.

What is your definition of defensive driving? ›

Defensive driving describes the practice of drivers who consciously reduce the dangers associated with driving. Defensive driving techniques reduce the likelihood of a collision or incident and can even save costs related to vehicle maintenance and fuel consumption, by driving smoothly and steadily.

Which of the following is a defensive driving? ›

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings – Check your mirrors, keep your eyes moving constantly, be aware of slowing cars or brake lights ahead, avoid road hazards, and pay attention to weather-related conditions which could impend safe driving.

Which statement is true about defensive driving? ›

Answer: a) True; defensive driving takes a conscious commitment to practice risk reducing driving habits.

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 an example of defensive? ›

Signs You Are Defensive

Stop listening to the other person. Make excuses about whatever you are being criticized about. Blame the other person for what they are criticizing you about. Accuse the other person of doing the same thing.

What are the types of defensive driving? ›

Defensive Driving Techniques
  • Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
  • Understanding Signs.
  • Traffic Signals and Intersections.
  • Road Markings.

What is the most important skill of defensive driving? ›

Remaining aware of what's happening around you is the best way to be able to anticipate what other drivers might do and take timely action to stay safe. This is the fundamental principle of defensive driving.

What are the 5 keys of defensive driving? ›

Using the mnemonic “All good kids like milk” is a good way to remember the “A,” “G,” “K,” “L” and “M” of Smith's 5 Keys: Aim High in Steering.
  • Aim High in Steering. ...
  • Get the Big Picture. ...
  • Keep Your Eyes Moving. ...
  • Leave Yourself an Out. ...
  • Make Sure They See You.

What are the three keys 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 the 5 characteristics of defensive driving? ›

Let's look at the five most important requirements for defensive driving.
  • KNOWLEDGE. Defensive drivers take time to educate themselves about safe driving techniques. ...
  • ALERTNESS. ...
  • FORESIGHT. ...
  • JUDGMENT. ...
  • SKILL.
Oct 2, 2017

What is the objective for defensive driving? ›

Did you know the most crucial factor in defensive driving is being a safe driver? The main objective is to decrease the chances of being the cause of an at-fault accident and to avoid being involved with one.

Which is not part of defensive driving? ›

Speeding, making quick lane changes, and rushing through yellow lights are behaviors of aggressive drivers, which by nature, aren't driving defensively. Obey the traffic laws in your area and not only will you be less likely to have a car accident, the streets will be safer for pedestrians in your community.

What are the 2 most important elements of defensive driving? ›

Basic elements of defensive driving from the MTO Driver's Handbook [1]:
  • Visibility — Be alert and actively check what vehicles around you are doing.
  • Space — Leave a “cushion of air” around your vehicle, to provide time and room to avoid or escape a collision when it occurs in front or beside you.
May 10, 2020

Which of the following is the behavior of a defensive driving? ›

Defensive Driving. Objective: To prevent accidents by trying to anticipate hazardous situations and adjusting driver behavior to compensate. Description: The defensive driver tries to recognize potentially hazardous situations sufficiently in advance to allow time to safely maneuver past them.

What are the 5 characteristics of a defensive driver? ›

5 Characteristics of a Defensive Driver
  • KNOWLEDGE. Defensive drivers take time to educate themselves about safe driving techniques. ...
  • ALERTNESS. Defensive drivers are alert, both to traffic conditions and to how their own mental and physical conditions may affect their driving. ...
  • FORESIGHT. ...
  • JUDGMENT. ...
  • SKILL.

Why is defensive driving important? ›

Defensive driving helps motorists avoid accidents and reduce overall risk. Though some drivers follow all of the rules, others do not. Defensive drivers protect themselves from aggressive speeders, impromptu lane changers, close followers, sudden turners, and traffic weavers.

What are the four characteristics of a 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 a key trait in a defensive driver? ›

Defensive drivers know that their worst enemy is the unexpected. They never assume the other driver will do the right thing. They anticipate hazards by scanning the road to size up the traffic situation as far ahead as possible. In this way they are able to prepare for hazards rather than simply react to them.


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