Defensive Driving Practices

Defensive driving practices

Defensive driving is when motorists use accident preventing techniques with a focus on driving safely. In general, be aware of what other drivers are doing, expect the unexpected and be prepared to avoid it. Use the following defensive driving practices to become a safer driver.

  • Take your time and be able to control your speed. Speeding is the most common aggressive driving behavior. In 2020, speeding killed 11,258 people (NHTSA).
  • Do not drink and drive. Every day about 32 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes – that’s one person every 45 minutes. (NHTSA). Driving while impaired by any substance puts everyone in harm’s way.
  • Be on the lookout especially for the unexpected. That means scanning everything in your line of sight, not just what’s in front of you and be prepared to react to other drivers.
  • Maintain a safe following distance. Tailgating can increase your chance of getting into an accident. Maintaining a safe following distance means you have a better chance of avoiding an accident in case the car in front of you brakes suddenly.
  • hazardous conditions dangerous road conditions highway defects accidents serious accidents preventing accidentsBe aware of road hazards such as road debris, potholes, and more. All of this can be dangerous. Defensive driving maneuvers to avoid these hazards include safely switching lanes, using your hazard lights, or coming to a complete stop.
  • Avoid distractions. Be alert and avoid distractions such as cell phone use, eating, reading, changing dashboard dials and more. In 2020, distracted driving claimed the lives or 3,142 people (NHTSA).
  • Pass with care and plenty of space. Make sure there’s enough space when you are passing another vehicle. You don’t want to cut vehicles off or get too close. A common rule of thumb is to wait three seconds to merge in front of a car you have passed.
  • Respect others’ use of the roadway. Keep your cool no matter what another driver does and do not escalate into road rage.
  • Let speeders pass. Speed limits are there to protect all road users. Slower traffic should stay to the right and faster traffic should pass on the left unless signs say otherwise.

Defensive Driving Courses

Defensive driving courses are regulated by each state and are designed to train you based on the laws of your state. In a typical defensive driving course, students will learn accident prevention techniques, such as:

  • Scanning the roadway and adapting to surroundings
  • Employing a 3-second rule for following distances
  • Knowing your vehicle’s stopping distance
  • Being aware of reaction distance
  • Environment hazards
  • Vehicle emergencies
  • Sharing the road
  • Passing and clear distance
  • Right of way
  • Speed adjustments and railroad crossings


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If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in which you suffered serious injuries due to another’s negligence, having an attorney who is your advocate can offer you peace of mind during your recovery. Call Nash & Franciskato at (877) 284-6600. We have a successful track record of helping accident victims collect the compensation they deserve.

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