Automobile accidents cause thousands of deaths and millions of injuries every year. The best way to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road is by learning a popular defensive driving technique.
There are a large number of successful defensive driving techniques to help ensure the safety of all individuals on the road. Being alert while driving is the important defensive driving technique and is connected with all of the others. This means being fully aware of what is going on around you. All too often, drivers concentrate on other objects besides the road. Some of the common distractions are:
• cell phones
• car radios
• applying makeup
• other passengers
Defensive driving is not just for those people who have had a court order to attend a course after receiving a traffic offence. Defensive driving will benefit almost anyone who operates a motor vehicle.
Quickly Scan Your Vehicle
Even before getting into the driver’s seat, a quick scan of your vehicle may reveal problems such as a deflated tire, or external mirrors knocked out of alignment. Such issues may compromise your ability to implement defensive driving techniques once you’re underway. From inside your vehicle you can again check your external mirrors and adjust them if necessary. If someone else has driven the vehicle before you, you may also have to re-adjust the rear view mirror to suit you.
Keep you eyes up and look ahead, not just at the road or vehicle immediately in front of you, but further down the road so you can anticipate. You should be looking about 15-20 seconds ahead of your vehicle, farther if you can. This gives you the time to recognize and avoid most potential hazards before they become a problem.
Use Your Peripheral Vision
In addition to scanning conditions directly, use you peripheral vision to become aware of situations that may require your direct attention. Your peripheral vision picks up movement quickly, but doesn’t provide a clear view. It is your “early warning” vision for defensive driving techniques.
Check Your Mirrors Frequently
Your external and rear view mirrors serve a most useful purpose in employing defensive driving techniques. It is important to check your mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds while driving, but you also need to know the blind spots on your vehicle, which are large often enough to hide other vehicles. Mirrors also will not reveal a vehicle that is changing lanes behind you, so it is very important to turn your head and quickly look before making a lane change.
Mind Your Eyes
It is vitally important that you recognize and become immediately aware of what you see while driving. By “connecting your mind to your eyes” you can realize the possibility the ball rolling across the road may be chased by a child, that a vehicle approaching on an adjacent roadway may not stop at a cross street, and recognize other potentially hazardous situations. Use your eyes to see, and your mind to analyze what you see for potential dangers.