You may be an excellent driver and a master of road rules, but there’s nothing like a basic knowledge of defensive driving to minimize risks on the road. The following are important defensive driving techniques:
Let other drivers know of your intentions early
Sudden stops, turns, and lane changes often lead to accidents because they catch other drivers by surprise. Hence, one of the basic rules of defensive driving is to clearly communicate to other drivers exactly what you are about to do. For this reason, it is crucial that your brake lights, head lights, signal indicators and other driving lights are working. If they are not, have them checked right away.
Being predictable helps
Having all your indicators in good working order is great, but they won’t help much if you can’t be predictable. Defensive driving is synonymous with being predictable. If you’re signalling a left turn, then make a left turn. Don’t signal that you’re going left then suddenly turn right. Don’t keep signalling a left or right turn then continue driving straight ahead for a great distance. In defensive driving, one never makes a move that confuses other drivers on the road. Surprises are great, but never when you’re driving.
Know where you want to go
Always be sure where you want to go. There’s nothing quite as dangerous as making a sudden turn or stop, which is something that drivers do when they are not sure about where they are headed. If you’re confused about where you want to go, you’re probably doing the same to other road users as well. If you’re lost, park your car and regain your bearings. Check a map or even ask someone for directions. The worst thing you can do is drive around aimlessly.
Make signalling a habit
One of the best defensive driving techniques is to signal every time you turn or change lanes. That way, you never catch other drivers by surprise. Make signalling a habit. Even if the road appears to be deserted and there seem to be no other cars around, signalling your intent is always an excellent defensive driving practice.
Warn others as you stop or slow down
When making a full stop or slowing down for whatever reason, it’s a good defensive driving technique to let other drivers know of your intention. You can do this by tapping the brake pedal a couple of times so that your brake lights flash and clue in others behind you that you are slowing down or stopping. This is especially important if the driver behind you is driving fast and approaching quickly.
Try to anticipate the worst in others
In defensive driving, it pays to anticipate the mistakes of other drivers on the road. For instance, many drivers routinely signal a turn but don’t turn at all. Meanwhile, others don’t signal at all and then suddenly turn. Many people disregard stop signals or try to run red traffic lights so keep a watchful eye out for these instances.
You can always apply to take a proper defensive driving course from a certified driving school. Defensive driving not only makes you a safety conscious driver, but it also prevents you from getting involved in an accident. Find out more about our organisation by visiting our website.