Safe driving requires vigilance. Yet in a day and age filled with a myriad of distractions, it’s never been easier to take your eyes off the road.
Careless and distracted driving creates risks for other motorists. Not to mention motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians as well. But practicing defensive driving can reduce your odds of an accident and increase the safety of those around you, in and out of vehicles. These three tips can help you become a defensive driver.
Think of how easy it is to rely on your mirrors when changing lanes or reversing your vehicle. Make sure to look over your shoulder when you’re doing so as well. And consider that adjusting the radio or temperature can make you take your eyes off the road, if even for a second. You can accomplish these tasks before beginning your drive, which minimizes their distraction. By focusing on your surroundings, you’ll have more time to act on any dangers.
Take your time
You may be a speed demon at heart. But you’ll keep those around you safer by following the speed of traffic and braking slowly. If other vehicles are traveling below the speed limit, follow their lead. And do so at a distance that’s not too close. If you’re approaching a stop sign, make a full, slow stop rather than roll through. If another driver is following close behind you, or a pedestrian or cyclist darts out in front of you, braking in this manner can prevent a collision.
Reduce your distractions
Smartphones make keeping your eyes on the road difficult. If you’re sitting at a stoplight, you may feel tempted to text, scroll through social media or read emails. But doing so can jeopardize your safety. Distracted driving causes nearly 5,000 fatalities and 400,000 accidents each year. By averting your eyes away from your screen, your odds of avoiding danger on the road improve.
Defensive driving requires a level focus that seems in short supply today. But with several small tweaks in your habits, it can be easy to practice. Not only will your own safety improve, but so will those of the people surrounding you.