Most people know that “defensive driving” is the best way to avoid an accident. Many insurance companies offer bonuses for completing a “defensive driving” course, and many Driver’s Ed classes include it. However most drivers either forget defensive driving once class is out of session or else they never understood it in the first place. As such, they are avoiding some of the most basic and easy ways to avoid accidents.
1. Leave Space Between Cars
Almost all rear-end collisions are the result of the car behind following too closely. It is very difficult to stop huge, fast-moving vehicles even with today’s modern brakes, and as such many people do not realize how much space they really need to leave in order to stop a car. In general, most cars can decelerate 10 mph for each 10 feet they travel, which means that you should leave about one car length for every 10 mph you are traveling. Obviously this does not need to be exact, and can be increased in bad weather and decreased in very good weather.
2. Look Closely Before Turning
All too often, people will presume that oncoming cars, pedestrians or others will get out of the way or otherwise make space in order for you to turn. An important part of defensive driving is not making this assumption, since all too often people aren’t looking. Even when you have the right of way, it’s important to look first and never make assumptions before turning.
3. Drive Slowly
Another big source of accidents is driving too fast. When you drive fast, especially in residential areas, you will be unable to stop quickly. Additionally, you may not have enough room to stop if a pedestrian or car pulls out in front of you. As such, it is best to avoid driving anything over the speed limit. This will also help you avoid costly speeding tickets.
4. Don’t Drive Distracted
Increasingly one of the biggest causes of accidents in America is distracted driving. From cell phones and texts to passengers and roadside attractions, anything that gets your eyes off the road is likely to cause an accident. Therefore avoid anything with a screen while driving, and try to make sure that your passengers (especially animals and small children) are not interfering.
5. Never Drive Impaired
According to our New Hampshire dwi attorney, from alcohol to sleeping pills there are a huge number of things which can potentially impair your ability to drive. If you feel woozy, or even just very tired, you should not drive. After all, cars are very big and very fast and they can very quickly get out of your control if you can’t respond fast enough. Any dwi lawyer will tell you that his clients thought they were safe to drive, right up until they had an accident.
Defensive driving is a lifestyle habit that you can always improve upon. Learning your limits and abilities, as well as those of your car, and staying aware of where you fall within them is key to knowing whether you should get behind a wheel. Should you make the mistake of getting on the road anyway, be prepared to incur the consequences.
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