As the holidays approach, more drivers will be on the road trying to get through the woods and over the river to grandmother’s house; however, a simple trip can become a nightmare without the use of several key defensive driving techniques. Now, you may have heard about defensive driving in the past, but do you really know what it means to drive defensively? We’ve prepared a listing of the best defensive driving techniques to keep your holiday travel plans on track.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Accidents occur when one or more drivers make a poor decision during driving or fail to pay attention to something. Furthermore, an accident can occur as a result of malfunctioning equipment on your automobile. If you need “x” hours to arrive at your destination, leave “x” plus two-to-three hours before your planned arrival. This will give you plenty of time to account for traffic delays, unusual road conditions or even equipment failure.
Before taking off on your trip, complete a brief inspection of your vehicle. Check that your turn signals, breaks and reverse lights are properly working. You should also check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge; the sidewall of the tire will identify the preferred pressures for each tire in cold weather.
Don’t Follow Too Closely
Do you remember the last time someone was tailgating you, and you kept thinking that person was going to hit you? Well, following too closely will anger other drivers, and it removes your ability to come to a safe stop in the event of an emergency. Your following distance should be a minimum of two seconds. When a vehicle passes an object in front of you, you should not pass that same object in less than two seconds. In cases of hazardous road conditions or traffic, you may want to increase your following distance to four-to-six seconds.
Don’t Try to Race Passing Cars
When a vehicle passes you, avoid speeding up to prevent the other driver from passing you. This will only frustrate the other motorist, and it could unexpectedly cause an accident.
Plan Your Trip ahead of Time
If you will be traveling to rarely-traveled or unusual areas, map out your route in advance. You need to know the proper turns to take, and you can avoid construction areas and cutting off other drivers during sudden turns by planning ahead.
Adjust Your Driving to Road Conditions
The posted speed limit applies for safe and clear road conditions, and you need to decrease your speed and increase your awareness during unusual road conditions. Unusual road conditions can include rock slides, precipitation, sand storms or even heavy traffic.
With these six basic principles of defensive, safe driving, you are on your way to having a safe and happy holiday season. You will now be able to answer and give advice when you hear someone ask “what is defensive driving?”