You're either a defensive driver or an aggressive driver. As a defensive driver, you do whatever it takes to stay safe on the road. Conversely, aggressive drivers are often making mistakes that put them in harm's way.
It's one thing to say you're a defensive driver but another thing entirely to take the appropriate actions. Here are five tips you should follow at all times:
- Think about safety above all else: Forget about doing what's best for you. Forget about taking steps that allow you to make good time. Defensive driving is all about your safety and well-being.
- Watch your surroundings: Keep your eyes on the road ahead, use your mirrors to watch other vehicles and think a few steps ahead of other drivers on the road.
- Leave more space: Defensive drivers never tailgate others, as doing so increases the risk of a rear-end collision. Leave a minimum of three to four seconds of space to stop your vehicle.
- Follow the speed limit: It's easy to say, but actually following the speed limit is difficult to do. This is even more so the case when driving on the highway. It's your responsibility to know the speed limit and to watch your speedometer.
- Prevent distractions in your vehicle: You can't tell other drivers what to do, but you can personally prevent distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, smoking and conversing with passengers.
There is nothing more frustrating for a defensive driver than to be part of a motor vehicle accident. You're doing everything you can to stay safe, but a negligent driver comes along and causes a crash. If this happens, take these five steps:
- Move your car out of traffic if it's possible to safely do so
- Check yourself and passengers for injuries
- Call 911
- Receive medical treatment and follow the advice of your doctor
- Report the accident to your car insurance company
Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, you may not be able to complete all these steps in a timely manner. For example, a serious injury can make it impossible to move your car.
Once you're stabilized and able to review what happened, you can turn your attention to your legal rights and how to best protect them.