Defensive Driving techniques are increasingly seen as necessary by professional drivers. There are a lot of unskilled and reckless drivers on our roads today and drivers who drive defensively are less likely to be involved in an accident with one.
What is Defensive Driving? Essentially it is driving your vehicle correctly, while at the same time adjusting your driving to take into account the possible and actual actions of less experienced or more aggressive drivers.
You can do courses in Defensive Driving, and this should be your aim. You can only learn so much by reading.
How do I drive defensively?
1. Expect the unexpected. There may be a runaway horse galloping towards you just around that blind bend. Hey, there was a man killed in Ireland in March 2006 by running into two horses!
2. Expect aggression from other drivers, but avoid reacting to that aggression.
3. Use your mirrors and be aware of everything that is going on around you.
4. Know the dimensions of your car, so that you know exactly how far you can pull over, if necessary.
5. Avoid loud music while you are driving. You need to be aware of everything that is happening to your vehicle and to others on the road around you.
6. Make sure your vehicle is well maintained, with tire pressures set correctly. If your vehicle is well maintained you will be able to adjust your speed more quickly and more safely to traffic and other conditions on the road around you.
7. Driving needs all of your attention, all of the time. Make sure your passengers understand that. Avoid smoking, using the phone, or drinking soda while you are driving.
Look for clues as to what other drivers are going to do.
These clues may be simple ones like the lowered suspension favored by many aggressive drivers, or the direction another driver is looking in.
Look which way the front wheels are turned.
Listen for gear changes that signify another driver is getting ready to accelerate.
Watch the line other drivers take as they approach intersections, it gives you a good indication of where they are going, even if they do not use indicators.
Look out for small children in other vehicles, they may distract the driver at a crucial instant.