Are you a driver that doesn’t take crud from anyone? Are you willing to play a game of chicken with a semi making an ill-timed left turn? If so, keep reading, because before you take offense at this post, we want you to know how incorporating some defensive driving techniques into your “take no prisoners” approach to driving could actually save your life.
First, before we begin our refresher driver’s education course, it is important to note the basic elements of defensive driving.
- Visibility – are your windows covered in fresh snow and frost? Endure the cold for a few moments to ensure that you have clear visibility in all mirrors and windows. This allows you to see any potential traffic hazards and react accordingly.
- Space – are you two to three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you? Give yourself the proper amount of space to hit the brakes and escape an accident that could occur if the car in front of you spins out on the road.
- Communication – proper turn signals and the horn (used sparingly), help other drivers that may not be paying attention to know your position on the road and what your next move is so that they may adjust accordingly.
There are numerous financial and safety benefits to driving defensively. Failing to do so has consequences that range from traffic collisions, tickets or fines, points on your record, higher insurance premiums, vehicle damage, and bodily injury or death. Small tweaks to your driving behavior could have big impacts on your safety.
- Put down the phone – nothing is that important that it cannot wait until you come to a safe stop on the side of the road.
- Focus on the road ahead; as you were taught in drivers ed, IPDE! Identify, predict, decide, and execute!Check your mirrors continuously – stealthy white cars with broken head lights blend in far too easily with blizzard conditions. As Professor Moody from Harry Potter would say –
- Stay alert and pull over if needed – sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol,
as cited by the National Sleep Foundation.
- Leave space between your car and other cars on the road – especially in unpredictable winter conditions, leave ample space in front of you and provide extra time to come to a stop.
There are a myriad of government sites available for your perusal that exhaustively list out ways for you to become a better defensive driver, and you should definitely check them out. Your safety is too important to let the fear of being five minutes late for a meeting cause you to drive in a manner that endangers yourself and others on the road.
Did you come across this post a few dings to your car and person too late? Are you facing a mountain of medical stress and an insurance company that is less than willing to provide coverage? Contact the attorneys at Bryan, diStefano & Mattingley, PLLP today. Call today to set up a free consultation.
“Safe and Responsible Driving,” The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook, Feb 28, 2017.
“White Paper: Consequences of Drowsy Driving,” National Sleep Foundation, 2017.