5 Easy Defensive Driving Techniques

You’ve probably heard people warn new drivers to be “defensive drivers”. But what does that mean? How do you do it? DEFENSIVE DRIVING techniques can help reduce your risks behind-the-wheel. There are many things you can do as a driver to keep yourself safe from hazards. Here are 5 things you could (and should) do while you drive to DEFEND yourself from those risks.

  1. Speed Control – Obey posted speed limits. Know how to control speed in and around traffic. Do not drive too fast or too slow for conditions. For example, slow for curves and down hills, but accelerate uphill so you don’t lose momentum.
  2. Following Distance – Follow traffic in front of you at a safe distance. I’ve given up on the 3-second cushion rule. It requires too much thought process and eyes off the road, so I use a different technique to calculate safe following distance. For every 10mph your car is travelling, give one car length following distance from the car in front of you. Example: If you’re driving 30mph, you have to AT LEAST have a 3-car lengths following distance from the car in front of you, 40mhp = 4-car lengths, etc. The combination of speed control and following distance will allow you to see if there are sudden stops or hazards ahead and allow you to slow and stop without collisions.
  3. Traffic Checks – Constantly check traffic and be prepared to take evasive actions, if needed. Scan from left to right as you’re entering ALL intersections. Scan for hazards that may collide with you: cars running stop signs or red lights, bicyclists, pedestrians, etc. This is an actual head check, which means turn your head from side to side when checking intersections. Also scan while you’re driving: parked cars, pedestrians on the sidewalks, cars entering traffic from driveways, etc. This type of check is done constantly while you are driving.
  4. Maneuvers Around Obstructions – DO NOT SWERVE into other lanes. If you are properly scanning for hazards, you should be able to see it and slow to stop for, especially if you’re following at a safe distance. If you need to enter another lane, even if you’re just swerving around the big, city bus, you must treat it like a lane change and S.M.O.G it before entering another lane.
  5. Avoid Distractions – Any type of device usage is against the law in the state of California. And it’s a good general rule even if it’s not the law in your state. Cell phone/smart phones should not be within reach while you drive. Driving requires ALL of your attention to be able to operate/control your vehicle, obey the rules of the road, and apply defensive driving techniques at all times. Set your seat, mirrors, controls, radio/music BEFORE starting your drive.

Are you having a hard time applying these defensive driving techniques into your driving? Express Driving School instructors are trained to provide defensive driving instruction and can help you become a confident driver. Request for your first driving lesson today!

Drive Safe. Drive Responsible. Drive Respectful.