Defensive driving is a form of training for the operation of motor vehicles that goes beyond standard training. A defensive driving course will teach students how to evaluate road conditions, anticipate other drivers’ actions, list actions to take to avoid accidents and monitor their own driving performance. Many insurance companies even offer discounts to drivers who have completed a defensive driving program.
The No. 1 cause of traffic accidents is distraction and inattention, according to the Roadtrip America website. It is estimated that nearly every collision involves one of these two related errors. Most distractions can be avoided, such as eating while driving, daydreaming, looking for items in the car or talking on a cell phone. The cornerstone of a defensive driving system is to begin with yourself and focus 100 percent of your attention on the task at hand.
A good defensive driver is able to anticipate the moves of other drivers and therefore easily avoid them. Constantly assessing other drivers removes the need to react to dangerous traffic situations at the very last moment. A defensive driver not only acts to avoid danger before it happens but also can prevent any danger from occurring by anticipating another driver’s intent. The Fun & Safe Driving website says a master defensive driver will never be forced to avoid an accident by abruptly applying the brakes. Communicating your intent and presence to other drivers goes hand in hand with anticipation. Clearly stating your intent to other drivers with the use of turn signals, lights and hand gestures reduces the amount of anticipation necessary from other drivers.
Operating a vehicle while impaired by the use of alcohol or drugs inhibits your ability to drive defensively. All of your faculties and skills are needed for defensive driving. Even a small quantity of alcohol will impair the most important skills you need to drive safely. It is estimated that 30 percent to 50 percent of all collisions are caused by an impaired driver.
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