Defensive driving is a technique that helps drivers protect themselves from accidents. Rather than being reactive, if you are more proactive and look out for hazards in advance you are less likely to be involved in an accident.

Defensive driving utilizes safe driving strategies to allow motorists to address foreseeable hazards in a predictable manner. These strategies go well beyond learning about the basic traffic laws and procedures. Georgia has some of the most dangerous roads in the nation such as I-285 around Atlanta. Driving defensively can help you on these highways.

The advantages of defensive driving

Defensive driving can avert a car crash

Although you can take classes, you can also improve your driving by picking up some basic safety tips. These five defensive driving techniques appear on

1 Get The Big Picture

It’s very easy to drive in a bubble and not look far ahead of you. Getting the bigger picture is an important part of defensive driving. Look beyond the car in front of you. In fact, look as far down the road as possible. Don’t fixate on anything. Instead look around and know your escape routes if, for example, another vehicle cuts you up or veers toward you.

2 Have an Escape Plan

Many of us have a Plan B when it comes to a career but we are often short of options when driving.

You should always have an escape route identified. Assume the worst is about to take place and prepare for it. Ask yourself constant questions as you drive such as.

  • What should I do if the car ahead of me drifts into my lane?
  • What if a car blows through a red light at an intersection?
  • What should I do if the driver stops suddenly in front of me?

Establish and keep a buffer zone. Never drive too close to the vehicle ahead. And constantly ask yourself the questions.

3 Look Far Ahead for Threats

Don’t fixate on the car in front of you. Look way down the road and make adjustments accordingly. If the road winds away to the right, you should look as far into the turn you are going to make as possible. The longer view will ensure your driving is smoother.

Look for threats further ahead. For example, if you see blue flashing lights or stopped traffic in the distance you should start to make adjustments rather than slamming on the brakes.

4 Don’t Be Distracted

The increased sophistication of cars and electronic devices may make them more user-friendly, but there are also far more distractions today.

Cars have high-tech sound systems, and most people use satellite navigational devices. Most states ban texting and driving but drivers and passengers still use smart phones. Some studies even suggest hands-free devices are distracting.

More traditional distractions include food and drink, other passengers, pets, and kids.

Always concentrate on the road to minimize distractions. Get passengers to help with directions and issues like kids and pets.

5 Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Tailgating is an epidemic in America. Some drivers fail to grasp the concept of a safer distance and don’t change their habits in wet weather.

As an absolute minimum in dry weather, you should keep two seconds of space or more between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Use a fixed object like a tree to focus on. When the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you crosses that object, start to count …one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, and so on. If you don’t make it to two by the time your front bumper crosses that same fixed object, you need to up the following distance. Being further away than three seconds isn’t only acceptable, it’s highly recommended.

In bad weather, increase that following distance to provide a safer stopping distance.

Defensive driving can help your odds of becoming a statistic but it can never completely protect you from other drivers.

If you have been hurt in a wreck on the roads of Georgia, please contact the Law Offices of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.