Defensive Driving is driving in a manner that saves lives, time, and money regardless of the conditions around you and the actions of others. It is driving that focuses on techniques that can be used to anticipate and mitigate potentially risky scenarios.
Road accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in the US, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimating 36,560 deaths and 2.71 million injuries from road accidents in 2018. Here are 6 reasons why being a defensive driver on the road is necessary.
Aggressive Driving Kills
The opposite of Defensive Driving is aggressive driving so if you’re not a defensive driver you’re an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving is driving in a manner that violates multiple moving traffic offenses that endangers other people and property.
For example, speeding is aggressive driving behavior and speeding kills as research estimates that it is the second most common cause of road accidents. Other behavior that constitutes aggressive driving includes:
- Abruptly switching lanes without signaling
- Tailgating so that there’s no chance to react when there’s a sudden turn or stop
- Running through Red lights and stop signs
- Blocking lanes
- Weaving in and out of traffic
Defensive Driving Is The Safest Method Of Driving
Using defensive driving on the road means that you utilize accident-free techniques that protect you and everyone else. Whether you’re driving a few blocks down to the grocery store or you’re driving on a road trip, you’ll encounter road hazards. The best way to stay safe is to use defensive driving skills to put yourself in a position to avoid potential accidents.
Here are examples of defensive driving techniques:
- Look up ahead instead of right in front of you when you’re driving. This way you’ll see any dangers and anticipate your next move.
- Beware of blind spots by using your review, passenger, and driver’s side mirrors.
- Eliminate all distractions. This means no texting, eating, music, wearing makeup, talking on the phone, etc.
- Do not depend on other drivers. Assume that other drivers will do things like run a stop sign or block your bath. This way you’ll always be on the alert and ready to react.
Fewer Car Repairs
Defensive driving saves lives and is better for your car. Aggressive driving damages your car with all the swerving, bumping into things, abrupt turns, and sudden brakes.
For example, slamming on brakes will damage the brake pads of your car. It will also damage your tires. Again, aggressive driving negativity affects your gas mileage. Switching to defensive driving on the road means eliminating all these factors and protecting your car.
You’ll save money, and your car will last longer.
The benefits of learning defensive driving far outweigh the cost of paying for a defensive driving course. There’s an estimated ROI (return of investment) of 2 to 1. Meaning you get back the money you spent on a defensive driving course plus profits through benefits.
What are these incentives? In most states, you can get a reduction on your insurance premium by proving that you’ve completed a defensive driving training program. States like Pennsylvania and North Dakota require insurance companies to give discounts to drivers after they finish a defensive driving course.
Further, if you have a driving record with tickets you need to pay off, you can save money by being eligible to deduct points from your record after the successful completion of a course.
A Better Driver
Defensive driving is not only about managing and avoiding physical driving obstacles and threats. Those aren’t the only things that cause road accidents. Psychological factors like road rage, stress, fatigue, and emotional distress, all affect your driving.
Using defensive driving skills, you become a better driver equipped with a positive attitude who can handle these unpleasant psychological factors. For example, here’s how to handle road rage:
- Do not react or respond to insults, rude gestures, or other rude behavior.
- Step away from the aggressive driver and let them leave.
- Be helpful and courteous despite rude behavior.
- Have a sense of humor.
Relearn Traffic Laws
Defensive driving curricula teach the subject of state-specified traffic laws. You may already know some of these laws in which case the course will be a reminder, and you can learn the ones you didn’t know.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so you can’t get away with traffic violations by pleading that you weren’t aware of them, even if you’re telling the truth.
Research shows that an alarming 94% of car accidents are caused by human error. This statistic is because of aggressive driving techniques like running through stop signs, tailgating, driving under the influence, and driving while distracted. Defensive driving is a must every time you’re on the road if you want to be safe.
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