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What is Defensive Driving?

What is Defensive Driving?

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2011
Technically speaking, the term 'defensive driving' is defined: "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.' This definition is from Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, a publication from the American Society of Safety Engineers. In layman's terms, it means operating a motorized vehicle in a manner that anticipates driving situations before they happen rather than reacting after the fact.
There are many good defensive driving tips. These include the following:
Always be aware of your vehicle's surroundings by scanning mirrors frequently and taking note of the other vehicles around you.
Be wary of non-vehicles, including bicyclists and pedestrians, as their movements may be erratic.
Never rely on the skills of other drivers always assume they don't see you, the signal lights, or signs on the road.
Have an escape route, or an alternate path to drive, in the event an unforeseen obstacle is in the roadway.
Good defensive driving means keeping vehicle speeds down, and following the 3- to 4-second rule when following other vehicles the gap will help you maintain a safe distance behind the lead vehicle, allowing you to safely stop your vehicle in an emergency.
Eliminate distractions by adjusting seats, mirrors, and controls before starting your trip, and by pulling over before using mobile phones or devices. Defensive driving requires the full attention of the driver.
Defensive driving techniques should be employed at all times when behind the wheel, as the practice will reduce accident rates and prevent injuries.
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