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Defensive Driving 101

Defensive Driving 101

By Jeff Youngs, August 10, 2012
To keep yourself and your passengers safe on the road, it is important to drive defensively. Below are tips to help you become a better defensive driver.

Don't Text. Texting while driving is distracting and dangerous.

Properly Position your Side Mirrors. Position your vehicle's side mirrors so that you can just barely see the side of your own vehicle in the reflection. Then push them just a little further out to decrease your  blind spots.

Keep Pace with Traffic. Driving too fast or too slow can be dangerous.

Don't Travel in "Packs." If you find yourself stuck in a group of tightly packed vehicles, slow down and let the "pack" drive ahead of you. Traveling in a pack increases your risk of being involved in an accident.

Pass Large Trucks. Driving on the side of a large truck can be dangerous. In order to get ahead and pass, safely change into the left lane and accelerate past the truck--without driving above the speed limit.

Don't Brake in Front of Trucks. Trucks are very heavy and take a long time to stop. Don't slam on your brakes if a large truck is close behind.

Don't Tailgate. When you follow another vehicle too closely, you dramatically reduce your ability to scan ahead for danger, and to stop should the vehicle ahead suddenly brake.

Keep Right Except to Pass. The left lane is for passing, not cruising at or near the speed limit. Keep right, and don't become an obstacle to faster drivers.

Use your Turn Signal. Use your turn signal to indicate to other drivers your intention to turn or change lanes.

Scan Far Ahead for Danger. Good drivers look beyond the vehicles or road immediately in front of them and scan ahead for signs of danger. Scanning ahead will enable you to spot changing road and weather conditions or slowing/stopped traffic.

Use Flashers Appropriately. Using your flashers to grab the attention of other drivers can help you to warn them of any sudden slows or stops in traffic ahead.

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