7 things Defensive Drivers Do

The Seven (7) defensive driving tips to avoid accidents and make the road environment safer.

7 things Defensive Drivers Do
Photo by why kei / Unsplash

When I started driving, I soon realized that operating the vehicle was just one part of the equation. Knowing how to follow road rules and securing the best car insurance coverage were just the second part.  The more crucial part was learning how to be a defensive driver.

What is defensive driving?

When you look out for safety more than your road rights, when it is more important for you to secure your vehicle than to get ahead, when you are more cautious in your driving and you adopt a proactive approach, you are practicing defensive driving.

A defensive driver is someone who minimizes his risks on the road.  He anticipates potential road hazards and takes appropriate actions to prevent accidents.  It is not just about following traffic rules too, it also includes awareness of other vehicles and responding appropriately to one that poses danger on the road.  Quick thinking and quick response are needed for defensive driving.  So is a calm demeanor.

In a country like the Philippines where daily traffic and poor road conditions can cause driving-related stress, keeping a calm demeanor on the road can be quite challenging.  You can try to cover your risks by securing the best car insurance coverage.  But that too may not be enough.  You need to learn defensive driving to minimize the likelihood of accidents on the road!

What does it take to be a defensive driver?

Can you train to be a defensive driver or is this a trait that you pick up as you gain driving experience?  Actually, both.  You can be a defensive driver right from the start because someone inducted you on the proper use of your vehicle and the rights of others on the road.  Or you can learn from experience by getting into accidents due to its poor use.

So, what do you need to do to be a defensive driver therefore?  Here are 7 things defensive drivers do.

1. Anticipation – driving goes beyond bringing the vehicle from point A to point B.  Anticipating road hazards and potential dangers while driving is needed.  This may require observing the behavior of other drivers, predicting their actions and planning your own appropriate response. To practice anticipation, you must have full attention.

2. Vigilance – related to anticipation is vigilance.  It means looking for potential hazards such as reckless drivers and knowing how to respond to them.  It requires looking out for pedestrians and how those at the sides of the roads may pose danger.  Noticing a child or a dog on the road banks ahead is part of vigilance. Predicting their likely action is part of anticipation.

3. Proactive decision-making – this is where proper induction on the use of the vehicle comes in.  When you have been taught how to make decisions while driving, what options work best for different situations, how to respond quickly while weighing your options, you are practicing proactive decision-making. This may come naturally for more experienced drivers but not for new ones.  This is where driving lessons help.

4. Keeping safe distances – we are taught to keep distance from the car ahead and to anticipate your speed against theirs in order to maintain that distance. Defensive drivers make sure that the distance from the vehicle provides ample time for changes like sudden stops or traffic diversions.

5. Speed Limits – the rule of thumb is to maintain the speed limits on the road. Drivers are expected to maintain those speed limits to prevent accidents and to maintain the flow of traffic. However, you may have to adjust your speed when there are weather changes like sudden rain or slippery roads.

6. Preparation for emergencies – unexpected road situations like sudden tire blowout or loss of control of the vehicle happens. In these situations, it is important to have a car insurance cover that includes Roadside Assistance. With roadside assistance, help is just a call away.  Discuss how your car insurance coverage can include Roadside Assistance benefit.  Cover your vehicle with Standard Insurance Car Protect.

7. Distractions – there is a reason why the law does not allow driving while texting. It reduces your ability to stay vigilant and anticipate properly while driving.  It is one of the main causes of driving accidents affecting the driver himself.

Practicing defensive driving can reduce accidents, can protect the driver and his passengers and can make the road safe for everyone, including the pedestrians on the road banks. Safe driving environments don’t just happen and the law is not enough either.  If each driver practices defensive driving, it will be less stressful to drive on the road, and everyone will have more secure drives.  Securing your vehicle with car insurance helps and so does covering it with roadside assistance for emergencies where you need to call for help.