There are more than 6,000,000 car crashes in the United States each year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT), up to 95% of those crashes could be prevented if more drivers exercised defensive driving techniques. But what exactly is defensive driving, and how can you make good choices the next time you’re on the road? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving simply means avoiding risky driving maneuvers and remaining vigilant of other drivers around you. According to the DoT, defensive driving means “anticipating hazardous situations and adjusting driver behavior to compensate.”
In other words, you should anticipate that other drivers on the road will usually make the wrong decision, and you should change your driving strategy accordingly. For example, the definition of defensive driving states that you should compensate and compromise, even if the other driver doesn’t have enough room to merge or doesn’t have the right of way.
Defensive Driving Strategies
Watch for Hazards
While driving defensively, you should aim to focus on your surroundings. If you’re distracted by the music or your cellphone, you might struggle to identify an aggressive driver. Ideally, staying focused means keeping your attention solely on the road and checking each of your mirrors about every 10 seconds so you can remain vigilant of approaching hazards.
If another vehicle merged too close to the front of your car or slammed on the brakes, you should probably give them some space. Ideally, you should establish a 3-second following rule, meaning you’ll be where the car ahead of you is when you count to three. This will help you stay alert and gives you more flexibility to brake and potentially avoid a crash.
When in Doubt, Yield
If you see an aggressive or careless driver on the road, resist the temptation to “punish” them by cutting them off or blocking them in so they can’t pass. In most cases, this will only increase an aggressive driver’s recklessness and increase the chances that you’ll both be in a crash. If a nearby driver seems dangerous or made a wrong move, give them space and let them pass – it just might prevent a serious crash.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injures in a car accident, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Connecticut car accident attorney from Carter Mario Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (203) 806-9256 or send us an email.