Motor vehicle accidents are loud, scary and unexpected. In moments, you can sustain injuries that are costly and painful.
While it is impossible to prevent accidents from ever happening, practicing defensive driving strategies can help keep you safer on the roads and lessen the chances you will suffer an avoidable crash.
1. Plan ahead
If you are traveling to a new destination, look up directions ahead of time. Do not depend solely on your devices. Have an idea of where you are going before you leave. Check the weather and traffic reports if you have a long journey, and plan for extra time to avoid the temptation to speed.
2. Limit distractions
Get a hands-free device if you must have access to your phone while driving. Turn it off or put it out of your reach if you do not need it. Set your radio stations before you leave. Keep snacks and beverages to a minimum and easily reachable without taking your eyes off the road.
3. Give space
Leave enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you so that you have time to react to any sudden braking or swerving. When possible, leave even more space so that you have a wider field of vision. If you can see traffic up ahead, you will have more time to slow down or respond to any hazards.
4. Use extra caution at intersections
Intersections are dangerous. We must rely on other drivers to pay attention and obey the lights or stop at stop signs. Always take an extra moment before proceeding when a light turns green to make sure the traffic you are crossing has stopped. Always look both ways before stopping at an intersection with stop signs for the same reason. Make sure your path is clear before proceeding.
Make every effort to keep your eyes and focus on the road at all times. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Those few seconds your attention diverts while you answer your phone or reach for a snack may be costly. Defensive driving is about taking responsibility for your own safety.