Every year, many people lose their lives because of road accidents. It’s sad to note that approximately 3,720 people were killed in 2017 in Texas according to a report from the Texas Department of Transportation. Most of the deaths occur on road intersections and caused by drunk driving, and drivers being distracted while driving. Arguably, these figures show that most drivers have not really mastered how to drive safely. We can avoid these accidents only if we adopt defensive driving tactics.
Here we outline seven defensive driving tips that can help reduce risks on the road.
By looking ahead, you are able to spot possible dangers lying in front of you. You will also be able to know whether you need to slow down or make a stop. It’s estimated that approximately 100 motorists are always killed in areas with road construction taking place and along the highways. However, you can possibly avert accidents by slowing down or making maneuvers only if you keep an eye on what’s happening ahead of you.
Avoid some activities that will distract you while driving. Using your phone behind the wheel increases the risk of collision by 200 percent. Therefore, you should avoid it; however, if you have to use your phone, pull your car off the road in a safe place. In fact, just limit your use to emergency phone calls only. Some other distracting activities you need to avoid include:
- Eating or drinking
- Programming a GPS
- Changing radio stations
Adjust your GPS and tune your radio or air conditioning before driving. If you have a passenger in front, request him/her to do the above distractive activities for you. As a driver, you can learn these basic techniques by taking a short-term defensive driving course. You can find defensive driving courses in almost every State across the US. Some institutions, for instance, Defensive Driving TX, offer their courses online.
Evaluate your Driving Environment
Always be aware of your spatial surrounding when driving. Look at the other drivers in front, sideways, and behind you. Also be alert when approaching intersections; over two-thirds of the accidents are reported to occur at this point.
Maintain a Safe Driving Distance
Keep a safe distance between you and the car in front especially when the weather condition is bad or if you’re driving in darkness. You should also obey the speed limit. Maintaining safe distance allows you to react in the time of emergencies.
Visibility is a key road safety. Before driving, ensure that all your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working. You can avoid blind spots by switching on your headlights when dark or driving in bad weather. You should also use your turn signals when you plan to turn or change lanes.
Research shows that about 23,000 people die annually due to drunk driving. Safe driving requires alertness and quick decision-making. Drinking alcoholic beverages affects the driver’s ability to drive. Some of the factors that can affect the driver’s concentration are:
- Alcohol: Even when the dosage consumed is low, it can affect your judgment, concentration, comprehension, vision, reaction time, and tracking. Therefore, you should not get behind the wheels when drunk.
- Drugs: Whether they are illegal, prescribed, or over-the-counter, drugs can impair your driving ability. It hinders your ability to focus and judge situations. Drugs also slow your reaction time and cause drowsiness.
- Drowsiness: Feeling sleepy put the driver in danger while driving. It makes the driver have less concentration and slows his/her reaction time. Moreover, the driver is likely to make very poor decisions.
Expect Unruly Drivers on the Road
Part of the defensive driving is being aware of what is happening around you. It is always advisable to anticipate rather than assume. Know when to react to different situations. Stay away from drivers driving aggressively or those experiencing road rages. It is better to be pessimistic, as this will enable you to think of an escape route.
Using the above defensive driving tips can reduce the risks on the road. The defensive driving techniques will also reduce the risks of other road users being involved in accidents. It’s therefore worth putting them into practice.