Defensive Driving 101: Essential Safety Guidelines
Defensive driving: it's a term we've all heard, but what does it really mean? In essence, defensive driving is the practice of anticipating and reacting to potential hazards while behind the wheel. Being a defensive driver can significantly reduce your chances of getting involved in a severe motor vehicle accident.
There is no denying that driving can be inherently dangerous and sometimes fatal for those involved in crashes. In fact, crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 38,824 people nationwide lost their lives due to fatal traffic crashes in 2020 alone. The crash data also found that this number marks the highest number of fatalities since 2007. While these statistics are alarming, it's crucial to take the initiative as a driver and learn what you can do to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Here are some defensive driving tips to consider.
What Is Defensive Driving?
While there are many definitions of this term, driver's ed courses refer to defensive driving as the manner in which drivers apply different skills and techniques that allow them to defend themselves against a potential accident caused by reckless drivers. Defensive drivers can avoid hazards on the road by utilizing their safe driving practices. Here are the four key principles:
1. Be Alert
Staying alert on the road is one of the most important aspects of defensive driving. This means being aware of your surroundings at all times and being ready to react to any potential hazards. One way to stay alert is to avoid distractions while driving, such as using your phone or fiddling with the radio. The NHTSA states that if you are going 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds to send a text, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed!
2. The Three-Second Rule
Another important aspect of defensive driving is maintaining a safe following distance. This could also be referred to as the three-second rule, which means leaving three seconds worth of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Leaving enough space between your car and the one you're following can significantly reduce your chances of a collision, mainly because it gives you enough time to make a sudden brake if needed. Following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions, which are often serious.
3. Do Not Depend on Other Drivers
When driving, it's safe to say that you should never assume the other drivers around you will drive safely and responsibly. In fact, human driving error is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes; therefore, to keep yourself protected behind the wheel, never assume other drivers will make the best decisions.
4. Practice Safe Driving
Learning defensive driving strategies can help keep you, your passengers, and others on the road safe. There are numerous ways that you can hone in on your defensive driving skills. Our car accident attorneys provide you with additional safety tips to avoid a dangerous collision.
Avoid driving in blind spots of other vehicles.
Avoid reckless driving.
Obey traffic rules.
Watch your speed.
Plan your route ahead of time.
Secure your seatbelt while driving.
Contact Houston Car Accident Attorneys
At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC we understand that each case is unique, and we will take the time to understand your situation. Our attorneys provide highly personalized and strategic legal representation committed to achieving the best possible result for our clients.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, we can help. Contact us today at (713) 999-6855 to schedule a free case consultation.