As we enter into this topic, take a moment to think about a situation where you noticed another vehicle driving very poorly. Maybe they were swerving, speeding, or doing something as simple as not using their indicators. Now think about how you reacted, or how you would want to react if you were driving near another motorist who exhibits dangerous driving.
One of the most important aspects to safe driving is being aware of your surroundings at all times. Pay attention to other vehicles in your lane, adjacent lanes and oncoming traffic. Watch out for pedestrians and animals in the road. Always try to know were other vehicles are located as you make progress down the road. These are all vital components of defensive driving. If you know where a vehicle is behind you and how fast they are approaching, you have a much better chance of making the right decision when a crash occurs in front of you or when a animal runs out in the road. Knowing the distance between you and other vehicles and the difference in speeds helps you to determine whether you should speed up, swerve left or right, or hit the brakes to avoid a collision.
Life saving maneuvers often occur with a split second decision. If you are not paying attention to your surroundings, how can you possibly know which action to take to save your life or some else’s? Try to think about defensive driving at all times when you are on the road. Try to anticipate what you might do if the articulated truck next to you on the motorway merges into your lane because you are in their blind spot. Do you slam on your brakes, swerve left, lay on the horn, all of the above, or even none of the above? Knowing exactly what is going on around you will ensure you take appropriate action to avoid the collision.
Practicing defensive driving is crucial to your safety as well as others on the road around you. Remember, the key to defensive driving is being aware of your surroundings at all time so you can make the correct split second decision when needed.