20 Defensive Driving Tips to Keep You Safe

Updated: 10/07/2022
The roads are filled with aggressive and dangerous drivers, making it more important than ever to have the most effective defensive driving tips on hand when you head out for a drive. The following defensive driving techniques can make you a better, safer driver and reduce the risks of getting into an accident that can damage your car, and injure yourself and those around you.

1. Focus
With what the digital age offers to keep our eyes and minds busy, distracted driving is now among the leading causes of accidents. It sounds so basic, but keeping your eyes on the road and paying attention to your surroundings is the best safe driving tip to help you avoid getting into an accident that can result in injuries to you and others.

2. Expect Other Drivers and Pedestrians Not to Focus
Do not expect the other drivers and pedestrians out there to be as attentive as you are. Anticipate their lack of focus and react accordingly.

3. Yield to Others
If you assume others on the road are not going to be paying as much attention to you as you are to them, it is best to back off, yield to them and keep everyone moving. This is a magnanimous gesture that helps to keep everyone safe.

4. Slow It Down
The best way to get into serious trouble behind the wheel is to drive faster than the circumstances dictate, even if that means driving slower than the posted speed limit. It is better to arrive late to where you are going than to get into an accident and hurt yourself or others.

5. Use Modern Safety Features
Advances in modern technology have made today’s cars safer than they have ever been. Take advantage of the most up-to-date safety features to help you become a safer driver.

6. Buckle Up
Study after study has shown the most effective way to prevent or reduce injury in a vehicular accident is to use seat belts. The National Safety Council says that buckling up reduces the chances of being hurt in a car accident by up to 50 percent.

7. Come to a Full and Complete Stop
There is nothing vague or confusing about a stop sign. When you approach it, come to a full and complete stop and look in all directions before proceeding safely. Pedestrians and drivers alike get injured every day by drivers rolling through stop signs or while turning right on a red light.

8. Use Signals When Turning or Changing Lanes
Being transparent as possible to the other drivers on the road is an effective way to avoid accidents. Give plenty of notice before turning or changing lanes by using your signal.

9. Avoid Road Rage
Other drivers are going to do stupid things, some of them may even put you in danger. However, getting upset about it and lashing out will only heighten the situation, putting everyone in danger. Let it go, move on, and be thankful the situation was not worse than it could have been.

10. Leave Space for Other Motorists
Especially when driving on the highway at accelerated speeds, it is essential to put some distance between you and the other drivers to give you time to react to any sudden movements or emergency circumstances.

11. Be Aware of Blind Spots
Every vehicle will have some areas that are not visible through the side and rearview mirrors. When changing lanes or turning, it is always best to turn and eliminate any blind spots where others can be lurking.

12. Never Drive Intoxicated or Under the Influence
Doing anything that will slow your reaction time and judgment capabilities put you and everyone around at risk. Even something as seemingly minor as taking an over-the-counter cold medicine can diminish your driving skills. Never, ever drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and never get into a car if the driver is intoxicated.

13. Prepare for Extreme Weather
Depending on the region where you live, extreme weather conditions can affect the way how to be a defensive driver and what you will need to do to be safe. For example, make sure you have snow tires, scrapers, and brushes if you live in a cold-weather climate.

14. Adjust to Changing Weather Conditions
Storms and other weather can come on fast, changing driving conditions in the process. Having working wiper blades, defrosters, and lights can help keep you safe when the weather turns.

15. Properly Inflated Tires
If your tires are properly inflated, your vehicle will run smoother and offer more control at the wheel. Blowouts can occur more often on older and under-inflated tires, causing you to lose control of the vehicle.

16. Use Headlights, and High Beams When Needed
Using your headlights not only helps you see the road and your surroundings, but it also helps others see you. Your high beam lights can come in handy in isolated and unfamiliar areas, but always shut them down when others approach.

17. Keep Vehicle Well-Maintained, Repaired
Keeping your vehicle in top running condition will reduce the chances of system failures that can cause accidents. Schedule regular oil changes and tune-ups to provide the safest possible vehicle for you and your passengers.

18. React to Tailgaters Safely
The best way to respond to tailgaters and other dangerous maneuvers from drivers is to keep as much distance as possible between you and the others ahead. Avoid making any sudden movements while shifting to the right to let the driver behind you pass.

19. Steady Wins the Race
The smoother you drive, the more transparent you will be to the other drivers on the road and the better they will be able to anticipate your movement. Avoid sudden increases or decreases in speed, and quick turns or lane changes.

20. Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute
Identify upcoming decisions, predict what will happen, decide the best course of action, and safely execute the move. This is the process you go through when approaching a driving decision. While you do this without even being aware of it, understanding it beforehand helps you know how to be a safe diver when you hit the road.

Why Choose Premier Defensive Driving?
Even drivers who use these defensive driving techniques can wind up with a traffic ticket. If you have a ticket on your Texas driving record, the online course available at Premier Defensive Driving can help get the ticket dismissed and removed from your permanent record. The easy, affordable online classwork includes safe driving tips and in just hours, you can be on your way to getting your traffic ticket handled.

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