How do I Learn Defensive Driving Techniques?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Practicing defensive driving techniques is the best way to avoid car accidents. Defensive driving means never trusting other drivers. Assuming that other people are being cautious is not in your best interest when on the road. You have to drive like the other people on the road don't know what they are doing. Watch other drivers very carefully, and always assume they aren't paying enough attention or don't see you.

Road rage has been responsible for many traffic deaths.
Road rage has been responsible for many traffic deaths.

The first and most important of the defensive driving techniques is to pay attention to the road. Stop messing with the radio, eating, and yelling at your children while driving. Even if your state still allows it, do not talk on your cell phone while driving. The only thing you should be doing is thinking about how to stay safe.

Defensive driving courses may teach students how to drive in hazardous weather conditions.
Defensive driving courses may teach students how to drive in hazardous weather conditions.

Speeding cuts your reaction time and creates more energy that has to be dispersed if a collision occurs. Always slow down to yield when you are coming to an intersection or when getting onto the freeway. Look down the road, not just at the road immediately in front of you. You need to be able to see dangerous situations that may be coming up the road. You should always have a full picture of the area around and ahead of you.

It's important to never drive under the influence of alcohol.
It's important to never drive under the influence of alcohol.

Make sure your car has enough space around it. The two second rule is one of the more popular defensive driving techniques. You should be at least two full seconds behind the car in front of you to make sure you have ample stopping time if a dangerous situation occurs.

Defensive driving class can lower a driver's insurance bills and help them drive more safely.
Defensive driving class can lower a driver's insurance bills and help them drive more safely.

Know your blind spots and how to see into them. If you are going to turn into the other lane, you need to know where your blind spots are to position yourself so you can see other drivers. Remember that it only takes a split second for an accident to occur.

The course instructor will likely discuss how best to merge and exit on the highway, particularly in congested areas.
The course instructor will likely discuss how best to merge and exit on the highway, particularly in congested areas.

It is never a good idea to drive while angry. Road rage is a very dangerous phenomenon and has ended in many deaths. Using your car as a weapon against others is never acceptable. In addition, never drive while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. It cuts reaction time and the ability to make correct and rational decisions. If you are taking prescription medication, ask your doctor if the drugs will make you too drowsy to drive.

Defensive driving is a skill that can only be developed with practice. There are classes that you can take to learn more about defensive driving techniques. Get on the Web or call your local DMV to find a class that will teach you more about defensive driving techniques.

Talking on a cell phone goes against the defensive-driving principle of paying attention to the road.
Talking on a cell phone goes against the defensive-driving principle of paying attention to the road.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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