Defensive Driving




Defensive Driving WORKS!

The Collision Prevention Formula:
  • Recognize the hazards: Continuously scan the road ahead and behind checking your mirror every 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Understand the defense: Continuously scan the road for possible hazards. Play the "what if" game by thinking "what if" the driver in front of me stops suddenly? "What if" someone runs a red light at the next intersection? "What if" that driver in the oncoming lane...
  • Act correctly in time: Think ahead, try to anticipate what other drivers around you might do, avoid hazardous or dangerous situations before it's too late.

Help avoid collisions through proper vehicle maintenance. Remember, from clean windows to properly adjusted mirrors to regular engine servicing and much more, you can be held responsible for the little, as well as the big defects in your car.

Know, Show, Slow, Go
Know the rules for intersections and know which way you plan on going before you arrive at the intersection. Show your intentions with signals and proper lane position before entering it. Slow down as you approach the intersection, have your foot over the break. Go only after you've checked to make sure the coast is clear. Don't assume that the other driver knows what to do at the intersection or that the driver will follow the rules.

The weight of your car is the major determining factor in how long it takes you to stop. The heavier the car, the longer it takes to stop. On average, at 65 miles per hour it will take you the length of a football field to stop -- that's completely stop -- your car. Remember, automatic breaking systems (ABS) only help to stop without swerving in a skid stop, not in a shorter distance.

The Two Second Rule
Follow the Two Second Rule. Watch the vehicle ahead of you pass a fixed object or point, like a pole or mile marker. Begin counting: "One thousand and one, one thousand and two." If your car reaches that marker before you finish counting you are following too closely. Ease up and check again.

In adverse conditions, use The Two Second Plus Rule: add one second following distance for each adverse condition. Adverse conditions include:

  • Driving at night, in fog, rain or snow. (Plus 1)
  • Driving behind a truck or vehicle making it difficult for you to see ahead. (Plus 1)
  • Driving behind a motor cycle. (Plus 1)
  • Driving through an intersection. (Plus 1)

If you can't see a truck driver in the truck's side mirror, then that driver can't see you or your car -- you're in the vehicle's blind spot and should pull out of it as soon as it is possible and safe.

Practice the 4 Rs
Head-on collisions are the most violent type of auto accident. Practice the 4 Rs:

  • Read the road ahead.
  • Reduce your speed.
  • Drive to the Right.
  • Ride off the road if necessary.

A driver who's coming head-on toward you in your lane may "wake-up" and realize they've crossed into your lane, and then correct their error by heading to your left, or back into their proper lane. So, drive RIGHT and off the road if necessary. Don't swerve left.

This information includes material from the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving Course and their annual publication Accident Facts. This information highlights examples of safety precautions you can consider to help protect yourself, others, and your personal property. This list is not meant to be all encompassing. Moreover, a particular precaution may not be effective in all circumstances.

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