In Defence of Defensive Driving
It used to be easier to be a good driver. In fact, it used to be easier to be a good defensive driver. But now, with technology providing so many distractions (cell phones, music, touch screens) and advances in car efficiency (noise isolation) makes it easy for you to tune out and zone out. But defensive driving is still in.
Defensive driving is based on the notion that the road is an inherently dangerous place. It not only improves your driving abilities, but it teaches you basic safety rules. And with summer winding down and the road packed with people trying to get to their weekend getaways in, defensive driving is not only smart, but it’s safe. Here are some tips on how you can practice being more mindful when you get behind the wheel.
Driving is visual, right? (Right!) And you always use your mirrors to scan all your surroundings when you drive, right? (Right!). Are you sure?
Your car has three mirrors – use them. Use them constantly. Check your mirrors every five seconds. You should also retain a mental picture of your surroudnings. Where is that hatchback? The guy on the motorcycle? Keep an eye out for the guy behind you doing 20 over the speed limit. The more you use your eyes and visualize your surroundigs, them better you’ll be prepared.
Speaking of being prepared: don’t be a jerk. Don’t tailgate. Whehter you’re doing it on purpose because you were cut off or doing it by accident, there’s no good that can come from either scenario. If you’re traelling down a highway, you want as much distance between you and the car in front of yu to pull of evasive maneuvers or to engage in any antilock braking. Put at least semi-truck length behind you and the other car. We know that's quite a big distance, but trust us: accidents happen, fast. You'll be thankful you kept it safe.
Speaking of safe. Nothing is safer than driving smoothly and efficiently. This means, of course, no Fast and the Furious style driving. You want calm, assertive, and cool. Envision a bowl of water on your dashboard, and imagine trying to make your ride entirely smooth so you don’t spill a single drop of water. Accelerate and decelerate smoothly. Don’t punch it when the light turns green and don’t’ slam on the brakes. Keep your eyes on the road, plan ahead, keep both hands on the wheel, and be mindful of your car and its actions. This let’s you navigagte smoothly on the road, which will maintain a mindful attitude while driving.
Respecting the speed limit seems like a no brainer, but too often we forget to do so when we’re rushing to get home for the weekend or run our errands. But the best defensive driving is done when youre maintaining the correct and legal speed limit, ensuring your safety, and the safety of others.