Defensive Driving: The Basics
You may have heard the phrase "defensive
Defensive driving is a particular style of road driving that makes use of various techniques and tactics to help you stay safe and keep away from problems caused by other road users.
Safety is the main benefit of defensive driving, as you are less likely to
Here are a few ways you can become a defensive driver and stay safe on the roads.
Control Your Speed
An obvious place to start, the most basic principle of defensive driving is to make sure your vehicle is travelling at a controlled speed at all times. You should never feel uneasy or like the car is getting away from you, particularly when going around corners.
In wet or icy conditions, controlling your speed is even more important because your car's tyres will have less grip than if the roads are dry, meaning they are more hazardous than normal.
Just because the speed limit is 60 mph doesn't
Keep Your Distance
The best way to avoid collisions with other road users is to keep away from
Keeping your distance is important when following other
Glance at an upcoming road sign, you should be able to count at least two seconds between the time the car in front passes the sign and you pass the sign. In wet conditions, this becomes the four second rule to allow for increased stopping distances on wet roads.
Expect the Unexpected
No, this isn't about gazing into a crystal ball and predicting the future. It's about not being too trusting of other road
- If you are waiting to pull out at a junction and a car is
indicatingto turn, don't assume that it will. Wait until it has turned to pull out into the road.
- Similarly, if a car is waiting to turn across your right of way, you could slow down in advance, so that if the car
does pullout, you are able tostop before hitting it.
- A big one is people flashing their lights to let you in - do not assume that it's safe to pull out just because someone has flashed their lights, do your own checks first.
- It's not just cars you need to
anticipatethe behaviour of, there are cyclists and pedestrians to keep an eye ontoo.
Stay Alert and Be Aware
Being aware of your surroundings is a key part of defensive driving. You are taught to check your mirrors regularly on your driving test for a very good reason - it keeps you mindful of what's going on around you.
As well as knowing what's going on behind, it's really important to check the road several cars in front, rather than just focusing on the car in front of you. This will let you anticipate potential stops earlier, helping you to stay safe, use less fuel and brake earlier and lighter.
As mentioned above, it's not just other cars you need to be aware of. A cyclist on the road may wish to turn right and therefore move across your direct line of travel, and you need to be alert to that.
You should also keep an eye on your blindspot, especially when doing any form of overtaking or changing lanes on a motorway.
Stay Safe with Defensive Driving
Using all of the above defensive driving techniques and tactics will ensure you stay as safe as possible on the road.
Keeping your distance will create a safety bubble around you and your car, while controlling your speed is absolutely vital. Make sure to check your mirrors regularly and your blindspots when required, and try not to be too trusting that all drivers will behave in the proper manner - there is always a chance that they are driving distracted or just aren't as safe of a driver as you!