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Defensive Driving Tips

Jan 17, 2020

a dog in sunglasses at the driver's wheelDriving defensively helps you stay safe on the road when the techniques are utilized properly. If you are driving defensively, you are less likely to be involved in an accident on the road for several reasons.

Read on to learn how you can utilize defensive driving practices to stay safe on the road.

Driving Defensively

What is defensive driving? In essence, it means to act in such a way that you are making the most out of safe driving practices in order to identify hazards in a predictable way.

The following tips will help you learn how you can improve your driving skills in order to be a defensive driver:

  • Be alert at all times. It’s not a good idea to drive when you are tired or groggy. You should always make sure you get enough sleep at night when you plan to be on the road the next day. Never drive while intoxicated. When you are tired or intoxicated, your reaction times are much slower than they are when you’re well-rested and sober. Quick reaction times are crucial for panic stops and unexpected actions by other drivers.

  • Remain focused. Don’t allow distractions to take hold over you while you’re driving. While cell phones are a revolutionary invention, they need not be used while operating a vehicle. Eating while driving is legal, but it can be a hazard if you are too distracted from what’s happening on the road. Whatever your distractions are, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t allow them to overcome your focus on the road.

  • No one is perfect. Being focused doesn’t only mean focusing on your own driving, it also means focusing on the vehicles around you. People make mistakes all the time, so it is wise to do your best to anticipate what the drivers around you will do next.

  • Pay attention to what’s happening around you. It’s a good idea to check your mirrors often. Pay attention to the conditions 20-30 seconds ahead of your vehicle. Avoid aggressive drivers. Keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals along the roadway.

  • Practice good habits. Always wear your seatbelt, even if you’re just going a few blocks away. Check your mirrors before you begin driving to make sure they are aligned properly. Make sure your seat is adjusted accordingly so that you aren’t too close or far away from the pedals. Adjust the steering wheel if needed.

  • Leave yourself a way out. It’s in your best interest to make sure that you’re able to escape any unexpected situation. Be aware of what the vehicles around you are doing so you aren’t caught off guard if someone comes into your lane without signaling, for example. It’s a good idea to try and predict what the drivers around you will do before they do it so you’re prepared at all times.

  • Leave enough space. You should never follow the vehicle in front of you too closely (often called tailgating). A good general rule for this is to leave one car length’s distance between your car and the one in front of you for every 10 miles per hour (mph) of your speed. For instance, if you are going 60 mph, you should leave six car lengths between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. In addition, it’s wise to move over if someone behind you is tailgating. If you have to stop suddenly, the car behind you may not have enough reaction time to do so without colliding with your car.

  • Never drive in someone’s blind spot. Every vehicle’s blind spot is a little different. A blind spot is a space around a vehicle that is unable to be directly seen by the driver while operating it. When you drive in someone’s blind spot, you run the risk of the driver not seeing you in the event they need to change lanes.

  • Drive at a safe speed at all times. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is one of the leading causes of car accident deaths in the United States. Speeding not only impacts your safety, but it also impacts the safety of all the other drivers around you. Your arrival time while speeding hardly varies from your arrival time when you’re not speeding, so it’s never really worth it to drive at unsafe speeds.

  • Differentiate your risks. When multiple risks become apparent, it’s a good idea to handle them one at a time. You don’t want to have to deal with too many risks at any given moment.

  • Expect the unexpected. While you should be thoughtful of other drivers on the road, your main concern should always be protecting yourself. Don’t expect other drivers to move out of your way or enable you to merge. It’s in your best interest to expect others to run red lights and stop signs. You should be ready for anything at all times. The best way to stay safe in these instances is to consistently plan your actions in order to anticipate the worst-case scenario.

We’re Here to Help You

Even the best of drivers find themselves involved in car accidents from time to time. If you have experienced a car crash, you may wonder where to turn. Look no further than Peterson & Associates, Attorneys at Law. Our experienced personal injury attorneys know what it takes to recover compensation for auto accident victims.


Call Peterson & Associates today at (816) 298-8708 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

Categories: Auto Accidents

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Our law office is located in Kansas City, Missouri at:

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801 W. 47th Street, Suite 107
Kansas City MO 64112.

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