You cannot control the actions of fellow drivers, but updating your defensive reactions and actions can help you take charge and avoid an unfortunate incident.
Getting behind the wheel could be a daily routine for many motorists, so it pays to take every precaution possible to avoid adverse road situations and unintentional actions by other road users. Defensive driving focuses on reducing on-road accidents through anticipation. By following these techniques and tips, drivers can be well placed to react to any unexpected situation to avoid an accident.
BE AWARE OF THE SURROUNDINGS
Too often motorists are focused on just one or two things while on the roads, forgetting that there are other road users as well. While travelling, you should be aware of your surroundings so that you don’t miss important bits of information about the environment. Rather than simply be aware of your immediate area, look beyond the cars ahead. This will provide you with the opportunity to see what traffic conditions are like ahead so you can take appropriate actions, such as slowing down or preparing to stop.
EXPECT MISTAKES FROM OTHERS
Because roads are a shared resource, motorists are susceptible to the actions of fellow drivers and other road users. Reduce the risk of any accident by assuming the worst of other road users, that they can make a mistake at any time. Don’t assume the other driver can see you or is aware of your presence. Expecting others to know your intentions on the roads is a risky thing. Never rely on or trust someone else when safety is at stake — it really is up to you to make the effort to ensure your own safety.
STAY ALERT AND BE CLEAR MINDED
The fast-paced environment on the roads requires all drivers to be focused and alert for safer driving. Quick instincts and reactions can make the difference when it comes to avoiding an accident, and any distraction or impairment can greatly reduce your ability to react to a road situation. Be clear minded; don’t drive when you’re feeling tired and sleepy, and avoid taking any medication that can make you drowsy prior to driving. Take a nap and be refreshed before you drive to avoid dozing off on the road and colliding with another vehicle. Don’t be distracted — don’t use your mobile phone or tackle the car’s GPS or radio. If you must, slow down and look for a safe spot to deal with these distractions before you continue your journey.
ADAPT TO ROAD CONDITIONS
The road and traffic conditions can be uneven and unexpected as factors, such as the amount of traffic and the weather, can vary. This is why you should adjust your driving habits to suit the changing conditions. Being adaptable helps you negotiate uneven roads or potholes due to construction works, or water ponding and flash floods during torrential downpours. During these circumstances, you should slow down to give yourself time to figure out the best way to deal with them. Make sure to turn off the cruise control function so you are in control of the speed at which you are travelling.MAKE YOURSELF VISIBLE
Stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots, and make sure you are visible at all times on the roads. Blind spots make it difficult for others to see you, and that is especially true of heavy vehicles. These vehicles ride really high up, and that gives them a restricted view of their immediate surroundings. Always use your turn signals appropriately and give others the right indication of your intentions. Remember to turn the signal off after you are done to avoid confusing others. Make sure your headlights are switched on when visibility is poor.
Many people share the roads, but it is these simple defensive techniques of the individual driver that are key to making them a safer place.
AAS ACADEMY’S CRASH PREVENTION COURSE
If you’re still unsure, and would prefer to undergo more strenuous and formal instructions, AAS Academy has just the course for you.
This highly interactive eight-hour course uses diverse training resources, including:
- Simulation software showing different driving situations and critical events that may lead to a vehicular crash
- On-board camera videos of real-life crashes and near-misses
- Compelling mini-documentary about a driver’s personal experience in a fatal crash
- Short video clips on individual topics
Click here for more information.