Essential Skills for Roadway Safety
When most people hear the term "defensive driving," they are quick to associate it with the course you take after receiving some kind of traffic violation. While this may be the case in some instances, it extends far beyond that, and these techniques are often an essential part of helping you be a safer driver.
By the National Safety Council’s (NSC) definition, defensive driving involves using skills that can "save lives, time, and money" or those determined to be best practices for roadway safety. When used consistently, these techniques can be life-saving and reduce the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Defensive Driving Techniques
Choosing to drive defensively is often an easy fix, as you may already be using some of these techniques without realizing it. Incorporating even one or two of these skills into your daily commute can help you become an overall safer driver. Some of the most crucial defensive driving techniques are:
- Always be prepared to adjust for road changes or take preventative action to reduce the possibility of a collision.
- Keep your eyes and mind on the road and your hands on the steering wheel at all times.
- Scan the roadway ahead and your surroundings for potential hazards.
- Regularly check your blind spots and rearview mirrors to increase awareness of other drivers.
- Be aware of when you are in another driver's blind spot, and avoid lingering in these areas.
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles—this is often referred to as the "three-second rule."
- Signal to other drivers whenever you change lanes, pull over, turn, or exit.
- Don't erratically change lanes; instead, stay in one lane until absolutely necessary.
- If you suspect another driver may be impaired, increase the distance between your vehicle and theirs. You can also report impaired drivers by calling 911 or 1-800-835-5247 for non-emergencies.
It's important to remember to never compromise your safety (or that of other vehicles), even if it means arriving at your destination later than wanted. By consistently using defensive driving techniques, you are helping make the roadways a safer place for all drivers.
Why Is Defensive Driving Important?
Over 36,000 people died in crashes throughout the United States in 2019. Among these, 28% of fatal crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver, 26% involved speeding, and 47% of people killed were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
Although defensive driving cannot prevent every type of collision, drivers who have graduated from a defensive driving program have a fatal crash rate 90% lower than the national average. This is because defensive driving techniques teach you skills that effectively prevent accidents by limiting distractions and adequately assessing roadway dangers.
Should I Take a Defensive Driving Course?
When deciding whether or not to take a defensive driving course, it's crucial to understand the many benefits associated with it. We've already discussed how it can reduce the possibility of accidents, but did you know that taking a defensive driving course can reduce insurance premiums?
Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who take defensive driving courses, sometimes even up to 20% off their premium. California drivers may also benefit by having points taken off of their driving record. This may also be done as a preventative measure if you recently received a moving violation and want to avoid a point being added.
No matter your reasons for doing so, taking a defensive driving course can only serve to benefit you in the long run.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
The team at Effres & Effres is dedicated to helping keep the roadways safer and always encourage defensive driving techniques for new and experienced drivers. We are also committed to holding negligent drivers accountable for injuring others on the roadways.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a collision caused by a negligent driver, we are here to help. Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (818) 222-9720.