Most people on the roads are under the impression that they are good drivers, but the accident statistics tell a different story. Perhaps the best definition of a 'good' driver is a defensive driver that avoids accidents by driving sensibly, obeying the rules of the road, and maintaining a high level of awareness. By contrast, the worst kind of driver is an aggressive driver with poor concentration and awareness. Unfortunately, the latter prevails, which makes it even more important to drive defensively at all times. Here are some tips to help you drive more defensively and stay safe on the road.
A driver has many things to think about while they are behind the wheel such as road conditions, speed, position, traffic rules, signs and signals, directions, checking mirrors, and following directions. This is why it's essential to stay focussed on the act of driving while you are out on the road. Getting distracted by activities such as talking on the phone or eating will make you less able to see potential problems and react in the proper way. The more experience you have as a driver, the more tempting it is to get overconfident and sloppy with regard to your driving skills. No matter how good you think you are, you’ll never be good enough to drive safely and do something else at the same time.
Dangerous situations can develop on the road in an instant, and if you're tired or under the influence of alcohol, medication or illegal drugs, your chances of reacting in time will be greatly reduced. Obviously, driving while under the influence is highly dangerous - not to mention illegal – but you should be just as wary of the effect that being naturally drowsy can have on your reaction times. Make sure you are fully rested before you go out on the road, and if you start to feel tired, pull over and have a rest before you head back out.
If you are too focused on what is going on in front of you, you may be blinding yourself to other potential dangers around you. Check your mirrors frequently, and also look ahead to see what is happening 20 or 30 seconds ahead of you. If a vehicle appears to be showing signs of aggressive driving, try to get out of their way by slowing down or pulling over to avoid them. In general, you should try to leave at least 3-4 seconds between yourself and the car in front if possible, as this should give you more time to react if they do something unexpected. As well as keeping an eye out for other drivers, you should also be aware of the movements and positions of other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
In any situation, you should position your vehicle to give yourself the best chance of seeing events on the road, and being seen by other drivers. You should also aim to have an alternative path of travel at all times, in case your first choice becomes suddenly blocked and you need to take a different route.
When driving in adverse weather conditions, you need to adjust your speed and your position accordingly. For each adverse weather condition that is present, such as snow, fog, rain, or wind, you should keep an extra second between you and the vehicle in front at all times. Also, reduce your speed accordingly.
This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).