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3 Defensive Driving Tips to Make You a Safer Driver



3 Defensive Driving Tips to Make You a Safer Driver

Photo by Esteban Bernal on Unsplash

Defensive driving refers to driving that goes beyond moving the vehicle from one point to the other. When you drive defensively, you consciously take steps to minimize the dangers associated with driving.

With so many drivers on the road, whose proficiency cannot be ascertained, anything can happen without as much a moment’s notice. You must have heard this before; expect the best but prepare for the worst. It is possible to be a very good driver yet get involved in an accident resulting from an external source.

Defensive drivers are alert to any potential hazard and can potentially keep a hazard from happening. Insurance companies like Allstate milewise encouraging defensive driving, both for the sake of preserving lives and to avoid spending so much on claims.

Remember insurers are also in business; they’re also keen on minimizing their expenses. In fact, some insurance companies give a discount to drivers with a defensive driving certificate. How can you practice this level of driving?


Distracted driving is pretty common, especially when you’re following a familiar route. Ironically, experienced drivers are more likely to be distracted. They’ve done this many times before, and the reason is that they can easily drive without paying much attention.

This approach does not consider that every trip is different from the previous ones. Distractions such as calling, texting, scrolling on your phone, grooming, eating, fidgeting with the kids in your backseat, and so on reduce your situational awareness. Should something out of the ordinary take place, your response is already impaired. If you need to attend to something, stop, get done with it, then proceed.

Scan your surroundings

Granted, most of your focus should be on the road ahead of you. To be a defensive driver, you have to be aware of your surroundings as well. Check the side mirrors frequently to see who is approaching. Similarly, scan the road ahead of you. That fast glance can help you spot approaching danger and take the appropriate action.

Modern cars are equipped with advanced driver-assist features such as blind-spot monitors, a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance system, parking sensors, and so on. While they do improve the driving experience, the features cannot substitute for your eyes. Keep your undivided attention on the road so you can react instantly if an emergency arises.

Keep a safe distance

Avoid tailgating at all costs. Leave enough room between your car and that in front of you. We’re so accustomed to driving bumper to bumper that it almost seems the norm. Remember by choosing to be a defensive driver, you’re making a shift from good to great driving. Always allow yourself a breaking distance in case the car in front of you decelerates abruptly.

Normally, when cars break down unexpectedly, you have a multiple-car accident behind it since all those cars were too close. By keeping a distance, you safeguard your car as well as those behind you.


It is worth noting that defensive driving is as physical as it is emotional. You have to constantly choose to be the bigger person on the road. If a car overlaps or swerves into your lane, you cannot start a confrontation. The common analogy given here is that you should assume that every other driver on the road is mad; you’re the only sane one.

You must maintain a rational mind even in the midst of aggressive drivers. Do not disintegrate to the point of road rage, or confront those who do. Keep these tips in mind the next time you get behind the wheel to make the road experience safer for you and others.

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