Although you can’t completely avoid ever getting into an accident, you can significantly lower this risk by watching how you react to other drivers. Since you can’t control what other drivers do, it’s important to know which moves to make in order to reduce the chance of being involved in a collision. Keep the following defensive driving tips in mind, so you won’t end up needing costly car repairs.
1. Maintain a Steady Speed
Staying at the same speed as much as possible can help prevent accidents. When you suddenly speed up or slow down, you can startle other drivers and possibly cause a collision. Maintaining a steady speed helps other drivers stay relaxed around you.
2. Look Ahead for Potential Problems
Although it’s important to watch the vehicle in front of you, you should also be checking up ahead for possible problems that could lead to an accident. These might include debris in the road, wildlife, or drivers who are going at unsafe speeds or swerving in and out of lanes.
3. Be Cautious with Tailgaters
If the car behind you is tailgating, you’ll need extra space in front of your car in case you need to avoid a collision. Leaving twice as much space as you normally would give you that extra room to safely maneuver your vehicle.
4. Yield If You’re in Doubt
If you’re unsure about whether or not you have the right of way, yield to the other vehicle. You should also yield if you do have the right of way, but the other vehicle starts moving before you.
5. Get Rid of Distractions
Driving while distracted increases your risk of being in an accident. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t let your phone, music, kids, or anything else distract you from focusing on driving. You need all of your attention to anticipate potential problems and react to them safely.
6. Watch Blind Spots
Be aware of your blind spots, so you won’t end up hitting another vehicle, such as when you’re switching lanes. You should also make sure you stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots.
7. Slow Down in Bad Weather
You need extra time to safely brake when it’s rainy, snowy, or icy out. If you’re driving in adverse weather conditions, reduce your speed and give yourself more space and time to brake if needed.
8. Watch Your High Beams
Although high beams help you see the road better in certain driving conditions, they can blind the drivers in oncoming vehicles. Put your high beams on when driving through areas that don’t have heavy traffic.
9. Always Use Blinkers
Anytime you want to turn or change lanes, always put your blinker on. Don’t assume that other drivers know what you plan on doing. Using blinkers lets them know which way you’re going.
10. Follow the Two-Second Rule
Leave two seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you in good driving conditions. In adverse weather or other poor driving conditions, increase the amount of space.