The Principles of Defensive Driving

Learning to drive is more than just learning technique. It’s important to have the right attitude as well.

Although you can’t always control what other drivers are going to do, you can control what you do on the road.  The best way to stay safe on the road is to drive defensively.  While learning the basics of driving is obviously essential to first-time drivers, it’s important that students learn more than just techniques like parallel parking and merging.  Every driver needs to learn the right driving attitude as well as the right driving techniques.  The best driving schools teach this philosophy along with the rules.  But what is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is a state of mind.  When you’re behind the wheel, it’s easy to get upset by other people’s poor driving choices.  Defensive driving means staying alert and not reacting to other people’s mistakes or aggressiveness.  There are two easily solved problems that cause more car accidents than any other: aggressive driving and inattentive driving.  When you’re a defensive driving you’re always striving to pay attention and drive with a cool head.

Paying attention means constantly checking out what’s happening on the road.  Instead of focusing on the road in front of you, you should constantly check your mirrors so that you know what’s happening behind you, to the side of you, and in front of you.  When you’re operating a potentially deadly machine, you need to know what’s going on at all times.

Keeping a cool head means not reacting and being willing to submit even when you’re in the right.  A good example of this is merging.  While it’s the merging driver’s responsibility to check the road and make sure he or she merges safely, you should also get out of the way of a merging driver when you can instead of stubbornly insisting on your right of way.  Following these important principles will keep you and other drivers safer on the road.


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