When you hear the word “defensive”, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’re about to be advised to start shouting at other road users or pedestrians you think are putting your life in danger when you’re on the road.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, it’s a practice or form of training that will help you become a far better driver as a result. We’re all guilty of thinking we’re the best when we’re behind the wheel but you have to realise that you can make mistakes just like everyone-else.
Think about this as an example:
You’ve stopped at a set of traffic lights and you think you’ve left enough room in front of your car so you can adequately see the vehicle in front. However, have you thought about what might happen behind you? More accidents happen when vehicles are stationary than you might think and you’re about to find out just one reason why.
So, you look in the rear view mirror. The traffic lights are still red and the car approaching from behind is going at a fair old lick. So fast in fact, you just know they’re not going to avoid hitting you. Then, “smash”! Everything goes black and when you come too you’re surrounded by emergency service professionals who are not only trying to keep you calm but, are setting about tearing your car apart so they can get you out.
The first thing that springs to mind (after you’re over the shock and can think about how this could have been avoided) is if you had just left enough space at the front of your car, you would have been able to swerve out of the way and avoid the whole sorry mess.
This is what defensive driving is and if you’re still wondering how it can help you, the example above should be enough to give you an idea.
Basic Rules to Follow
- NEVER start your vehicle until you and your passengers are safely secure and this includes pets as well as humans.
- As the example above proves when you need to come to a stop but not park, leave enough room for a “getaway” if needed.
- If the weather is poor SLOW DOWN. It doesn’t matter how good your braking system is, your vehicle will react slower.
- Don’t drive when you’re tired and make sure you keep your eyes open for any eventuality at all times. After all, a good majority of accidents on the road are the fault of one driver, not two.
- Assume the worst at all times. Don’t trust other road users and be prepared for any eventuality.
- The rules of the road are there for a reason and you should adhere to them at all times.
Is Training Available?
In short, yes. However, you can start practicing the very next time you get in your car just by following some of the rules above. It might be hard in the beginning because you’re going to change your attitude towards the road in general and how it works but, if you practice enough it will soon become like second nature.