It is impossible to avoid all vehicular accidents. However, it is very possible to minimize them by doing your part to keep them from happening. How do you do this? By following the main principle of defensive driving which is self-awareness. If everyone practiced this, automobile accidents amounting to millions of dollars annually can be prevented. Loss of sales and damage to property is one thing, but the lives loss in every incident can never be replaced.
Therefore, here are some ways when the principle of defensive driving must be at work. These tips are useful to keep in mind before you get behind the wheel and hit the road:
Be cautious every time you drive.
Do this each time, but most especially when you are travelling long distances. This is when you tend to zone out because you are too tired or exhausted during the long travel that you are barely aware of the things happening around you.
Keep your focus.
Don’t lose it because when you do, the chances for accidents to occur greatly increases. Be alert and check your mirrors all the time.
Watch out for the traffic pattern behind you.
You can do this by checking out your rear-view mirror. Your side mirrors are handy for checking how much room you have between the next cars and give you good peripheral vision.
Be extra careful when changing lanes.
Don’t do any sudden maneuvers. The fatal accidents happen when you change lanes without first checking if there’s anybody behind you. So always be aware of your blind spots by looking at your side mirrors before making any sudden movements. Your blind spot usually occurs on your rear on either side of your car. Watch out for motorists who may have snuck up on you without you knowing.
Check for cars within your immediate vicinity.
Do not be too hasty because you may find yourself clipping the front of another motorist’s vehicle. You will be at fault and this means that either you or the insurance company will have to pay for the damage committed to the other car.
Do this especially when you are driving in the city where there are so many intersections because this can be very hazardous. The key is to anticipate the common mistakes of other drivers so you can save yourself from their carelessness.
So many drivers don’t pay much attention when the light is about to change. They refuse to slow down when they’re supposed to hit a full stop. Some even try to beat the red light and they simply speed on. So be aware every time you enter an intersection because it can spell the difference between life and death.
Before approaching an intersection, slow down and check on the lanes on the intersection. Be alert in recognizing people who are nonchalant and are not paying careful attention.
Beware of large trucks you may be travelling with when you are on the freeway. These trailers can be deadly. Never attempt to be at their blind spot. Whenever you cannot see the truck driver, in all probability he can’t see you as well. So, be very careful. When you get the chance, get around the truck but be sure he’s not about to change lanes, specifically the lane you are about to use to get around him.
Avoid any distractions as much as possible.
While you are behind the wheel, there should be no GPS, no mobile phones, and definitely no texting. Anything that can distract you and allow you to lose focus on the road must be out of your sight. It only takes a split second for an accident to happen.
Remember, safety is the main principle of defensive driving. If you value life and care about your loved ones, you need to keep these things in mind. It takes a lot of tolerance, control, discipline, and presence of mind when you are on the road, but it is well worth it if it means saving lives.