Even if your lane has a green light, you should always let off the gas a little bit as you approach a busy intersection.
Being a safe driver is certainly a characteristic to aspire to, but it does not guarantee that you will never get into an accident. Road conditions, distracted drivers, unseen obstacles, and poor decisions by others can all cause an accident that you get involved in, even if it is not your fault. However, there are ways that you can become an even safer driver. These methods are part of what is called defensive driving.
Defensive driving turns someone from a safe driver into a proactive driver. Instead of obeying traffic laws perfectly and always using your turn signal, it goes a step further. Defensive driving is all about actively monitoring circumstances that could lead to an accident and being prepared to respond to them quickly.
Getting into an accident can be a real headache. You could get severely injured and have medical bills that force you to hire a lawyer to negotiate with the insurance companies. You could be unable to return to work for a while. Though defensive driving cannot completely prevent accidents from happening, it can reduce the likelihood that you will be involved in one. Here are the best defensive driving tips to follow for a higher chance of staying safe on the roads.
Keep Your Eyes Moving
While on the road, there are so many things happening around you. There are traffic signs to follow, intersections to navigate, other drivers to consider, and even pedestrians. This means that failing to keep your head on a swivel will cause you to lose track of your surroundings more often. If you never check your rear-view mirror, you could be unaware of a driver who is tailgating you. When you neglect to turn your head fully when making a lane switch, you might miss the vehicle that just pulled into the lane you are moving into. The longer you practice checking your mirrors and noticing your surroundings consistently, the more natural it will become.
Maintain Safe Follow Distances
Fender benders are one of the most common types of accidents, and they often occur because someone is following the vehicle in front of them too closely. When the first car is forced to brake quickly for one reason or another, the second does not have adequate time to react and stop before hitting the back of the first car.
This can be avoided by leaving a substantial distance between yourself and the car in front of you. Knowing your stopping distance, which is dependent upon speed, road conditions, and the weight of your vehicle, will help you understand how far back you should be from those in front of you. Even if there is no reason to expect that they would suddenly brake, you never know what could happen in front of them at a moment’s notice.
Keep Your Eye on Vehicles Entering the Roadway
A lot of collisions happen when people first pull onto a roadway. Either they failed to check for traffic, they underestimate quickly they can get up to speed, or they miss someone pulling onto the roadway before them. When you notice a vehicle coming from a side road, parking lot, or driveway and they will be entering your lane, keeping an eye on their progress is a good idea. They represent a potential threat to the current flow of traffic and if they are not a safe driver, they could cause an accident.
Slow Down at Intersections
Even if your lane has a green light, you should always let off the gas a little bit as you approach a busy intersection. Some drivers may be trying to anticipate when your lane will turn red and cheat out into the intersection, or someone may try to make a right on red. If the light just turned green as you approach, there could be some cars that run a red light if they tried to speed up to catch the green.
For this reason, you should slow down at all intersections and double-check the crossing traffic lanes as you enter the area. Accidents at intersections are very common, and even if you work with Chicago’s top personal injury lawyer after the accident and recover fair compensation for damages, preventing the accident in the first place by being cautious is a far better outcome.
Safe Drivers are not Necessarily Defensive Drivers
For the most part, all drivers follow certain safety practices while on the road. But what makes defensive drivers less likely to be involved in accidents is that they are proactive. They are on the lookout for potential problems that may arise, shortening their response times. When you are keeping an eye on the one car that seems to switch lanes quickly and is near you, you’ll be able to react quickly to their next switch if it puts you in danger. The more you pay extra attention to potential issues while driving, the more it will become second nature. As a result, you will be able to prevent accidents with these habits.