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What Does It Mean to Be a Defensive Driver?

You may be familiar with defensive driving because of your driver’s education manuals or courses enforced by the court after an accident or ticket. Such information is important to retain because it can be helpful for your safety and that of your passengers in the long-run.

Defensive driving is defined as a set of skills or strategies that you can use to be a safer driver by identifying potential hazards on the road before they arise and reacting accordingly to prevent your own involvement in a crash.

Young drivers just getting their learner’s permit or experienced motorists that have decades worth of drive time can all benefit from using a couple of defensive driving techniques in their daily lives.

The Purpose of Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is not a punishment, but a set of life-saving methods that makes driving safer for all. From keeping your eyes on the road to putting safety first, driving with caution in mind can help you become a more skilled driver, regardless of how long the trip.

Defensive driving encourages you to make decisions about potential hazards immediately while maintaining your composure, essentially preparing you for anything that might happen. These can be used in poor weather conditions, construction zones, areas you may not be familiar with on road trips, or just on your daily commute to work. When you become a skilled defensive driver, you help everyone in your vehicle and on the road get where they are going safely.

Defensive Driving Techniques

These techniques cover virtually everything you would need to handle behind the wheel, and choosing to drive defensively could make all the difference when it comes to getting to your destination. Likewise, it can offer alternative methods of handling potential hazards by making you more cognizant of the things that might be inevitable.

These tips can be broken down into three different categories: mental, legal, and safety.

Mental: Keeping Your Mind on Driving

Making sure that you are only driving with mental clarity can make it easier to react to sudden traffic changes or any potential problems. Since Colorado also sees a lot of snow annually, maintaining a good mental state while driving can also help you see icy hazards or other poor road conditions quicker.

  • Exhaustion and extreme emotions can impact your driving, so avoid being behind the wheel if you’re tired, angry, or upset.

  • Keep a level head and avoid road rage-like behaviors, such as using the horn in excess, swerving in and out of lanes, or cutting people off.
  • Limit distractions while driving and stay focused on the road.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, including knowing where drivers and pedestrians are.

Legal: Road Rules You Should Already Be Following

In addition to what you can be doing to stay focused on the roads, you should also be following any and all posted laws that have to do with driving. Receiving tickets for reckless driving or not obeying simple laws can be an expensive and dangerous habit. Here is what you can do to combat that:

  • Pay attention to speed limits and road signs.

  • Keep yourself well-informed about new laws and road regulations that may impact you.
  • Stay alert when in construction zones by keeping an eye out for workers and using a slower speed.
  • Avoid using electronic devices at all times - don’t forget, Colorado prohibits texting and driving for all motorists.

Safety: Putting You and Other Vehicles First in Mind

The ultimate goal of defensive driving is to make drivers of all ages think twice about the actions they are taking while on the road. Speeding and being distracted can inhibit your ability to drive safely, but so can many other things. Here are some other safety-first techniques:

  • Expect the unexpected; plan your trips ahead and allow yourself sufficient time to get where you need.

  • Keep at least a three-second distance between you and the car in front of you. Remember, if you can’t see their back tires, you’re too close.
  • Avoid driving your vehicle if it is showing signs of damage or needs maintenance, and change the tires during the snowy season.
  • Always use proper signals when changing lanes or exiting.
  • Avoid swerving, slamming on the brakes, suddenly jerking the wheel, or making too many unnecessary lane changes.
  • Alter your driving to accommodate sudden weather changes, work areas, or road conditions.
  • Don’t make any assumptions about other vehicles - keep an eye on parked cars and people entering or exiting roadways.

These are just some of the dozens of strategies you can implement on a daily basis to ensure that you are being a mindful driver and proceeding with caution at all times. Remember, driving can have some deadly consequences if you are not careful and abuse the privilege that it is. Should you engage in reckless or negligent behaviors, it can affect not only you and your vehicle but the others around you who are just wanting to make it home safely.

Avoid Negligence and Call the Boulder Personal Injury Attorneys

Klein Frank, P.C. is committed to combating negligence and abuse and boasts over 60 years of combined experience. As a powerhouse attorney duo, they have tried dozens of cases, gone up against corporate giants, and recovered billions of dollars in damages for clients.

When you choose Klein Frank, P.C. to represent you, you are choosing compassionate attorneys with your best interests at heart every time. Contact our firm at (303) 448-8884 to schedule a free, personalized case review at your earliest convenience.

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