Example Opportunities For Defensive Driving Techniques

By: Patricia Stevens

If motorists practiced good defensive driving techniques and a concern for the needs of other motorists, traffic would move faster and accidents would decrease.

Most people want to be good, courteous drivers. They just don't know when to exercise any other defensive driving technique than those the basic good, common sense driving habits.

For this reason, I have taken the liberty to list three examples of opportunities to use your best defensive driving habits.

When Taking in Scenery

Occasionally, we all go for sightseeing drives. Sometimes it's a local drive in the country or a part of the city you don't usually travel to. Other times, we're on vacation and decide to take in a new area where we've never been. Also, we might be searching for an address or a particular landmark, causing us to drive slower than usual, interfering with our usual good defensive driving habits.

One should always remember that, while this area is new to us, others travel the same roads every day. To practice good defensive driving in this situation, it is important that one keeps an eye on the rearview mirror. If there is traffic behind you, pull over and allow them to pass so that they may get home. Your momentary inconvenience as you practice defensive driving is worth the courtesy you will show the ones you are sharing the road with.

When Suffering a Breakdown

One might assume that defensive driving goes out the window when you lose the ability to drive at all due to car trouble, but this is not the case.

It is important to get your broken down car off the road. If it can't be driven, push it. Then stay in your car until help arrives. Don't risk your lives or the lives of others by blocking traffic.
Speed

Stay under the speed limit, but move with the speed of traffic. If the speed limit in an area is 65 and one lane is moving at 50 while another moves at 68, decide whether you want to drive slower than the speed limit and be safe from tickets, or go slightly over. Don't expect everyone else to march to your beat. Not all other motorists practice defensive driving, so interfering with the flow of traffic can be more dangerous than altering your individual speed.

Passing

Using "cruise control" to pass is not a good display of defensive driving. When you don't move quickly around the car that you are passing, you are only blocking traffic in both lanes for other motorists. When passing a truck using cruise control, the driver of the truck loses the ability to move from the right lane to avoid road hazards that they are not equipped to break quickly for.

When using good defensive driving, it is important to pass quickly and deliberately. If you aren't sure about your pass, don't switch lanes. If the car ahead of you isn't really going so slow that you need to pass, then a basic rule of defensive driving is not to risk it.

Don't worry that the other driver will be angry or offended at your decision to pass them. Most won't even pay attention and some might appreciate that you are practicing good defensive driving by passing safely.

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