One important piece of safety on the road is defensive driving. Drivers cannot control what other people on the road are going to do, so it’s important that they put themselves in a solid position to avoid the consequences of any risky actions others may take. Defensive driving involves being aware of potential issues and taking actions to avoid them before they occur, not merely reacting to hazards as they come along. The goal of learning to drive defensively is to become a driver who is less reactionary and more proactive. Reducing risk through the avoidance of dangerous situations helps maintain driving safety on the road. Teen drivers are likely to get in an accident during their first 12 months of licensure. Most of these accidents will not involve serious injury. Sadly, however, 7,000 individuals between the ages of 16 and 20 do die on the roads every year. Reducing injury rates is one of the most important reasons for a teen driver to be trained in avoiding driving risks.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING NOTES (MANAGING VISIBILITY, TIME AND SPACE)
- Stay focused, keeping your hands on the wheel. Defensive drivers concentrate on the road, keeping their hands at the 10 o’clock-2 o’clock position. They do not do other tasks while driving, some of which are illegal.
- Keep your eyes moving. Continuously look in your mirrors and scan the road ahead, checking for hazards and slowing traffic so you can anticipate problems before they develop.
- Use the 2-second rule on heavily traveled roads to maintain adequate spacing with the car in front of you.
- Make yourself visible. Many accidents occur because drivers did not see the other car. There are a few simple ways to make your presence known, making the road safer for everyone.
- Searching the roadway and off-road and areas 20 to 30 seconds ahead for information that can help plan a path of travel.
- Identifying objects or conditions 12 to 15 seconds ahead that could interfere with the path of travel.
- Executing decisions by method of CITO and focus.