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Defensive Driving Tips

Defense driving is a critical skill to have if you wish to be the safest driver you can be. A large percentage of accidents involve either aggressive drivers or an average driver with poor defensive driving skills. A little knowledge can go a long way towards avoiding a catastrophe on the road. One of the most important defensive driving tips you should know about is the Smith System. The Smith System has several good points that every driver should know. First and foremost, is to leave yourself an out. Always be alert to your surroundings and try to position yourself so you can move to a safer position in case something happens.

This does not mean one should be paranoid, just to keep constantly aware of your surroundings and plan accordingly. Also, make sure you can always be seen. If it is rainy outside or visibility is affected in any way, make sure you turn your headlights on. Always use your blinker, even when you are simply changing lanes on the interstate or the freeway. Many drivers do not do this when they are on the interstate and this leads to thousands of accidents a year by itself. If your vehicle seems to be having some kind of problem, turn on your caution lights immediately!

Many drivers have been on the road and had their breaks go out on them, it's unfortunate but it happens. Usually panic ensues and it does not even cross the drivers mind to turn on the caution lights. Caution lights will alert other drivers that there is a problem and will usually be more cautious around you, this tip alone could very well save your life. Another great element of the Smith System is how to use your horn. Everyone knows how to "use" a horn, you just press it and it beeps. However, a driver using the Smith System who wants to alert someone will politely tap the horn once or twice. Blaring the horn when someone cuts you off, or using the horn anytime after the fact is never a good idea.

Road rage has become a serious problem in recent years, and accounts for a significant portion of accidents. Angering another driver by blowing the horn may provoke them to use aggressive driving techniques. You may not think this is such a big deal, but just do a quick internet search on road rage and read some of the horror stories out there. Politely tapping your horn, both at pedestrians and other drivers, is a great way to alert someone without projecting any negativity at them. These are some excellent defensive driving tips that may help you obtain cheap car insurance, but if you do not use them they will do no good.

Another defensive driving technique that many people are not aware of is how to handle a yellow light. If you are approaching a yellow light, take a peek in your rear view mirror to see how far the car behind you is. There have been some serious fender benders by drivers approaching a yellow light realizing they are not going to make it and slamming on their brakes. If the car behind you happens to be tailgating you, it is a much better idea to go ahead and stop at the light just to be safe. It sure is tempting to try to beat the light, but sometimes it is better just to wait a few minutes.

Always picture the worst case scenario; you will be able to identify possible hazards quicker. For example, if you see a car about to pull out in front of you, do not assume that the driver will wait for you to pass. Everyone has had someone pull out in front of them at the last minute, so it is important that you keep this in mind and slow down enough to give you time to react if it happens. So is speeding always a bad idea? No, actually in some cases NOT speeding can be dangerous. Imagine you are on the freeway, in heavy traffic. The speed limit is 70 and all the cars in the pack are going 75-80.

This is one time you do not want to stay at the speed limit. The cars may only be going 5 or 10 miles an hour faster than you, but if you are the slowest car in the pack you are more likely to be involved in an accident. Obey the speed limit at all times except when not exceeding it will put you in danger. These type of situations aren't exactly common, but they do happen. Something else you must always watch is your following distance. Your following distance is about how far behind you are, usually measured in seconds. Tailgaters are an extreme danger to both themselves and the other people sharing the road.

A tailgater may have a following distance of 1 second or less in some cases. What happens if the person they are tailgating has to slam on their breaks? This type of situation is always an accident waiting to happen. If you are being tailgated it is a smart idea to just pull over and let the tailgater pass, it may be inconvenient but it is much much safer. Whenever you are behind another vehicle it is recommended to maintain at least a 4 second following distance. This will give you a fair amount of time to react if something happens in front of you. Many drivers completely underestimate how important following distance is.

A horrible habit many drivers tend to develop is not using turn signals all the time. You may look in your rear view mirror and notice there is no one behind you, therefore you see no reason to signal. Sometimes a car will be in your worst possible blind spot and if you forget to signal the result could be devastating. Get in the habit of using your turn signal every time, even if you know for sure you are the only vehicle on the highway. Defensive driving is all bout minimizing your chances of having an accident, the more of these defensive driving tips you use the better off you will be with more affordable car insurance rates.

Always take the weather into account. If you are on a slick road you know you need to be careful, but you need to watch other drivers more intensely than usual. Just because you are not going to loose control of the vehicle does not mean they will. Keep in mind that there are many new drivers on the road who may not have driven in such conditions before. If you follow all of these defensive driving tips next time your on the road, you will be over 100% safer than you were before and it may very well save your life one day.


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