Defensive driving

From Academic Kids

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The two-second rule tells a defensive driver the minimum distance to avoid collision in ideal driving conditions. The red car's driver picks a tree to judge a two-second safety buffer.

Advanced Driving or also known as Defensive driving is a more advanced form of training that motor vehicle drivers can take, over and above the mastery of the rules of the road, and the basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of driving by proactively avoiding dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions and/or the incorrect actions of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general purpose rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques.


Before you drive

  • Check tire pressure.
  • Check oil and water levels before taking long trips.
  • Check mirrors, seat and steering wheel are suitably positioned.
  • Ensure seatbelts and safety restraints are securely fastened for all occupants.
  • Indicate and check for traffic before moving away from the road shoulder.

See and be seen

  • Purchase light colored (white, yellow, or silver) vehicles. They are also cooler in summer!
  • Use headlights at all times, even during the day.
  • Keep windows clean, especially when driving at night.
  • Adjust rear-view mirrors correctly.
  • Keep your distance when driving behind large vehicles, to keep your line of sight clear.
  • Keep windows clear and transparent. Avoid tinting, stick-on toys, light shades, dangling fuzzy cubes, and the like.
  • Do not drive in the blind spot of other vehicles.
  • Use your indicators in heavy fog.
  • Switch on hazard warning lights in situations necessary to alert other drivers to slow down and take extra care, e.g. at the scene of an accident.

Maintain an exit route

  • Keep the space on either side of your car free.
  • Drive in the outer lane on freeways. In case of a problem, you won't have to cross a lane of traffic to get to the breakdown lane.
  • Keep wheels straight when waiting to turn across oncoming traffic. If your car is rear-ended, it won't be pushed into the opposite lane.

Avoid danger

  • Do not drive next to large vehicles longer than necessary. The driver may not see you, and a turning truck can suddenly cut off all exit routes.
  • Maintain a three second following distance behind other vehicles. Increase that to five seconds in fog, rain, or other adverse conditions. It takes most people at least half a second to react to an emergency condition. Following a car closer than one second effectively guarantees an accident if the leading car brakes unexpectedly.
  • Conversely, change lanes or pull over if tailgated. If that is not possible, slow down, and / or maintain extra distance to the car in front, to allow for both yourself and the tailgater to stop safely.
  • Avoid visibly damaged or defective cars. A history of accidents indicates that the owner has poor driving skills.
  • Cars that weave, do not stay in lane, or brake too late at intersections may be driven by intoxicated or distracted drivers and should be avoided.

See also


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