When you are first learning how to drive, one of the things that you are going to hear over and over again is that you need to drive defensively.
This doesn’t mean that you should always be tensed up and just waiting for an accident to happen. What it does mean is that you have to keep an eye on what the other drivers around you are doing, and try to anticipate what they are going to do. If you are able to do this, you will be able to avoid a lot of fender benders, which, of course, are not something you want to happen.
How To Drive Defensively
Statistics about Young/New Drivers
There are many new drivers who end up getting into accidents, mainly due to their inexperience behind the wheel. This is one of the reasons for the graduated licensing system, so new drivers always have licensed drivers with them until they are ready to be out on the road alone. Here are some statistics about young drivers.
Remember, if you learn to drive defensively and pay attention to everything that is going on around you while you are driving, you will not become one of these statistics.
- More than 25% of all motor vehicle accidents involve teen drivers, even though teen drivers only account for less than 7% of all drivers on US roads.
- The leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 20 is motor vehicle crashes.
- Teenagers are involved in more than 5,000 accidents per every 100,000, compared with 500 accidents per every 100,000 for more experienced adult drivers.
Defensive Driving Tips
There are a few things you should know about defensive driving, and here you will find some really great defensive driving tips for new drivers. (They are actually great for everyone who drives, no matter how long they have been driving.) These tips will help you to know what to do in many situations, so that you can arrive at your destination safe and sound.
- TIP 1: Never use a cell phone while driving
If you are chatting on a cell phone or sending and receiving text messages, you will not be giving your driving your full attention, and you will not be aware of what is going on with other drivers around you. Using a cell phone is extremely distracting, and you should only use it when the car is parked.
The research results below speak for themselves.
If you need to make an emergency call, make sure that you pull over to a parking lot, or at least the side of the road, before you use your cell phone.
- TIP 2: Pay attention to all traffic signs
This is something that many drivers get out of the habit of doing, and they end up speeding or going the wrong way on one-way streets. If you are paying attention to all road signs, you will know what the posted speed limit is, and you can stay within it, which is a big part of defensive driving. Whatever you do, don’t follow what the driver ahead of you is doing. After all, he or she may not be following the rules of the road, and you will not be either, which can lead to an accident pretty quickly. Make sure that you obey all traffic lights as well. One wrong turn at a signal light could end up in a really bad accident.
- TIP 3: Never drive too closely behind another vehicle
You need to make sure that there is going to be plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you, just in case you need to come to a fast stop.
Watch the video to learn how to handle following distances correctly:
If there is not enough room, chances are that you are going to end up rear-ending that vehicle, and even if the accident is the other driver’s fault, your insurance company may still raise your rates, and consider the accident to be your fault.
Try to make sure that there are at least two car lengths between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. This way, you will have room if you need to stop quickly. If you are driving on snow-covered or icy roads, you should make sure there is even more room between yours and the vehicle ahead, because it will take longer to stop.
- TIP 4: Learn to drive in all weather conditions
The weather can cause a lot of motor vehicle accidents, so it is best that you do not drive in bad weather, or even after dark, until you are confident in your driving skills.
Meanwhile, check some tips to drive safely in bad weather conditions:
Have someone with you when you drive at night until you are more skilled, and practice winter driving where there is no chance of having an accident, such as in an empty parking lot. It is better to be safe now than sorry later on.
- TIP 5: Give others the right of way
There are going to be times when you are going to come to a four way stop or other situations where it may be difficult to figure out who has the right of way. When you are in this type of situation, it is best to just let other drivers have the right of way. If you pull out, and someone is pulling out at the same time, you could end up crashing into each other. It may take a few extra seconds to wait, but you will still get where you are going, and you will get there safely.
Getting your driver’s license is a really great thing, and it is just one more step on your way to adulthood. Remember, once you are a licensed driver, you have a whole new set of responsibilities. You are not only responsible for yourself, but for anyone who happens to be in the vehicle with you when you are driving, and you are responsible for those who are driving around you.
When you drive defensively, you can be sure that you will always be in complete control when you are behind the wheel, and that you will be able to anticipate what other drivers are going to do, so you can be prepared and avoid accidents.