As an injury attorney for over 35 years, I have learned a lot about the importance of defensive driving.

Sadly, there are many dangerous drivers on the road and while defensive driving cannot protect you from all the bad drivers, it can help you avoid a crash in some situations so it’s smart to try to do everything in your power to try to improve the likelihood of arriving home safely.

Tips to Make You a Better Defensive Driver

Defensive driving is one of the best ways that you can avoid a collision on the roadway. Many people have this false assumption that defensive driving is simply reacting to what other drivers do on the roadway. That’s not fully true. Rather, defensive driving also entails being proactive.

Eliminate Distractions

Eliminating even the slightest of distractions that might take your eyes from the roadway for just a second or two can reduce your ability to avoid a collision. It’s best to eliminate any distractions you can while you’re driving. This includes talking on the phone, playing with your radio, texting, and so forth.

Vent Frustrations Later

One of the biggest causes of crashes is road rage. In many instances, this starts as one driver getting cut off or something similar, and it has a ripple effect on the nearby drivers. While a person’s offensive driving may be frustrating to deal with, you never want to let your road rage shine through. This puts you in a bad state of mind and increases your risk of being involved in a roadway collision.

Apply Your Brakes Early

Another great tip to help you be a more effective defensive driver is to apply your brakes early. You never know when the person in front of you may suddenly hit the brakes. Applying your brakes early on can give you extra space to stop and alert the drivers behind you that you’ll be coming to a stop. The more space you have between the vehicle in front of you and your car, the more room you have to react to other drivers’ faults.

Take in All of Your Surroundings

Just paying attention to the vehicle in front of you isn’t going to cut it. When you’re driving, you should be taking in all of your surroundings. That means consistently looking in your rearview mirror, side mirrors, the upcoming intersection, and so forth. When you are continuously taking in all of your surroundings, you’re more capable of reacting when there is a problem.

Plan Ahead

The pressures of arriving late or not being sure what road to turn on can reduce your ability to drive defensively. Do yourself a favor and take some time to plan ahead. If you’re going to be traveling to an area that you’re unfamiliar with, look over the directions on your phone and have turn-by-turn directions turned on for the duration of your drive. Be sure to check the weather and plan to give yourself some extra time on days that are less than ideal. It’s better to arrive early and comfortably than arrive late or be involved in a crash and not arrive at all.

Defensive driving is all about protecting yourself from the dangers that you face on the roadway. By implementing all the tips that we went over above, you can become a more defensive driver and reduce your risk of being involved in a crash.