7 Defensive Driving Tips to Improve Your Safety

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Jun 28, 2017 in Car Accident News

Defensive driving is a useful strategy that can help you safely navigate the roadway to avoid dangerous hazards and negligent or reckless drivers.

Henness & Haight’s committed Las Vegas auto accident attorneys have provided the following defensive driving tips that may help you avoid a future traffic accident.

Evaluate the Entire Situation

An important part of driving safely is being aware of your surroundings to analyze the roadway and evaluate the current situation.

You should focus on the full-scope of the roadway to anticipate what might be occurring further down the road. To do this, you should:

  • Look far down the road
  • Keep your eyes moving, not fixed on a single object
  • Examine the actions of the drivers ahead of you
  • Frequently scan the road

Anticipate the Actions of Other Drivers

While you are driving, you should always anticipate the actions of other motorists. You should never assume that other motorists will follow traffic laws or drive in a safe manner.

The motorist traveling next to you may suddenly make an erratic or reckless maneuver and place you at risk of a collision.

Expecting other drivers to make a mistake can give you more time to react and help avoid an accident.

Stay Focused

Another useful defensive driving tip is to stay focused when you are operating a vehicle. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents, and taking your eyes off the road for just a moment significantly increases your risk of crashing.

For this reason, you should keep your attention focused on the roadway at all times while you are in control of a vehicle. Be sure to avoid any type of distraction while driving, such as:

  • Using a cellphone to call or text while driving
  • Changing your radio
  • Programming a GPS system
  • Eating and drinking
  • Interacting with passengers
  • Grooming yourself or applying makeup
  • Reading billboards or passing signs

Stay Alert

Driving requires you to be alert at all times and ready to react to any possible scenario. For this reason, you should always be well rested and have a clear mind while operating a vehicle.

You should never drive after using drugs or while you are impaired by alcohol. Drugs and alcohol significantly impair your judgement and physical abilities. Driving while you are impaired will greatly increase your chances of being involved in an auto accident.

Similarly, drowsy driving also increases the risk for accidents and is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation can significantly impair your physical and mental abilities to the point that your driving patterns are similar to an intoxicated driver.

You should always sleep for a recommended seven or eight hours the night before driving. Missing just two hours doubles your chances of being in a car accident.

Always driver sober and pull over to rest if you feel you are too tired to continue driving safely.

Drive with a Safe Following Distance

You should always allow yourself enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you to safely travel behind it.

If you are able, keep at least two or three seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If the road is in an unsafe condition or you are driving through dangerous weather, you should increase this distance.

An easy method to determine how far behind you are from the vehicle in front of you is to find a fixed object along the road, like a tree or traffic sign. Then, count the seconds it takes for the tail of the front vehicle to pass the object and for your front bumper to reach the same object.

Make Yourself Visible to Other Drivers

Similarly to how you should be aware of all other drivers on the road, you should make an effort to make your presence known as well.

Always make yourself visible and your intended actions known by:

  • Using turn signals whenever changing lanes or turning
  • Using your headlights at dusk and in inclement weather
  • Checking your brake lights to ensure they are in good working order

You should maintain your speed to make your actions predictable and allow other motorists to make safe decisions while driving next to you.

Create an Exit Plan

It is important to always have an exit plan or escape route each time you drive. This is a plan that you can use if the vehicle next to you is driving recklessly or if traffic conditions become dangerous.

Your plan should anticipate all traffic scenarios and the actions of surrounding motorists so that you have an exit strategy that can be easily implemented.

You may need to scan the roadway ahead of you for any upcoming exits or breaks in traffic that will allow you to change lanes or pull over if needed.

Contact Our Las Vegas Car Accident Attorneys

The experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys at Henness & Haight advise you to use these tips and always make safe decisions while driving.

Car accident injuries can be expensive and may entitle victims to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

We will explore these options through our free consultation to determine if your claim is a valid legal case. Our car accident attorneys work on a contingency and will only charge you if we help recover compensation for your claim.

Complete our Free Case Evaluation form if you were injured in a car accident.