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Defensive Driving: 20 Tips To Stay Safe While Driving

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Getting behind the wheel of your car may seem like a commonplace event. However, it is likely to be the most dangerous thing you will do all day long. Defensive Driving

In Nigeria, car accidents are the third-leading cause of overall deaths.

Although you can not control the actions of other motorists, you have a great deal of control over how you operate your vehicle. That means you can increase your chances for a safe trip by following a few simple precautions.





Here are twenty helpful tips to keep you driving safe. Defensive Driving

Be Focus When Driving

Don not let phones, radio, air conditioning, kids in the backseat, or a heated discussion with your spouse distract you from your job as the driver. Always pay attention to the road and your vehicle. These days, drivers are most prone to distractions by their phones while driving.

 

Slow down

Over speeding is a major cause of car accidents globally. The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop, and the bigger the impact when you crash. Nevertheless, do travel along with the flow of traffic, as long as it does not exceed recommended limits.

 

Expect other drivers to make mistakes

Don not trust anyone but yourself. Defensive Driving





Take advantage of safety devices

Find a car with a high safety rating and large number of air bags. Invest in the right child restraints and seat belt adjusters for your family, and don’t forget to use them. According to studies, “Placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.” Defensive Driving

 

Always, always, always buckle up

Many car accident fatalities could be prevented each year, by simply wearing a seat belt. According to the safety institutions, seat belts reduce your risk of injury in a crash by 50 percent. Those least likely to buckle up are teens, rural drivers, intoxicated drivers, and commercial truck drivers.

When in doubt, yield

If you are not certain who has the right of way, err on the side of caution. If you know you have the right of way, but another motorist seems to disagree, give in. Better to lose a bit of time than to get caught in a collision.

 

Stop on red

The leading cause of intersection collisions is running the red light. Sometimes it is a lack of attention to the road. Sometimes it’s glare from the setting sun. Sometimes it is just plain hurry. The best practice is to slow down before each intersection, and evaluate the situation. Never race the yellow light.

 

Use your blinkers

Confusion is the enemy of safe driving. Make your lane changes and turns predictable and smooth, and always signal in advance.

 

Road rage

Let it go. Road rage is not just an urban myth. Since you don’t know who might be behind the wheel of that vehicle that just cut you off, it’s safest to back away and overlook the offense. Road rage has led to murder over trivial offenses. Getting even could get you killed, not to mention the innocent drivers in your vicinity.

 

Keep a buffer between yourself and other motorists

Tailgating leads to rear-end collisions, and you will be the one to foot the bill for the repairs.  Allow at least two seconds of lead time in good weather, more in bad weather. Defensive Driving

Monitor your blind spots, and stay out of others’ blind spots

This is especially true of large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers. The rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the driver in the truck mirror, he can’t see you either. Accidents involving semi- trucks often prove fatal for the driver of a car.

Don’t drive drunk, buzzed, high, or low

Even an over-the-counter cough medication can alter your response times, so assess yourself honestly before deciding to drive.  If you are under the influence of any mind-altering substance, stay away from the wheel.

 

Adjust for rain

When the roads are slippery and wet, especially in a heavy downpour or the first thirty minutes of a rainfall, your braking times increase. Turn off cruise control. Add extra space between your vehicle and other vehicles. Slow down as much as is feasible. Learn to detect and react properly to hydroplaning. Defensive Driving

Prepare for snowy weather

In countries where it snows, slow down, and use snow chains if you see snow accumulating on the highway, but do not use chains on ice. If you live in an area where snow and ice are common, invest in winter snow tires. Always turn off your cruise control if you suspect ice may be present.

Inflate your tyres appropriately, and change them when they are worn

Properly inflated tyres make for safer handling, and blowouts can cause an instant loss of control. Defensive Driving

Use headlights wisely

Anytime visibility is impaired on winding roads, during fog, rain, snow, or low light, make sure you can be seen by turning on your headlights. Only use your high beams in low-traffic areas, and turn them down for oncoming drivers.

Maintain your vehicle

Regular oil changes and fluid checks can save you from surprise breakdowns on the road. If your car becomes disabled on a busy highway or interstate, the National Safety Council recommends that you try to pull over in the breakdown lane, if possible. Remember to use your turn signals, and watch for fast-moving cars. If you have parked a comfortable distance from traffic, lock the doors and wait for help.  Defensive Driving

If you are close to traffic, exit the vehicle, and find a safe place to stand, away from the side and rear of the car. If you cannot reach the breakdown lane, and your car is stopped in traffic, leave the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so, and wait for help in a secure location on the side of the road.

Respond safely to tailgaters

If someone is following too closely, add twice as much space between your car and the car in front of yours. This increases your ability to see and prepare for a collision. Then carefully and gradually decrease your speed to slightly below the speed of surrounding traffic, and try to move into a right hand lane, to let the tailgater pass. Do not hit the brakes suddenly, unless you are forced to do so to avoid a collision.

Keep a steady pace

Sudden increases and decreases in speed, unexpected lane changes, and unpredictable stops make it hard for other drivers to anticipate your actions. Be predictable and avoid surprising anyone around you.

 

Look far ahead of your vehicle

Keep your eyes far down the road, and anticipate problems before you come to them. Look for erratic drivers, slow traffic, intersections, and highway debris. Defensive Driving

Many defensive driving classes are available online and in your area. This can make a great gift for a young family member, or you can use it as a preventive exercise for yourself.





Autojosh.com is an authoritative car blog in Nigeria. Its objective is to get Nigerians and a wider audience to be more informed about automobiles, the automotive sector and transport infrastructure. Over the years, we have been instrumental in creating immeasurable public awareness about automobiles and their maintenance, safety and traffic laws, amongst others. ...Your mobility, our priority. NK

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