back to articles | March 24, 2021 | Robert

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

7 Defensive Driving Techniques For Newbies

Getting behind the wheel of your car can be quite exciting for a new driver. But as adventurous as it may seem, an inexperienced driver needs to be aware that driving is one of the most dangerous things you might do on any given day.


Getting behind the wheel of your car can be quite exciting for a new driver. But as adventurous as it may seem, an inexperienced driver needs to be aware that driving is one of the most dangerous things you might do on any given day. In fact, according to the WHO, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 to 29 years. Obviously, you need to lower the chances of you becoming a statistic. And since you can't really control what other people do on the road, it's important that you learn how to drive defensively. Below is a list of defensive driving skills a new driver has to learn to enable him to avoid the dangers caused by other motorists.

Defensive Driving Techniques:

Stay focused.

Driving is a task that requires your full attention. There are a lot of things that you need to stay aware of when you're sitting behind the wheel. These include the other cars on the road, traffic signals and signs, the car's speed and position, directions toward your destination, etc. This means that you should keep distractions to a minimum, at the very least.

Talking on the phone or to fellow passengers, eating, drinking, and even changing radio stations can make a driver distracted enough that he or she fails to notice potential problems on the road. When that happens, the driver might not be able to properly react to them which can result in an accident.

Take note that even experienced drivers can become guilty of distracted driving. Their overconfidence in their abilities can cause them to become sloppy, less focused on the road. All drivers need to make sure that they stay focused whenever they're behind the wheel.

Check your mirrors.

Checking your mirrors is a part and parcel of staying focused. However, most drivers tend to only focus on what’s happening in front of them. This might cause them to miss cars coming into their lane from the side which, in turn, can result in an accident. So, continuously scan your surroundings by checking all the mirrors.

Keep your speed down.

Speed limits are not suggestions. Keep your foot off the gas and stick to the speed required by law. When you speed, you aren't only endangering yourself but other motorists aa well. According to the NHTSA, it is estimated that speeding is involved in around 1/3 of all fatalities in car crashes. Speeding can make it hard for you to control your vehicle and increases the degree of crash severity.

Follow the 3 to 4 second rule.

Did you know that tailgating is believed to cause 1/3 of all traffic accidents? Not only can this driving behavior lead to rear-end collision, it will result in you becoming financially responsible for the damages. To avoid tailgating, you need to maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. There should be enough time and space for you to break to a stop if needed.

Take note that the 4-second rule is only applicable if you are driving in good weather. If you're driving in bad weather, add one second for each condition such as rain, nighttime, fog, etc. During winter, the distance between your car from the one in front of you should be twice compared to when you're driving during the summer. But not too far that you tempt another driver to overtake you and take up that space.

When in doubt, yield.

There will be times when you aren't sure who has the right of way. That's normal and happens to every driver at least once. When this happens, it's better to err on the side of caution and let the other driver go first. If another driver is being aggressive, not agreeing that you have the right of way, you should give in. It's better to be a few minutes late than to get into an accident.

Use your blinkers.

One of the biggest challenges of driving is anticipating what other motorists are going to do. Ensure that there is no confusion as to what you are doing by using your turn signals when you change lanes or direction. Why is this important? According to a study conducted by Richard Ponziani for the Society of Automotive Engineers, neglected or improper use of turn signals cause 2 million car accidents a year. In addition, failure to signal can invalidate your insurance. You will need to be the one to pay the auto body shop for repairs on any damage.

Let it go.

Road rage is real. If someone cut in front of you, it's in your best interest to just let it lie. You never know who's behind the wheel in the other vehicle. Getting even could get you killed. It also could endanger other motorists. According to the NHTSA, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Don't become a statistic. Keep your cool. If you think someone is guilty of aggressive driving, stay away, and alert the police as soon as you can.

These defensive driving techniques can help you stay safe while driving. You should regularly practice them to make them into a habit. And if you wish to learn more techniques, take the time to attend a defensive driving course. Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles should have a list of approved providers. While the course might cost you money, it's an investment that will be worth it. Because it might just be what will save you the next time you're on the road.