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4 great defensive driving tips

In driver's education, they teach you how to drive properly. In the real world, avoiding accidents is about far more than just not making mistakes yourself. You also have to assume that other drivers are going to make mistakes, and you need to be ready to react. The proper mindset can save your life.

Here are four defensive driving tips that may help you avoid an accident:

1. Anticipate the risk.

When another driver is driving recklessly or swerving from lane to lane, keep your distance. Anticipate that driver making a drastic mistake and causing an accident, and remove yourself from danger before it happens.

2. Keep your focus on the road.

Yes, driving can get boring, especially when it is the same old commute. But you have to be focused at all times so that you can react to changes in a split second. Don't daydream or just go through the motions.

3. Stay away from distractions.

You don't need your phone while you're driving. Avoid any and all distractions. Even if you think you can multitask, that distraction means you react more slowly when someone else makes a mistake.

4. Stay four seconds behind the next car.

That feels, to many people, like too big of a gap. But driving just a second behind the next car means you have no reaction time. Stay farther back than you think is needed, aiming for four seconds. Back off if people cut into the gap.

Defensive driving helps, but you can still get hit by a negligent driver. If you're hurt or a loved one is killed, make sure you know all of your legal options.

Source: Recaro, "Defensive Driving- Tips on How to Avoid Accidents," accessed April 20, 2018

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