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8 critical defensive driving tips

Defensive driving, in many ways, is simply the practice of assuming that other drivers are going to make mistakes. Even if you do nothing wrong, you can still get involved in an accident. By driving defensively, you may be able to avoid accidents and keep yourself safe.

Below are eight tips that can help:

  1. Remain focused on the road at all times: You need to know where other cars are located before those drivers make mistakes.
  2. Do not drive when anything impacts your ability to react quickly: This means never driving drunk, of course, but you also want to avoid things like driving when you're too tired.
  3. Watch the other traffic and do not worry about who was "right:" For instance, if someone starts to turn in front of you and he or she is not going to make it, slow down as soon as you see them start turning, even though he or she cuts you off.
  4. Stay four seconds behind the next car on the road: That gap helps you react.
  5. Never count on others to drive safely: Always assume they will break laws and make easily avoidable mistakes.
  6. Do not speed: You want the most reaction time possible when a hazard presents itself.
  7. Never get distracted: Stay off your phone, do not eat behind the wheel and never turn to talk to others in the car.
  8. Plan out your escape: You always want to know where you have an open lane or a clear shoulder if you need to swerve.

Of course, these tips will not prevent all accidents. You need to know your legal options when someone hits you.

Source: Teens Health, "The Keys to Defensive Driving," Kurt E. Gray, accessed June 08, 2018

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