The goal of defensive driving isn’t just to control the vehicle that you are driving. It is to help drivers anticipate dangerous conditions and avoid collisions. While many people are good drivers, very few have defensive driving skills.

Someone is injured on a U.S. roadway almost every 18 seconds and someone dies as a result of a vehicle accident every 11 minutes. These alarming statistics could be reduced if more drivers learned how to anticipate and avoid accidents.

Focus on the Whole Road

Many drivers have a tendency to focus only on the vehicle in front of them. This might cause them to miss dangerous threats on their sides or even behind them. The best defensive drivers remain alert to the movement of other vehicles and pedestrians all around their vehicle.

Don’t Travel in Blind Spots

Every vehicle has a blind spot. Unfortunately, absent-minded drivers might rely on their mirrors instead of turning their head and checking for a vehicle before turning or changing lanes. The defensive driver recognizes that they may not be seen when their vehicle is in another vehicle’s blind spot. Defensive drivers minimize the time spent in blind spots while passing other vehicles.

Minimize Lane Changes

A good defensive driver picks a driving lane and stays there. Nearly 10% of all accidents are due to unsafe lane changes. By staying in a lane instead of frequently changing, drivers are more likely to avoid these types of accidents.

Know When to Swerve

Sometimes, braking isn’t enough to avoid a dangerous hazard in the roadway and the driver must swerve to avoid the accident. This should never be the first line of defense and it should never be an instinctual reaction. Instead, the driver should quickly assess the safest place to move into and ensure it is empty before moving.

Eliminate Distractions

Distracted driving is a major contributor to many crashes. In the state of Florida, there were 85 fatal car crashes directly related to texting from 2010 through 2011. As a result, the state of Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving that started on October 1, 2013.

Drivers should put their cell phones away, and if they must take a call, pull over to do so. The best defensive drivers only do one thing behind the wheel of a car. They drive.

Take a Defensive Driving Course

There are many defensive driving courses available that will help drivers brush up on their skills. Some of these courses are even available online and offer discounts on insurance. These courses aren’t just a good way to get out of a ticket. They are a good way to avoid becoming a statistic.

The best route to become a better defensive driver is driving with focus. Drivers who minimize their distractions and make a point of improving their driving skills are usually the drivers who manage to avoid dangerous accidents.

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