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Automobile accidents happen every day. From fender benders to full-on collisions, small distractions and poor judgment cause numerous accidents, many of them deadly. However, with the proper driving skills, and learning to drive defensively, you can go a long way to preventing many accidents from occurring.
Before you get into any vehicle, you need to inspect it. This is a step may people skip, but it is critical to your safety. Be sure to walk around your car, and check the tires, the body, the brake lights, headlights and taillights. Make sure you check both the high beams and low beans, as well as the turn signals. It is not safe to drive a vehicle unless all of these components are working.
Defensive Driving Basics
Defensive driving refers both your ability to stay calm and react quickly and the ability to second guess what other drivers on the road are likely to do. You may be in control of your car, but what is the one to the side of you suddenly moves into your lane? Being able to react quickly requires complete sobriety and complete attention, to your own vehicle and those of others. You must never tailgate another driver. There must be enough room to stop if you need to and if you are driving too close to the vehicle in front of you, you will cause an accident.
Distracted & Impaired Driving
Distract driving is by far the leading cause of accidents today. Texting, eating, drinking a soda, and talking on the phone are all acts that should never happen while you drive, yet people do these things every day. It may not feel like a distraction, but it is. It only takes two seconds to lose where you are and either cause, or be in, an accident. The only way to stay in complete control is to pay complete attention. This means no medications, no alcohol, no drugs and no phones.
Road rage is a real thing and every one has experienced it, or been the cause of it, but road rage can be deadly. Just because a car in front of you is going slower than you like, does not give you permission to ride their tail, or push them to go faster. It is actions like these that get people killed every day. It is also not your responsibility to accommodate a driver trying to push or bully you. As soon as you are ticked off, your driving is impaired. If you get angry or frightened while operating a vehicle, take some deep breaths and calm down. The more angry you are, the more dangerous you will be, to yourself and to others.
Every decision you make while driving is compounded at night. Not only will visibility be decreased, there is an increased likelihood that you will be tired, or weary and not at full attention. When you are driving at night, you need to give EXTRA space to the cars around you and allow extra time for all decisions and turns. Make sure you use your turn signal every time, especially at night. Also make sure your headlights, turn signals and wiper blades are working.
Along with night driving, driving in hazardous weather can be dangerous and deadly. Not only will visibility be impaired, the roads will likely be slippery and devoid of traction. Every one will be driving in these same conditions, and they may or may not know how to properly steer a car that goes out of control. Not only does drive in hazardous weather require extra attention, you must know how to correct for a skid and how to handle the vehicle when it gets out of your control.