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Defensive Driving

Defensive Driving

We are all aware of the cost of car insurance and the rise in criminal claims. To counter this it could well be time for you to consider your driving technique and avoid complacency. A serious student of driving will want to take the advanced drivers training and test but this costs money. In the meantime here are a couple of hints and tips to help you stay safe on the roads. No charge.

Defensive driving, rather obviously, aims at reducing risk on the road by taking responsibility for your actions. Rule number one – assume the worst. If someone is tail-gating you or pressing you to speed up – slow down and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so. If in doubt, pull over. It only adds a few seconds to your journey. The same applies to cars in front of you. You may be about to full victim to a ‘slam-on’ scam, particularly on a quiet road. This is when criminals make you hit them from the rear by suddenly slowing down. They then claim against you. Assume responsibility and don’t tailgate but rather widen the gap regardless of whether you suspect criminal intent or not.

Remember the ‘two-second rule’. The rule is that a driver should ideally stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of the driver’s vehicle. The two-second rule is useful as it can be applied to any speed. It is equivalent to one vehicle-length for every 8 km/h (5 mph) of the current speed, but drivers can find it difficult to estimate the correct distance from the car in front, let alone remember the stopping distances that are required for a given speed. The two-second rule gets around these problems, and provides a simple and common-sense way of improving road safety.

To estimate the time, a driver can wait until the rear end of the vehicle in front passes any fixed point on the roadway – for example, a road sign. However, don’t take your eyes off the vehicle for more than a second or that would defeat the purpose. As you count to yourself the elapsed time in seconds, the front of your car should pass the same point no less than two seconds later. If the elapsed time is less than this, increase the distance between you and so on.

Defensive drivers learn to scan the road ahead and not be fixated on the car in front. The idea is that you look ahead wherever possible for potential hazards or happenings. A car five vehicles up may show brake lights which means the cars in front of you are likely to brake as well. Leaving plenty of space fore and aft allows you to brake in good time and gives an emergency exit route should the need arise.

These are just a couple of suggestions. Good drivers can no doubt add plenty of their own. The main thing is to maintain your presence on the road through careful but assertive driving. It may not make any difference to your premiums but you and yours will be safer.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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bG9nZ2VyX0xvZ28uanBnIjtpOjI7czo3MzoiaHR0cDovL21vdG9yYmxvZ2dlci5jby51ay93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtTW90b3JfQmxvZ2dlcl9Mb2dvLnBuZyI7fTwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3ZpZGVvX2NhdGVnb3J5PC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gQXV0byBOZXdzPC9saT48L3VsPg==