Who doesn't own a car nowadays? We're always driving all around the city, up and down busy lanes, hurrying and rushing here and there. Just don't forget that when getting behind the wheel of a car these days, you have to do more than watch the road in front of you.
Not only you have to be aware of the surrounding road traffic, you need to constantly scan for people who may be driving inadequately.
To become a better driver and to just be safe on the road you should better use the style of defensive driving, staying alert and vigilant of the road hazards and idiots. That may help prevent yourself from getting into an accident or altercation with other people on the road. Let's get through the basics of this technique!
So, we're not going to talk about super obvious things that you shouldn't be doing (such as chatting on the phone — or, better yet – text messaging, drinking and driving, getting something from the backseat, taking care of a naughty child, rifling through your glove box for a lip-gloss or painting your toenails), no, we're going to talk about the basics of driving that you might have forgotten.
1. Assume that everyone's incompetent
It might add to your advantage if you'll always keep an eye out for other drivers. Never be sure other drivers know what they're doing. Always be prepared for the worst. In blunt terms, presume that all other members of the traffic are idiots. We don't say that to offend anyone, but it'll just make you drive more defensively and you'll become a better driver yourself if you think that way and drive with caution.
Never take it for granted that other drivers can actually be competent in what they're doing – stay on the safe side and double check everything, when possible. Better safe than sorry, as they say. Even when going through a green light, try to watch out for those who may be running the red light.
Keep an eye on potential dangers ahead of you or the ones behind you: like slow-moving cars or traffic backups, fast-approaching vehicles and so on. When driving on the highway, be ready for a driver who can suddenly change lanes. Happens rather often. Better give up the right of way to avoid an accident.
Don't forget that automakers put horns in vehicles for a reason. Many drivers get away with bad habits while driving and that makes them think it's all right. Maybe if you convey them your displeasure with their style of driving, honking your horn, maybe they will be embarrassed by their stupidity and will try to become a better driver. Just be reasonable and don't exceed your rights for judgment.
2. Keep calm
Control your emotions while on the road, keep your head cool, even if you're disturbed by something, or other drivers provoke you drive recklessly. Make safety and good reason your priorities. Don't let rude drivers get to you.
3. Keep your distance
Remember the basic rule from the driver's education lessons: always keep a safe distance between you and all the other members of the traffic. That always gives you a room to operate if a dangerous situation starts forming up. So be ready for danger. If you spotted a problem ahead: a jam or a collision – start braking in advance. Thus you'll have some room to stop safely, that also gives the drivers behind you the opportunity to brake in time, too. Or else they may end up crashing into your vehicle. You don't want that.
The ''safe distance'' spacing obviously changes depending on weather, traffic, visibility, and other factors. The worse the conditions are, the more space you should leave between you and the next vehicle. It's wise to slow down your speed in fog and at night. In case someone cuts in front of you, better readjust your distance.
4. Make some room
The more space between you and the other vehicles on the road, the better. That is right not only for the time when you're driving, but also at the stops. You have to have enough of room to move about, if needed, not to stay trapped between the cars in case of danger. So leave plenty of space in front of a stopped vehicle and continue to keep an eye on the traffic behind you to prevent someone rear-ending you: if you see cars approaching, you can flash your brake lights to make yourself more visible.
When entering a curve, slow down before you start turning. Always brake before you go into a curve to avoid skidding.
5. Use your seat belt
Remember that seat belt are not there for merely decorative purposes. Use them! Wear your seat belt even if you're just going on a short trip. See, the studies have shown that many collisions occur close to home areas due to the fact that when one is more familiar with the area, they start paying less attention to the surroundings. Pity.
6. Use your eyes
We, humans, have the ability of not only looking, but seeing: use your peripheral vision as well, along with the common sense, trying to watch not only where you're going, but also your side and what's behind you. Visually scan the surroundings for the potential danger that can come from any side. Don't be paranoid, no – just adequately cautious.
It's also a good idea to read the signs and lane markings on the way to make sure you are in the correct lane. Don't forget to always check your blind spot before changing lanes. In addition, watch for potential road obstacles such as potholes, stalled autos or construction zones. Beware of large trucks on the road and pass them quickly, trying not to stay in their blind spots.
So, the basic advice is to remember to be cautious and aware of other drivers while on the road. Keep positive, calm and may you have safe journeys anywhere you go!