Defensive driving advice

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Defensive driving

Defensive driving is a technique that we should all try to adopt. It essentially involves increasing your awareness of the behaviour of other drivers in such a way that you are able to anticipate their actions and be prepared to take evasive action if necessary to avoid dangerous situations.

How to drive 'defensively'

Good observation and careful positioning of your vehicle on the road is key to becoming a good driver. A defensive driver will always be watching the behaviour of those around them, and be constantly trying to anticipate what those around them are going to do next. Watch out for drivers who behave erratically or impatiently and keep well clear of them - these are exactly the type of people that cause accidents on our roads.

Look out for people who are talking or texting on their mobile phones, in some instances this may be illegal but many people continue to do it. They will not have their full attention on the road and are more likely to make sudden manoeuvres as a result.

Never drive too close to the vehicle in front. The more distance you have between you and them, the more time you will have to stop safely in an emergency or steer out of harms way.

Use your mirrors often, and always check your blind spot before overtaking, changing lanes or turning across an opposing traffic lane into a side road.

Indicate early. There is nothing more annoying or dangerous than someone who indicates at the last minute, remember that that the whole point of signaling is to warn people of what you are about to do and not what you are doing.

A defensive driver will rarely have to make any sudden manoeuvres because they would have planned their actions well in advance.

Defensive driving checklist

  • Take your time. Rash or hasty road manoeuvres are rarely good ones. All road manoeuvres should be considered in advance and taken smoothly

  • Keep your distance from the car in front. Keep at least 6 or more car lengths or 2 seconds between the vehicle in front of you

  • Be aware of how the drivers around you are behaving and keep an eye on those that are driving badly

  • Keep calm. Don't be intimidated by others on the road or lose your temper with other drivers

  • Be considerate to other drivers. Always indicate early and use your mirrors often, the driver(s) around you will appreciate it

  • Don't consume ANY alcohol before driving. Even small 'legal' amounts can impair your judgment

  • Don't drive tired. If you feel tired when driving, stop somewhere and have a break or a nap

  • Follow speed limits and take notice of warning signs and signals together with road markings

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