Defensive Driving Explained

What is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving can be defined as understanding the possibility of an accident and  taking steps to avoid that risk.   “Anticipation” is another word to describe s defensive driving.

Defensive drivers are attentive drivers;  they are always alert and ready for whatever happens.

The goal of defensive driving is to reduce the risk of the off an accident by anticipating dangerous situations.

Even experienced drivers are still at risk due to factors beyond their control.

For example, factors like dangerous actions of other road users, bad weather and unsafe road conditions contribute to many traffic accidents.

Defensive driving teaches you to anticipate and respond to driving hazards.

Any collision only occurs when your vehicle “touches”  another vehicle, person, animal or fixed object. So long as there is space, there is no collision.

Managing the Space around your Vehicle

Managing space  around your vehicle is critical to defensive driving.  You should keep asafety space “cushion” in front, to the sides and the rear of your vehicle. Any object thatenters the safe space around your vehicle becomes a potential hazard.

When things go wrong, space gives you time to think and to take action.

Space in front of your vehicle

Keep the space in front of your vehicle clear by keeping a safe following distance. A safe following distance will give you enough time to react and your vehicle enough time to stop.

safety bubble

Following Distances

When you are following another vehicle, leave a 2 second following distance.
To work out your following distance:               

In bad conditions (for example at night, or when it is raining or misty), leave a
4 second following distance.  Heavy vehicles should leave a 3 second gap in normal conditions, more for bad conditions.

When you brake the vehicle doesn’t stop immediately. If the car in front of you brakes suddenly, there is a slight delay as your brain sees this, decides to brake,and your foot actually hits the brake and the car comes to a stop. The faster you are going, and the heavier your vehicle, the longer it takes to stop.