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Watch Out for the Other Driver: Defensive Driving Tips

Watch Out for the Other Driver: Defensive Driving Tips

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines defensive driving as “driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” In other words, defensive driving is about taking the right kind of attitude and action before and during a driving experience.

In preparing for a car journey no matter how simple, the drivers of Hampton should always follow these key rules. At Hampton Chevrolet Collision Center in Hampton, VA, we want you to be safe by being aware of the other drivers on the road. So, here are six basic tips on how to make everything a little safer while driving around Hampton.

Pay Attention

  • Pay attention. Not texting or talking on the phone while driving almost seems too obvious to mention and yet people continually break this rule. A good way to keep away from this distraction is to turn off the phone and store it in the glove box when driving. If you are having a particularly hard time focusing, you can even turn off the radio and pay closer attention to your surroundings while driving. The next time your cell phone rings, stop and think—is this a necessary call? Do I really need to answer it right now or will it wait? And almost 100% of the time the answer will be an emphatic no. After huge car crashes involving multiple injuries and even fatalities, authorities will go through all of the drivers’ cell phones and almost every time, the calls and texts are about silly things that could have waited. Don’t die or risk other peoples’ lives because you wanted to send a silly picture to a friend
  • Be alert. We hear a lot about the dangers of driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or prescription medications, but another leading contributor to driving impairment is lack of sleep. And be careful of driving when feeling like you’re coming down with a cold or the flu. Focus and reaction time are greatly reduced when health is compromised.

Don't speed

  • Don’t speed! Someone took the time to post speed limits for a reason: our collective safety. We are pampered by the speed in which we can attain things in our lives, but in the car the best way to stay safe is to slow down and be mindful of the speed limits. Speeding contributes to about one third of all car accidents in America today. Give yourself enough time to get where you are going and allow for some delays. Keep your life and those of others safe by slowing down. When people speed, it affects traffic in a big way, because all of the traffic lights are timed based on the assumption that everyone is driving at approximately the same speed limit. When people speed up to make it through a light and you’re unable to make a left, it impacts the flow of traffic in ways that can often lead to unsafe conditions.
  • Watch out for the other guy. This is good life advice, and not just for driving. If everyone is hurried and distracted, then you have to be the one anticipating the other drivers or pedestrian errors. With congestion piling up on our roads, the challenges to drive defensively are constant. A defensive driver has the better attitude, because he or she is reacting not with anger but with safety in mind for everyone. People will make mistakes, so start out with the assumption that you’re a better driver than anyone else out there. When you encounter bad driving, stay calm and let it go.

Car service

  • Maintain your vehicle. Don’t be cheap when it comes to making sure your tires, brakes and car lights are in good working order. Keep your car in safe driving condition, because the last thing you need is for one of those crucial parts to give out while on the road.
  • Take a defensive driving course. Your local state DMV will list various approved courses where you can learn even more important tips for being a safe and defensive driver.

One of the most common mistakes about driving is assuming that the other driver has the same knowledge and driving skills as you do. Race schools teach “situational awareness” which, along with “car control”, means you will always be prepared to react when something unexpected happens. Envision ahead of time how you will deal with the next person who honks out of turn, tailgates or cuts you off. A defensive driver has the power to react calmly and instantly in challenging moments like this, anticipating that the ultimate goal is safety for everyone and not revenge.

By assuming the worst, you can anticipate other drivers’ mistakes and hopefully avoid them as a result. Be defensive and safe by following these common sense suggestions, courtesy of the caring people at Hampton Chevrolet Collision Center in Hampton!

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