You want to be as safe a driver as possible, and that means that you should always strive to be a defensive driver.
Being a defensive driver means to drive with commitment, presence and a clear head. You must take responsibility for yourself by driving to prevent accidents in spite of the actions of others or the presence of adverse driving conditions. In other words, defensive driving means that you are ready for any and all surprises on the road.
To avoid accidents by practicing defensive driving, follow a three-step process of seeing hazards, understanding potential defenses and acting in time.
See the Hazard
Think about what may happen as far ahead of you as possible, and never assume that hazards will resolve themselves before you reach them. Learn to spot potential problems, and if you see these, do what is necessary to avoid them as best you can.
Understand the Defense
Review a potentially hazardous situation in your mind after you see it so that you can act quickly and in plenty of time. This will allow you to formulate a defense that will prevent an accident. You should be able to calculate what you need to do to protect yourself.
Act in Time
Once you see a hazard and decide upon a defense, you must act immediately. The sooner you act, the more time you will have to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. It doesn’t matter if the driver in front of you has not reacted yet, you still need to respond.
Defensive driving requires the knowledge and strict observance of all traffic rules and regulations applicable to the area you are driving in. It also means that you should be alert for illegal actions and driving errors made by others, and know when to make timely adjustments to your own driving to avoid an accident.
By keeping safe driving techniques in mind, you will learn how to modify and tailor your own driving behavior to the unexpected actions of other drivers, pedestrians and animals on the road. By doing so, you’ll be ready for unpredictable factors such as light, weather, road conditions, traffic patterns and mechanical troubles. This can help you avoid problems that might lead to expensive costly auto insurance claims, and you’ll therefore remain a low-risk driver in the eyes of your insurer.