Your Comprehensive Guide to Defensive Driving

Most people don’t think twice about getting behind the wheel of a car. It’s something you do nearly every day, and while you may be confident in your own skills and abilities, it’s a well-known fact that not everyone drives well. Being a defensive driver goes far beyond simply following basic traffic laws and knowing how to operate a vehicle.

Defensive driving is essentially a set of skills and strategies that can help you anticipate dangerous driving conditions, adverse weather conditions, and the mistakes of other drivers ahead of time in order to help you protect yourself and reduce the risk of getting into a serious auto accident in spite of what’s happening around you.

Below, we discuss five essential defensive driving techniques that you should practice in order to stay safe and keep others on the road safe, too.


Always Plan Ahead.

Defensive driving begins before you even get on the road. Get in the habit of planning your route ahead of time so you know where you are going without having to fumble with your GPS. Check what the local weather conditions will be like on the day you will be driving so you know whether to avoid driving at a certain time or adjust your driving behaviors. Also, if there’s any road construction or a car accident on the road, you can plan an alternate route to avoid it.

Reduce Your Speed.

This may seem like an obvious safe driving technique, but one of the most important ways that you can be a defensive driver is by simply reducing your speed. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react in the event of an unexpected hazard or changing road conditions. You don’t want to drive much slower than the flow of traffic, but you also don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you don’t have time to make adjustments or have an escape route.

Look Ahead and Remain Vigilant.

Always stay alert and remain vigilant when you are driving. This means that you should eliminate all driving distractions, especially the use of cell phones, during your trip. Scan your surroundings for any potential hazards by looking out your windows, side-view mirrors, and rear-view mirror. Additionally, you’ll want to not just look at the car in front of you, but the ones up ahead. If you see brake lights or traffic slowing down, you will have adequate time to stop.

Expect the Unexpected.

As a defensive driver, you never want to just expect that other drivers will see you or yield to you, even if it is your right of way. For instance, if another driver runs a red light or speeds through a stop sign, you want to be prepared to brake and avoid being hit. While an accident in this situation would not be your fault, expecting the unexpected can nonetheless help you and your passengers stay safe and avoid a collision.

Never Go on the Offensive.

It can be both annoying and frustrating when other drivers fail to abide by the rules of the road. However, it’s important never to let these feelings manifest into road rage or aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, cutting off other drivers, speeding, or making angry gestures. If you do feel yourself getting upset at other drivers, stay calm and try to breathe through your feelings. If the other driver is being reckless, jot down their information to give to the police.

Injured in a Car Accident?

At Manning Law, APC, we know from experience working with injury victims that even the safest, most defensive drivers can still be involved in car accidents caused by other unsafe, negligent, or downright reckless drivers. If you are ever in this situation, know that you should not have to pay for your medical expenses and other damages when you did nothing wrong.

Our Newport News personal injury attorneys are committed to holding responsible parties accountable for their actions while ensuring that you obtain the maximum compensation that you need to fully recover. With over 100 years of collective experience, we have the tools, resources, and skills necessary to help you obtain a favorable outcome.

Don’t wait. Contact our firm at (800) 783-5006 for a free case review today!