Driving is a part of virtually every American's life. We often take for granted our skills as a motorist, because if we have never had an accident then we must be perfectly safe on the road. This unsound reasoning is the basis for far too many car, truck or motorcycle crashes, and since humans are creatures of habit changes to our routines, judgments and outlook only come after a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, when dealing with something as catastrophic as a vehicle collision, the wisdom only comes after an experience, and when dealing with objects that smash together at great velocities with flammable fuel, second chances are rare.
That's why it's important to learn the principles, theory and practice of defensive driving before you hit the road or get behind the wheel. In fact, the very name of the idea evokes its nature: it's defensive. Designed to protect or deflect. Defensive driving is defined as "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others." That is a pretty clear explanation, but what tactics can the average person use to ensure they are operating their conveyance in the maximally safe fashion?
- The two second rule. This notion is intended to give drivers a way to estimate safe distances between cars when traveling at speed. By using a landmark, such as a telephone pole, streetlight or any other regularly occurring feature, a driver can judge how long the distance is between their vehicle and the one in front of them, and give them enough time to brake should an accident occur. It also helps reduce tailgating and rear-end collisions.
- Pay attention on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. There are dozens upon dozens of variables on an average highway, street or interstate, and failing to account for even a tiny one can result in unfathomable tragedy, crashes, and even death. Watch out for pedestrians at intersections, children walking on sidewalks, or even the unpredictable actions of other drivers.
- Adapt to road conditions. Driving at night, in inclement weather, or around accidents require split second judgment and reactions. When you are aware of these situations, you can better react. Also stay calm and focused. Use headlights, turn signals, hazard indicators and your horn in order to maintain a safe presence.
- Maintain your vehicle. Check your tires, belts, hoses, lamps and brakes on a regular basis. Most people who are involved in vehicle accidents never think that they will be the offending party responsible for the chaos that follows. Many of these people failed to appropriately maintain their vehicles, and some breakdown of machinery or loose piece of equipment can doom so many people to suffering agonizing injuries, destroyed property, and shattered lives.
Ultimately, it is up to everyone that operates a vehicle, be it motorcycle, automobile, big rig or whatever internal combustion powered mechanism of choice to be as safe as possible on the road. Unfortunately, few people take defensive driving to heart, and accidents still occur. If it happens to you, and you are the victim of a motorist that did not drive defensively, you need to know that you have the right to take them to court and get the justice you deserve.
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