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7 Top Defensive Driving Techniques

By: StaffPublished September 2, 2021

You’re a good driver. You’ve never received a warning—let alone a ticket—you’ve never even been in a minor fender-bender, and you always graciously wave when other cars let you in. (And don’t even get me started on your clean seat-belt-wearing record.) As the World’s Best Driver, you also, unfortunately, realize that it’s not always about you. Bad drivers can shatter your title in a second by causing an accident that’s not your fault. That’s why, to keep yourself, your car and your passengers as safe as possible, you need to know how to drive defensively. Read these defensive driving techniques and tips for a few defensive driving basics, and practice them on every car trip. 

Defensive Driving Technique #1 Be prepared

Always check your car’s vitals and make sure you can see out of your mirrors and windows. It’s also a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car, along with a spare tire, jack and a list of emergency phone numbers.

Defensive Driving Technique #2 Stay calm

Don’t get angry on the road no matter how annoying or slow other drivers may seem. Don’t incite other drivers to competition or violence, and try to leave the passing or turning lanes open whenever possible.

Defensive Driving Technique #3 Follow the three-second rule

This means staying three seconds away from the car in front of you at all times, but especially on highways or roads where cars drive at high speeds. Not only will you increase your visibility, but you’ll also give yourself time to react if the driver in front of you brakes unexpectedly.

Defensive Driving Technique #4 Turn the music down

You’d be surprised at how agitated other drivers can get by a car with blasting music. If you’re stopped next to someone, either keep your windows up or turn the volume down to be courteous.

Defensive Driving Technique #5 Stay in sight

Avoid driving in other drivers’ blind spots so that they can see you at all times. Staying in sight also means turning on your headlights in bad weather and clicking off your brights when another car is approaching.

Defensive Driving Technique #6 Drive with a passenger

You should try to drive with someone else in your car as often as you can so you’re never alone in an emergency situation. Carpooling is a great gas-saver, too.

Defensive Driving Technique #7 Steer clear of accidents

Don’t be distracted by accidents or cars parked on the side of the road. Other drivers will probably already have their eyes on them and off of the road, so stay alert for careless lane passes or swerving.

Stay educated on defensive driving techniques by reading other articles or by taking a course on the subject.

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