You may recognize the term “defensive driving,” but do you really know what it means? Defensive driving is vital for preventing injury on the job. Let’s take a look at the definition of driving defensively and talk about techniques for staying safe.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving means anticipating dangerous situations by accounting for the actions of others and the presence of hazardous driving conditions. Simply put, defensive driving means being absolutely ready for potential surprises on the road.
What does Defensive Driving Require?
Defensive driving necessitates the knowledge and strict observance of all traffic rules and regulations in the area you’re operating the vehicle. A successful defensive driver will never be part of a preventable accident. The following requirements of the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Program may be helpful in learning to drive with a more defensive mindset. According to the program, defensive driving requires:
- Being constantly alert for the illegal acts and driving errors of other drivers, as well as a willingness to make timely adjustments in your own driving so that these actions will not cause you to become involved in an accident.
- An anticipation and understanding of any adjustments you may need to make in your driving for hazards presented by changing or unusual conditions. Such conditions include the type of road surface, weather, mechanical functioning of your vehicle, light, amount of traffic, and your physical condition and state of mind.
- A thorough knowledge of the rules of right of way and a readiness to yield the right of way to another driver to avoid an accident.
- An attitude of confidence that you can safely drive without ever being involved in a preventable accident.
Three Basic Steps to Driving Defensively
Strive to follow these three basic steps:
- See the hazard. When driving, think ahead about what is going to happen or what might happen as far ahead of encountering a situation as possible.
- Understand the defense. Unique situations require unique ways of reacting. Become familiar with the abnormal conditions that you may face and learn how to handle them.
- Act in time. Once you’ve noticed a hazard and understand the defense against it, act immediately! Never take a “wait and see what happens” approach when driving.
By following these three steps and keeping good driving techniques in mind, you will learn to modify your own driving behavior to the unexpected actions of other drivers and pedestrians.
You’ll also be able to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-changing factors of weather, light, road and traffic conditions, the mechanical condition of your vehicle, and your physical capability to concentrate and drive.
Helping Your Company
Learning proper defensive driving techniques not only protects you and others on the road from injury, it also protects (Your Name) by avoiding the liability risks and property damage that are associated with even the most minor employee driving accidents.
This safety matters flyer is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical or legal advice.
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