One of the most important driving tips I can share with you is to always have an escape route. You should always assume the worst will happen and be prepared for it. Constantly ask yourself questions and make up possible scenarios in your head. Some examples:
- What if the driver in front of you slams on his brakes for no apparent reason (an animal runs into the roadway, he blows a tire, etc.)?
- What if the approaching vehicle drifts into your lane?
- Will somebody run the red light or stop sign up ahead?
You should constantly be mentally asking yourself these kinds of questions while you drive. We already do this subconciously, but actually thinking the situation through will make you much safer. Unfortunately, you are forced to share the road with people who don’t take driving safety seriously. That’s why you must always leave yourself an out in case the worst happens. Having an escape plan is crucial to your safety.
Leaving Yourself An Out
As a real word example, you should try not to drive directly next to somebody. If someone pulls up beside you and matches their speed to yours, either speed up or slow down so that the lane next to you is clear. That way, if you need to swerve somewhere, you have a place to go. What if you can’t use the lane next to you? Where will you go if something happens? Maybe the shoulder is an option. If not, you might need to increase your following distance so you have some additional stopping distance. Again, always have a plan!
Establish And Maintain A Buffer Zone
If you re far enough behind the vehicle in front of you, swerving probably won’t even be necessary. Swerving should actually be a last resort and if you are forced to swerve, that means you were following too closely. But you should always give yourself options. Have more than one escape route whenever possible. That means not only keeping a safe following distance, but also keeping the side of your vehicle free from obstructions.
Accident Avoidance Instructional Video
Preparing For The Driving Emergency That Will Happen To You!
I hate to give you the bad news, but a driving emergency will absolutely, without a doubt, happen to you. Every driver has one of those moments where they must slam on the brakes, swerve to avoid a collision, or simply have a near miss. But the difference between a near miss and an actual collision largely rests in your hands.
Drive Like A Pro
The best professional drivers and emergency responders are taught to plan for the unexpected and you should do the same. Sooner or later in your driving career, something unexpected will happen. You can prepare for unexpected situations and be wrong as many times as you’d like. But all it takes is to be right once to save yourself time, money, headache, injury, lawsuits, and possibly even your life or the life of a loved one.
By properly looking as far ahead as possible to spot potential hazards, shifting your eyes and getting the big picture without fixating on anything, and always having a plan in case the unexpected occurs, you can’t help but to be a safer driver.
Continue to my fourth article (out of 5) on proper defensive driving:
See my full list of defensive driving tips: