One of the best ways to protect yourself and your passengers while defensive driving is to be a defensive driver. Increasingly, it is important to teach newer drivers the importance of being defensive and confident. A defensive driver is not the same thing as an aggressive driver, and you should always know the difference.
- Defensive Driver: A defensive driver is a driver that is in control. They are alert and focused, have quick-thinking skills, and are always aware of those around them.
- Aggressive Driver: An aggressive driver is one that speeds, swerves, doesn’t feel the need to use their turn signals, and is aggressive in their lane-changes and following.
Teenage drivers should be taught the difference immediately, and you should always encourage them to avoid aggressive behaviors. While we cannot control the actions of others, we can do our part to keep the road a little safer by being good drivers ourselves.
Tips for Teaching Defensive Driving to Teenagers
Want some tips for teaching your teen to be a defensive driver? Take a look at these defensive driving tips for teenage drivers, courtesy of an experienced truck accident lawyer.
One of the best ways to be a defensive driver is to always put safety first. When you are driving as safely as possible, it is easier for you to recognize and respond to other drivers’ dangerous behaviors.
Always pay attention to what is going on around you. Check your mirrors regularly, and be aware of what is happening on the roadside as well. If you see a hazard or a dangerous driver, do your best to avoid that area. Be extra alert if there are pedestrians, children, or animals near the road.
Never Depend on Others
It is great to be considerate of other drivers, but never depend on them. You can never assume how another driver is going to act or respond to a situation. You also can never assume that a driver will be aware, move over, or allow you room. Always hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Follow the 3-4 Second Rule
Under the ideal weather and traffic conditions, always follow the 3-4 second rule. That means allowing 3-4 seconds between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. If it is dark, the weather is bad, or traffic is heavy, you may need to allow even more time.
Obey the Speed Limit
Speed limits are posted to help protect drivers from potential dangers. For example, on mountainous roads, speed limits are as slow as 25 miles-per-hour due to curves and steep grades. Meanwhile, on the Interstate, you may see speed limits of 65-70 mph. Obeying the speed limit is important in order to be as safe as possible. When you speed, it is more difficult to control the vehicle, slow down quickly, and safely respond to potential hazards.
Distracted driving is often lumped together with texting while driving. But in reality, distracted driving can include any activity that takes your attention off the road and the task at hand. Common distractions for teenagers include mobile devices, makeup, eating, infotainment systems, and other people in the vehicle.
As you can see from these tips, being a defensive driver really boils down to being aware, alert, and lawful. For teenage drivers, these tips can make a huge difference in how they drive, but also how they respond to potential dangers. Since most auto accidents are the result of driver error, you can never prepare teenage drivers enough.