While driving around town and seeing some of the crazy stuff other drivers on the road are doing, we might feel better about our own driving abilities. But, just when we think we’ve seen it all, there is another crazy driver out there to prove us wrong! You’ve probably seen drivers texting, eating, reading the newspaper, applying makeup, yelling at kids in the back seat, and more. Maybe you think you’ve seen it all, but trust us, there will be plenty of strange sightings on the road. We would say that these types of people are not the safest drivers. But to be considered a safe driver entails more than just practicing safe and smart driving habits. It is also being prepared for other motorists’ poor driving habits.

You’ve probably heard the term “NYC defensive driving course” before, but, do you know what defensive driving is exactly? Defensive driving is when you are alert and aware of your surroundings so that you are prepared physically and mentally for whatever unexpected thing may happen when driving.  Defensive drivers are prepared to act should anything out of the ordinary occur. Drivers who have been trained to drive defensively know to leave enough space between them and the other vehicles around them, and know how to make sure they are aware of everything going on around them.

Not only does defensive driving help you to be able to anticipate the unexpected, but it also reduces your chances of being involved in an accident. Here are some practical steps that drivers can take to practice defensive driving.

Be in the moment

When driving, give this seemingly mindless task your full attention. Have you ever had experiences where you reached your destination, only to realize that you don’t even remember actually driving there? In these instances, driving becomes automatic, making it easy for drivers to zone out. To be a defensive driver, drivers need to stay focused and watchful, scanning their surroundings for changes, possible hazardous conditions, and other drivers around them. Distractions like using cell phones, eating, and talking to your passengers could potentially put you and others at risk.

Don’t tailgate

According to AAA, rear-end collisions account for nearly 30% of all vehicle accidents. Allow at least 2 seconds between you and the car in front of you, and in bad weather, double the distance between you the vehicle in front of you. This space gives you time to safely react to hazards.

Know your exit strategy

Defensive driving includes knowing where other vehicles are in accordance to you. Check your mirrors routinely to keep yourself aware of the vehicles behind and beside you. In the event of an emergency situation, knowing who and what is around you could save your life as you move to avoid the hazard. Keep speeds that are manageable and reasonable when dangerous situations happen. This will give you ample time to react and make a good decision about your avoidance strategy.

Make your intentions clear

The biggest safety concern for defensive drivers is to know what other drivers are doing at all times. Use your signals and looking around before changing lanes. Don’t cut off other drivers, and don’t make risky, last-minute maneuvers that can endanger yourself, your passengers, or others on the road.

Defensive driving can keep you and other drivers on the road safe from harm, while saving you money from increased insurance rates, car repairs, and potential medical bills. Learning how to be a defensive driver from a NYC defensive driving course can prove to be a valuable investment in yourself, and other drivers on the road will definitely appreciate it as well.