You've heard the term "defensive driving," but what does it entail? Even more importantly, can it prevent you from being injured in an auto accident?
It certainly might. According to SafeMotorist.com, defensive driving is "driving in a manner that utilizes safe driving strategies to enables motorists to address identified hazards in a predictable manner."
To understand better how honing your defensive-driving skills could save your life, you first should understand the different types of wrecks that occur, including:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone (or side) collisions
- Striking the car ahead
Most motor vehicle collisions involve two vehicles, and approximately a third of those happen when cars meet at intersections.
Of all the types of auto accidents, those most likely to involve fatalities are head-on collisions. The best way to drive defensively and avoid them is by scanning the road ahead for potential hazards.
If you see headlights or another car approaching in your lane, decrease your speed and take evasive action. Vehicles should pull to the right when possible to avoid colliding. It's even usually better to take a ditch than to have a head-on collision, as the force from the impact of a high-speed wreck may not be survivable.
Rear-end collisions can also be quite dangerous when they involve a much larger vehicle like a semi-truck overriding a smaller passenger car's bumper. To reduce your chances of being struck from behind or hitting the car ahead, you should:
- Avoid tailgaters. Pull to the side to let them pass
- Signal your intentions. It's not safe when motorists turn or stop without using their turn signals
- Don't slam on the brakes. If you leave enough room between you and the car ahead, you should be able to gradually reduce speed and avoid a wreck
T-bone collisions can also produce serious injuries. Since most of these occur at intersections, motorists should wait that extra beat before entering the intersection from a stop sign. It's also prudent to remember that at four-way stops when two or more cars stop simultaneously, the car to the right has the right-of-way.
If you were injured in an accident, make sure to protect your right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver(s).