Pro­tect your­self by driv­ing de­fen­sively

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

DE­FEN­SIVE DRIV­ING is es­sen­tially a self­less and very con­scious way of driv­ing which pro­tects not only your­self, as the driver, but other road users in the traf­fic en­vi­ron­ment. It is a way of recog­nis­ing that the road presents com­plex sit­u­a­tions which can be coun­tered by four main ways of be­hav­iour, namely: Ef­fec­tive ob­ser­va­tion Good an­tic­i­pa­tion Plan­ning Stay­ing in con­trol To drive de­fen­sively, one must al­ways ques­tion the ac­tions of the other road users. This in­volves ex­pect­ing the un­ex­pected and not be­ing taken by sur­prise. The key prin­ci­ples we are talk­ing a bout here are – driv­ing with re­spon­si­bil­ity, care, con­sid­er­a­tion and cour­tesy. It in­volves putting safety above all else.

SOME AS­PECTS OF DE­FEN­SIVE DRIV­ING

1. If you ob­serve that a driver is about to sud­denly cut into your lane, be ready to slow down, stop or even give up your right of way in or­der to avoid an ac­ci­dent. 2. Do not stop sud­denly (for ex­am­ple to pick up a friend) with­out an­tic­i­pat­ing the re­ac­tion you could get from the other drivers, which may well re­sult in an ac­ci­dent. 3.Do not speed. The bet­ter your con­trol of your

ve­hi­cle and road space, the safer you will be. 4.Do not drive be­yond the lim­its of your vi­sion. 5.Do not tail­gate. Keep a good dis­tance be­tween you

and the ve­hi­cle in front. 6.Ob­serve and obey signs and sig­nals. 7.Give sig­nals to in­di­cate to other road users the ma­noeu­vre you are about to un­der­take (turn­ing, stop­ping). 8.Do not use your horn un­nec­es­sar­ily. 9.Do not try to en­force the speed limit by

block­ing a speed­ing ve­hi­cle. It is not your job

to do that. Al­low them to over­take. It is their risk and out of your con­trol. 10. Be mind­ful of light, weather, road

con­di­tions and traf­fic. 11. Never drive in a spirit of com­pe­ti­tion. Com­pet­i­tive driv­ing is by its na­ture the op­po­site of de­fen­sive driv­ing. It in­creases the risk to ev­ery­one.

AP­PROACH­ING A BEND, ASK YOUR­SELF:

IIIIHow sharp is it? Is my speed right? Am I in the right po­si­tion? What might I meet? Could I stop if I had to?

GEN­ER­ALLY, DRIVERS MUST AVOID THE KIND OF DRIV­ING THAT:

Gives of­fence to other road users. Pro­vokes a negative re­ac­tion. Cre­ates dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. Set of checks be­fore driv­ing off: Al­ways check your mir­ror, both the rear/ view mir­ror and the side mir­rors. Al­ways note the speed of on­com­ing ve­hi­cles and try to an­tic­i­pate, as best as pos­si­ble, the in­ten­tions of the road users in your vicin­ity. If nec­es­sary, par­tic­u­larly, at junc­tions, move very cau­tiously into a po­si­tion where you can see, with­out emerg­ing into the path of the on­com­ing traf­fic. The ba­sic prin­ci­ple here is that you have to look and as­sess the sit­u­a­tion in or­der to take an in­formed de­ci­sion on whether or not it is now safe to drive off. Never try to force your way into traf­fic.

HOW CRU­CIAL IS ROUTE PLAN­NING TO SAFE MO­TOR­ING?

Very cru­cial, as once you are on the road, you must al­ways be clear about where you are go­ing and the route you will need to take to get there. This helps in timely lane po­si­tion­ing and in giv­ing ad­e­quate time to sig­nal to other road users that you in­tend to turn. Route plan­ning re­duces anx­i­ety and en­hances driver con­fi­dence and, con­se­quently, paves the way for the proper use of de­fen­sive driv­ing tech­niques. Anx­i­ety can lead to driv­ing with im­paired emo­tions.

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