Protect yourself by driving defensively
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.