Safe driving is important on and off the clock. When driving a vehicle, there are many hazards that we face – some created by the person driving and some created by others.
The following is a list of defensive driving tips to follow:
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Adjust your seat and mirrors before driving.
- Secure all loose objects before driving. If you are involved in an accident or have to make a quick maneuver objects can become airborne.
- Maintain concentration on driving, rather than work or personal issues. Be aware of your own action as well as actions of other drivers, pedestrians or wildlife.
- Do not use cell phones for talking, texting or e-mailing while driving.
- If possible, plan your travel route before leaving.
- Always keep a safe stopping distance between you and the car in front of you. Use at least the four second rule between you and the car in front. This leaves you enough room to react and stop your vehicle.
- Be aware of blind spots when changing lanes. Look in all direction and always use your turn signals.
- Always follow the speed limits. In wet, icy or slick conditions, slow down and take your time.
- Know and obey all traffic rules, regulations and laws. If you are unfamiliar with the area, slow down and take your time.
- Do not drink and drive. Always assign a designated driver.
- Keep a cool head. Do not drive aggressively and don’t take chances.
- When confronted by aggressive drivers, avoid eye contact, stay calm, try to get out of the way safely, and do not escalate the situation. If you are being followed by a threatening driver, do not stop, and proceed to the closest police station.
- Pay special attention when driving in work zones. These zones create extra hazards with people working, decreased lane widths, frequent stops and alternate routes.
- Do not drive when drowsy or tired. Symptoms of fatigue include eyes closing or going out of focus, trouble keeping your head up, cannot stop yawning, trouble remembering driving the last few miles, drifting between lanes.
- Inspect your vehicle before each use to ensure it is in good working order. Make sure the brakes do not pull to one side, there is not too much play in the steering wheel, no whining noise when you make a sharp turn, all lights are in good condition and working, tires are inflated properly and in good condition, windows are clean and clear and your horn works.
- During rain, sleet, or snow, make sure to slow down, take your time, and be cautious.
- When backing a vehicle, use a spotter if you do not have a clear path of travel and a good line of sight.