Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007...11:09 amfrancese

Panic – Defensive Driving and Making Roads Safer

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Defensive Driving and Making Roads Safer

The biggest cause of road crashes in South Africa is driver error. It is generally accepted that 85-90% of road crashes can be attributed to driver error.

This includes not only the honest mistake or error in judgement but also driver recklessness, driver inattention and many other factors.

It is important that we strive both to reduce these errors on our side and adjust our driving to be more attentive and defend ourselves against the threats from errors by other road users.

These skills and techniques required are called defensive driving, learn more from new jersey defensive driving course.

When driving defensively, we’re aware and ready for whatever happens. We are cautious, yet ready to take action and not put our fate in the hands of other drivers.

In this section, we will provide advice on how defensive driving behaviour can make our roads safer.

What is Defensive Driving?

Definition: Defensive driving is the practice of maintaining an awareness of road and weather conditions, other vehicles, road users and potentially hazardous situations and then taking steps to prevent becoming the cause of or becoming involved in a road crash.

The description of defensive driving also refers to the following:

  • Reducing the risk of collision by anticipating dangerous situations, adverse conditions or the mistakes of others.
  • Implementing driving techniques that enable drivers to address identified hazards in a predictable manner.
  • Driving with an increased awareness of everything happening around you while driving.
  • Driving characterized by prudence, diligence and reasonable cautiousness with the goal of making the road a safe place not only for a defensive driver but also for other road users.

Defensive Driving and Preparedness

Defensive driving is not merely using a set of driving skills when on the road. It starts with preparedness on the side of the driver and an awareness of abilities, challenges, restraints etc.

Sometimes the best way to defend oneself against dangers is to avoid confrontation with the danger. The elderly driver who avoids peak hour traffic and the driver avoiding late-night driving are both applying alertness to identified hazards through defensive driving!

Preparedness for Defensive Driving includes an Awareness of the following:

Your own driving ability:

We have to drive within our ability. Elderly drivers are good at using their experience to compensate for lack of physical strength, reduced eyesight, hearing etc. They drive defensively by adjusting their time of travel and where they drive.

Vehicle Fitness:

The defensive driver will be aware of vehicle capabilities and limitations. This would include going onto the road and towing a trailer, awareness of the ability to overtake etc.

Defensive drivers will ensure that their vehicles are well maintained and in roadworthy condition with properly inflated tyres, clean windshields and wipers, reliable engine and suspension.

Vehicles will not be overloaded and vehicle components will allow them an opportunity for effective response to a threat on the road!

The Road and Traffic Conditions

Defensive driving is also an awareness of when not to drive when to delay travel and when and where to remain stationary inside the vehicle. This is discussed in more detail on the Arrive Alive website in the section on safe driving in bad weather conditions.

It is important to stay alert to weather and traffic reports and to avoid the threats posed by heavily congested traffic and conditions such as snow and ice, mist and fog, heavy winds, veld and forest fires etc.



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