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Dr. Darris GentryMar 24, 2016 2:00:00 PM7 min read

How Defensive Driving Can Prevent Car Accidents

Defensive driving can reduce your risk of a car accident

Learning to drive defensively can reduce your chances of getting in accidents.

Car accidents are dangerous and happen often. In fact, you are bound to pass an accident just while driving down the highway. Statistics show nearly 37,000 people die each year in car accidents. 

While car accident injuries are not pleasant to think about, they are preventable in certain situations.

Prevention is the most important step to take to guarantee the safety of you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.

But it's still easy to assume that just because you are a cautious and careful driver, the other drivers around you on the road will be also.

Assuming that the other drivers will stay in their lane, safely react to road hazards, or wait to safely pull out onto a major roadway can often be a dangerous mistake.

Other drivers on the road are often distracted, rushed, or just drive aggressively for no good reason. Looking ahead and keeping your eyes moving can help you anticipate the actions of other drivers and stay safe.

With a focused mind and a little precaution, the following tips can keep you and others safer while driving on the road.

Related post: Knee Injuries After a Car Accident

Table of Contents

What's Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving refers to a set of driving skills or a style of driving that allows you to avoid accidents and defend yourself against irresponsible drivers, drunk drivers, bad weather conditions, and the unexpected in general.

As a defense driver, you assume other drivers might make mistakes.

You are on guard in the event that other drivers make errors and watch ahead for advance warning of any hazards on the road. By watching ahead, you have enough time to avoid potential accidents.

Defensive driving will reduce the chance of you being caught off guard by an unexpected hazard as well as increase your chance of reacting appropriately and avoiding accidents.

However, defensive driving cannot guarantee that you will make it from point A to point B without incidence. It just increases the odds in your favor.

The Department of Motor Vehicles even offers courses on how to be a defensive driver.

No matter how good you are at driving, you can’t control what happens around you. Extreme weather, aggressive drivers, mechanical malfunctions, and roadway obstacles can all jeopardize the safety of you and your passengers.

This is where a defensive driving course comes in. These courses teach you safe driving techniques that help you gain better control over your vehicle in emergency situations.

These courses also teach you tactics for dealing with emotional stress, road rage, and fatigue.

Georgia defensive driving courses can also help you financially by reducing your fine should you receive a traffic violation as well as reducing your auto insurance payments.


Defensive Driving Tips

When you are driving on the road, it is crucial to be observant of your surroundings.

Knowing what's happening around you and being aware of all drivers and pedestrians on the road nearby is the first step to decreasing your chances of an accident.

In order to become a defensive driver, all of your attention must be focused on driving, which means you need to put away the snacks, don't try to apply makeup, don't text, or adjust the radio while you drive.

This allows you to stay alert at all times while behind the wheel.

As a defensive driver, you should also understand the importance of making yourself seen.

Many drivers assume that if they can see another vehicle, that vehicle’s driver can see them as well.

But, that’s not a smart assumption to make.

To make yourself more visible, make sure that you always drive with your lights on while it is raining or dark outside.

You should always use your turning signals when changing lanes so the other drivers on the road will know what you are doing.

Always avoid lingering in another driver’s blind spot for longer than absolutely necessary.

If you do get stuck in a blind spot, you should either speed up or slow down so you can be sure to make yourself visible to the other driver.

Defensive drivers typically assume the worst in other drivers. It's a hope for the best but expect the worst kind of deal.

That means you should never assume that another driver will remember to use his turning signal, check their blind spot before changing lanes, or stop soon enough at a stoplight.

Assuming the worst in other drivers allows you to be prepared for anything that comes your way.

For instance, let’s say you are approaching a four-way stop at the same time as another vehicle.

Even if you know you have the right-of-way, you should never assume that the izes this.

To avoid an accident in this situation, pause for a moment to make eye contact with the other driver or drivers.

You have to be sure that the other drivers do not plan on going through the intersection first.

Being a defensive driver doesn’t automatically guarantee your safety, but it will help you do a better job of protecting yourself on the road.

Here are a few tips to help you become a defensive driver:


Look Far Ahead

When you're behind the wheel, look far down the road so you can anticipate any hazards and increase your reaction time.

Most car accidents could be avoided if people had better situational awareness and planned ahead by looking as far ahead as possible.

Tunnel vision is very dangerous when you're driving and you have to be able to get the big picture and make sure to stay on your toes.


Maintaining Proper Following Distance

A safe following distance from the car in front of you is an important part of safe driving.

It’s human nature to try to stay in packs and that is very evident in our driving patterns. But keeping at least a car’s width between you and the vehicle in front of you can save your life or the life of the drivers around you.

The faster you are going, the larger the following distance should be.


Reducing Distractions

Distracted driving is more prevalent today than it's ever been.

We have more to keep us preoccupied today than ever before.

Countless people eat and drive at the same time, text and drive, or get distracted by their car's entertainment system.

From cell phones to screaming kids in the back seat, distracted driving is a constant issue.

Some of the reasons for distracted driving have to be better managed. Stay conscious of your distractions and do what you can to limit them.


How Defensive Driving Prevents Car Accidents

Defensive driving helps you prevent a car crash because it takes away the element of surprise.

By controlling your speed, maintaining a safe following distance, and avoiding distractions of your own like using a cell phone or eating, you are preparing yourself to make the necessary quick decisions.

Being aware of and respecting the other drivers around you will help you anticipate their actions.

Bad weather can create dangerous and slippery roadways.

When you slow your speed to be suitable for the conditions and look ahead for debris or pools of water in the road, you can keep yourself from losing control and spinning off the road.

Drivers who are already mentally prepared for hazards will be able to react quickly, giving them the best chance to avoid a car crash.

Drivers who blindly assume that nothing bad will happen are complacent, distracted, and likely to find themselves involved in a car accident that could have been prevented.


Maintain Your Vehicle

In addition to safe driving, it is important to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Only you can ensure your car is safe. It’s a necessity to have your vehicle regularly inspected by a technician.

This way, any issues can be detected early preventing any breakdowns in dangerous traffic. Some key components to regularly check include tires, brakes, and alignment.

By thinking ahead, you can have relief knowing your car is running in premier condition and may handle better in harsh weather conditions.   


Contact The Arrowhead Clinic Today

Learning defensive driving isn’t so much about improving your own driving skills, but it's how to make up for the lack of skills from the vehicle in front of you, behind you, or even on the other side of the road.

No one is perfect and people will make mistakes, but learning accident prevention techniques can help you avoid those preventable slip-ups.

It’s important to always expect the unexpected and plan for anything that might happen.

Breaking old habits may be difficult at first. You may have to remind yourself to do certain things, but it will become second nature eventually.

If you've suffered a personal injury in an auto accident and are experiencing pain call Arrowhead today!

We will get you feeling like normal again. We have treated patients for nearly 40 years that experienced a wide range of injuries due to car or truck accidents. 

Call Arrowhead clinics to get your injuries treated with skilled chiropractors and medical doctors. 800-961-PAIN (7246) 

 Free Injury Consultation



Dr. Darris Gentry

Dr. Darris Gentry is Arrowhead Clinic’s Duluth Chiropractor. He specializes in treating accident victims as well as people suffering from chronic pain conditions. With the use of manual and hands-on spinal adjustments, he is able to help restore proper function and mobility to patients’ bodies. Dr. Gentry has been a practicing chiropractor for over 20 years. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and Life University, one of the country's top chiropractic schools. He enjoys treating patients who have back pain, neck pain, sciatica pain, and spinal trauma from all sorts of accidents. His main goal is to help his patients physically improve and reduce and manage their pain. Dr. Gentry is a motivated individual who enjoys helping others reach their goals. Healthcare, in all aspects, remains his main interest. He loves being a chiropractor and having the ability to help others. One of Dr. Gentry’s recent patients stated, “The staff is so welcoming, and Dr. Darris Gentry is amazing. He helped me throughout my treatment.” Dr. Gentry provides free, same-day consultations to all potential patients. He is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. During the consultation, Dr. Gentry will ask questions regarding medical history and a person’s current physical condition, and the type of symptoms they are experiencing. He takes the time to thoroughly examine and diagnose each patient’s condition before coming up with an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to their particular recovery needs.