3 tips to be a defensive driver

Cars accidents are sudden, loud, chaotic and scary. They often lead to costly, painful injuries that require extensive recovery time.

Defensive driving is about staying focused and prepared to react to unexpected situations. Follow these defensive driving tips to keep yourself safer on the roads and reduce your risk of avoidable accidents.

1. Reduce distractions

When you allow things to distract you as you drive, you become a hazard for others to avoid. Put your cell phone out of reach, only snack while parked and make sure children and pets are safely secured where they cannot reach you. Anything that pulls your focus from the road while the car is in motion is a distraction. If you are not giving the road your full attention, you could miss something that requires a quick reaction.

2. Plan ahead

Look up directions and program your navigation device before you leave. Give yourself more than enough time to reach your destination so that you avoid the temptation to speed and drive recklessly.

3. Give yourself extra space

One benefit to leaving space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you is that you have time to brake or otherwise react to their actions. Another advantage to having a larger view of what is coming ahead is that it allows you to prepare for stopped traffic or hazards up ahead on the road.

Regardless of the reckless behavior of other drivers, keep calm whenever you are behind the wheel. Road rage and aggressive driving can lead to very dangerous situations.

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