Defensive driving, on contrary to the seemingly obvious conclusion, can save you just as much time as money and, more importantly, keep the roads safer for everyone. It will help you navigate in most road and traffic conditions and anticipate the possibility of a mishap.
City driving is also a major source of stress, especially during rush hour. Growing cities and suburbs have resulted in an increase in the number of people who have to use a car to get around. Following these steps will also make driving a more enjoyable experience.
Defensive driving is more about common sense than anything else. It is easy to remember most of what is written here, but then, ‘the roads are full of idiots’. So, the more people driving defensively, the safer it will be out there.
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If you spot a vehicle in a hurry, do not be obstinate and yield the right of way even if you are legally right in refusing. While the other driver might be being a bully in claiming you give way, it’s better to let him through. Do not block the path of the vehicle by moving in front of it or impede its passage in any way. Doing so is dangerous and increases the risk of an accident.
Also, weaving in and out of traffic is a serious safety threat. Always remember, when it comes to driving, it’s reaching your destination safely that is most important.
Driving over a given speed limit is not only illegal, but also dangerous. Driving at 60kmph on a road where the limit is 50kmph might save you 20 minutes, but it also increases the chances of an accident.
The faster you are moving, the longer it takes for the car to do your bidding when you apply the brakes. It also reduces the time you have to react to the unexpected, such as a car out of control or an animal crossing the road. The sheer physics of a collision at high speeds should be enough deterrence. The greater transfer of energy resulting from the higher momentum can cause horrific injuries.
Also, you will be booked by the police if you are caught speeding, which will include a fine the first time (up to Rs 1,000) and a more permanent punishment for repeat offenders.
Therefore, choose a speed matching the rest of the traffic as closely as possible without exceeding the speed limit. If the rest of the traffic is moving at a pace faster than you like, keep to the lane on the left and stay out of the way of the faster vehicles. If you need to overtake a vehicle moving slower than you are, do so from the right. Make your intentions clear using the indicators before overtaking.
“I never saw him!” is the most common excuse used after an accident. But come on, it wasn’t that the other vehicle (or person or electric pole) was invisible.
Numerous accidents happen because a driver does not pay attention to what is happening on the road. Any vehicle, immaterial of its size, can be the cause of an accident. Also remember that you cannot rely on your fellow drivers to follow the rules and keep you safe. So stay alert and ensure that you have plenty of room to manoeuvre your vehicle out of a potentially dangerous situation. It would help if you don’t use your mobile phone or listen to music on full volume.
Try to anticipate what the other drivers might do in the situation, especially on open roads or when there is heavy traffic. It’s always better to stay wary. Be careful when approaching traffic signals, breaks in dividers or service roads. Hasty motorists tend to join the main road without checking the flow of traffic. Also, on a busy road, such as a commercial centre, watch out for cars pulling out from parking. Look out for gaps in the lines of traffic for space to take evasive action. Slow down if you see the traffic in front of you bunching up. No point in adding to the melee. A little patience will help in clearing the jam.