Defensive driving

Avoiding Car Accidents: Defensive driving techniques


Slow down. Speeding continues to be one of the major killers on Queensland roads. During 2011 there were 48 fatalities as a result of speed-related crashes – representing 17.8 per cent of Queensland’s road toll.

Speeding is defined as driving at a speed over the posted speed limit or at a speed that is inappropriate given the driving conditions (for example rain, fog, traffic volume, traffic flow and so on).

Speeding is dangerous. It is not safe to speed in any circumstance, regardless of how experienced a driver you are, how good your car is, or whether you are driving on busy city streets or open country roads. Speeding increases stopping distances and your risk of a crash.

The potential consequences of speeding are just not worth the risk, and include:

  • killing or injuring yourself, loved ones or other innocent road users in a crash
  • paying for fines and car repairs
  • losing points or your licence.

Speed limits are set and enforced for a reason – to save lives and reduce crashes.

Let others pass you. Defensive driving means letting others go ahead-not defending your position in traffic. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante (“Oh yeah? Let me show you what it’s like to be cut off like that!”) Accept the fact that someone is always going to think they’re in more of a hurry than you. These are the drivers you want to move far away from, not to ‘teach them a lesson.’

Try to avoid driving in bad weather. Always keep your windshield wipers going in the rain. or snow. Turn on your headlights to help others to see you. If possible, try to avoid driving in heavy rain and storms at all. If you must go out, drive extra slow, use the brakes and accelerator gently, and maintain an increased stopping distance.

Never get into a car with a drunk driver. It is always best to have a “designated driver”.  Never drive after you have had alcoholic beverages. Even one beer can alter your ability to drive safely.

Wear a seatbelt. This is a must. By law in many countries, all cars must have a safety restraint. Buckling up only takes a second and can save your life in an accident. Children should always be in a booster seat or car seat until they are tall enough and heavy enough to sit by themselves. This generally includes children age seven and under. Never put a child in a car or booster seat in the front passenger seat or other seats with airbags. Children should generally be seven and older when sitting in the front passenger seat.

Keep your car and its accessories in good condition. Keep the tires properly inflated, the brakes adjusted, and the windshields and windows clean. Replace windshield wiper blades when they begin to streak, and all make sure all the lights are working properly.

Use your indicator properly. Always use your indicator, even if you think no one is there. When changing lanes on the motorway, don’t indicate as an afterthought or during the lane change. Indicate at least a couple of seconds in advance so others know what you’re going to do before you do it. (Ever notice how most of the skid marks along the highway are just before an exit ramp? – this is where you have to be the most careful.)

Don’t tailgate. No matter how slowly traffic is moving, keep at least two seconds of following distance between you and the car ahead. Any less and you won’t be able to stop in time if the driver ahead slams on the brakes.

Keep your eyes moving. Don’t get in the habit of staring at the back of the car ahead of you. Periodically shift your eyes to the side-view mirrors, the rear-view mirror, and ahead to where you’ll be in 10-15 seconds. Doing this, you can spot a potentially dangerous situation before it happens.

Dim your lights when driving at night, when another car is approaching, or when you are following behind a vehicle. Your lights can temporarily blind another driver.

Avoid distractions when you are driving. Pullover if you need to talk on the phone, read directions, or eat a snack. It only takes a second or two of distractions to get into trouble (more on this in a couple of weeks).

If you need help following an accident, contact Sinnamon Lawyers on 1800 007 277 to arrange an obligation free appointment or seek our expert advice about your legal position following an accident.

Thanks To Wikihow.com and Queensland Transport for this info. Great articles!

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