Advanced driving or defensive driving is a form of training for motor vehicle drivers that goes beyond mastery of the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of driving by anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. This can be achieved through adherence to a variety of general rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques.
Defensive driving skills offers you the chance to better react to any given situation on the road, knowing the steps of defensive driving you will be able to survive. You know that safety in everything on the road: your and the ones next to you, so it is important to know how to retain control of your own vehicle and space on the roads.
The main advantage of the defensive driver is that is aware of his surroundings, road conditions and other vehicles on the road and off course he knows what to do about it. He will be able to identify hazardsm to take attitude.
The first to know is your vehicle: limitations and abilities. In case of emergency precious reaction time could be lost while trying to find an emergency brake, clutch or gear shift. When it is important to know how to steer the car out of hazards while maintaining control.
The most important skill is anticipation. A defensive driver need to constantly scanning the area for potential dangers. A bicyclist on the right could suddenly swerve or fall. The pedestrian on the sidewalk could decide to cross in front of the car, or a small child may jump into the street. The driver ahead may be tired or drunk, while the driver in the oncoming lane could be distracted by a passenger.
Some things you need to know before learning how to defensive drive:
- Bland colors (gray, silver, tan) are urban camouflage. Dark colors, including red (thus the newer non-red fire engines) are difficult to see in dim light.
- Have a low center of gravity.
- Have an all wheel drive system with a center differential to balance forces between front and rear.
- Avoid tinted windows.
- Check tire pressure, and internal and external gauges.
- Check oil, gas, and water levels before taking long trips.
- Check mirrors, seat, and steering column are suitably positioned.
- Ensure all seatbelts are locked and children are secure.
- Secure all loose objects inside the vehicle or move them into the trunk.
- Indicate and check for traffic before moving away from the road shoulder.
- Keep all car documents updated and reachable.
- Be prepared for variable traffic and weather conditions.
- Be courteous to other drivers.
- Avoid road rage.
- Know if the car has antilock brakes or not, and how you should respond to braking difficulty.
- Keep the space on either side of your car free.
- Drive in the outer lane on freeways. In case of a problem, you won’t have to cross a lane of traffic to get to the breakdown lane.
- Keep wheels straight when waiting to turn across oncoming traffic. If your car is rear-ended, it won’t be pushed into the opposite lane.
- Do not drive next to large vehicles longer than necessary. The driver may not see you, and a turning truck can suddenly cut off all exit routes.
- Maintain a three second following distance behind other vehicles. Increase that to five seconds in fog, rain, or other adverse conditions. It takes most people at least half a second to react to an emergency condition. Following a car closer than one second effectively guarantees an accident if the leading car brakes unexpectedly.
- Conversely, change lanes or pull over if tailgated. If that is not possible, slow down, and / or maintain extra distance to the car in front, to allow for both yourself and the tailgater to stop safely.
- Avoid visibly damaged or defective cars. A history of accidents indicates that the owner has poor driving skills.
- Avoid cars that weave, do not stay in lane, or brake too late at intersections, as their drivers may be intoxicated or distracted.
- Never drive over any object on the road that can be safely avoided — a plastic bag can conceal more dangerous items, ropes can wrap around axles, and even mundane objects like sticks can puncture a tire or the fuel tank.
- On roads of 3 or more lanes, take care not to change one lane to the left, as a vehicle 2 lanes to the left changes one lane right, and vice versa. Vehicles in the left lane and the right lane can collide if they try to change to the centre lane simultaneously. In some jurisdictions, you are required on motorway category roads to be in the outside lane IF it is clear of traffic - regardless of speed, only merging then to the middle lane or lanes, and/or the inner (central median area) lane to overtake. You must then return to the outside lane once you have passed traffic, if it is clear and safe to do so.