Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving


Defensive Driving

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This Defensive Driving course can best be described by using the illustration of a shield, as shown in the accompanying picture.

When referring to a shield, what we are talking about is an invisible bubble or personal space surrounding your vehicle. The larger that bubble is, the safer you will be.

Defensive Driving then is anticipating anything that will invade that bubble or space and take corrective or avoidance action so as to maintain this buffer zone.

To assist in achieving this, we will look at the following areas:

? Questions:

💡 Tips:


? What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is a driving technique and mindset that emphasizes proactive and cautious behavior on the road to minimize risks and prevent accidents. It involves being constantly aware of potential hazards, anticipating the actions of other drivers, and taking appropriate measures to maintain safety. Here are some key principles and practices associated with defensive driving:

  • Awareness and Alertness: Defensive driving starts with being alert and attentive while driving. This means staying focused on the road, scanning for potential hazards, and avoiding distractions such as cell phones, eating, or excessive conversation.

  • Anticipating Hazards: Defensive drivers anticipate potential hazards and plan their actions accordingly. They look ahead and identify potential risks such as aggressive drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, or road conditions that may require adjustments in speed or lane positioning.

  • Following Traffic Laws: Defensive drivers strictly adhere to traffic laws and regulations. They respect speed limits, traffic signals, stop signs, and right-of-way rules. Following these rules helps maintain order on the road and reduces the likelihood of accidents.

  • Maintaining Safe Distances: Defensive drivers maintain safe distances from other vehicles, allowing enough time and space to react in case of sudden stops or changes in traffic flow. The recommended minimum following distance is typically two seconds or more, depending on road conditions.

  • Using Mirrors and Checking Blind Spots: Defensive drivers frequently check their mirrors and scan their blind spots before changing lanes or making turns. This helps ensure they have a clear understanding of the surrounding traffic and potential obstacles.

  • Being Prepared for the Unexpected: Defensive drivers are prepared for unexpected situations. They keep their hands on the steering wheel, maintain proper control of the vehicle, and have an escape plan in mind if a dangerous situation arises.

  • Adjusting Speed to Conditions: Defensive drivers adjust their speed according to the road and weather conditions. They slow down in adverse weather, construction zones, or areas with limited visibility, allowing for better control and reaction time.

  • Avoiding Aggressive Driving: Defensive drivers avoid aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, excessive speeding, or weaving through traffic. They maintain a calm and courteous demeanor, even in challenging situations.

  • Continuous Learning and Improvement: Defensive drivers are committed to ongoing learning and improvement. They stay updated on traffic laws, attend defensive driving courses, and regularly assess and reflect on their own driving habits and behaviors.

By practicing defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce the risk of accidents, protect themselves and others on the road, and promote a safer driving environment overall.

? What is the difference between Advanced driving and Defensive driving?

Advanced driving and defensive driving are both approaches to driving that aim to enhance safety and skill levels on the road, but they differ in their emphasis and focus.

Advanced Driving:

1. Skills Enhancement:

  • Advanced driving programs focus on refining driving skills beyond the basic requirements for obtaining a driver's license. Participants learn advanced techniques and maneuvers to handle various driving situations more effectively.

2. Performance Driving:

  • Advanced driving often includes elements of performance driving. This can involve high-speed driving, precision control, and mastering techniques like skid control, evasive maneuvers, and emergency braking.

3. Vehicle Dynamics:

  • Understanding the dynamics of the vehicle is a key component of advanced driving. Participants learn about weight transfer, tire grip, and how different driving conditions impact the vehicle's handling.

4. Racing and Motorsports:

  • Some advanced driving programs may incorporate elements of racing and motorsports, teaching participants how to handle a vehicle at high speeds on a closed course.

5. Specialized Training:

  • Advanced driving courses may be specialized, focusing on specific areas such as performance driving, track driving, or off-road driving. These courses often cater to driving enthusiasts seeking to improve their skills.

Defensive Driving:

1. Hazard Awareness:

  • Defensive driving primarily emphasizes hazard awareness and strategies to avoid accidents. The focus is on anticipating potential dangers and taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of collisions.

2. Collision Prevention:

  • Defensive driving techniques are geared towards preventing collisions. This includes maintaining a safe following distance, staying alert to the actions of other drivers, and being prepared to react to unexpected situations.

3. Risk Management:

  • Defensive driving involves assessing and managing risks on the road. This may include avoiding distractions, recognizing potential road hazards, and adapting to adverse weather conditions.

4. Driver Attitude:

  • Defensive driving places a strong emphasis on cultivating a defensive mindset. This means being aware of the actions of other road users, expecting the unexpected, and taking responsibility for one's own safety and the safety of others.

5. Traffic Rules and Regulations:

  • Defensive driving courses often reinforce adherence to traffic rules and regulations. Understanding and obeying traffic laws are fundamental to defensive driving principles.

In summary, advanced driving tends to focus on enhancing driving skills, often with an emphasis on performance driving, while defensive driving places a primary emphasis on avoiding accidents and managing risks on the road. Both approaches contribute to overall road safety, and individuals may choose training programs based on their specific needs and interests.

💡 Tips on how to drive defensively

Driving defensively means being aware of potential hazards on the road and taking proactive steps to avoid accidents. Here are some tips for driving defensively:

  • Stay focused: Avoid distractions like texting, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving. Keep your eyes on the road and your mind on driving.

  • Anticipate potential hazards: Scan the road ahead and watch for potential hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles. Look out for hazards like debris on the road or poor weather conditions.

  • Leave plenty of space: Keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Leave at least 2-3 seconds of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, and increase the distance in poor weather or road conditions.

  • Use your mirrors: Keep an eye on your mirrors to be aware of what's happening around you. Check your mirrors frequently and be aware of vehicles in your blind spots.

  • Signal your intentions: Use your turn signals to indicate your intention to change lanes or make a turn. This gives other drivers time to react and avoid a collision.

  • Adjust your speed: Slow down if the road conditions are poor or if you're driving in an area with heavy traffic. Speeding is a major factor in accidents, and driving slower can give you more time to react if something unexpected happens.

  • Be courteous: Show respect for other drivers on the road by letting them merge or pass when it's safe to do so. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating or cutting off other drivers.

By following these tips, you can become a more defensive driver and reduce your risk of accidents on the road. Remember, defensive driving is about anticipating potential hazards and taking proactive steps to avoid them.

💡 Tips for driving in heavy traffic

Driving in heavy traffic can be challenging, but with patience, awareness, and some strategic approaches, you can navigate it more safely and efficiently. Here are some tips for driving in heavy traffic:

  • Stay Calm and Patient: Maintain a calm and patient mindset. Traffic can be frustrating, but getting stressed or agitated won't improve the situation.

  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you. This allows for better reaction time and reduces the risk of rear-end collisions.

  • Anticipate Traffic Flow: Look ahead and anticipate changes in traffic flow. If you see brake lights up ahead, start slowing down early to avoid sudden stops.

  • Use Your Mirrors: Regularly check your mirrors to be aware of surrounding traffic. Stay aware of vehicles approaching from behind, especially in blind spots.

  • Signal Your Intentions: Use your turn signals to indicate lane changes and turns. Communicating your intentions helps other drivers anticipate your actions.

  • Choose the Right Lane: Select the lane that is moving more efficiently. In heavy traffic, the right lane may be better for slower-moving traffic, while the left lane may be for faster-moving traffic.

  • Avoid Distractions: Minimize distractions while driving. Keep your focus on the road, and avoid activities like texting or adjusting the radio that can divert your attention.

  • Stay in Your Lane: Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Frequent lane changes can contribute to congestion and increase the risk of accidents.

  • Plan Your Route: Use navigation apps to plan your route and check for real-time traffic updates. Apps like Google Maps or Waze can provide alternative routes to avoid heavy congestion.

  • Stay Updated on Traffic Conditions: Listen to traffic reports on the radio or use traffic apps to stay informed about current road conditions.

  • Be Courteous to Other Drivers: Allow other drivers to merge when needed, and use the zipper merge technique when merging lanes. Being courteous can contribute to smoother traffic flow.

  • Use Public Transportation: Consider using public transportation if available. In heavy traffic, taking a bus or train might be a more efficient and stress-free option.

  • Be Mindful of Motorcycles and Bicycles: Keep an eye out for motorcycles and bicycles, especially in congested areas where they may be more difficult to see.

  • Prepare for Delays: Accept the possibility of delays, and plan your schedule accordingly. Factor in extra time for your journey to account for unexpected traffic.

  • Stay Well-Rested: Ensure you are well-rested before driving in heavy traffic. Fatigue can impair your reaction time and decision-making.

Remember, safety is the top priority. If traffic conditions become overwhelming or you feel fatigued, it's okay to pull over to a safe location, take a break, and collect yourself before continuing your journey.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving