You have probably heard that some auto insurers give discounts for taking defensive driving classes. What exactly are these defensive driving classes, and what do they teach you that you cannot learn on your own? Here are some of the defensive driving tips you can pick up from such classes:
Look Far Ahead
By definition, defensive driving involves defending yourself against potential road hazards. You can't defend yourself against something you can't see or notice, so the first tip is to look far ahead whenever you are on the road.
Driving naturally involves keeping your eyes on the road immediately in front of you. Occasionally, however, you need to look as far ahead as you can see. This is necessary because braking or changing lanes requires a greater distance than people usually think. Knowing what lies ahead gives you the heads-up in terms of what's on the road so that you can make any necessary safety adjustments.
Prepare For the Worst
While your hope is to reach your destination safely every time you get behind the wheel, it pays to prepare for the worst. A good way of doing this is to keep asking yourself "what ifs" as you drive along. What if the driver ahead changes lanes abruptly? What if your tire blows? What if the truck ahead drops something on the road? What if you meet an oncoming car at the next bend?
Asking such questions will help you formulate emergency plans to deal with the situations. For example, if something were to drop from the truck ahead, you need to be a safe distance to give you room for evasion. Once you know that, you can adjust your distance to accommodate such a potential emergency.
Drive Confidently, But Not Aggressively
It is called defensive driving because you need to be on the lookout for and defend yourself against possible risks, but you should never be the one creating risks – that would be offensive driving. Don't be timid and hesitant; that can only be dangerous since other road users may not be able to read your intentions. For example, driving too slow when the traffic is flowing at a moderate to high speeds can lead to accidents; you need to go with the flow.
However, you should also be on the lookout for aggressive drivers to avoid road rage. For example, if a motorist is speeding and changing lanes aggressively, resist the urge to race them or block their way. Rather, maintain your speed while looking out for any dangers they might create.
Before taking a defensive driving course, talk to an insurance agent like those found at Griffin-Rahn Insurance Agency Inc to see if your insurer offers the relevant discount and if you qualify for it. For example, some insurers will only give you the discount if you are a senior driver. You should also confirm that the course you are about to take meets your insurer's approval.