According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, "defensive driving requires all drivers to think ahead." So, a defensive driver is a prepared driver – one who's aware and engaging with all of the goings-on around him or her. In short, a driver who's texting, talking to a friend, and only occasionally focusing on the road is not a defensive driver.
So, if you find that you're not always defensive when you're on the road, you may want to take a look at the tips listed below to see how you can improve your performance. Defensive drivers rarely get into accidents, which helps them to obtain and maintain affordable car insurance rates. Drivers who aren't defensive often don't fare so well, and find their online insurance quotes come much higher as a result. Be a defensive driver, and you'll reap the rewards – in regards to both your safety, and your finances.
Always wear your seatbelt
The most important part of defensive driving is to always wear your seatbelt! If you're a defensive driver, then you'll be able to rest easy knowing it's unlikely you'll get into a car accident. However, no matter how close you pay attention to the road and the risks around you, you can never fully eliminate the possibility of a road accident. By always wearing your seatbelt, though, you can protect yourself from even the most unforeseen possibilities.
Check the weather before you go out
Many individuals underestimate the effect that weather conditions have on driving conditions. We all know about the dangers and the risks presented by snow and ice – but how often do you consider the way wind, for example, alters your behavior on the road? Strong winds can cause major problems, and can even affect the way that you need to turn. So, always be abreast of the weather conditions when you're behind the wheel – and don't be afraid to pay attention to the smaller details.
Avoid all potential distractions
We understand that it's easy to get distracted while you're driving. Maybe you'll receive an urgent phone call, or you may simply feel the need to answer a pressing text message. Maybe you're goofing around with your friends in the backseat. Maybe you're even distracted because you're singing along to the song that comes on your radio. Basically, there's many different reasons you may find yourself distracted on the road – but none of them are justifiable. Every second that your attention is distracted is a second where an accident or a collision could potentially occur. So never let your eyes – or your mind – drift off the road when you're the one driving.
Be aware of the dangers of fatigue
Even the most defensive drivers can fall victim to fatigue. Even if you've got your eyes engaged every moment that you're driving, you've got to be wary of becoming groggy or sloppy. A good rule of thumb is to take a short break every few hours you are behind the wheel, which will help to ensure you are alert and driving defensively.