Defensive driving lessons should not only be taken as part of your driving course, but I also recommend these to all new drivers who have successfully passed their practical test. Defensive driving tuition will hone your driving skills. These lessons will help you keep your insurance premium as low as possible by avoiding unnecessary accidents, or may even save your or someone else’s life one day.
The best way to describe this type of driving in simple terms is to picture a stock car racer (banger racing driver), who not only wants to win the race, but win it with minimal, or ideally no damage to his own car. Stock car racing drivers are defensive drivers because they constantly have to monitor other stock car drivers in front, behind and beside them to avoid a collision. And they do this by anticipating what they think each of those other drivers may be doing next, based on what hazards are presented to them, such as a bend in the track or another race car which had broken down and is now obstructing the track ahead.
It is a form of training for car drivers which 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 weather conditions or mistakes made by other drivers.
To achieve enhanced driving awareness through adherence to a variety of general rules, as well as the practice of specific driving techniques. This driving lesson is designed to improve your ability to recognise potential hazards early and carry out defensive action. These will then be applied to the three main driving environments, town, country and the motorway. At the end of your course you will:
Understand the importance of driving proactively rather than re-actively
Be able to anticipate a potential hazard
Understand the principles of defensive driving
Develop a risk assessment approach to driving hazards
Assess whether any static road features or the possible actions of other road users present an actual or potential hazard
Enhance your existing skills as well as developing new skills
Understand the importance of driving proactively rather than re-actively:
Road signs – Road signs will paint a clear picture of what you might expect on the road ahead.
Time of day – Understanding the difference between driving at peak rush hour traffic and other times. During the rush hour, some drivers may become impatient and this could lead to mistakes being made.
Location – Are you driving near a school where kids may run across the road without looking for cars. Or are you driving on a narrow country road where you may face a flock of sheep on the next bend.
Other road users – The traffic signal may show you the green light which gives you the right of way, but will the driver emerging from the cross road stop at the red light. It looks like an old car – will its brakes work. Or a driver may indicate to turn left and he/she does not know that the indicator is on. If you believe the other driver’s indicator and pull out into the road, there may be a collision. When you are unsure what another driver may want to do, leave lots of space between you and the other vehicle.
Pedestrians – Care must be taken with pedestrians. They may not hear an oncoming vehicle. If you see a football inthe road or a child’s bicycle, then there is a good chance that there are kids playing somewhere.
Cyclists – They can be hard to see in some conditions and are known to overtake on either side in slow moving rush hour traffic. They can suddenly change direction to avoid a puddle or a hole in the road.
Motorcyclists – Like cyclists, they can be hard to see in some conditions such as rain or if they approach from the direction of the sun where they could become practically invisible. When entering a round about, a quick scan will normally identify the presence of other cars in or about to enter the round about. But do you ask yourself: Are there any motorcycles?
Large vehicles – Buses and trucks have blind spots. Never assume that the driver of a lorry can see you, just because you can see him or her. Long vehicles may need more space when turning or driving round a round about.
Animals – Take care when coming across animals on the road. Noise will scare them and make them unpredictable. When a road sign warns of horses, expect to see some.
Driving defensively is not all about what happens ahead of you while you are driving. Even when the road ahead is clear, you need to drive defensively. For example, it is winter and the road may be frozen over and you may be ice skating in your car. If you are unaware of this, you could be in for a surprise when there is a bend in the road or you need to apply brakes. Or it has been raining heavily and a patch of road ahead looks very wet. But it could be a two inch flood and unless you are slowing down immediately, you will be taking your car water skiing.
Bright sunlight, fog, rain and snow can seriously affect your visibility. The thing to remember is, if you can see another car, it does not mean that the driver of the other car can see you. For example: If the sun is shining behind you, the oncoming car will be clearly visible to you, but its driver will not see you very well, if at all.