In our routine life, we all need to get out of the house, be it for professional or personal reasons. Once you are out on the road or at the steering wheel, you are certainly prone to the risk of road accidents. Research highlights that in America, 6 million road accidents occur on a yearly basis. As a result of these collisions, nearly 40,000 people lose their lives and another 2 million face injuries in a year.
Reasons for Collisions
One of the paramount reasons for accidents on the road is the deviation of attention. It is pertinent for drivers to keep their attention completely focused when at the wheel. Mobile phones have grown to be one of the biggest sources of distractions. Attending phone calls or answering text messages while driving can prove to be disastrous for others and oneself. Another reason for collisions is aggressive driving. Driving in haste or with a violent temperament should be a complete taboo on roads. Towing the line of safety, one norm that should be followed by all drivers is defensive driving.
The fundamental parameters of defensive driving include intelligence, wisdom, vigilance and rationality. When on the road, every driver should be well aware of his or her surroundings, should be able to anticipate another driver’s move and be equipped for a defensive reaction to safeguard his passengers and himself. Let us look at some of the characteristics of defensive driving.
Characteristics of Defensive Driving
Keep Concentration – As discussed earlier, one of the basic reason causing collisions is distraction. It is believed that 80 percent of road accidents occur owing to deviation of attention. It is absolutely vital to be focused on the road and keep your senses alert. If there is a phone call that must be attended, make sure that you are either using hands-free or pull over to have that conversation. Everything else can wait, life cannot.
Beware of Over Confidence – Do not let overconfidence set in. Your driving skills, maybe par excellence, but you are still clueless about another driver’s competence. Maintain distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
Avoid Intoxication – Your senses and reflexes need to be at their best while driving. Therefore, consumption of alcohol and drugs should be a complete ‘no’. In fact, even drowsiness could be an issue while driving. A blink of an eye and you could land in big trouble.
Install Safety Equipments – Safety gadgets such as airbags and ABS brakes must be installed in your car. Always wear the seatbelt and ensure that the doors are locked.
Adhere to Traffic Rules – One of the most basic factors of driving, but alas the most neglected. Every driver should ensure that he or she adheres to all traffic rules.
Check and Move – Before you move on the road, ensure the proper serviceability of your brakes and engine.
Courses Enforcing Defensive Driving
Defensive driving courses are an excellent medium to improvise upon one’s driving calibre. While some states conduct courses only in a classroom set up wherein classes are conducted for four to eight hours in a day; others allow the flexibility of online courses as well. There is availability of videos for the same as well. Enrolling in such courses comes with the added advantage of reductions in the insurance rates or benefits associated in terms of issuing a ticket. Some of the organizations that conduct defense driving courses include the American Auto Club (AAA) and The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The expenditure associated with these courses ranges from 15 to 45 US dollars. Certain specific areas that are covered in these courses are knowledge of road accidents, the dynamics involved in collisions, control of one’s psychological faculty, human aspects, especially pertaining to DUI, appropriate safety gadgets, state laws related to traffic and know-how of the prevention techniques.
Travelling is always fun as it takes us to our required destination, sometimes office and other times to friends and relatives. Taking a bit of precaution and keeping alert could make this journey safe and comfortable. In contrast, even a minute form of carelessness could result in fatal repercussions, the scars of which may not heal for years to come. Life is precious; let us do our best to cherish it.