Defensive Driving Explained (with Tips and Techniques)

Accidents may often seem unavoidable, but quite often with a little bit of sensible decision making, you could avoid the worst of them, or at least make a bump smaller than it might have been. With the correct training in place, you could find yourself driving in a much safer manner, protecting not only yourself, but everyone around you in the process.

If your car has been caught out in an incident because you, or someone else, was not fully aware of their surroundings, then you might be trying to work out what to do with it now. Here at Scrap Car Comparison, we can find you the very best price for your battered old car or smashed up van in as little as 60 seconds, and with specialist buyers in all four corners of the country, we can even arrange for it to be collected absolutely free of charge. 

What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is the act of driving in a way that consciously reduces the dangers of being on the road. This is achieved by anticipating scenarios that could be dangerous, including situations brought about by bad weather and other motorists. Defensive drivers take a lot more notice of their surroundings, be it geographical or simply the way other road users are behaving. An example of this would be ensuring there is enough space between you and the car ahead, even when stopped. You never know what might happen on the road ahead, or what might come at you from behind when sitting in traffic. By giving yourself that little extra space, you’re keeping yourself and other road users as safe as possible.

What are defensive driving courses?

Defensive driving may, to Formula 1 fans at least, sound like something you’d expect to learn from Sergio Perez, but there are courses available for those wishing to learn how to be safer behind the wheel. Defensive driving courses are training sessions where you go beyond the usual spectrum of learning found in most driving courses. Rather than teaching you about basic mechanics or the rules of the road, you are taught how to anticipate the road around you. With greater awareness comes a greater ability to get out of potentially dangerous situations, and a defensive driving course will train you to naturally put yourself out of harm’s way as much as possible.

Does a defensive driving course lower insurance?

If you have taken an approved course and have the certification to prove it, then some insurers may reduce their premiums knowing that you’ll (hopefully) be driving in a manner that should greatly reduce your risks on the road. There is no set figure that this will reduce them by, but, as is the case with many elements of your insurance quote process, everything you can do to make you more appealing to insurers the better.

How to drive defensively

While we can’t provide you the full contents of a defensive driving course, we can provide you with a few tips and techniques to get you driving in a more defensive manner. Here’s just a handful of practices to follow to make you a safer driver:

  • Don’t start your engine until all passengers within the car are safely secured, including children and pets. Driving without a seatbelt securely fastened is against the law and thousands of lives are saved each year thanks to their implementation.
  • Check your mirrors frequently, particularly before any manoeuvres are made, such as pulling away from a standstill and parking.
  • Leave space around you at all times, allowing you to escape from any dangerous situations that may occur.
  • Always adhere to the speed limits of the road, but remember these are limits, not targets. Drop your speed accordingly in low light, such as at night, or when driving through bad weather conditions.
  • Keep focused on your driving at all times, keeping an eye open for anything happening around you – such as pedestrians and pets, or animals if on country lanes. Do not get distracted by other goings on in your car, such as the radio or passengers.
  • Always expect the unexpected. It may sound cliche, but knowing anything can happen can allow you to plan ahead for escape routes.
  • Always ensure you are well rested when behind the wheel. Tiredness can kill, as motorway matrix signs will tell you, and you don’t need us to tell you that you should never drive while under the influence of drink or drugs.
  • Assume everyone else on the road is a bad driver. This may sound harsh, but if you expect a car in front of you to run a red light or make an ill-advised overtaking move, then you can be prepared for when they do so.
  • If you are being hounded by another car, or you feel like they’re doing the wrong thing, don’t engage them in an argument or contest the right of way. Often it’s better to let them in and keep yourself out of trouble. Never try to race another car. 

Get the best price with Scrap Car Comparison

If you’re not sure your current set of wheels is best placed to keep you in the safest place possible on the road, or you’ve already fallen foul of someone who was clearly not trained in defensive driving, then Scrap Car Comparison is here for you. We have a nationwide network of scrap and salvage experts at our fingertips, all champing at the bit to get their hands on your car. All it takes is one phone call or a visit to our online quote generator and before you know it your broken vehicle will be a problem of the past.

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