There is no such thing as a perfect driver. Everyone occasionally becomes distracted or makes a poor driving decision, making New York roads hazardous. While you can take steps to improve your own driving, you must also learn how to drive defensively, knowing other drivers will make mistakes too. Defensive driving can help save you from a potentially devastating accident and make the roads a safer place.
6 Defensive Driving Tips For New York Drivers
The official definition of defensive driving is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” It is designed to help you avoid accidents and react to the situations that can occur on the road. Defensive driving has been proven to reduce accidents in New York and across the country. The National Safety Council has been offering courses since 1964, to improve road safety, and lower your overall car insurance costs. Some basic techniques can help you become a better driver, before even taking a course.
1. Look Up
It can be easy to fall into the habit of only watching the car directly in front of you, but looking further ahead is a better driving strategy. While obviously you still must pay attention to the cars immediately around you, looking out towards the horizon can help you spot traffic slowdowns, upcoming construction, lane changes, and other situations while you still have plenty of time to react.
If the car in front of you stops suddenly, will you have the time to safely brake? Most experts recommend keeping a 3-second gap between your car and the car in front of you, to give you ample time to react. In poor weather conditions, this time should be doubled.
3. Look for Bad Drivers – and Avoid Them
You must always assume that there are bad drivers on the road with you – and if you look, you can probably find them. Problematic behaviors include speeding, tailgating, and rapid lane switching. Whenever possible, stay away from these vehicles, even if it means slowing down or pulling over to allow them to pass you. If you see an especially dangerous driver, pull over and call the New York police to alert them. Avoid driving in another driver’s blind spot, and look both ways before crossing an intersection, even if you have a green light.
4. Minimize Lane Changes
Accidents occur more frequently when switching lanes than if you stay in your chosen lane. Though you can’t always avoid switching lanes, try to minimize the number of times you must do so, and be especially careful during your lane changes.
5. Know How to Swerve
Sometimes the only way to avoid an accident is to swerve your car out of the way. This split-second judgement must consider the object or situation in front of you as well as cars or obstacles in other lanes. Being constantly aware of your surroundings can help you swerve safely.
6. Minimize Distraction
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicular accidents in New York. Not only does it increase the risk that you will make a poor driving choice, it makes it harder and slower for you to react when another driver suddenly stops or swerves. Try to keep distractions to a minimum – this includes phones, food, music, and anything else that takes your mind off the road.
Staying safe on the road takes more than simply following the New York driving laws. The decisions made by other drivers can significantly impact your driving – and your life. Defensive driving helps you to avoid accidents by keeping you alert to your surroundings and teaching you how to react in a variety of situations.