One of the hardest lessons for new drivers to learn is that driving your own vehicle safely and by the rules may not be enough to keep you out of danger. To avoid some common accidents you have to get into the head of the other drivers around you and drive defensively.
Defensive driving skills come with experience, but after a while, you can learn to predict the bad moves a careless driver, a distracted driver or a reckless driver is going to make and you can often steer clear of their mistakes.
Defensive Driving Around Kentucky
A lot of the best practices for preventing accidents come from defensive driving strategies. It’s the art of knowing what to do when potential hazards pop up in front of you on the road. How to safely handle those predictable mistakes other drivers make on a daily basis. The goal is to prevent collisions by being ready for almost anything because that’s what today’s distracted drivers will throw at you. Anything!
Several safety organizations around Kentucky teach defensive driving courses for students preparing to get their driver’s permits and licenses. Kentucky Safe Driver provides these courses to students and you can register on their website. The organization even has cash giveaways for students who have completed their four-hour class.
The State of Kentucky also offers two-hour online defensive driving courses for those that have already gotten into trouble on the roads. These classes are sort of extra credit for offenders. A certificate of completion can help knock points off a driver’s license after a traffic violation.
Young Drivers at Risk on the Road
You don’t have to look far to find statistics to drive home the importance of teaching young drivers the defensive driving basics.
Defensivedriving.org found that, tragically, six teens die every day in motor vehicle crashes. Young people represent only 14% of the United States population but account for 28% to 30% of motor vehicle injuries in a year. Over 2000 teens were killed in the U.S. in a single year and nearly 250,000 were injured in crashes.
Being a teenager out on the road for the first time can be a frightening experience, but making sure he or she has the defensive driving skills they’ll need can make a world of difference when threats inevitably appear.
The Basics of Defensive Driving
The most basic safety standards like wearing a seat belt and not looking at your cell phone have hopefully been driven home by now. But some of the best tips for avoiding accidents may not be obvious to a new driver.
Young drivers will be nervous and may have their brain racing as they head out on the streets. But in time, some of these precautions can become second-hand, even at a young age.
Here are just a few of the many strategies that can help save a teen driver put in a bad situation:
- Don’t follow too closely. It seems obvious, but many adults don’t follow this rule. The biggest threat to drivers is the car in front of them. The closer you follow traffic the less time and space you’ll have to react to a stopped motorist or a distracted driver. You should always be at least two seconds behind the car in front of you.
- Have an escape plan. Anytime you spot a potential hazard ahead, immediately check the lanes beside you, your blindspot, and notice the traffic that’s oncoming. If you need to move over quickly, you’ll have a good idea of the safest direction to steer your vehicle.
- Stay out of a driver’s blind spot. You might feel a little tingle of danger when you’re in another vehicle’s blind spot for more than a few seconds. You can picture that driver being careless and coming over on you after only checking their rearview mirror. Either slow down or speed up to avoid staying in this risky zone.
- Stay behind tailgaters and reckless drivers. If drivers are tailgating you, speeding, or swerving through lanes, do your best to get out of their way and stay back. If they’re behind you, you can’t control how close they get. When you’re in back, you can slow down or stop to put distance between you and their reckless decisions.
- Avoid slamming on your brakes. Always think of the car behind you. You may hit the brakes and do a great job avoiding an obstacle in front of you but if the car behind you doesn’t have enough warning to stop, you’ll be in an accident anyway and could get seriously injured. Stay far enough away from the car in front of you that you won’t have to slam on your brakes if they come to a sudden stop.
- Watch other cars at intersections and stop signs. If you have the green light or right-of-way you shouldn’t have to worry, but intersections are one of the most common scenes for accidents. Always watch crossing traffic to see if drivers actually stop when the light changes red. This may prevent accidents multiple times over your driving career.
Defensive Driving: a Kentucky Way of Life
In Kentucky, we have the best of both worlds with scenic country byways and the brights lights of city streets. They each can lead to fun and excitement for a new driver. Accidents are always possible in any part of the state, but the key is to steer clear of dangerous situations on the road.
That can mean more than just obeying every traffic law. Sometimes as safe drivers, we have to think like other drivers and bail them out when they make a bad move. And hopefully, someday, a defensive driver will do the same for you.
We are a Kentucky Lawfirm Protecting Accident Victims
If you end up injured after an accident caused by a careless or reckless driver you should not face your recovery alone. An at-fault driver should be held responsible for his or her dangerous decisions on the road. A local attorney can help you file a claim against the driver and his or her insurance to get compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have that knowledge and a combined 100 years’ experience in helping clients get the compensation they’ll need to fully recover. To discuss your case, call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC today, at (800) 937-8443 or click here to contact them online.