Top Five Defensive Driving Habits
Since football season recently ended, we’re all acutely aware of the value of defense when it comes to winning a game. In the driving game, the tactics are much the same--defense will keep you from getting creamed.
So, let’s take a moment to review some defensive driving habits. If we can save a life or keep someone from getting paralyzed from the neck down, all the better.
Take a look down the road
Looking down the road is especially helpful in a freeway situation, where even the tiniest amount of foresight can prevent a disaster. Over long distances, a driver can see quite far, a mile, even. In a more suburban situation, a driver won’t just see the tail lights of the driver directly in front of him; he will look at the taillights of vehicles two, three, or more cars ahead.
Big Picture driving
Look ahead. Look to the left, and right, and in your rearview mirror. Because one of the things drivers do, especially when they’re tired, is to stare straight ahead at one point without blinking. The result is that things will disappear from our vision. It’s called Troxler’s Fading or Troxler’s Effect. You can learn more about it here.
Since Troxler’s Effect will make things in a driver’s range of vision disappear when he stares straight ahead, it’s important to keep looking around.
Plan B -- an escape
We’ve all seen it: the car that swerves into our lane because he doesn’t see us, the accident that happens right in front of us, the dog or child who runs into the road.
Being intensely mindful is keeping your focus on the road when you’re driving. Mindfulness means you may have to pull off the road if you get a text, need to eat or to get directions.
Watch other drivers
It would be so easy if we had the roads to ourselves. But, the roads are filled with strangers, people who don’t have our best interests at heart and may be under the influence of something. They often operate as though they are part of your 'herd', by tailgating, driving right beside or in your blind spot. There is no way to know what they will do or even if it will be reasonable, so it’s prudent to keep a close eye out and anticipate that whatever they’re going to do, it’s going to be sudden, senseless, and stupid. So, the best thing to do is have a plan for their swift and crazy moves, and try not to indulge in these behaviors, yourself.