Three Important Techniques for Defensive Driving
Many young drivers believe that once their road test is over and they have received their license all practice and learning about driving stops. This, however, is very far from the truth. One skill that young drivers should continue to practice after they get their license is defensive driving. Defensive driving is a skill that goes beyond what is taught in driving school and can be crucial to keep teen drivers and their passengers alive while behind the wheel.
Practice Situational Awareness
Being aware of what is going on while driving while driving it very important to making sure teens are safe on the road. One way to practice this is by monitoring your surroundings and processing the situations near the vehicle and even what may be going on up ahead. Make sure to check mirrors and blind spots regularly, along with acknowledging what may be happening five to ten cars ahead – when a young driver is aware of situations that may lead to accidents, they are more likely to avoid them.
Knowing How to Swerve Properly
Tied in with situational awareness is knowing how to swerve. By looking ahead while driving, teens are able to identify something that may come out into the roadway and cause them to swerve if they do not have time or room to stop. When these situations arise, practice keeping ample space beside the vehicle. This space will allow the driver to swerve and avoid an object or person without consequently harming themselves or someone else. It is important to swerve smoothly and not abruptly if possible.
Recovering from a Skid
This skill, much like making an emergency lane change, requires practice and is best taught by a professional. Generally, in a front wheel skid, it is best to ease off the gas and onto the break – this will transfer weight to the front of the vehicle causing the wheel to regain traction. In a rear wheel skid, the opposite applies –the driver would accelerate gently to move weight to the back of the vehicle. Doing this seamlessly takes practice and a driving instructor can help teens learn the proper techniques.
When young drivers get behind the wheel by themselves the first time, they feel invincible. It is important, however, that these teens continue to practice defense driving skills to help make them better, safer drivers. By practicing techniques such as situational awareness, recovering from a skid and learning to swerve safely teens are much more likely to avoid accidents and other dangerous situations while on the road.