Along with other drivers on the road, it’s best to keep an eye out for road debris and overall road conditions. There isn’t a concrete set of rules for remaining a safe driver; safety just needs to be practiced each day. Safe driving principles rely on constant learning, adaptation, and awareness. It is all a part of defensive driving, which is the art of anticipating problems and responding ahead of time. This can help you protect yourself and other drivers from dangerous situations. The goal is to be aware of potential threats and prepare to deal with them before they arise.
Whether it was the local back roads or the highway, we’ve all come across road debris. Tree branches, tires, mattresses, clothes, what have you—no matter where you live, cluttered roads can be a concern. In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that over 800 drivers died in the U.S. because of “non-fixed objects,” such as road debris. The most common concerns include flying car parts, items falling out of vehicles, and fallen trees from tornadoes and storms.
Again, it is important to maintain road awareness in high speed areas. Often, drivers are alerted to debris before they even come across it by other drivers. You may notice cars starting to slow down while trying to navigate around the object, but if you suddenly come across a foreign object, try not to slam on the brakes. Stopping suddenly can be more problematic and could cause a multi car accident. Instead, try to maneuver around the object slowly and carefully.
Avoid making any sharp turns as this can result in losing control of the vehicle. You never want to put yourself or anyone else in any unnecessary danger. Even if you don’t suspect danger, continue to remain cautious and drive safely. While on the road, you should always:
- Stay alert and pay attention to potential hazards.
- Scan the road ahead without losing focus.
- Avoid tailgating to give you and other drivers enough time to react.
- Avoid any assumptions because what’s obvious to you may not be obvious to others.
When dealing with road debris, you should always respond calmly, patiently, and courteously. On the road, one bad decision or a lapse in judgement can quickly result in a disaster. Anticipating problems ahead of time can protect you as well as others on the road. To improve defensive driving, practice it daily.
Think you or someone you know is in need of Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is a Margate driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.
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