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What is defensive driving

Defensive driving involves learning various techniques that enable the driver to avoid potential problems on the road. Adopting a defensive driving style can also help you save on fuel costs.

What is involved?

Essentially driving defensively is not only about driving sensibly and safely yourself, it's about anticipating the behaviour of other road users. We have all seen drivers make crazy manoeuvres, like cutting straight across traffic lanes to get to an exit on a motorway or pulling out at a T junction without looking.

Part of any defensive driving training will be about noticing the driving behaviour of the drivers around you. Things like people dodging in and out of traffic lanes with barely half a second of indication first. People who drive way too close to the vehicle in front at high speeds, or someone who is barely managing to stay in their own lane because they are chatting on a mobile phone. The defensive driver will be looking out for all these things around their vehicle, and will always be prepared to take evasive action should any of these people cause a problem for themselves or others around them.

The general rule of thumb in these situations is to always keep your distance and think about what you would need to if that person does something really stupid.

How to be a better driver

Here are few tips that can help you become a better driver.
  • Take your time when manoeuvring. Consider any manoeuvre carefully before you make it, signal early and take it smoothly

  • Stay calm. Aggressive driving is rarely good driving and don't let other drivers intimidate you

  • Keep a safe distance from the car in front. Keep at least 2 seconds between your car and the vehicle in front

  • Use your mirrors and keep an eye on the drivers around you, especially if they are driving in an erratic or careless fashion

  • Be a considerate driver. Always indicate in plenty of time, use your mirrors often and don't drive too close to the car in front

  • Adhere to the speed restrictions and roadside warning signs

  • Don't drive if you are tired. Fatigue will impair your judgement, so take regular breaks and stay alert

  • Avoid drinking any quantity of alcohol before driving. Any amount can reduce your ability to drive safely
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