What Is Defensive Driving and Can It Help Me Avoid Being in a Car Accident?

If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you’ve likely wondered if there was anything you could have done differently to avoid it. Even if you weren’t responsible for the accident yourself, there are all sorts of tiny decisions that may have affected the outcome. Defensive driving is a way to take advantage of as many of these little decisions as possible to boost your chances of avoiding an accident, even in instances where you’re dealing with careless, aggressive, or otherwise dangerous drivers.man practicing defensive driving

Sometimes, we’re faced with situations while driving that lead to an accident at no fault of our own. Following defensive driving tactics can help reduce the risk that these situations lead to an accident, but there will always be scenarios where an accident is unavoidable. In these cases, seeking an experienced car accident attorney in your area is a great reactive strategy when you’re struggling against negligent drivers and unfair insurance companies. While defensive driving is a great preemptive strategy to avoid the damages that come with a bad accident, be sure to seek out a Florida car accident lawyer when dealing with the aftermath.

Accident Statistics, and How Defensive Driving can Help

The NHTSA found that 94% of all accidents are caused at least in part due by human error. This is further broken down into recognition errors, like inattention and distractions, at 41%; decision errors, like speeding and passing improperly, at 33%; and performance errors, like overcorrecting or poor vehicle control, at 11%. The principles of defensive driving aim to address each of these categories, and beyond.

Some of the most common components of defensive driving classes or guides include some obvious concepts that you have direct control of. Examples of this are never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, never driving distracted, driving at a safe speed in all circumstances, and never driving drowsy. Beyond these more typical pieces of guidance, defensive driving also focuses on how you can protect yourself from the myriad of unpredictable dangers on the road.

Defensive Driving and Protecting Yourself from Unexpected Dangers on the Road

Core to the idea of defensive driving includes accident prevention techniques. These ideas are built around avoiding accidents and their associated damages as a primary goal. Most of these tactics are intended to account for as many unknowns about other drivers and their behaviors as possible.

Examples of defensive driving strategies include:

  • Maintain a safe following distance
  • Know how quickly your vehicle can stop
  • Know how certain weather may affect stopping distance and steering
  • Understand and obey right of way
  • React to environmental hazards appropriately and without panicking
  • Understand your reaction time and how it can affect your ability to maneuver well
  • Passing safely and staying within your lane when not passing
  • Constantly scanning surroundings for the unexpected
  • Anticipate that other drivers may not yield right-of-way or may not come to a complete stop, as appropriate
  • Anticipate that other drivers may not see you, especially when turning into traffic or changing lanes
  • Take notice of vehicles driving dangerously, including swerving, following too closely, or making aggressive maneuvers, and then try to avoid them
  • Never assume other drivers will behave rationally, always expecting them to do something surprising.

The last bullet point in particular is one of the harder lessons to convey in a simple, concrete way. Understanding that you are the only one on the road you can trust is a strange concept, but a helpful one when trying to stay safe on Florida’s roads. Unfortunately, laws and common sense simply aren’t enough to convince someone to drive in a safe, rational manner! 

In order to embed these concepts into your driving practice, it can often help to seek the help of a driving instructor.

Take a Defensive Driving Class

People with several driving infringements may sometimes be required to attend a defensive driving class in order to have certain driving privileges restored. Even if you’ve never received a ticket or been in an accident in your life, these classes can offer invaluable information and advice for any driver in a country where car accidents are one of the most common causes of death

While internet articles like the one you’re reading can provide all the information you need, a class with a trained instructor will help you actually apply the information in your day-to-day driving. These classes are a great idea for new drivers, drivers returning from a hiatus from driving, anyone getting a commercial driver’s license, or anyone looking to improve their odds at avoiding unnecessary accidents.

Defensive Driving Can Protect You – Most of the Time

Unfortunately, there will always be unavoidable accidents. Even when you apply defensive driving tactics every time you’re behind the wheel, some accidents just can’t be avoided. When you’re left dealing with the aftermath of an accident that you couldn’t possibly have avoided, you’ll likely want to hold the responsible parties accountable and seek the maximum restitution for your damages possible. 

Seeking an experienced lawyer to fight for you when even the best defensive driving tactics fail is one of the few options you’ve got when you’re dealing with negligent drivers and difficult insurance companies. If you’ve got medical bills piling up, pain and suffering keeping you from enjoying life, and lost wages from missed work, seeking a seasoned Florida car accident attorney can help boost your chances of recovering the maximum for your damages. 

The lawyers at Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd have helped many others dealing with difficult car accidents, and we want to help you too. Call us today at 866-460-1990 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to go over the details of your accident.

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