What is Defensive Driving, and Why is it Important?

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Auto

Every time you get in a car, you risk getting in an accident. Car accidents are the leading non-medical cause of death in the United States and many countries around the globe.

To mitigate this risk, many drivers use defensive driving techniques to avoid accidents. It is the collective responsibility of all drivers that get on the road to be safe and follow traffic laws and regulations, so read ahead to learn about the importance of defensive driving.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is a general phrase that describes multiple techniques drivers use to stay safe while driving. A simple summary of defensive driving doesn’t do much justice because there are many ways to practice defensive driving when on the road.

Aggressive drivers that are in a rush rarely consider other drivers on the road. They expect other drivers to get out of their way and do not follow basic road rules.

On the other hand, defensive drivers prioritize a driver’s cognizance of other cars and their surroundings. If a defensive driver sees a vehicle speeding or swerving, they move out of the way.

What are the most common defensive driving practices?

Keep track of other drivers

The first two tenets of any driving course are keeping your distance from other drivers and always watching them. Determine the speed of other drivers before switching lanes, keep an eye out for road hazards and see how other drivers react, and avoid tailgating.

Be sober

Alcohol and other substances reduce a person’s reaction time and vision, leading to a higher risk of getting in a crash. Defensive drivers make sure they are not impaired before driving.

Avoid night driving

Avoid driving as much as possible at night, and pay extra attention to other drivers and road hazards. Aggressive and intoxicated drivers more frequently show up at night versus during the day, despite less traffic. Sleepy driving is equally bad as driving under the influence, so don’t be afraid to take a power nap on the side of the road or call a cab.

Avoid distractions inside your car

Try to keep your car as peaceful as possible while driving. Do not use your phone, adjust things in the backseat, and interact with yelling children or pets while operating a motor vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road and always tell passengers they are distracting you.

Be careful when passing

Given that you should always keep track of other drivers and road hazards, take extra care when passing drivers. Always use the 3-second rule when determining another vehicle’s speed to ensure you do not hit them when changing lanes. Defensive drivers only use the rightmost lane, except when passing, and always signal when shifting to another lane, especially if they are trying to get out of the way of someone speeding.

Benefits of Defensive Driving

Less likely to get into accidents

Individuals who have completed defensive driving courses are less likely to get involved in an accident. Accidents are the fourth highest cause of death in Louisiana, and the total amount of fatalities and car accidents has soared from 2020 to 2021. Don’t be a statistic.

Safer communities

Aggressive and intoxicated drivers take the lives of countless people every year in Louisiana. You can keep your communities safe and avoid hazardous situations using defensive driving techniques.

Auto insurance discount

Individuals who complete a defensive driving course get an insurance discount. Additionally, Louisiana drivers with misdemeanor road infractions may be able to remove their records if they appear in front of a judge and have taken a defensive driving course. The cleaner your driving records are, the less expensive your insurance bill is.

Who should take defensive driving courses?

Ideally, all drivers should take defensive driving courses. A lot of time has passed since most people have completed their written tests for their licenses and permits, so having a refresher wouldn’t hurt.

Drivers with a history of aggressive tendencies, driving under the influence, new drivers, and permit holders should take defensive driving courses.

Upon the court’s approval on a case-by-case basis, judges can give Louisiana residents the option to enroll and complete an in-person or online defensive driving course to remove citations.

While unsafe drivers should attend defensive driving courses to make roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, an added benefit is that the low cost of attending and paying for a defensive driving course far outweighs the high cost of traffic violation tickets.

See also: Driving in Heavy Rain: Do’s and Dont’s

Always drive with insurance

While being covered by auto insurance is not part of defensive driving, auto insurance protects you, your family, and your car in other ways.

Thomson Smith & Leach Insurance Group has been family-owned and independently operated for over 50 years. We offer comprehensive, personal injury, liability, and collision insurance protection for all drivers. If you are looking for car insurance in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Abbeville, or Franklin, LA, contact us for a free consultation.