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10 Defensive Driving Tips to Keep You Safe on the Road

If you’re a safe driver who always wears their seat belt and obeys traffic laws, that’s great! But it’s not enough. South Carolina motorists must also be great defensive drivers so they can protect themselves against road hazards. Here are 10 defensive driving tips that everyone should follow.

1. Be prepared

When you enter the car, it’s important to make sure your body is at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Make sure the height of your seat and steering wheel allow you to comfortably see your surroundings. Adjust the rearview mirror and side mirrors so they give you the best possible views. Adjust the radio, air conditioning/heat, GPS directions, and anything else before you start moving so that you limit possible distractions on the road. 

2. Stay aware 

You must always remain aware of your surroundings so that you’re prepared to react if a driver is being reckless or you encounter another obstacle. Check your mirrors constantly. You should also make sure you’re aware of anything your car might need, such as gasoline, oil, air in the tires, or general maintenance. 

3. Always be in control 

Being in control on the road allows you to react quickly to any potential obstacles, so it’s important to avoid alcohol, medications, and other substances that could delay your response time.

4. Look ahead & scan the road

Look as far down the road as you can, not just at the car in front of you. Scan the road by looking forward and in your side mirrors and rear-view mirror. This will give you a full picture of what’s happening around you. 

5. Don’t drive if you’re too tired

Every year, thousands of collisions in the US are caused by drivers who are drowsy. In fact, when a person has been awake for 20 hours, they’re just as dangerous as someone who has a blood alcohol level of 0.08%. If you start to feel sleepy or your eyelids start to droop while driving, pull off the road.

6. Control your speed

You should always drive with the speed of traffic. If you drive too fast or too slow, the difference in your speed will give you less time to adapt to what other drivers are doing. Keep at least a three-second following distance from the car in front of you, to give yourself adequate time to react to anything happening in front of you. Increase your following time by an additional second if you’re driving at night or in inclement weather, or if you’re following a large truck or motorcycle. 

7. Never assume that other drivers will obey traffic laws

Just because you’re a safe driver doesn’t mean everyone else is. If you assume that other drivers will break the rules and anticipate the worst case scenario, then you’ll be better prepared to respond quickly and calmly when you need to.

8. See & be seen

Always pick the lane and position that maximizes your chances of seeing and being seen.

9. Stay focused

It’s easy to get distracted in the car, especially if you’re driving with passengers. Pull over to talk, text, eat, put on makeup, or do anything else that might distract you while driving. 

10. Keep calm

Staying calm when you witness another driver’s reckless or negligent behavior is essential. It will not only help you think clearly and rationally, but it will increase your chances of successfully avoiding an accident. Distance yourself from problem drivers as much as you can, and never allow your temper to get out of control. 

Injured in an accident? Contact McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates

Even safe drivers who practice defensive driving strategies can be the victims of accidents caused by other people. When a person is involved in a collision caused by someone else, they often experience serious injuries and are faced with mounting medical bills, rehabilitation costs, disfigurement and scarring, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. 

If you’ve been injured in an accident in South Carolina, you are highly advised to contact a personal injury lawyer who can build a strong case and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation. South Carolina auto accident lawyers know all the tricks that insurance companies use to try to avoid paying out a fair sum, and they’ll do everything they can to make sure you receive what you’re rightfully owed.

The attorneys at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates have been fighting for South Carolina auto accident victims for more than four decades. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we would love to give you a free case evaluation.  

Call McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates today at 888-353-5513. It won’t cost you anything to see if we can help.®