• Karolena

Practice Defensive Driving

When I took the course for receiving my motorcycle license, I would say about 90% of it was how to be a defensive rider. Defensive driving is something we don't put enough stress on today. Perhaps people are too quick to play the blame game--he came into my lane, or too quick to react--slamming the horn.

Here are some tips on how to be a better practicing defensive driver:

1) Be present. Always be mindful. The text can wait, the phone call can wait. Set the air conditioning and music before you pull out the drive way. Leave the heated discussions outside the car until you get to your destination or place you can talk.

2) Be on the look out. Mistakes are a part of life and they happen to all of us. Other drivers will make mistakes. Your mirrors are your friends.

3) What is the rush? Our society puts this rush on everything. We are too busy rushing everywhere to enjoy life. If you're going to be late, send a text, a phone call. Own up to the mistake and learn from it. Give yourself enough time to get to point A to point B. If you get there early, now you have five minutes to breathe, think or relax.

4) Blinkers! Use your blinkers and use them properly. Put on your blinker with enough time for the other driver to see it, and understand your intention. Many time I see drivers put on their blinker as they are already changing lanes. This defeats the purpose! If you need to cross three lanes of traffic, start crossing way before the urgency arrives so you can move over one lane at a time. You need to give the other drivers enough reaction time to your presence.

5) LET IT GO. Some people are going to be horrid. Don't give your power over to them. Count your blessings. You are not their parent. And they are not your responsibility. My father always told me, it's not your job to correct people. Road rage is real.

6) Maintain proper distance. The NHTSA estimates that 1/3 of traffic accidents are caused by tailgating, and could be prevented with proper distancing.

7) Don't drive while under the influence. The NHTSA estimates 28 people die daily in the U.S. from drunk driving accidents. Even over-the-counter medication can alter response times. Do an honest self assessment. You have a responsibility to yourself, your passengers and other drivers. Do not get in the car with someone who appears to be so.

8) Adjust for rain. In Houston it is critical to understand how to drive in stormy weather. The roads are going to be slick and wet, be sure to have your tires checked out prior to hurricane season. During a storm give yourself extra space between other drivers. Learn how to detect and react properly to hydroplaning. I saw a great example of this in Alaska when I was with an experienced driver, the confidence she had handling the situation has given me more confidence. Share your experience with others.

9) Look ahead your vehicle. Keep yours eyes far enough down the road to be aware of any dangers that may lie up ahead. Erratic drivers, slowing traffic, highway debris.

10) Maintain your vehicle! Breaking down on the side of the highway can be a very scary experience. You can help avoid this by making sure you take your vehicle in for periodic check outs. Many people want that bing-bam-boom oil change, but you're robbing yourself of the opportunity to have a professional look it over. You want someone to spend time looking things over and potentially catching something that could leave your stranded or cause an accident whilst driving! Overheating. Belt snapping. Tensioner giving out. Balljoint. Tire blow out. So many things can happen, give yourself a leg up.

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