What is Defensive Driving & Why is it Important?

Defensive driving is a skill and driving style that driver uses in order to increase their level of safety on the road and avoid accidents. When you are driving defensively, you are using safe driving techniques and strategies to keep yourself and your passengers safe from road accidents and other traffic hazards.

Essentially, defensive driving is all about preventing car accidents.

You can ask any motorcyclist and they will tell you that defensive driving has probably saved them from a motorcycle accident a few times already. Most motorcyclists have to drive defensively all the time, because even a small mistake may change them forever.

Defensive Driving Basics

So, you understand what defensive driving is, the question is, how do you drive defensively? Most defensive driving courses will teach you the same few basics which we have gathered here. Reading about defensive driving basics is not the same as learning how to drive defensively and we encourage anyone who is interested, to find a defensive driving course near you.

Below are the basics covered in almost all defensive driving lessons:

Psychological factors – defensive driving starts with mood. You have to be in the right frame of mind to drive. Driving while stressed, emotionally distressed, and angry, or even tired can be dangerous. Defensive driving lessons will help you develop and maintain a positive attitude behind the wheel despite how you may feel when you get into the car. There are subtle tricks you can use to get into a better mood before driving.

Human-created factors – these include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol which can lead to fatal accidents. Enrolling in a defensive driving lesson will make drivers aware of the impact of alcohol or drugs on their behavior, motor skills, and judgment. This phase also discusses topics related to allowable blood alcohol levels and the repercussions if found driving under the influence of dangerous drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Seems like a no-brainer but it’s always worth learning more about.

Traffic collisions – during defensive driving lessons, drivers are taught how to exercise preventive measures and sound judgment to lessen the risk of vehicular crashes. Drivers are taught to be aware of environmental hazards, right of way, sharing the road among other motorists, vehicular emergencies, proper stopping distance, and more.

Traffic laws – regardless if you are a newbie or an experienced driver, learning your state traffic laws will aid you in your driving regardless if it is a short or a long trip. State-specific traffic laws will save you money and the hassle of earning a traffic violation ticket.

Anticipating – learning to anticipate other drivers based on physical and behavioral cues. These cues help you determine your course of action before any issues arise. You will react with precision, and avoid an accident before they happen.

Reaction – If you are unable to predict, you will learn to react to dangerous situations beforehand. To do this, you must always be aware of your surroundings while paying close attention to the possible turns you can make to avoid a car accident.

These are just some of the basics you’ll learn when you attend a defensive driving course.

Learning to Drive Defensively 

A driver is taught how to reduce driving risks by identifying and anticipating situations based on present road situations and environmental conditions.

Taking a defensive driving course can help you avoid future car accidents and also eliminate points from your license if you have received a number of traffic violations.

In some states, defensive driving lessons are available through virtual classes while some states require lessons in classroom settings. Driver’s safety programs and defensive driving lessons last at least 4 hours, but some extensive lessons can last up to 8 hours.

Why Is Defensive Driving Important?

It is no secret that driving defensively can provide safety to all motorists on the road. That’s right, you’re not only protecting yourself and your passengers when you drive defensively, but you are protecting others on the road.

Defensive driving is all about practicing safe habits when behind the wheel. Moreover, it is about paying attention to avoid car accidents and other issues on the road.

Why Practice Defensive Driving

  • Reduces the dangers associated with driving
  • Reduces the likelihood of an incident or a collision
  • Enables you to take proactive action in avoiding untoward incidents
  • Enables you to anticipate hazards by giving yourself ample time to react
  • Save costs related to fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance
  • Avoids the rear of your car from getting bumped by another driver

Why Drive Defensively?

Aside from avoiding imminent dangers on the road, here are basic reasons why a driver needs to practice defensive driving.

Safety – when you practice defensive driving, you are practicing safety. Simple as that. Overall, you can avoid injury or fatality on the road when you follow the traffic rules and practice safe habits at all times. If an insurance company will be able to determine that you are showing good habits, not being in many accidents, and having a lower risk for the company, then you will surely be insured cost-effectively.

Avoid tickets – driving defensively will also let you avoid the ticket as you are more likely to follow the rules on the road. As an added bonus, these tactics will also help you save money on those dreaded traffic tickets. At the same time, this will also have an impact on your gas mileage. You will be surprised that your car will have fewer problems and will likely last longer due to being defensive while on the road.

Lastly, the driver should be aware of state traffic laws and regulations to protect him or herself from committing traffic violations or accidents that will put him/her and others in harm’s way. If you or someone you know was injured in an auto accident, call the car accident lawyers at Steinger, Greene & Feiner and let us get you the compensation you deserve.


About The Author

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

The Florida BarFlorida Bar Young Lawyers DivisionMillion Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates ForumBest Workers Compensation Attorneys in MiamiBest Car Accident Lawyers in MiamiLawyers of distinction

Sean J. Greene has recovered more than $150 million in the past 10 years for clients. He specializes within the firm in wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice, and product liability cases. Sean has represented coaches and players in the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) who have been victims of personal injuries. In 2001, after winning a trial on liability, he recovered $11,200,000 for the family of David Griggs, the former Miami Dolphins player who died in an automobile accident in Broward County, Florida. He has received the highest distinction of an AV® rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, which recognizes Sean as possessing “Very High-Preeminent” legal ability with “Very High” ethical standards. Additionally, he is a member of the prestigious Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum whose membership is limited to trial lawyers who have achieved a trial verdict or settlement in the amount of $1,000,000 or more. Sean is widely known in South Florida, as he cohosted the TV program “Your Legal Rights” and lectures throughout the state of Florida on various legal issues.