#50 Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is defined by the National Safety Council as, “driving to save lives, time and money in spite of the conditions around you, and the actions of others”. Driving to save lives seems particularly appropriate since motor vehicle accidents cost 40,000 people their lives each year and are the single largest cause of occupational fatalities. No less than 42% of all occupational fatalities involve transportation incidents.
We clearly need to address this area of safety and the best way to start is by adopting a few basic defensive driving principles:
- Make allowances for the lack of skill and lack of knowledge on the part of other drivers on the road.
- Recognize that you have no control over the unpredictable actions of other drivers and pedestrians.
- Recognize that weather and road conditions are tremendously variable, changing from moment to moment and each yard of the road, especially in foggy, slick and icy conditions.
- Be willing to concede the right of way, make concessions to avoid a collision, avoid driving errors, wear a seat belt at all times and stay alert.
A good driver takes responsibility for others in the vehicle, making sure that they too have buckled-up. Good drivers always use turn signals, use rear-view mirrors before changing lanes, observe speed limits, concentrate on driving and don’t tailgate. More very important factors to remember include keeping the vehicle well maintained, taking care not to overload it and being careful to secure a load properly.