You may have heard the term “defensive driving,” but what does it mean, and why is it so important? Keep reading to learn how you can be a safer driver through following defensive driving practices.

Defensive Driving Defined

This type of driving involves using driving practices and skills that minimize risk to yourself and others. 

Let’s break it down a little further. The word “defensive” describes something that guards or protects. Think: A military fort, or a linebacker in a football game, or a public defender in the legal system. Each of these things serves to protect against an attack of some kind. 

“But, wait,” you may be thinking. “I’m not being attacked when I drive. Why do I need to defend myself?” 

The answer is that driving is an activity that comes with inherent risks. There are all sorts of potential threats and hazards on the roads, including inexperienced and distracted drivers. Driving defensively protects you, your passengers, and others on the road from your own driving errors and the driving mistakes of others. 

How Can You Become a Defensive Driver? 

Defensive driving is the difference between driving passively and driving in such a way that you anticipate the unexpected and guard against it with certain driving behaviors. And although many times people are required to successfully complete an in-person or online defensive driving course because of a traffic ticket, there are things any driver can do to improve their safe-driving skills on the road. 

First, know and follow all the rules of the road. 

Recognize that driving laws are there to keep everyone safe. Following them is your first line of defense. This includes coming to a complete stop at stop signs, observing the speed limit, and following the “three second rule,” for starters. 

Second, prevent distractions. 

Anything that shifts your attention, your eyes, or your hands from the task at hand puts you and others at risk. Texting while driving, messing with your GPS settings, or eating your breakfast while behind the wheel may not seem like risky behavior, but it is.  

Third, don’t antagonize or respond to aggressive drivers. 

Someone tailgating you or giving you rude gestures? Don’t bat an eye. Remain unemotional, safely maneuver to another lane if possible, and otherwise do your best to stay out of their way and let them move on. 

Fourth, take a defensive driving course. 

If you’ve been handed a speeding ticket or other moving violation, then taking a class can reduce the points on your driving record and minimize your fine. It can also qualify you for a lower insurance rate. At Stop and Go Driving School, we welcome anyone who would like to learn how to drive defensively and safely and who would like to brush up on Arizona’s driving laws. Our four-hour class is available online or in-person at one of our convenient locations. 

Ready to become a better defensive driver? Check out the defensive driving courses we offer at Stop and Go Driving School, or give us a call today.