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Keep alert and be prepared

Defensive driving involves being alert and prepared. It is crucial for drivers to remain alert to what is happening inside the vehicle as well as outside the vehicle. You should also be prepared to react to any condition should it present itself while you are driving.

Here are a few tips on how you can stay alert and be prepared for changing conditions:

  • Keep your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel
  • Scan the road ahead for problems
  • Check mirrors frequently
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Yield to other drivers who are determined to get there first

Defensive drivers are also alert and focused on their driving and prepared for anything that might occur on the road. Being a defensive driver means keeping your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel. You can’t be talking on the phone, thinking about other things, fiddling with the radio or CD player, or carrying on animated conversations with passengers. You also have to constantly look well ahead for changes in traffic or road conditions. If you see brake lights ahead, slow down and be prepared to stop. Keep an eye on what’s going on behind you, check your mirrors frequently for oncoming vehicles.

Always expect the unexpected when driving. That way, you'll never be surprised and you'll always be in control. Watch for other drivers making sudden moves. Keep alert for pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals darting out in front of you. If you're a defensive driver, you'll also yield to other drivers instead of challenging them to a dangerous duel. Think about the way you drive. Do you always use the best defensive driving techniques? Ask others to talk about the defensive driving techniques they use and learn from them.