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What is Defensive Driving?

If you think defensive driving sounds like something that police officers might have to master before they can chase bad guys, think again.  Defensive driving strategies are being taught more and more in general lessons for first time drivers.  The focus is on teaching novices to be alert and responsible drivers who are in control from the moment they put on their seatbelts to parking the car and turning off the engine.

Defensive driving skills can be taught as part of a program of driving lessons from a professional qualified instructor, or as a separate “add-on” course.  The concept of novice drivers learning strategies such as safe driving distances, speed management and hazard awareness is recommended by all motoring bodies and experts, and most good driving instructors Adelaide will offer such training.

Defensive driving can include the following skills or strategies:

  • Staying alert.  Being aware of your environment – from the people in your car to the cars around you, the traffic conditions and rules as well as any hazards such as pedestrians or even the elements – is the number one tenet of defensive driving.  Knowing the road rules is one thing, but knowing when to check your mirror or being aware of a car driving erratically ahead of you can make the difference between being involved in an accident and getting home safely.  Although it sounds obvious, young drivers must understand that driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs will impair their thought processes and reaction times.  Being tired or sleepy while driving can often be just as bad as demonstrated by the number of fatal accidents that are caused each year from fatigue.
  • Avoid distractions.  Part of being totally in control in a car is staying away from distractions.  Young drivers will inevitably keep a mobile phone with them while they’re driving, however checking it regularly, answering it or texting whilst driving is both illegal and dangerous.  Eating, drinking, talking, putting on makeup or changing the radio station are all enough of a distraction to cause an accident or put a young inexperienced driver in a bad situation.
  • Learning how to drive with confidence

Experienced drivers tend to be confident drivers.  This is because it’s likely that they’ve been involved in numerous situations and have learnt the best way to cope.   Young drivers can panic when faced with a dilemma (such as passing a truck on a freeway) and make the wrong decision simply because they have not had enough experience.  Defensive driving means learning the strategies for dealing with such situations, calmly and with confidence.  Many times confidence for novice drivers can come from planning a driving route before they set out, noting obstacles or hazards, knowing what they may face and understanding how to deal with it.

Defensive driving isn’t just for experienced drivers.

Safe Driving


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