5 defensive driving tips that can save your life on the road
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Even the most experienced drivers are susceptible to hazardous road situations. Keep the family and yourself safe on the roads with these 5 defensive driving tactics.

Category: Miscellaneous Advice

Being a defensive driver is more than just following traffic rules. It means you know how to react in a dangerous situation, use techniques to stay safe and reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Every driver looks forward to a No-Claims Discount (NCD) on car insurance premiums. A higher NCD means lower running costs of owning a vehicle at the end of the day. Who doesn't want that?

Here are some tips on how you can achieve that.
1. Adopt correct driving positions

Ensure that your driving position fits you and makes you feel comfortable
Adopting correct driving positions will ensure that you are in the optimal spot to react in any hazardous situation.

Check that your:
  • Seat is adjusted to the correct height
  • Right leg is bent slightly
  • Arms are not fully extended when gripping the steering wheel
  • Shoulder blades are in contact with the back of your seat
  • Headrest is adjusted such that your ears are in line with the middle of the headrest
  • Seatbelt is strapped on before driving off
2. Maintain a safe distance

Depress the brakes to increase your following distance
Keeping a safe distance between you and the car ahead will give you ample time and space to respond to emergency situations.

Use the three-second rule as a guide to ensure that you have adequate space in front of you - count how many seconds it takes for you to pass the same spot as the vehicle in front of you. It should be three seconds. If you count less than three seconds, slow down.
3. Control your speed

Good speed control prevents road hogging and allows you to have a smoother and safer journey
This point might be a little self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised how often people disregard their speed on the roads.

Be constantly aware of your vehicle's speed and the speed limits of the road you are on. Remember to adjust your speed based on road conditions such as bad weather, traffic and roadblocks.

During normal driving conditions, keep pace with the flow of traffic and vehicles around you.

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4. Stay alert, be aware

Remain alert and make full use of your mirrors and always check your blind spots to avoid an accident
Be extra cautious and stay alert of your surroundings.

Anticipate potential obstacles by checking your mirrors regularly, monitoring your blind spots and those of other motorists as well, especially the cars in front of you. 

You should also be wary of cyclists and never react to road rage. These added precautions can potentially help you avoid danger.
5. Expect others to make mistakes

Be on guard for jaywalkers and expect to slow down for them
With this mindset, you will be prepared for any potential surprises that may happen on the road.

Do not let your guard down even if you have signalled your intentions - make sure you check your blind spot before changing lanes. Keep a lookout for cars that will run the red light and jaywalking pedestrians even if the light is in your favour.

What can you do to improve?

You may enrol yourselves for professional defensive driving courses offered by driving centres.
  • These courses go beyond the basic traffic rules to develop correct attitudes and impart essential techniques in dealing with potentially hazardous situations and road users. This helps drivers to react safely and appropriately when such hazards occur
  • The course consists of a theory and practical component which will take a day to complete ($289 at SSDC)
  • Note that attending a defensive driving course will not directly affect your car insurance premiums

Ingrain these habits into your driving routine and you could lower your risk behind the wheel.

However, it is still important to be covered with an insurance plan that best suits your needs, so you don't get any unwanted bills when an unfortunate accident happens.
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