13 Jul 2013

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Have you ever pondered the rationale behind the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety (2011-2020)? Do you know that one of the reasons is the forecast that annual deaths by 2020 will be 1.9million if no action is taken? Do you also know that by 2015, road traffic crashes will be the leading health burden for children over the age of 5 in developing countries? Do you know that presently, road traffic crashes is the number one cause of death for young people worldwide. As a parent, I must confess that these are scary facts. But while you ponder over these, kindly share with me this material on defensive driving sourced from the web. We do hope that as you read through, we can count on your changed driving habits in our strive to tilt road traffic crashes in the Country.

Defensive driving (DD) is a marketing nickname for a reasonable and responsible vehicle operating techniques. I actively do not like the term. It implies that someone is on offensive, and driver is on defensive. Normally there is nobody offending the driver, but himself. And we don’t talk about a tactical driving, do we?  I prefer to get away from defense and use the term ‘’responsible’’ or prudent instead of ‘’defense’’. It conducts the intended message without implying enemy-enemy relationship, and therefore, lose-lose approach. Running a website on car driving safety tips, I don’t have much choice however. Almost nobody is going to search for responsible or reasonable driving. Very few people are searching for the safe one. Hence, I’ m going to use the officially accepted term throughout ‘’fun and Safe’’.

Defensive Driving is not a rocket science. Basically, it is all about minimizing the odds of accident happening. Things like checking tyre pressure or consulting a map in advance definitely go to the science part and can be taught and reproduced easily in no time. On the other hand anticipating other drivers’ moves cannot be digitized, and depends heavily on your experience. Still, this s a skill that one can acquire. It just takes some time and dedication, and the time is in the order of years rather than weeks or months.

You cannot just attend a Houston defensive driving courses and promptly become a safe driver. Or ‘’Defensive driving Texas ’’, or any other DMV or court mandated course for this matter – such online courses in Texas major cities like Dallas, Austin, or Houston are jus the most popular on the internet for some reason. If anything, such a course just gives you some information. Providing this information is correct, it still has to be internalized through years of putting it to use. Only when checking the mirrors every now and then, keeping the right distance depending on internal and external factors, and most other basic and advanced vehicle operating techniques become driver’s second nature, he mature and become a safe one.

The major part of DD is anticipating other driver’s moves. Master driver does not need to react to dangerous traffic situation at the last moment. He constantly assesses all what is happening on the road. He anticipates how things are unfolding, and acts to avoid the danger way before it becomes evident to novice drivers. You can easily tell master driver from the average one by watching them braking. Master driver is never forced to apply the brakes in emergency. Slight touch of brake pedal or even just a drop of gas takes him out of dangerous situation well before it develops. For the novice, almost any braking is an emergency one.

Another important part of DD is clearly communicating your existence and intensions to other drivers. I always drive with my low beam on, night or day, (I switch to high bean during night if needed of course). This way, I’m sure fellow drivers see me. I always try to buy light coloured cars for the same reason. Using your blinkers is not an option, it is a way of communication your intentions when you travel on the road. And your stop light should be always in order. If your action or existence take surrounding drivers by surprise, your odds of getting into an accident are extremely high.

Contrary to what government wants you to believe adhering to speed limits is not a part of real world DD. Speed limits are set for a number of political and monetary reasons, and usually have little, if anything, to do with safety. Often on highways even average driver can drive safe well above the set limits. Inside neighborhoods, though, speed limits are usually too high to be safe.

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