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What Does It Mean to Be a Defensive Driver?

driver driving defensively by adjusting rear-view mirror

Most drivers feel confident in their abilities behind the wheel, which can then cause them to let their guards down. However, even if you are the best driver around, it is essential to always remain vigilant and take any precautions needed to avoid other reckless drivers.

You’ve probably heard the term “defensive driving,” before, be it from driving school instructor, a parent, or even a personal injury attorney! But what exactly does that mean?

What is a Defensive Driver?

By definition, defensive driving is simply a set of driving skills, techniques, and habits that allows you to defend yourself against negligent motorists, poor weather conditions, and just simply bad drivers. On top of trying to prevent an accident caused by your own actions, being a defensive driver means trying to prevent accidents caused by other drivers by anticipating potential hazards or situations around you. Remember, one of the rules of defensive driving is to stay vigilant.

The Duties of All Drivers

Defensive driving is not just a recommendation but a legal obligation for all motorists. Every time you get behind the wheel and hit the road, you assume a legal “duty of care” to all road users. This means that you are obligated to drive with care and ensure that every single action you take, or any action you do not take, does not cause injury to another person or damage their property.

A standard of care is considered any action that a safe motorist and reasonable person would have taken in any given situation. While no driver is expected to behave perfectly in every road situation, there is a minimum standard duty of care that all drivers must meet. Defensive driving means taking this duty into consideration as you drive.

Failing to do to could mean a breach of duty; this person also could be found to have acted negligently in the event of an accident and may be held liable for damages. Even more importantly, it can lead to an increased risk of an accident, injuries, and fatalities.

How to Drive Defensively

According to the defensive driving meaning, you should never completely rely on other motorists to drive how you would expect them to. Instead, one of the rules of defensive driving is to always be on the lookout for hazards so that you can make any last-minute maneuvers needed to prevent an accident with another driver. So, to drive defensively you should always pay attention to other drivers, and what they are doing.

Here are some steps you can take to be a defensive driver and improve your safety and the safety of those around you.

  1. Maintain a safe speed that allows you to quickly brake if needed.

  2. Be alert of what is going on around you at all times; do this by eliminating distractions behind the wheel.

  3. Always use your turn signals, headlights, and other safety equipment.

  4. Follow all traffic rules.

  5. Be aware of other drivers, riders, and pedestrians.

  6. Check your car before you use it.

  7. Adjust your driving to the weather or road conditions you are driving in.

  8. Always be on the lookout for impaired or reckless drivers.

  9. Plan ahead for the unexpected.

Injured in a Car Accident?

Unfortunately, even the most defensive drivers in the world can take all the safety precautions possible, yet still become accident victims because of other negligent, careless, or reckless drivers.

If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, turn to the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley for legal advocates on your side. We understand that any accident can lead to physical, emotional, and financial turmoil. Our legal team is here to guide you through the legal process so you have the best possible chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries.

Let us take the stress off of you so that you can focus on healing. Contact our Northern California car accident attorneys at (530) 413-0245 to get started with a no-fee, no-obligation case review.

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