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What does it mean to drive defensively?

Staying safe on roadways in Illinois can be a challenge. After all, drowsy, drunk and distractive drivers seem to be virtually everywhere these days. Fortunately, you probably do not have to leave your safety to chance. With defensive driving, you increase your odds of avoiding an automobile collision altogether. 

Motor vehicle accidents can cause serious injury or death. They can also destroy your personal property. The National Safety Council evaluated both accident statistics and driving habits when compiling its recommendations for defensive driving. If you employ the organization’s techniques, you may never have to worry about finding yourself in the middle of a dangerous situation. Here are some ways you can drive defensively: 

1. Understand unexpected events can occur 

Whether flying down the highway or cruising through town, you may not be able to foresee every possible traffic hazard. While it may sound clichĂ© to expect the unexpected, you should understand that unexpected events frequently occur. By moderating your driving to account for unpredictable situations, you better position yourself to handle them. 

2. Watch your speed 

The faster you go, the less time you have to react. While complying with posted speed limits is always a good idea, road and traffic conditions may necessitate slower speeds. Therefore, always leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination without driving too fast. If traffic, weather or road conditions require slower speeds, slow down. 

3. Avoid distractions 

Smartphones, radios, maps and other driving distractions take your eyes off the road. Simply put, if you are not paying attention to all areas outside your vehicle, you may not be able to avoid a collision. Accordingly, if you need to avert your attention, stop your vehicle in a safe place before doing so. 

4. Resist road rage 

When encased in a heavy vehicle, drivers often do things they would never do in a face-to-face encounter. If you become angry, you cannot effectively operate your car or truck. Therefore, resist the urge to engage in road rage. Further, plan for pedestrians and other motorists to behave irrationally. By keeping some distance and respecting others, you remove yourself from potentially hazardous situations. 

Because accidents can be stressful, painful and expensive, you must do what you can to reduce your risk of an automobile collision. You do not have to be a professional driver to limit your exposure on roads in Illinois, though. By employing some defensive driving techniques, you stay safe.

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