No matter what driving course you take, your instructor will emphasise safe driving, and focus on the tenets of staying safe while on the road.
But certain driving courses place additional emphasis on safety. These courses, which are commonly referred to as defensive driver training, go above and beyond the minimum requirements for a new driver’s license. You don’t have to take one of these courses in order to get your license, but it’s a wise idea. Studies show that drivers well-versed in driving defensively are involved in accidents at a much lower rate than drivers who are not.
The best way to understand defensive driving is to take a course. But before you decide that such a course is right for you, here is a look at the basics of defensive driving.
- Paying Attention to Other Drivers
The core principle of driving defensively is that when you are on the road, your safety is not entirely in your own hands. Getting safely from point A to point B requires that you drive well, and that you interact well with other drivers on the road.
Unfortunately, some of the drivers you interact with on the roadways will not be driving safely. In these courses, you learn how to anticipate their actions and navigate around them without incident.
- Keeping Your Distance
The majority of accidents that result in injury involve more than one car. It follows that the best way to avoid an accident that might injure you or your passengers is to keep your distance from other cars on the road.
Now obviously, it is impractical to always stay away from other cars. But no matter where you are driving or what type of traffic conditions you’re driving in, you can keep your distance from other cars. For example, when you are on a highway, you will notice that cars tend to clump up and drive in clusters. Defensive drivers avoid these clusters, and try to stay in the gaps between them. When driving on crowded city streets, defensive drivers stay well behind the cars in front of them, and let aggressive drivers pass them by.
- Anticipate the Accident
Defensive drivers understand that there is always a chance of an accident. Accordingly, to avoid getting in a wreck, they try to foresee dangerous situations, and drive in ways that mitigate them. As an example, while driving in the rain, a defensive driver would understand that there is a chance of hydroplaning, and reduce their speed. While driving in areas with limited visibility, defensive drivers are especially vigilant to avoid a collision with something in the road.
Because defensive driving is not a part of the required Drivers Ed curriculum, you may choose to skip it. If you’re interested in taking normal driving lessons in Perth for example, which has the most minimal requirements, there is really no need to spend additional time on defensive driving. However, if you want to be the safest driver you possibly can be, it’s wise to spend the additional time learning to drive defensively.