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On The Road

Driving Defensively, not Aggressively

Take a look at our tips on how to be defensive on the road to protect yourself, without being aggressive towards other drivers.

by Team Onlia

Driving safely often means driving defensively – but what does that mean, exactly? Defensive driving means anticipating the actions of other drivers and doing your best to be proactive, even if others on the road might be a little careless. Using safe and defensive driving practices will put everyone’s safety first, but sometimes the line between defensive and aggressive driving can get blurry. 

So, how can you ensure that you’re doing your best to drive safely by being defensive, not aggressive? Take a look at these tips to keep your driving in check.

Be observant

You’ve heard it time and time again, but we’re going to say it once more because it’s that important; keep your eyes on the road and pay attention to the cars around you. Being observant and keeping your eyes on the road will not only keep you safe, but it’ll help protect the drivers around you as well. 

For example, when you’re approaching an intersection, take a second to look at the traffic making a left turn as you’re going through the light. Drivers can underestimate how far away you are, and think they have enough time to make the turn. If you’re observant and notice them inching up to take their turn as you’re entering the intersection, you can react in time to prevent a collision.

Being observant requires little to no distractions. Looking down at your phone, eating, or looking for your favourite song while driving can take away from your attentiveness on the road. 

Those quick little glances down to check the messages in your group chat can lead to those heart-stopping moments when you slam on your brakes to avoid rear-ending someone – and you there’s no guarantee that you’ll always look up in time.

Be proactive, not reactive

This goes hand in hand with being observant. When you’re taking note of what other drivers are doing, you have the opportunity to react accordingly and do your part to help everyone stay safe.

You might be thinking, why should you go out of your way to prevent a collision that would be someone else’s fault? The truth is, as much as we try to be attentive drivers 100% of the time, everyone is bound to get distracted and make a bad judgment call at some point. We’re all human, and mistakes are inevitable. Reacting aggressively to these blunders on the road won’t do any good – they’ll just make for even more unsafe conditions.

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Be considerate 

The key to driving safely is remembering that we need to share our roads with everyone who uses them – including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Everyone has somewhere to be, and unless you’re in an emergency vehicle, your journey doesn’t take precedence over anyone else’s. 

Make an extra effort to be considerate of other drivers when there’s bad weather. Some people are tenser bad weather when the roads are slippery and visibility is reduced, so remember to give your fellow drivers a little extra room, and take it slow. 

Don’t rush

When drivers are in a rush they might be a little more erratic, willing to cut people off and go over the speed limit. We can often view others as the enemy when we’re in this situation, but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re all just trying to get to our destinations. Remember to be courteous of others on the road. Otherwise, frustration will likely equal aggression.

Do you have any tips on how you avoid becoming aggressive while driving defensively? Leave us a comment on Facebook to join the conversation!

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