Advanced Driving or also known as defensive driving is a more
advanced form of training that motor vehicle drivers can take,
over and above the mastery of the rules of the road, and the
basic mechanics of driving. Its aim is to reduce the risk of
driving by proactively avoiding dangerous situations, despite
adverse conditions and/or the incorrect actions of others. This
can be achieved through adherence to a variety of
general-purpose rules, as well as the practice of specific
Listed below are a few of those techniques, and a few words
Rule No. 1 - Pay Attention!
vehicle develops thousands of foot-pounds of energy. YOU as a
driver have the responsibility not to use that energy to injure
or kill others, or damage their property. Paying attention makes
it possible for you to see, recognize and avoid the hazards
lurking on the road; these are the three basic elements of
defensive driving. The primary attribute necessary for a safe
driver is alertness, and paying attention is the most important
driving task because it helps create the time you need to
recognize hazards and avoid a collision.
Rule No. 2 - Do
not Trust Anybody!
We have met the enemy and he has us. You
can never rely on what the other driver will do. Think back to
all the mistakes you've made while driving over the years. Think
ahead to the ones you know you will make in the future. All the
other drivers are just like us! Don't trust them! While you are
driving, keep a wary eye on the other guy and leave yourself
plenty of room. Anticipate the mistakes he might make and be
ready for them. Eventually, he will! Because he's just like us!
When you are driving on "autopilot," you have turned control of
your vehicle over to those other drivers - you are at their
mercy. Their fate is your fate.
Rule No. 3 - Don't speed!
Driving at a higher than reasonable speed increases your risk in
two ways: it cuts your reaction time and results in more
"stored" energy (that must be dissipated in any collision). You
should consider if the risks are worth the gain. This is the
science of math and physics—you cannot bend these rules. Each
incremental increase in speed reduces your ability to react in
time to hazards, because you may be covering distance in less
time than it takes to react. Normal reaction time is between .75
second and 1.5 seconds, on average. Average reaction time
distance at 50 mph would be approximately 83 feet. At 70 mph, it
is over 115 feet (over 7 modern car lengths). These numbers do
not include braking distance, just reaction time. The average
difference in reaction-time distance from 50 mph to 70 mph is
about 32 feet. If you were relying solely on braking, any hazard
you encounter within the reaction distance is already a problem;
you can't react quickly enough to miss it. This is particularly
important at night, when darkness restricts your visibility. Do
you know at what distance your headlights will illuminate a
hazard? How is your night vision these days? When headlights
finally light up a road hazard, it is often too late to avoid
it. Many experts would tell you that even 50 mph is too fast for
conditions at night, on any dark roadway.
Rule No. 4 -
Sloppy driving breeds mishaps! Most everyone
knows the basics of the traffic laws; signaling, proper lane
position for turns, turning into the proper lanes, complying
with traffic signs (like "No U-Turns," "No right turn on red,"
etc.), driving to the right except when passing, passing across
double yellow stripes, really STOPPING for stop signs, and many
others. Drivers ignore them for the sake of expediency every
day. We are so impatient to get about the details of our lives
that we don't take the time to do it "right." One estimate I've
seen is that average drivers commit 2.5 traffic violations every
mile they drive! But, those pesky, nit-picky driving rules ARE
Most important rule – Respect all the driving
rules that your country’s legislation has.
The list could go on for yet another fifty or more rules, but
these are considered the most important of them all. More rules
and details on how to attend a defensive driving course can be
found on the following sites:
About the Author:
Steve Armstrong is editor of
provides resources on
defensive driving information and courses.