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What is Defensive Driving?

Posted by Mark G. Gardner on June 8, 2018 in the category Training

What is Defensive Driving

During the past 27 years we've developed professional driver education and training for dozens of leading transportation companies. Most of the curricula was custom-designed not only for the type of vehicles being driven, but for our actual client as well. The principles and concepts of these programs, however, always remained constant.

At AvatarFleet, we instruct the theory of Defensive Driving for our driver safety programs. Defensive driving, as defined by the DMV, is a driving technique that includes:

  • Looking ahead and expecting the unexpected
  • Controlling your speed
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Preparedness for the reactions of other drivers
  • Driving safely for weather and/or road conditions
  • Being alert and distraction free
  • Watching and respecting other drivers

We rarely give second thought to these ideas above, so to help you understand what your drivers are up against on the road, let's introduce the alternative: Offensive driving.

Offense driving causes accidents. Drivers practicing this "technique" (bad habit) are rude, selfish and will give you a one-finger salute when they cut you off. They run up from behind and try to intimidate you to move over and get out of their way.

Chances are you've seen one of these drivers in the past 24 hours, and your drivers have probably already seen about 20 of them already today. Offensive drivers are uneducated, and they’re the ones wreaking havoc on the roads.

Professional drivers are taught defensive driving.

Defensive driving begins with the right mindset. Drivers are taught to let the other guy win and allow for the mistakes of others. They don’t care about getting a thank you and they save offensive drivers from their own unsafe behaviors.

"Defensive driving begins with the right mindset. Drivers are taught to let the other guy win and allow for the mistakes of others. They don’t care about getting a thank you and save offensive drivers from their own unsafe behaviors."

Defensive driving requires certain skills, like gathering a lot of information in a timely manner to avoid surprises and conflicts.

Our system of LLLC, relies on two important principles: Look Ahead and Look Around. Our professional drivers are taught to Look Ahead at least 15 seconds to see what’s going on way out in front to avoid any surprises. Look Around gives the driver the additional information they need to make adjustments and avoid conflicts. These two vital skills, Look Ahead and Look Around, provide professional drivers with the information needed to make good decisions.

Our third principle, Leave Room is perhaps the most important. In a perfect world, our drivers Leave Room on all six sides of their vehicle. And, the more room they leave, the safer they are.

Finally, as a courtesy to others, our fourth principle is Communicate. Using signals, lights eye-contact and a tap in the horn we let other drivers know we’re there and what we’re going to do next. This gives the other guy a chance to drive defensively.

Good defensive driving education and training begins with simple concepts, like LLLC, that can be easily memorized and habituated. These principles in practice, can help save a life out on the roads.

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