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Defensive Driving Techniques

The basic principle behind Virginia defensive driving is awareness.  If you are aware of the dangers that lurk on the road, you can respond in a manner that protects you and your passengers.  Constant and focused awareness of your surroundings, road conditions, your car’s maintenance needs, and the behavior of other drivers can keep you alive behind-the-wheel.  Defensive drivers are the exact opposite of aggressive drivers; defensive drivers are calm, cool, collected and possess the strength required to avoid, not confront, an aggressive driver.  Defensive Drivers ‘forgive and forget.’


Stress and fatigue can be a dangerous combination when they are present in a driver.  Some techniques for combating the effects of stress and fatigue are singing, playing soothing music, stretching before entering your car, or simply waiting to drive until you are more at ease with yourself or current situation.   Sure!  This may delay your arrival, but you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure that do, in fact, arrive!


Another defensive driving technique used by defensive drivers is planning ahead for your trip.  If you are easily irritated and frustrated, it is not advisable to leave for vacation in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic.  Of course rush hour is avoidable if you’re commuting to and from work; therefore, plan ahead and avoid the unexpected.  You can do this by checking the weather conditions, allowing extra time for your commute or trip, have an alternate route handy in the event you encounter construction or other obstacles or are diverted from your path, and understand the rules of the road and traffic signs that pertain to the area in which you are driving.  Defensive driving does not always allow us to avoid unexpected situations, but it helps us to navigate and overcome them when we encounter them on the road.


Defensive driving means being aware, being prepared and being courteous; these techniques could save your life.  Also, don’t assume that everyone on the road is a defensive driver; in fact, assume the opposite and stay alert to your surroundings.  Maintain your vehicle, plan ahead, avoid driving when you are under stress and understand the damage that your vehicle can cause if, even for a second, you are not in complete control of it or of yourself.  Arrive safely by driving defensively.

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