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What is Defensive Driving?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Apr 07, 2022

The United States is home to more than six million car accidents annually. Vehicular accidents in the United States are a major public health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each day in the country, there are 90 people that lose their lives in some type of traffic incident. When compared to crash data out of Australia, Austria, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, the CDC explains that the U.S. has the highest death rate from car accidents.

This year alone in the state of Tennessee, the amount of traffic accidents reported is up by 9.6% from where it was at the same time last year. Traffic accidents are a real problem in Tennessee like they are across the nation. The amount of destruction and devastation that traffic accidents inflict can be substantial. There are things drivers can do to reduce their risk for an accident like defensive driving. What is defensive driving? It is a responsible and proactive approach to getting behind the wheel. Still, accidents can never be completely prevented and if you were in a crash in the greater Nashville area, call the Nashville car accident attorneys at Labrum Law to schedule a free consultation at (615) 338-9500.

How Does Defensive Driving Work?

Defensive driving is a behavior that every driver should engage in any time they operate a motor vehicle. It is the act of being alert and aware of the dangers that exist on the roadway and responding by using safe driving tactics. Drivers should always check their surroundings, remove any distractions, and be prepared for unexpected situations to take place.

Defensive driving strategies cannot prevent every accident from taking place. This is because a driver can only control themselves not any other driver or all fortuitous situations that may arise. However, it can be a powerful tool for drivers to help minimize the chances that they will be the victim of a car accident.

What are Defensive Driving Strategies?

Given how deadly crashes can be, the following approaches to driving could save lives.

Giving Enough Distance Between Other Cars

Conditions on the road can change quickly and without much notice. Whether it is inclement weather that becomes severe or if traffic comes to a quick stop, keeping space between cars provides ample opportunity to react to the situation. If there is little room between cars, even the quickest reaction may not be enough to avoid a crash.

Expect Others to Drive Irresponsibly

Drivers should not just assume that others on the road are going to be also engaging in safe driving practices. So instead of believing that everyone is taking extra precautions, drivers should do it themselves. How can this be done? Examples would be always assuming that a driver does not see you in their blind spot or when you are passing them. Perhaps another driver is not using their signals properly or at all. People pass and change lanes all of the time without notice to the rest of the traffic because they fail to use turn signals. Watching not just the car directly ahead but also checking how traffic is looking beyond can help a driver adjust their speed and space.

Be Aware of Your Entire Surroundings

To be completely alert to everything that is happening around you, not just one car or one fixated spot. Many things can happen while driving including children darting out into a road, for instance, which could turn into a tragic accident if a driver does not acknowledge kids playing on the sidewalk.

Do Not Drive Inebriated

With marijuana being legalized across the country the risk of driving while inebriated on drugs or alcohol is increasing. If a driver has ingested any type of drug, including over-the-counter medicines, that alter their ability to function at a safe level then driving should be out of the question. Likewise, never drive after consuming too much alcohol. The same is true for feeling sleepy and exhausted. This is because studies have shown that tired drivers can be just as dangerous as intoxicated ones.

Always Use Your Headlights and Signals

Drivers should make their cars visible and their intentions well known to other drivers. This will allow others to notice a driver's car and respond better to the car's actions. Signals and headlights can help.

Avoid all Distractions While Driving

Unless there is an emergency situation, drivers should only be focused on the act of driving and nothing else. So put down the handheld devices, avoid eating or putting on makeup, and do not engage in anything else while driving that diverts attention. These things should be strictly avoided.

How Prevalent are Tennessee Car Accidents?

Understanding what defensive driving is can better prepare drivers when they are operating their vehicles. So far in Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that there have been 4,875 crashes which resulted in 1,030 deaths. There have been 131 large truck crashes that had 140 fatalities. The TDSHS also states that one in three deaths from crashes is a result of inebriation. While one in six accidents that produce injuries is also related to intoxication.

Because reckless driving is something that can be avoided, it can also be said that in many instances where negligence was a factor, the loss of lives that resulted could have also been prevented. If you were the victim of a negligent driver's action and that caused your crash and your injuries, consider reaching out to the Nashville personal injury lawyers at Labrum Law for more information on what options are available for compensation.

Speak with a Nashville Car Accident Attorney Today

What is defensive driving? It is one of the best ways to stay safe on the roads. However, if an accident happens, speaking with an experienced car accident lawyer in Nashville could help you understand your legal rights. Victims of car crashes can call the Nashville car crash lawyers at Labrum Law at (615) 338-9500 to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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