You may have heard the term "defensive driving" before, but how do you go about being a defensive driver? It seems like it should be the opposite of "offensive driver." But while you'll probably not want to go out of your way to offend anyone on the road, there's a little bit more involved with driving defensively.

Defined as "driving to save lives, time and money" on, defensive driving is all about being proactively safe. If you are a defensive driver, you're always alert, engaged and free from distraction while behind the wheel.

Tips on How to be a Defensive Driver

While there's no guarantee that accidents will never happen on the road, there are measures you can take to keep yourself and others safer. Here are a few things that every defensive driver does in order to avoid collisions, injuries and worse.

1 – Look Ahead as Far as Possible

Obviously, you can only see so far down the road even on a perfectly clear day. And, when it's rainy, foggy or snowy, your vision may be quite limited. However, you should always be looking. If you're able to see an obstruction or accident before you're right up on it, you'll have more time to plan. Many collisions might be avoided if enough drivers made themselves aware of what's going on in the distance.

2 – Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Don't you hate it when another driver is right on your bumper? Well, don't do this to other people. Not only is it annoying and distracting, it's also unsafe. If something should happen up ahead, you won't have time to react if you're following the car in front of you too closely. Ideally, if you're traveling at a speed of 65 mph+ on the highway, there should be room for several cars between you and the next driver. Yes, this may be impossible during rush hour traffic, but do your best.

3 – Don't Allow Yourself to be Distracted

Of course, it's very dangerous to do anything on your cell phone while driving. So, resist the urge to text, make calls or go on social media while behind the wheel. But there are other things that you can do in your car that are just as distracting as using a cell phone. If possible, you should avoid adjusting your music, eating, grooming and engaging in animated conversations with passengers.

4 – Always have an Escape Plan in Mind

Sometimes, even if you've taken every precaution you can, the unexpected happens on the road. You can't control other people or objects, after all. What might you do, for example, if a dog should suddenly dart out in front of you? Or, even worse, what would your plan be if another driver lost control just ahead of you? These are questions that you need to ask yourself when you have some downtime. You can't possibly come up with a perfect solution to every imagined scenario. However, you can at least come up with ideas about what actions you might take if you find yourself in the middle of an emergency situation.

Vehicle Safety Starts with what You're Driving

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