you = defensive driver?
March 2, 2009 10:05am CST
as my friend and i were on the road, i noticed that she also slowed down when the car to her right slowed down. i asked why. she said it's part of being a defensive driver. if she didn't slow down, there might be someone crossing the street partly covered by the vehicle to her right that just slowed down, and she might hit the pedestrian. she said there are reasons why vehicles to your right slow down and being a defensive driver means anticipating those reasons. she also said that although an accident is not entirely "your fault," it's unfair to just blame the vehicle that slammed into you because if you were a defensive driver, you should have been able to anticipate. do you slow down when a vehicle to your right slows down as well? i have not seen many drivers who do that. drivers usually speed up to overtake when a vehicle to their right is moving too slowly. do you call yourself a defensive driver? i wonder how this phrase is defined as there are no objective criteria for it... if you have been in a vehicular accident, does that make you lacking in the area of defensive driving?
• United States
2 Mar 09
When I lived in Maryland and drove around the Beltway...a four lane usually congested highway...I definitely practiced defensive driving. The area where my job was was also heavily congested so, yes, I often slowed down if the vehicle to my right or to my left slowed down. I also watched the traffic up ahead so I would have a heads up if something happened in front of the vehicle in front of me. Defensive driving simply means that you're not just aware of what you are doing, you're aware of what's going on around you so that you have more time to react...to defend yourself. Even the best driver can be involved in an accident and it doesn't necessarily mean that he wasn't practicing defensive driving. I was in an accident where I ran into the side of another car who was making a left turn, crossing my path at an intersection. The fault was not his nor was it mine...the fault was in the design of the road (it was curved with bushes in the median strip so we couldn't see each other until it was too late) and the fact that the signal allowed for left turns on green. Mine wasn't the first accident at that intersection and eventually they changed it so that you could only turn left when you had a green arrow indicating that oncoming traffic was stopped.
5 Mar 09
hi, spalladino! yes, that's how i understand defensive driving as well. many people are not aware that when a vehicle beside you or in front of you stops or swerves, it may be because they are trying to avoid an obstacle on the road. so if someone doesn't heed those cues and drives right on, they might find themselves running over the obstacle that othe cars have tried to avoid. there are danger zones in my country as well. lots of them. sometimes, the roads are in very congested cities where diverting the traffic even for just one day (to fix the problem) would cripple transportation, so most of the time, we have to make do with signs that say "accident prone areas." i find it frustrating... why don't they build sound roads in the first place? oh well. hehe. ^_^
3 Mar 09
Most of the time I consider myself a defensive driver. Many times in the past I slowed down because the vehicle at the front slowed down. Sometimes there was a real reason such as a new pothole appearing on the rosd. Being alert to the surroundings is part of defensive driving. Reacting to changes in the situation requires focus and atttention. At times it may require moving away from a potentially dangerous situation. In my country we can sometimes encounter overladen vehicles or those carrying dangerous chemicals. If there is no real opportunity of overtaking them I would slow down to put a safe distance from them. Being in accident generally means we lost our focus or attention, resulting in a slow reaction to a change of events. Once I was driving at a safe distance in heavy rain. For more than twenty miles nothing happened, until the car in front braked suddenly as he was going down the other side of the slope. I braked and knew that I was going to hit the car at the front. I could have braked hard or swerved suddenly to the left, but there was a greater risk of me losing control of the compact. Several members of my family were also in the car. The compact suffered some damage while the car in front suffered none. In fact the other driver apologised to me for making a sudden stop. I consider what I did as defensive driving. It was a matter of being involved in a minor accident, or losing control and possibly getting the car damaged and family members hurt. all the best, rosdimy
5 Mar 09
that's true, sometimes braking like a madman is not the best answer. i wonder how strong the impact was. i've been in several vehicular accidents (as a passenger) and i'm always so jarred! i was once thrown out of my seat. one time, my mother was driving and heard a loud popping sound. she slowed down and pulled over. i started to ask why, then a truck came screeching down the road, crashing into other cars. apparently, the truck's front tire exploded and it lost control. i asked my mom how she whould have foreseen the accident as she could not have seen it (i was in front and i didn't see anything). she said after years of driving, she knows what exploding tires sound like, and she knows what happens after a tire explodes. wow, i'd love to be a defensive driver. hehe.