Defensive driving is the practice of actively trying to reduce your risk of an accident while on the road by maintaining a state of vigilance, paying attention to the actions of other drivers and ensuring that you can evade an impending accident or avoid one altogether!
Defensive or advanced skills are popular with security professions, such as bodyguards and prison wardens, where defensive driving skills are practised as a matter of course – anyone attempting to draw too close to the vehicle to cause it to slow down or stop may well be trying to help a friend escape or attempt a kidnapping. However, you do not have to be at risk of abduction or danger to learn how to drive better. Defensive driving is beneficial to all, helping drivers to take a proactive approach to the safety of all on the road, not just themselves.
There are several types of advanced drivers courses that you can sign up for, the cheapest being online courses which you have to work through by yourself, with little instructor interaction. Instructor led programs are much better as the instructor will be able to see how you drive and tailor the lessons to suit your particular weaknesses. Instructor-led classes tend to begin with a test to see where your skill levels are – what a pleasure after the six to eight hours of training to see the overall improvement in your scores!
All areas of motoring skills will be examined to make sure that you have a full understanding of how to use the roads properly, including recognizing all the various road signs and understanding the Highway Code. The instructor will take you out on the road and issue driving instructions that will teach you how to be constantly aware of your surroundings, use your mirrors frequently and properly, and leave appropriate distances between yourself and the vehicle in front at all times. He or she may even take you to an area where you can practice emergency scenarios without having to worry about interfering with the smooth flow of traffic.
Improved road safety is not the only advantage gained from taking a defensive driving course; some insurers will reduce your premiums if you can show them an up-to-date advanced driver's certificate and some employers require their staff to undertake safe driving classes before issuing them with a company car. Occasionally, a judge will waive a fine or other legal punishment if the vehicular offender takes a course in defensive driving to prevent a recurrence of the offence.
- Defensive driving improves road safety for you and all of those around you! If every driver practised safe and efficient methods of operation the roads would be a much safer place!
- Instructors, roadside assistance companies and driving schools offer courses in safer driving – ask around for the best deal and make sure you get on with the instructor.
- By taking the course you can benefit from cheaper car insurance, special rates and, of course, greater personal safety!