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The D’Angelo Guide to Defensive Driving

By admin on August 4, 2016

shutterstock_132949907In the US, over 100,000 people receive a speeding ticket each day, and that doesn’t even account for other violations. [1] These are just the drivers that get caught! Think about this for a moment – there are probably millions of drivers in the US each day driving unsafely and risking injury to themselves or others.

We would all be better served if every driver on the road practiced defensive driving. Simply put, defensive driving is staying aware, alert, and safe as you drive. And it’s not just something for new or ‘bad’ drivers to use either, most of us could probably benefit from a refresher course in the practice.

There are steps you can take each time you get behind the wheel that will contribute to the overall safety on our roadways. By practicing defensive driving tactics, you make the road safer for the people you share it with.

Let’s review some defensive driving basics:

·        Stay Alert – This one may sound obvious, but it’s probably one of the hardest for many to follow. Staying alert means you aren’t focused on conversations with your passengers, you aren’t talking on the phone or texting, and you aren’t fiddling with stereo adjustments.

·        Safe Following Distance – By keeping several car lengths between yourself and the vehicle in front of you, you give yourself plenty of time to react in the event of a sudden stop or other incident.

·       Scan Ahead – If you’re alert and giving yourself plenty of space between cars, you’ll be able to sweep the horizon for trouble and avoid it. By noticing hazards, slowdowns, or other events in the distance, you can greatly reduce the risk of a collision.

·        Check Your Blind Spot – Every driver should know about the need to check their blind spot when changing lanes, yet failure to do so is a common cause of crashes. Your side view mirror doesn’t tell you the whole truth – you need to quickly check over your shoulder to make sure there isn’t someone sitting in the spot. A crash due to someone driving in the blind spot where you try to move is often quite serious.

·        Let Tailgaters Go – Don’t hit your brakes in an attempt to get the driver behind you to back off, that could easily lead to a crash. When you have the opportunity, change lanes or pull over and let them pass. It’s the safest course of action and gets you away from their unsafe driving.

·        Avoid Bad Drivers – Don’t try to challenge drivers on the roadway that are causing problems. Give them a wide berth and stay out of their way. The closer you are to them when they cause a crash, the more likely you are to be involved.

·        Be Courteous – Let people in when you come to a natural merge point. Not only is it a nice thing to do, it’s safer than trying to cut them off to keep them out of your lane. Allow plenty of space for drivers around you to maneuver. If someone is courteous enough to give you a break on the road, whether you have the right of way or not, use the hand waive to say thank you.


Being a defensive driver might save your life, and it makes everyone you’re sharing the road with safer too. Wouldn’t it be nice to reach the ultimate goal of zero deaths on Colorado roadways?

Avoidance is the primary goal, but collisions still happen. If you’ve been injured due to another driver’s carelessness, I want to help. Reach out today and let’s talk.