What Are the 3 Basic Principles of Defensive Driving?
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Top 3 Defensive Driving Rules

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The aim with defensive driving is to minimize risk and increase safety for yourself, your passengers, and anybody sharing the road with you. It’s also a good way to keep your auto insurance costs in check by reducing your odds of being in a serious accident or having significant vehicle-related damage. Visibility, space, and communication are the three basic principles of defensive driving. The experienced agents from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of car insurance in Chula vista residents rely on for high-quality service, explore these principles further below.

1. Visibility

Even the most advanced vehicles on the road today can only do so much to keep you safe if you’re not driving defensively. The first step you can take to become a more defensive and safe driver is to keep your eyes moving and get the big picture. Get into the habit of regularly looking in front of, behind, and beside you while you’re behind the wheel. Also with visibility, pay attention to:

• Mirrors – Properly adjust your mirrors so you can get the visual assistance you need to fully see what’s around you as you drive.
• In-car distractions – Minimize in-car distractions that could divert your attention from the road (e.g., music, conversations with passengers, etc.), and avoid texting and other electronic distractions.
• Your headlights – Use your headlights when it’s appropriate to do so to increase visibility when driving in conditions that minimize your ability to see, such as rain, fog, and darkness.

2. Space

If you’re not maintaining sufficient space around your vehicle, you could have an unintended accident if a car in front of you brakes suddenly. This can also happen if you follow vehicles in front of you too closely while driving or changing lanes. One way to maintain appropriate space as you drive is to use the three-second rule by:

• Picking a stationary object such as a telephone pole on the side of the road
• Watching for when the vehicle in front of you passes that object
• Counting how long it takes for you to pass the same object—it should take at least 3 seconds in dry, clear conditions

Allow even more space (4–6 seconds) between your vehicle and others in front of you when roads are slick. Do this if you’re driving behind large vehicles like commercial trucks as well.

3. Communication

By communication, we mean making yourself seen and clearly conveying your intentions as you’re driving. This means doing things like using your turn signals in a way that gives other drivers plenty of time to see them when you’re changing lanes and turning. Also, use your horn when necessary to get another driver’s attention if he or she is clearly not paying attention in a way that could affect you. 

Driving safely provides a number of benefits, not the least of which is the reduced risk of being in an accident. If you’re involved in an accident, it’s essential to have reliable auto insurance in San Diego drivers know they can trust the team from Altra Insurance Services to be there when they need assistance. For a free quote, give us a call today at (800) 719-9972.

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