08/02/14 by Jackie Russo
Ask anyone you know if they consider themselves a good driver, and chances are you'll hear an affirmative answer.
That's because everyone wholeheartedly believes they're a good driver but they look at driving as more of a routine or something done out of habit rather than the exact science behind the act itself. Truthfully, driving isn't just steering and pressing the gas or break pedals but instead should be viewed as a systematic approach to paying attention to not only what you're doing but everyone else on the road around you.
Defensive driving often is a term that is used haphazardly when most of the time we don't take into consideration that it goes above and beyond just being safe or studious when you're behind the wheel. If you truly believe you're a prudent driver, then you have to take a look at a few above the rudimentary and think about everything else that goes above and beyond the norm.
1. The safety cushion: This one, hands down, is a practice that you've either never heard of don't do. The safety cushion simply means that when you're stopped at a red light or stop sign you leave at least one car length in front of you, should an issue arise that forces you to pull forward. If you're a bumper to bumper driver, then you aren't a fan of the space cushion. The space cushion not only helps you prevent accidents but potential car jacking as well. You should leave that car length in case you see another vehicle traveling behind you that doesn't look as though it is going to stop. The same cushion could prevent anyone from stealing your vehicle if you have some room to pull forward to avoid the confrontation.
2. The 4 second rule: This one is similar to the space cushion in theory but has to do with the space you leave when traveling or moving at speeds that are above 35 miles per hour. The four second rule is simple: find a spot on the highway, like a road sign or mile marker, and make not when the car in front of you passes it. Then, count to four slowly. If you make it to that same mile marker, road sign or spot before four seconds, you're following too closely. You should have at least four seconds of road between you and the next car in line. Much like the space cushion, you want to proceed behind other drivers cautiously and if you're traveling right behind them, you have no time to react.
3. Pulling forward when parking: This might be the one rule you use and don't even realize that you're doing it. Searching for a spot to park is frustrating, and everyone seems content on finding the closest spot, when in actuality you should be searching for a spot that you can pull forward through and be positioned to not have to back up when leaving. Backing a vehicle is much more dangerous than having the ability to put the car in drive and go forward when you're leaving a crowded area or parking spot.
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