No matter how careful you are regarding road safety, sometimes the worst accidents can happen to you at the complete fault of another driver. That’s why it’s important always to be aware when you are driving and constantly be attuned to the behavior of other drivers, even if you are being safe yourself. Learning how to be a defensive driver can help you feel more equipped for the road.
Not only is this mentality paramount for everyday driving, but it’s also relevant when using a rental car, especially if you are driving in another country which may use a different side of the road and follow different road rules.
At Advantage Rent A Car, we ensure that we always offer vehicles suited to your needs and which you are most comfortable driving, especially in an unfamiliar country.
By taking steps to be the best defensive driver you can be, you are actively avoiding crashes and helping to escape the risks which come with being behind the wheel. Below are some of the best defensive driving tips to help you learn how to avoid car accidents and remain safe.
This may sound like an obvious piece of advice for any driver, but it’s so easy to let your attention slip when driving, whether through the noise of the radio, your phone going off or trying to eat while you drive during a long road trip.
Staying focused means keeping your eyes on the road, at all times, looking ahead to analyze the road and other drivers, and constantly checking your side and rearview mirrors. If you need to eat or drink, then ensure you pull over when it is safe to do so, or consider visiting a rest stop. If you need to check something on your phone, then always pull over.
Stay One Step Ahead
Driving defensively includes anticipating what another driver may do before they do it. You may not be psychic, but you can read the signals of any driver on the road and act accordingly.
For instance, if you have just been overtaken by what appears to be a reckless driver but the road in front of you is narrowing, chances are they will make a quick move to pull back over in front of you. Leave a wide berth and room for them to do so.
Stay attuned to your instincts and initiative. If you’re ever unsure, slow down and ready your foot on the brake. Look ahead at the route and calculate risks.
Always Treat Other Drivers as The Worst
Even if you’re a generous driver who always lets people pull out into the road, or move over into your lane on the highway, never assume that other drivers will do the same for you. Other drivers may be ready to run a red light even if yours is on green, may be willing to pull out onto a road even if you haven’t signaled for them to do so, and may force their way into your lane without you permitting it. By preparing for the worst, you’re being prepared when it comes to road safety.
Research Road Rules Before You Travel to a New Place
When getting ready to drive a rental car in another country, it’s important to research everything you can about their road rules. Never assume that you’ll easily be able to pick it up as you go along during the journey, as you’ll need to be educated before you set off in the car. Be sure you know which side of the road the country drives on, that you are comfortable using an automatic, for example, if you’re used to driving a shift stick, and that you’re aware what their speed limits are and what their road signs mean.
Muscle memory kicks in when you are driving, and you need to stay focused. You may be used to looking a certain way to check for traffic in your home country, but in a foreign country the cars may be coming from the opposite direction.
Alter Your Driving to Fit the Weather
You may be knowledgeable regarding reducing speed if the roads are wet or during nighttime driving, but other drivers may not be so willing. Ensure that you put extra distance than normal between you and the car in front if there is wet and stormy weather, just in case they decide to slam on their brakes or are driving too fast for the conditions.