Defensive Driving – part one

Safety and driving plays in integral part of an organization’s risk management strategy. In part-one we are going to look at a working definition of what is defensive driving and five key elements of defensive driving.

A. Definition: Defensive driving means doing everything reasonably possible to avoid being involved in a preventable accident, regardless of what the law is, what the other driver does, or adverse driving conditions.

1. A preventable accident is one in which a driver failed to take reasonable precautions and/or evasive actions to avoid the accident.

2. Defensive driving requires continual exercise of good judgment and good driving habits with an awareness that all other drivers cannot be relied upon to drive properly and safely.

3. Physical fitness is a pre-requisite to safe driving. A fit person is generally more alert, has greater dexterity, and better reflexes. Being tired adversely affects vision, reflexes, and coordination.

B. Five Elements Of Defensive Driving Are:

1. Knowledge: The driver must know the rules of the road, be aware of the proper procedures for passing, yielding the right-of-way, and other maneuvers. In addition, they must know their own limitations, the vehicle’s limitations, and Limitations imposed by the environment.

2. Alertness: The driver must develop his/her powers of observation to be fully Aware of what is happening. The driver must be alert to potential hazards, and to Changing weather and driving conditions.

3. Vision: A driver should “aim high”: by raising their field of vision to at least one fourth of a mile ahead to observe potential hazards. As speed increases, visual acuity, peripheral vision, and depth perception all deteriorate.

4. Judgment: The driver must know what to do and when to do it…every time!

5. Skill: The driver must have a good basic knowledge of how to handle the vehicle. Skill is the result of proper training plus practice.

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