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Defensive Driving

While traveling the nation’s roads everyone has seen or been subject to the over aggressive driver, the highway trouble-maker. The culprit is tailgating you, passing on your right, cutting in front of you with no time, or not time and no signal, the list of infractions goes on and on. How can the careful courteous driver avoid the road menace? Other than not driving at all, which of course is not practical in this day and age, there are ways to stay safe when on the roads with the dangerous.

One of the biggest problems that appear to be a recent phenomenon is road rage. You yourself may have accidentally annoyed an aggressive driver by cutting in front of them and now they are angry, honking, tailgating, and driving erratically. The important thing is to not engage the other driver. Get out of their lane, reduce speed and stay far behind the aggressor, any moves of retaliation or aggressiveness on your part will infuriate the agitator more and escalate the situation.

You yourself have to avoid being the aggressor. Don’t be a distracted driver, don’t drive while texting or fooling with your phone, you may agitate another driver not to mention cause an accident yourself. Use your signals when turning, with plenty of time before a turn. When driving on the highway, merge appropriately, don’t try to race the car that is already on the highway at speed. Once you settle into the flow of traffic, stay in the middle lane at the speed limit, and only go into the passing lane to pass slower vehicles. When in the passing lane, use the time wisely to only accelerate enough to pass the slower car and move back into the middle lane, if someone wants to go faster than you in the passing lane they will become irritated and stat to tailgate you. Don’t tailgate yourself. While on the highway or on any other road, leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. If you rear-end another vehicle most of the time the accident is considered your fault. Obey the traffic laws, even if you feel the “No Turn On Red” sign is pointless, it’s there for a reason, the oncoming traffic in the other lane may be coming at a higher rate of speed, or there may not be a clear line of sight for the traffic to see your car turning into their lane with enough time. This goes for full on stop signs as well.  Don’t approach a stop sign while rolling, fully stop count to three, and then proceed if able. Another sign taken lightly appears to be the yield sign. If you are at an intersection or highway with a yield sign, gauge the situation cautiously; try to determine the adequate time and speed needed to merge without disrupting oncoming traffic. When a traffic sign isn’t obeyed properly, and an accident occurs, it would most likely be your liability.

A simple thing to remember is this, act like you are invisible to other vehicles. Even though you think that car already on the highway sees you merging, they may be distracted and not be paying attention to you, thus you are invisible. This could apply to changing lanes as well; even though you think there is ample room and time to get in the next lane, the other car again may be distracted or not paying attention to your vehicle, invisible again. Try to be cautious and courteous when driving, and will protect your life and save you money on insurance.