Defensive driving is driving to prevent accidents in spite of the incorrect
actions of others or adverse driving conditions, such as weather, traffic,
lighting, vehicle or road condition, or the driver's physical or mental state.
The defensive driver assumes that other drivers may make mistakes and is on
guard in the event an error is made.
Your safety program should include defensive driver training on right-of-way.
Generally, a driver gives right-of-way to those who are already there. Drivers
should also give right-of-way when entering traffic, when turning left in front
of approaching traffic, and when changing lanes. Drivers must only proceed
after they are assured they will not conflict with other traffic. Here are some
areas that should be addressed regarding defensive driving and tips to help
your drivers become defensive drivers.
Do your drivers understand the meaning of right-of-way?
Do you periodically have a qualified person ride with your drivers to evaluate
their behavior in right-of-way situations?
Does your company have a realistic scheduling policy that encourages drivers to
give right-of-way rather than take it?
Are drivers aware of the concept of a preventable accident? A preventable
accident is one in which the driver failed to exercise every reasonable
precaution to prevent the accident. This is irrespective of the extent of
property damage or personal injury, to whom it occurred or the location of the
To be a defensive driver, drivers should:
Not force other drivers to brake or steer because of an obstructive maneuver
in their path.
Assume other drivers will not see them or avoid them when they maneuver into
Move into their intended path or direction only after they are assured they
will not conflict with other traffic.
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