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What Does It Mean to Be a Defensive Driver?

When you’ve been driving for years, it’s easy to let your mind wander and let your body go into “autopilot mode.” However, being overly confident behind the wheel can cause you to let your guard down and prevent you from being a defensive driver.

Defensive driving is a set of driving skills that allows you to proactively identify driving hazards and defend yourself against the actions of bad drivers, poor weather, or other conditions that could jeopardize your safety. Here are five ways that you can be a defensive driver and reduce your chances of getting into a serious auto accident.

Think Safety First.

Improving your safety through defensive driving starts before you even get on the road. Make sure to get regular maintenance on your vehicle and keep up with regular inspections according to your vehicle owner’s manual. Before a ride, double-check that your brakes, headlights, blinkers, and tires are in proper working order that your safety is maximized.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings.

Check your rear- and side-view mirrors frequently and scan for conditions 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This way, you can slow down or take steps to avoid hazards in your path. Additionally, adjust your driving habits if there are adverse weather conditions or if you are driving on a roadway with active construction.

Don’t Rely on Other Drivers.

Just because you abide by traffic rules does not mean that you can expect other drivers to do the same. Never assume that will see you, give you the right-of-way, let you merge, or move out of the way you for. Essentially, plan your own movements anticipating the worst-case scenario from other drivers so that you are prepared for anything that comes your way.

Cut Out Distractions.

Driving is something that requires your full attention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a driving distraction is considered anything that takes your eyes off of the road (visual), hands off of the wheel (manual, or mind off of driving (cognitive). Texting and driving is one of the most widely-known and dangerous distractions, however, other driving distractions include:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Navigation systems
  • Radio or other sound systems
  • Climate controls
  • Adjusting mirrors
  • Rowdy passengers
  • Daydreaming

Keep Your Speed Down.

Speeding can decrease your ability to make last-second maneuvers when you need to defend yourself from another driver or a road hazard. Always remember that the posted speed limit only applies in ideal conditions, so if there are any hazards or weather conditions that decrease your visibility of the road, you should keep your speed down and increase your buffer between the vehicle in front of you.

When You’re Hurt, Turn to Our Team

As a driver, there are some things that are entirely beyond your control. At Martin Jean & Jackson, we remain well-aware of the fact that even the safest, most defensive motorists can become injured in car accidents caused by other distracted, negligent, or reckless drivers. You shouldn’t be stuck with your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage when you did everything right.

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by another person, you should not hesitate to pursue the compensation you need and deserve. With over 100 years of combined experience, we have recovered over $500 million on behalf of our clients, and we will fight hard to help you recover maximum compensation, too.

Contact our Oklahoma car accident attorneys at to get started with your free consultation. We serve clients statewide and have four convenient office locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Ponca City, and Stillwater.