Most drivers have heard the term “defensive driving,” but many don’t know what it really means. Defensive driving isn’t just a set of “do’s and don’ts” behind the wheel — it’s a driver’s mindset, that that can truly avoid accidents.
Bow Valley has been providing excellent vehicle insurance coverage at great rates to Alberta residents for 36 years. As an independent brokerage we are able to use the power of competition in the insurance marketplace on your behalf. But the most certain way to the lowest rates possible is to be a good insurance risk. When it comes time for renewal, or you have the opportunity to shop for a better rate, you will then be able to take advantage of your good driving record.
By keeping your claims history low you create an opportunity to save money on your vehicle insurance premiums. To keep from needing to make a claim, use a defensive driving approach to your motoring.
Defensive Driving Begins Before Starting Your Vehicle
Take a moment before you get underway and make sure that your mirrors are where you need them to be, your seat is adjusted where you’d like it, and if your vehicle that the steering wheel is adjusted to your preferences. Discomfort while driving is just one of the many distractions you can prevent while still parked.
Make sure any children or animals with you are properly restrained so as to not get loose while you are driving. Also consider putting your mobile phone in your pocket or purse during shorter trips to better resist the temptation to look at it while driving. Remember, using a cell phone while driving is against the law in Alberta.
It is always advisable to be in a good frame of mind before driving. Drivers who are tired, emotional from an argument, or sad from some bit of news are easily mentally distracted and prone to making errors in judgement. Also, remember to never take any medication that may impair your driving, or take any new medications with possible side effects you haven’t sorted through beforehand.
Practice Good Driving Habits
Distractions while driving don’t just stem from outside influences like children, phones or medications. While driving you need to get in the habit of keeping yourself mentally engaged in the task at hand. A handy technique for doing this is to continually survey your situation. Keep a mental note of not only what is ahead, but regularly check your mirrors and blind spots so that you develop full awareness of your driving situation. How many times have we heard the expression, “They came out of nowhere!” with regards a pedestrian, cyclist, or even another vehicle following a collision? People, other drivers, wildlife, and road conditions, are the cause of many mostly avoidable accidents.
Also try to limit your self-distractions while driving, such as eating or smoking, or wondering about what to buy at the store you are driving to, or trying to use the rear-view mirror to check for something stuck in your teeth. The fewer distractions you give yourself the fewer traffic developments escape your notice.
Don’t Drive Aggressively
Too many motor vehicle accidents attributable to driver error stem not from inattentive driving, but from speeding, frequent lane changes, and other forms of aggressive driving.
Operating a rapidly moving mass of steel, aluminum and glass is an inherently dangerous activity that too many of us have become cavalier about. Take your time when behind the wheel. The few minutes you might save by speeding or weaving around slower vehicles will not feel worth it after a serious accident or large traffic fine.
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