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What does defensive driving mean? I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law. Defensive driving means that you have to be cognizant and aware of other people’s mistakes. We see that everyday when we drive, and what we need to do is be ready for it, be watchful for it. The drivers’ guides that we have in different states say that to avoid making mistakes or being in a crash because of someone else’s mistake, drive defensively.

What do you do? How do you do it? People say it, but how do you do it? The first thing is keep your eyes moving. Notice what is happening ahead of you and on the sides of the road. Check behind you, checking your mirrors constantly, looking in front of you, looking in your side mirrors, looking behind you. Look ahead of you, what’s happening farther ahead. How is that car merging? Are you going to have to move out of that lane?

Keep an eye on what’s developing ahead of you and think five, eight, ten seconds ahead of you. Pay special attention to oncoming vehicles, vehicles that are coming at you. Many head-on collisions occur by distracted drivers crossing the center line. Get ready to go over. This is nerve-wracking, especially if you’re driving with your family, especially on more rural roads but even city roads, anywhere else.

Keep track of that driver who’s not paying attention and is weaving. Get ready to go over. Get a little bit away from that center line or cross to the right of your center line. Expect other drivers to make mistakes. Think what would you do if mistakes happen. Think contingency plans. This is not to be paranoid when driving, but let’s not get lost in La La Land, thinking about work, your life, the radio, and obviously don’t do any screen time while you’re driving. Be ready to react if another car doesn’t stop. Anticipate, “Is that car going to yield the right of way to me when I’m going through? Is he going to take a left turn all of a sudden?” And what about if a pedestrian or someone else comes out? I’m around a school. What should I do? Drive slower, be careful, be ready. Do not rely on traffic signals or signs to keep others from crossing in front of you.

Some other drivers may not obey traffic signals. We have it all the time in our firm. We represent people in car crashes all the time where someone went through a yellow light, didn’t yield the right of way, thought they were going to make it, flat out was looking at their phone and went through a red light and crashed into the back of one of our client’s cars. We have a deposition in that case this afternoon. At an intersection, look to the left and the right even if the other traffic has a red light or a stop sign. You always want to, even if you’re going through that intersection, be aware of the guy that’s trying to beat the red light, take the right turn in front of you, take a left turn in front of you, drive defensively.

So, those are some tips about how to drive defensively. There are many others especially for different traffic conditions like inclement weather, raining, bright sunshine coming at you. There’s a variety of ways that you want to be cognizant of your environment and aware of your surroundings or what other drivers are doing to try to avoid that crash. Thank you.

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