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Safe driving tips for new and experienced drivers

Playing defense is a crucial part of safe driving. At its heart, defensive driving is made up of practices you should use every time you get behind the wheel. 

Safe driver with both hands on the wheel

Whether you’re an experienced driver or newbie, using defensive driving techniques can reduce your risk of being in a crash. As a bonus, the fewer accidents you have, the lower your car insurance rate will be.

Try out the below tips the next time you’re on the road:

Take a wide view
Always give yourself time and space to react to risks. Look far down the road ahead of you to see what’s coming well in advance. Don't forget to look behind you as well. Your car has mirrors for a reason and they'll let you see risks early to help you avoid them.

Identify risks and plan your reaction
As you look far ahead, scan for hazards. When you see a potential issue, plan for how you’ll deal with it. For example, if you see a merge area ahead, you can change lanes or adjust your speed to give merging cars more space.

Slow down
When you drive too fast, you have less time and space to deal with risks. Slowing down gives you more time to safely react. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs and follow them.

Maintain your space
Your car is heavy and it needs a lot of space to stop or change direction. Maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you at all times, typically an interval of at least two seconds.

Expect mistakes from other drivers
Drivers on the road can be distracted, sleepy, or otherwise impaired. By recognizing the signs of impaired or unsafe drivers, you can avoid them.

Respect road conditions
When roads are wet and snowy, slow down. When bright sun decreases visibility, slow down and give other drivers more space. Road conditions are rarely going to be ideal, so be prepared to adjust accordingly.

Maintain your car
All the driving skill in the world won’t help you avoid a crash if your car has bald tires, broken windshield wipers, warped brake rotors, or other issues that cause emergency symbols to light up on your dashboard. Routine car maintenance keeps your car running smoothly, and can also help you avoid a crash.

Keep your eyes off your phone
Finally, a safe driver is one that keeps their eyes on the road and off their phone. Many states have hands-free laws in place for a reason; protect your health, your car, and even your bank account when you put your phone down and drive.

What you can do about it

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Teen drivers
Teenager practicing parking with a driving instructor.
Statistics prove that when parents follow these strategies and help set their teenagers up for success on the road, teens drive more safely.

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