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4 ways to reduce your risk with defensive driving

We share the roads with other drivers every day. While we hope that other drivers practice safe driving habits, we have no control over how other drivers operate their vehicles.

Practicing defensive driving habits can reduce your risk of costly, painful accidents and injuries by being proactive about your safety while you are on the road.

1. Keep up with maintenance

Keeping your vehicle in top condition makes it safer for you to drive. Follow recommended oil change schedules and other maintenance suggestions. Visit a mechanic when something feels off about the way your vehicle drives. Routinely check that your lights and windshield wipers work to ensure you can always see clearly in the dark or inclement weather.

2. Reduce distractions

Keep your focus on the road whenever you are behind the wheel. Put your phone out of reach and avoid eating while driving. Make sure pets and children are safely secured at all times so that they cannot move around the vehicle while it is in motion.

3. Plan ahead

If you are heading for a new destination, look up the directions and program your devices before leaving. Allow extra time if you are visiting an unfamiliar area.

4. Give extra space

When behind other vehicles, make sure you have enough space and time to react if they do something unexpected. If you are following a semi-truck, keep even more room between the truck and your vehicle.

Driving becomes second nature after a while, and we become so used to driving that zoning out is a real problem. Stay alert and always pay attention to your surroundings while driving so that you can react to the unexpected and keep yourself safe.