Defensive Driving Tips

Prevent A Collision

Safe Driving and Crash Prevention
Learning how to become more of a defensive driver can lessen the risk of being involved
in a crash.

Crash Prevention:

A crash is a complete loss unless something is gained from it.  When crashes happen  usually not much is gained from an accident except for property damage, possible injury and a "huge headache".  Most crashes could be prevented if drivers were more knowledgeable.  If a driver would have slowed down, changed lanes sooner or looked further ahead, a crash may not have happened at all.

Safe Driving and Crash Prevention

Preventable Crash:

A preventable crash is one in which the driver failed to do everything he/she reasonably could have done to prevent it.  When a driver has an accident and says to themselves "I should have done that" this means the driver did not do everything possible to prevent the crash.

Non-Preventable Crash:

A non-preventable crash is one in which everything that could have been reasonably done to prevent it was done and the accident/incident still occurred.

Prevent Collisions by Watching for Problem Drivers:

Many drivers are involved in accidents because of other drivers not being responsible.  You can protect yourself not be in an accident/crash by being observant and driving more on the defensive.

Give a lot of room to drivers who may not see you AND allow extra room for people who may
be distracted by something they're doing.

        Drivers entering from intersections or driveways where the view is blocked by
          buildings, fences, trees, or other cars.
        Drivers backing out of driveways or parking spaces.
        Drivers whose windows covered with ice or snow.
    •    Delivery men.
        Construction workers.
        Children playing.
        Drivers who are talking, tending to children, or looking at maps.
        Tourists trying to figure out a complicated intersection.
       Drivers looking for a house number.

Practice Being On The Defensive

Improve Your Driving Skills

Defensive Driving:

Driving to save lives, time and money in spite of the adverse factors and the mistakes of others is defensive driving.  Drivers are constantly being challenged because of collision potentials with the many hazards that exist.  Bicyclists and pedestrians have the greatest accident potential because they are unpredictable; and some bicyclists and pedestrians are not aware of the driver's experience of the laws.


I.P.D.E. Identify - Predict - Decide - Execute


The Standard Accident-Prevention Formula - I.P.D.E.:

    •    Identify
    •    Predict
    •    Decide
    •    Execute


Keep your eyes moving!  Not only do you need to look in front of your vehicle, it's
necessary to scan your path of travel to the sides and necessary to check the mirrors. 
Signs, signals, roadway markings and other warnings that can help to identify a hazardous

In residential areas, we must look for the "5 P's":

    1.    Parked vehicles (under and in them).
    2.    Pets and other animals.
    3.    Persons on bicycles.
    4.    Pedestrians including children.
    5.    People backing out of driveways.

Using your vehicle communications system to notify other persons of your final decision is sometimes helpful. These would include the horn, brake lights, turn signals, flashers, headlights, hand signals, eye contact, or even your lane position.


Anticipation is key while driving defensively.  To identify is to estimate the worst thing that something or somebody could do to you.  For example, by looking far ahead, you spot a driver backing out of the driveway on your right.  You would predict that the driver doesn’t see you and that he is not going to stop.  Nothing bad has happened yet, but you are getting prepared.  For all practical purposes, you need to think that the driver nearest to you will make a mistake!  Drivers who pass as you approach a curve, hill, or an oncoming car.  Slow down and let them back into your lane quickly.


What will you do if your prediction comes true?  Decision time has come.  Lets say you notice someone backing out of his/her driveway and you see them but they don't see you.  You could prevent a collision by stopping or decided to go to your far left (you have been looking far ahead - haven't you? - and already know that the way is clear).  Reducing your speed or increasing the distance between the hazard and your vehicle can help eliminate a collision too.


Your prediction came true!! Now execute the decision you’ve made, by whatever means that
are necessary.  This would require using the steering, brake, and accelerator controls, for preventing contact with the hazard.  Make room for any driver who is about to be forced into your lane by a car, pedestrian, bicyclist, obstacle, or a reduction in the number of lanes.

Protecting Yourself in a Collision:

     •   Wear your seatbelt to buckle in before you start your trip.  Your chance of avoiding
           serious injury or death is better if you are wearing your seat belt properly.

    •    If you notice your about to be hit from the rear, press the back of your head against
           the headset and get ready to brake to avoid hitting any cars ahead of you.

    •    If you’re about to be hit from the side, be ready to steer to recover from the impact.

    •    If you’re about to be hit from the front and you’re wearing a seat belt, use your arms
           and hands to protect your face.  If you’re not wearing a seat belt (although you should
           be!), throw yourself across the seat to avoid hitting the steering wheel or windshield.
           This is one of many good reasons to always wear your seatbelt, besides the fact that it is
           the law.

DRIVING IS NO DOUBT THE MOST HAZARDOUS THING YOU DO ON A DAILY BASIS.  Think about it, you get in a motor vehicle 4, 5, or 6 times a day.  What could be more risky?

Speed Vs. Time:

Speeding does not get you to your destination faster nor does trying to dodge traffic.  Some drivers are obsessed with trying to find ways to beat traffic. Speeding is the most common way that drivers try to beat the laws without regard to conditions on the road, other drivers, congestion, weather and, most importantly, the law itself. Many people believe they get to their destination faster by speeding.  Below is a chart showing you how much time you save by trying to speed to your destination.  In my opinion, it's not worth saving a few sends.


To travel a distance of 5 miles:
At 70 mph - takes 4 minutes
& 17 seconds
Savings over 60 mph - 43 second
At 60 mph - takes 5 minutes
Savings over 55 mph - 27 seconds
 At 55 mph - takes 5 minutes & 27 seconds 
To travel a distance of 10 miles:
At 70 mph - takes 8 minutes & 34 seconds
Savings over 60 mph - 1 min. 26 sec.
At 60 mph - takes 10 minutes
Savings over 55 mph - 55 seconds
 At 55 mph - takes 10 minutes & 55 seconds 

Take Advantage of your Senses:

Most people don't think about using their senses to help with defensive driving but using
your senses can help prevent collisions too.

It has been shown that hearing speeds up a response, and there are times that a hazard cannot be seen but only heard. Be alert of other drivers’ audible signals for gaining your attention.

A police officer may now issue a citation when a vehicle is being operated on a highway using a "sound amplification system", that is, a compact disc player, radio, or tape player, or similar device in a manner in which the "sound amplification system" can be heard outside the vehicle at a distance of fifty (50) feet or more. There are no points involved in this violation; however, there is a fifty ($50) dollar fine, if convicted.


Sometimes an unusual movement of your car can be detected from your sense of touch. Most
of you have probably felt the sensation of losing traction or skidding, loss of brakes, or flat tires. Being able to recognize these feelings is important in knowing that a hazardous condition may exist.


YES, even this sense is used when driving. You might be able to detect a mechanical
problem through the nose.

How To Handle Driving Emergencies

Drunk Driving Laws In New York

New York DMV Driver License

Aggressive Driving

Traffic Control Signage and Devices