Driving is one of the things we take for granted in life, helping us to travel to wherever we want to. However, for anybody whose ever been on the road, whether it be in the driver's seat or in the passenger seat, driving is not the most pleasant of experiences. We must constantly, juggle between concentrating on the road, nagging passengers, looking at street signs, AND avoiding the bad habits of other drivers.
A variety of annoyances like, not indicating, and then turning suddenly, or cars which excessively speed, then randomly slow down suddenly without warning, greatly impact our driving experience. These nuisances are much more than just hassles to other drivers... it could be dangerous and even life threatening, especially with regards to new or learner drivers. These dangers also extend to the most experienced of drivers, as it only takes one inexperienced driver to cause an accident.
We must all adopt what I call "defensive driving".
The ultimate responsibility of safe driving under any conditions or circumstances falls on the driver; no policy or procedural statements can eliminate that responsibility.
1. Safety Cushion
Safety cushion is an invisible space of about 1.5-2 meters which surrounds your car, which should always be free. This may mean staying in the middle lane, and not having cars driving directly next to you, or directly in front or behind you.
By consciously trying to keep up this safety cushion around you while you drive, gives you the ability and flexibility, to switch lanes, dodge dangerous situations, slow down suddenly, and gives you vision of what's going on around you. It's one of the most essential habits to build as a driver of any experience.
Besides... it gives you most freedom by giving you, your own personal space when you drive.
2. Blind Spots
These are a killer. Literally. Blind spots are the names given to the 2 spots which you can't see in your rear-view mirrors, but the name also extends to the situations where blocked vision occurs due to objects in the environment. For example, a large truck parked next to the edge of an intersection, blocking your sight of where you are about to turn.
It's important to both be aware of your own blind spots, and be aware of the "potential" blind spots in the environment around us. Especially if you are lingering in someone else's blind spot, you should consider that they probably have no idea that you're there, and you may want to act so (either speed up so they can see you, or slow down so they can see you).
Our over confidence is one of our biggest weaknesses in driving. Confidence is good to have when driving and undertaking manoeuvres, however, cockiness and overconfidence to take unnecessary risks is one of the biggest reasons why so many provisional drivers get into accidents.
It's not even the speeding that's the problem (however it does amplify the damage by an infinite fold). The problem occurs when someone takes unnecessary risks, it varies from just speeding into curves to switching across multiple lanes in one go.
4. Experience and Understanding Road Etiquette
Experience on the road ultimately helps us become better drivers. And I don't mean doing 120 hours driving around the same route every day, because this is an extremely limited exposure (unless you're route consists of you traversing across 4-5 suburbs each day). Regardless, experience really comes when you drive in different situations; small roads, big roads, busy roads, freeways, alleyways, extreme traffic, light traffic, city areas, park areas, night-time, day-time, extreme rain, or extreme fog, you need to experience everything to "really" develop your skills.
Experience can also teach you the etiquette of the road, which undoubtedly can help you expect the sometimes irrational behaviour of other drivers. Such etiquette involves drivers over taking from the left hand side, coming after a traffic light, or cars sticking their heads in to merge into your lane even though you have the rite of passage. Road etiquette may not always conform to the law, which is why your awareness of how drivers may react if they're frustrated, tired, or just have bad driving habits in general, will help you judge your situation better, and can allow you to act so.
Because in the end, if you think you have the correct judgement about a situation, and you don't, it could cost you more than just a few bad words. Many accidents occur, because people who thought they could correctly judge the situation, couldn't.
Drive smart. Drive safe.