defensive driving

What Does It Mean to Be a Defensive Driver?

Driving may be something that you do nearly every day. You get behind the wheel to commute to and from work, run errands, visit friends and family, and get around town. While you may follow all the rules of the road and drive with the caution and vigilance that you should, it’s an unfortunate reality that not all drivers do.

Whether you are a newly-licensed driver or you have years of experience under your belt, it’s a good idea to review these defensive driving techniques so you can reduce your chances of getting into an accident caused by other negligent or reckless motorists.

Why Defensive Driving Is Important

While you can’t completely eliminate the chance that you will be involved in an accident when you are on the road, you can significantly reduce your chances. Think of defensive driving as a way that allows you to address potentially dangerous road hazards and stay safe despite the conditions going on around you and the actions of others.

Defensive driving goes well beyond just abiding by traffic laws. It allows you to expect the unexpected, anticipate risks before they happen, and make smart, well-informed choices behind the wheel. When other drivers make mistakes, you could be the difference between getting into an accident and keeping yourself and others out of harm’s way.

Key Defensive Driving Techniques

Remember, driving is not about getting to your destination as quickly as possible—it’s about taking the steps you need to get to your destination safely. Here are some ways that you can stay ahead of the curve and implement defensive driving techniques:

  • Stay Alert at All Times. Put your phone down and eliminate other distractions so your full attention is on the road and you can remain vigilant behind the wheel.
  • Pay Attention to Your Surroundings. Look up ahead at traffic and around your vehicle to see what other vehicles are doing so you are aware of their presence.
  • Do Not Rely on Other Drivers. You should never expect other drivers to yield to you or that they will always abide by the rules of the road.
  • Keep Your Speed Down. Reduce your speed so that you have adequate time to adjust to any last-minute road hazards or unexpected conditions.
  • When in Doubt, Yield. While it can be frustrating when other drivers don’t yield when they should, always allow other drivers the right-of-way to avoid getting into an accident.
  • Follow the 3-4 Second Rule. Make sure to provide an adequate buffer between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Adjust to Road Conditions. Whether there is adverse weather, active construction, or other hazardous road conditions, adjust your driving behaviors with these in mind.
  • Have an Escape Route. Position yourself in a way that allows you to see and be seen; additionally, have an alternate plan of travel in case your immediate path is blocked.

Avoiding Partial Liability in a Car Crash

When it comes to car accidents, California operates on a comparative negligence rule. This means that multiple drivers can be found partially liable for an accident. In these cases, each driver will be assigned a percentage of fault, depending on how their actions contributed to the crash, and a claimant’s total award amount will be reduced by this percentage of fault.

For instance, let’s say that Driver A is making a left-hand turn and hits Driver B, who is speeding through the intersection. It may be determined that Driver A was 80% at fault and Driver B was 20% at fault. If Driver B’s total damages were $50,000 and they were 20% at fault, their award amount would be reduced by $10,000 and they would be awarded a total of $40,000.

Partial liability or the accident itself may have been avoided if Driver B was implementing defensive driving techniques. This is not to say that you are responsible for other drivers’ mistakes, but by planning ahead and doing everything you can to be a safe driver, you can reduce your chances of getting into an accident and avoid partial liability if one does occur.

Injured in an Accident? Get Help Today

If you were a victim of a car accident due to another person’s negligent or reckless actions, you shouldn’t have to front the medical bills for your injuries when you did nothing wrong. At Levitt, Leichenger & Aberle LLP, we are dedicated to ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for their actions.

Our team of Beverly Hills car accident attorneys has been advocating on behalf of those across Southern California for more than 25 years. When you choose us to represent you, you can rest assured knowing that we will fight to get you the compensation and justice that you deserve.

Let us help you get back on your feet. Contact us at (323) 524-2400 for a free case review!