7 Defensive Driving Tips for Driving in Tennessee

Drivers face significant risks every time they take their vehicles out on the roadway. However, one way to mitigate vehicle collision risks is to practice defensive driving.

Texting while driving on Tennessee Highway

While we have all heard of defensive driving before, the reality is that most people forget what this actually means.

Here, we want to cover the basics of defensive driving, why this type of driving is necessary, and steps that you can take to remember defensive driving practices each time you get behind the wheel of your vehicle.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive driving is operating a vehicle in any manner that utilizes safe driving strategies and techniques to enable motorists to identify and address hazards in a predictable way.

Defensive driving strategies go beyond basic instruction of traffic laws and procedures, and learning these techniques takes time.

However, drivers of any age or experience behind the wheel can always use some basic reminders about defensive driving strategies.

How to be a defensive driver

By following the points listed below, you will be well on your way to practicing good defensive driving in Tennessee:

  1. Keep safety on your mind. From the second you get into your vehicle, you should be thinking about safety. Avoid any aggressive driving or inattentive driving tendencies. This allows you to focus on any other drivers’ potential mistakes. Always be mindful of the potential consequences of getting in an accident (i.e. injuries, property damage, financial loss).
  2. Be aware of your surroundings. Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings. You need to check your mirrors frequently and scan the roadway in front of you for any upcoming or potential hazards. Keep your eyes moving. You do not want to develop “tunnel vision” that keeps your eyes focused only on one spot and not on anything around you.
  3. Do not depend on others on the roadway. Never assume that other drivers on the roadway are going to move out of the way or allow you to merge. If someone waves you into traffic or waves you through a stop sign, you still need to do your due diligence when it comes to checking your surroundings and making sure you have a clear path.
  4. Follow the 3- to 4-second rule. Drivers need to follow the 3- to 4-second rule, which means that they need to leave a safe distance of three to four seconds between their vehicle and the vehicles in front of them. However, these three to four seconds may need to be increased in conditions such as rain, fog, nighttime driving, or when following a motorcycle or large truck.
  5. Operate at a safe speed limit. It is important to understand that the posted speed limits are the limit for ideal roadway conditions. When there is bad weather or when visibility is low, you should operate your vehicle below the posted speed limit.
  6. Have an escape route. If you are continually aware of your surroundings when you are on the roadway, then you will know which directions you can maneuver your vehicle in the event you have to avoid a hazard.
  7. Eliminate distractions. Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents. This can include a driver being distracted by their phone, by the radio, by other people inside the vehicle, or while eating or drinking. If you are able to eliminate distractions, you will have a much better chance of success in reaching your destination safely.

Wrapping It Up

Being a defensive driver is not a part time thing. It is something that must continually be at the front of your mind, and this will help protect you and the people driving around you. Stay safe!