Defensive Driving Techniques for Driving In Texas

Learning basic defensive driving techniques and driving skills are essential for driving anywhere in the United States, but especially in Texas. Texas is a large state with a wide variety of driving conditions throughout. From large cities to long country roads, it’s important to understand how to drive safely in any circumstance. 

 

The Basics

There are a few simple basic defensive driving techniques that act as a foundation for driving. Let’s go over a few of them. 

Avoiding distractions is a major part of driving safely. Avoiding distractions like eating, texting or messing with the radio will allow you to keep your eyes on the road and your surroundings. 

Always assume that other drivers will make a mistake. This makes you, as a driver, always alert and ready for surprises you may encounter on the roadway. 

 

Check your mirrors and scan the road ahead of you often. When you check your mirrors and scan the road ahead of you, you are aware of any road hazards that may be surrounding, or coming at you. Hazards like another vehicle merging in front of you, or a construction zone ahead. 

 

Leave enough space between you and the vehicles around you, especially the vehicle in front of you. This will make sure that in the event the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly, you will have time to stop. 

 

When driving in hazardous weather conditions, such as rain, wind or a Texas sand storm, you must adjust your speed accordingly. Never drive fast in hazardous weather conditions. 

 

Always conduct routine maintenance on your vehicle. This doesn’t mean that you have to bring your vehicle into a mechanic once a month, but rather check your tire pressure, fluid levels and make sure that your brakes and signal lights are all in good working order. 

 

Advanced Driving Strategies

Now that we have some of the most common basic defensive driving techniques covered, let’s take a look at some of the more advanced defensive driving techniques. 

 

The 3-Second Rule

The 3-second rule is a defensive driving technique that helps drivers maintain a safe following distance between their own vehicle and they are following.

This is how it works: While driving you will need to pick a fixed object on the road ahead. You can pick a telephone pole, traffic sign or anything stationary. When the vehicle in front of you passes that object, start counting ‘one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If you find that you are passing that very same object before you are done counting, you are following the vehicle in front of you too closely. This is one of the best ways to always maintain a safe following distance.

While the 3-second rule is a great way to ensure you maintain a safe following distance, you also need to factor in road conditions, weather conditions and visibility and adjust your speed and following distance accordingly. 

 

Blind Spots

Blind spots are areas around your vehicle that a driver cannot easily see. Typically these are the edge just behind and to the side of the vehicle. This is why rearview mirrors are angled as they are, so a driver is able to see in those blind spot areas. Learning where your vehicle’s blind spots are and how to see them is crucial when it comes to safe driving. Being able to see the blind spots on each side of your vehicle while driving are particularly important when changing lanes or passing a vehicle. 

 

Scanning Zones

Scanning the road is a big part of safe driving and a great defensive driving technique is to divide the roadway into sections. Sections such as, the road directly front of you, to the sides and far down the road. Then scan each zone often to make sure that there are not potential issues or road hazards. 

 

Sudden Happenings

When operating a motor vehicle, unexpected things can happen in an instant and it’s important to understand how to handle those happenings. 

 

Blown Out Tire

You can be driving along safely and all of a sudden a tire blows out. What do you do? It can surely be a very scary situation. The best thing to do when a tire blows out while driving is to immediately remove your foot from the gas pedal. Never hit your brakes. Hitting your brakes can cause the vehicle to spin or roll. Simply let off of the gas pedal and let the vehicle slow down naturally. As the vehicle is slowing down, grip the steering wheel with both hands firmly and keep the vehicle as straight as possible in the direction it wants to go. The car will move to a certain direction depending on which tire has blown. Once the car has slowed, focus on pulling over safely so you can exit the vehicle and assess the situation. 

 

Hydroplaning

When driving on wet road conditions a driver always runs the serious risk of hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is when your vehicle’s tires lose their grip with the road due to water being on the roadway. Instead of the tires gripping the road, they hover on top of a thin layer of water, making the vehicle nearly impossible to control. It’s incredibly important to understand how to handle this situation. When hydroplaning begins, let off of the gas pedal immediately and allow the vehicle to slow down. You never want to hit the brakes when hydroplaning. Grip the steering wheel with both hands, firmly and as the car begins to slow down, the tires will regain contact with the road. 

Learning defensive driving techniques is very important when it comes to being a safe driver. When you drive safe, you keep yourself and others on the road safe too!