Every time you get in the car for your daily commute, you focus on being a safe driver. You drive under the speed limit, you leave your phone in your pocket and you focus on the road for every mile of that drive. You’re a defensive driver, so you’re always trying to keep your distance from others and anticipate their mistakes.
All of this is very smart, and the road would be safer if everyone took the same approach that you do. But is doing all of that going to be enough to help you avoid an accident?
No approach is perfect
Certainly, what you are doing can help. There is a reason that defensive driving is touted as a way to reduce accident odds. You can do so by watching for cars running the red light, looking 12 seconds ahead of you on the road, turning slowly and carefully into traffic, and adopting a courteous mindset — just to name a few useful tactics.
But no approach is perfect. Remember, most accidents happen because of human error. You can control the errors that you make, but not the errors made by those around you. Defensive driving is the art of looking for those errors to avoid a crash, but sometimes things happen so quickly that you can’t do anything.
For instance, say you stop safely at a red light. You’re now sitting in traffic, waiting for the light to turn, when you see the car behind you failing to slow down. As it speeds toward you in the rear-view mirror, you realize you have nowhere to go. You haven’t made a single mistake and you’ve even spotted the hazard before it arrives — a driver who is texting, for instance, and doesn’t see that you stopped — but you can’t avoid getting hit.
The reality is that other drivers hold your safety in their hands. If one of them injures you, be sure you are well aware of the legal options you have to seek compensation.