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Defensive driving is not just for Law Enforcement and high-performance sports car drivers. Everyone and anyone who drives on the road should take some time to learn how to drive defensively. Whether you’re commuting to work, getting ready for a family vacation, or doing more than 20 over the speed limit around a blind corner with minimal lighting on a foggy night, defensive driving is an essential skill. If you can afford to take some time out of your busy schedule to learn these few simple techniques, the rewards could be significant, not only for you but for everyone else who shares the road with you.

As a summary of this guide, here are three tips for everyday drivers:

  1. Make Sure Your Vehicle is Road-Worthy – The first step to driving defensively isn’t defensive at all; it’s making sure your car is road-worthy and in top condition. This means checking that your tires have enough tread, all of your lights work, the brake fluid is up to date, and you don’t have any broken windows. It also means making sure that you check your tire pressure and look under the hood once in a while to make sure nothing has come loose or fallen off. Most importantly, you should print out this guide and keep it with you when driving because sometimes an accident can happen without warning, and you’ll need it to get through this difficult time. All joking aside, making sure your car is road-worthy is incredibly important for safe driving. If you suspect anything isn’t up to snuff, stop by AutoZone and use one of their free printable coupons to buy the genuine replacement parts (which will more than pay for themselves in the long run). Just make sure you drop by a shop that participates in the AutoZone savings program to use your coupons.
  2. Maintain a Safe Following Distance – One of the most important things you can do when driving defensively is to maintain a safe following distance between your car and the one in front of you. This is measured by counting off three seconds from when the vehicle ahead of you passes a fixed point. If you count “one-Mississippi,” that means one second. During inclement weather, this distance should be increased to account for the poor traction of your tires on wet or icy roads. Once again, if it’s too dangerous to increase your following distance, don’t drive! It’s better to wait out a storm than to put yourself and everyone else on the road in danger.
  3. Don’t Drive While Distracted – It might seem like common sense that we shouldn’t be driving while talking on our cellphones, texting, or doing anything else that takes our eyes off the road. However, these types of accidents happen far too often and can be devastating. This is another instance where something as simple as printing out this article and keeping it with you while you drive can help; if someone tries to text or call you, show them this guide and tell them that their lives and the lives of everyone else on the road may depend on your full attention at all times.
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