What Is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is a style of driving that involves anticipating dangerous situations, making safe decisions, and reacting quickly to potential hazards. It is based on the idea that safe driving requires knowledge, skill, and attitude. Defensive driving is about driving with the goal of preventing an accident, rather than reacting to an accident after it has occurred. It is a method of avoiding collisions, or at least minimizing their damage, by being aware of your surroundings and the other drivers on the road.

Why Should You Practice Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is an important skill to have to help you stay safe on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people aged 3-34 in the United States. By practicing defensive driving, you can reduce your chances of being involved in a crash.

Tips for Defensive Driving: Avoiding Accidents

The following tips can help you drive defensively and avoid accidents:

  • Practice good driving habits: Obey the speed limit, use turn signals to indicate your intentions, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you in order to give yourself time to react to potential hazards.
  • Watch for other driversÂ’ mistakes: Be aware of other driversÂ’ mistakes, such as sudden lane changes or sudden stops, and be ready to react accordingly.
  • Focus on the road: Distractions such as talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting the radio can take your attention away from the task of driving. Make sure you focus on the road and avoid distractions.
  • Be aware of road conditions: Be aware of changing road conditions, such as slick roads or construction zones, and adjust your speed and driving habits accordingly.


Defensive driving is an essential skill for all drivers to have. By following the tips listed above, you can help ensure you stay safe on the road and reduce the chances of being involved in an accident. For more information about defensive driving, visit DMV.org.