Defensive Driving: Why You Should Take A Safety-Oriented Driving Approach?

commercial truck driver

Are you a Thinking Driver or a SAFER driver?

When someone begins the process to start driving a vehicle, they must usually complete a series of classes that go over driving practices, rules, and theories. Out of all the information that they are given, the most prominent section tends to be the one on defensive driving. I remember that defensive driving was explained to me as an excellent means to protect oneself from potential harm while on the road. By positioning yourself in such a way that you allow yourself time to react in almost any circumstance, you effectively minimize the risk that you may end up in a car accident. Even if you were to end up in an accident, you also give yourself time to make the damage as minimal as possible. Defensive driving ultimately relies on acting upon the supposition that you are the one person who cares the most about your own safety, and that it is not right to assume that others will drive in a safe and orderly manner. Something that may have not been in the spotlight when first learning about defensive driving, is how important having the correct attitude when driving can be. By adopting an attitude that is calm, collected and that does not give into stressors, then a driver can refrain from performing reckless and unsafe driving in reaction to what they experience on the road.

 

How should I learn about defensive driving attitudes and techniques?

defensive driving attitudes and techniques

For many people, the techniques that enable the use of defensive driving may be a distant memory. Others may simply want some additional tricks to add to their repertoire or a means to learn about defensive driving attitudes. In any case, a way to access defensive driving training would be handy. To do this, a defensive driving safety course might be the way to go. Taking such a defensive course would allow someone to acquire the information that they are looking for in a structured and timely manner. Taking a course in person might be difficult for some, so there are ways to do a defensive driving course online as well. The modules can be easily accessed on a computer or on a mobile device, so completing a defensive driving program online is usually not an issue. Upon completion, courses will provide a certificate of completion that you can keep for your records.

 

What program should I use?

There are a couple noteworthy breakdowns of defensive driving techniques available online. Chief amongst these are the SAFER Defensive Driving Program and the Thinking Driver.

SAFER Defensive Driving Program

Developed by Dr. Randy Flemmer, this program offers a delve into defensive driving practices that it great for just about anyone, but finely crafted for company drivers.

SAFER stand for:

Space

Attitude

Foresight

Eyesight

Responsibility

This acronym quickly provides the 5 important items to always be thinking about while driving. Having adequate space is important while driving, as it gives you more time to react. As a rule, a safe following distance is usually about 2-3 seconds. It is important to remember that it is more difficult to react to situations happening on the road while travelling at faster speeds. Furthermore, you should always be aware of what cars are doing in the lanes beside yours. Having proper spacing in this sense can remove your vehicle from blind spots and allow you to react to lane changes.

As mentioned earlier, driving attitudes can directly impact the way that you respond to what you encounter on the road, meaning that adopting the appropriate attitude is very important. Foresight can reduce risk to a great degree, so try to use this whenever possible. Think about what others might do, what you can do now and how you can react later. Knowing the roads can help a lot with this factor. Seeing the road is extremely important, as it allows you to react as quickly as possible. Always practice proper visual sweeps, such as glancing over your shoulder during lane changes, regularly checking your rearview mirror and looking where you want to go. You must wear glasses or contacts if you need them and attempt to maintain good peripheral vision.

Finally, responsibility while driving is essential. While you are behind the wheel, you are responsible for the actions and decisions that you make. Enact the safe and correct driving procedures and be content in knowing that you have done your best.

Robert has been driving flatbed trucks for his job the last 5 years. Today he is running behind schedule and has a lot of things on his mind. He has been following a white SUV for the last 5 minutes, but he has only been keeping a following distance of 1 second. Suddenly, the SUV brakes and Robert does not have enough space to slow down. His truck smashes into the back of the SUV.

What Robert could have done differently: Keep a safe following distance of 3 seconds, especially given the size of his vehicle. This would give him more space to react in time.

Thinking Driver

This program, developed by Spencer McDonald, provides information that is relevant to a large demographic. Being educated in proper driving attitudes can be useful to any driver. It has especially been tailored to be of use to new and young drivers who are interested in developing foundational driving principles. Its two courses are offered as a package or separately.

Defensive Driving Fundamentals 2020

This course will go over the Five Fundamentals of Defensive Driving:

  • Think and Look Ahead
  • Anticipate Hazards
  • Keep your Options Open
  • Manage the Risk
  • Control with Finesse

Sarah only started driving by herself 2 months ago. Her parents had been driving with her up until she passed her latest test. She is currently covered by their insurance. As she is driving, she notices that she is about to miss the exit she planned on taking. She makes a lane change to the right, only looking in her sideview mirror. As she makes the lane change, she hits a vehicle. Due to this accident, her parents’ insurance premium will take a hit.

What Sarah could have done differently: Make a safe lane change using her eyesight, by looking over her shoulder and into her blind spot.

Defensive Driving Attitudes 2020

This course will cover how the Five Fundamentals of Defensive Driving contribute to risk reduction and incident prevention, by tackling the following topics:

  • Understanding Triggers
  • Managing Driving Stress
  • Anger
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Emotional IQ

David comes home to his family from his office job every night, 5 days a week. Today his boss has been especially demanding and David is not in a good mood. He has been driving more aggressively than he normally would, and there is a large amount of traffic. As he makes a left-hand turn, he attempts to overtake the car ahead of him by going into the right-hand lane. The car does not notice him and makes a lane change, hitting his car.

What David could have done differently: Employ a calm and collected attitude, thereby reducing aggression, and driving predictably. Do not attempt to overtake a vehicle by making a lane change during a turn.

 

Why all the fuss about defensive driving?

young commercial driver

With odds like 77% of people getting into some type of accident in their lifetime, it is important to take whatever steps you can to protect yourself and those that travel with you. By using defensive driving practices, you decrease the odds that you will end up in an accident or dangerous crash. Other than the reasons regarding safety, avoiding accidents by using defensive driving also brings with it a suite of benefits.You will:

  • Qualify for better insurance rates
  • Not have to deal with lawsuits
  • Reduce repair costs
  • Have better gas mileage

While safety reasons should be the primary motivating factor towards adopting defensive driving, these other reasons could also make it worth your while. Better insurance rates can be a big deal for anyone, but especially professional drivers, as having a bad rate can make it very difficult to be hired. Aggressive driving is just riskier, not to mention it wears down brakes and consumes more gas. Aggressive drivers spend more time braking and accelerating hard, leading to more expenses overall. Use defensive driving so that you can be proud that you are doing your part towards preventing automobile accidents.

Contact

SOS First Aid and Safety Training services the following Southern Ontario communities: Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Guelph, Vaughan, Woodbridge, Maple, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Acton, Georgetown, Hamilton, Ancaster, Brantford, Stoney Creek, St. Catherines, and Welland.

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Mr. Pounall made the experience extremely educating, while entertaining with his jokes every now and then. For the future he should work on enhancing his stand up comedy career and making a few global tours to make this 5 stars a 6 star.
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Prakash Nagar is a great program host/teacher. 10/10 recommended 🙌🏻
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Mae Suliguin
The mask fit certification was professional and very thorough. I really liked Patrick, the mask fit specialist. He's very knowledgeable, really personable and fun. The Kingbridge Garden Circle location is also very accessible, clean and ample free parking. I was really pleased with the session.
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SOS First Aid and Safety Training is a wonderful organization! 🙏Speaking to Velma in many occasions, and meeting the instructor, Peggy, was enlightening as they assured me that my daughter, Mariella would receive accommodations achieving her First Aid and CPR Level C certification with support. 🥰 Being a parent who advocates for their child when in need is so important. ✅ Being heard and supported is truly amazing! 🦋 Every child, teenager, or adult learns is his or her own way. 💕Hopefully, people continue to see, acknowledge, and remember that everyone is special and there must be patience, empathy, and compassion for each person in any life situation! 👏🏼 Being able to obtain this certificate is a milestone for a 14 Year Old who said, “Mom, I could have had a day off on Saturday, and it is a class with adults! —-and we had to study an entire manual full of too many modules!!!” ☺️ Again, much gratitude and thanks to Velma and Peggy at SOS First Aid for the extra time and support given to my daughter. 🦋 Not only did the girls learn how to save lives, they learned how to adapt and persevere! Dream Big! 🙏
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Very informative session. Patrick did a good job at making it fun.
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Patrick was a great instructor!
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Michelle k was amazing learned alot of good things, I found she was verry thorough and to the point, realy enjoyed and would recommend the class to my peers
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Divya Sharma
Patrick was a great instructor for N95 mask fitting test. Thanks for the great experience.
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ahmad kd
Patrick was great. Class was easy to understand and they were well prepared with copies of sheets and allowed e transfer payments for those who needed a mask provided which was very helpful.
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The instructor Patrick was very pleasant and engaging. He explained the content clearly and was very knowledgeable about the topic.
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Excellent session. Patrick explained everything clearly.
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Rohini Telang
Patrick Sacco completed my N95 mask fit test and was very kind and knowledgeable. He explained the procedure and was very informative.
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The instructor Patrick was super friendly
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Dr. Harsh Parikh
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Patrick was great!
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Awesome instructors, the class was so enjoyable and easy to understand!
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Jeremy Huang
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nu mai
nu mai
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Mihir Khatri
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zia haq
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Andrew McCulloch
Andrew McCulloch
Praka is an amazing teacher very easy to follow along with, funny and helpful. As well as the organization is very hands on and nice with customers
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shawn nassir
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Manuel Filla
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Darryl Sinclair
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PakTo Kwok
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caroline martyn belchior
Ian Dawson
Ian Dawson
Instructor Patrick Succo was very helpful and led a great, in-depth N95 mask fit class.
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kathleenlindsay97
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Cloey Lymburner
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Vaishali Damor
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Tracy
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Adam Casey
Maaria A
Maaria A
Very good
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Diana Kubi
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jemila binkola
Class was well structured and the instructor was well educated and friendly
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Sarah Fletcher
Iulia Roman
Iulia Roman
Patrick was amazing! Super intelligent and helpful. I'll definitely be returning when my mask fit expires and need to renew.
Julia Abbate
Julia Abbate
Patrick Sacco was amazing!!
kiana saquing
kiana saquing
Patrick was an excellent instructor for mask fit testing, he is very knowledgeable and informative. Definitely recommend sos first aid and safety training for mask fit testing.
Patricia Seyffert
Patricia Seyffert
Emily Hsiao
Emily Hsiao
Great experience! Patrick is awesome! Thanks again for helping me with my N95 mask fit test!
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Julia Fabro
Excellent and very friendly. Really enjoyed the class
Tamika Bramwell
Tamika Bramwell

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