What is Defensive Driving?
The risk of an accident is ever present whenever a person gets in a car and gets on the road. No matter how careful a person thinks he drives, other less careful drivers on the road means that accidents can still happen. Learning how to drive defensively can help some drivers learn how to avoid accidents caused by negligent drivers in some cases.
Defensive driving generally refers to driving using strategic driving techniques that teach the driver to predict and avoid foreseeable hazards on the road. Most people learn how to drive defensively by taking a defensive driving course at a traffic school or with another organization. Defensive driving courses cover a variety of topics, including a general overview of the state’s traffic laws and safe driving techniques.
Some of the safety techniques taught as part of a defensive driving course include: how to share the road with other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians; spotting potential dangers on the road or the side of the road; passing procedures; braking distance; and learning how to drive safely in different weather conditions. There may seem like common sense ideas and indeed may be things that every driver has heard of before. However, these are also driving techniques that people forget over time and may need to refresh for better driving.
A defensive driving course can also be helpful in teaching a driver how to handle distractions like cell phone use, eating while driving, or even driving with a small child in the car. While these things are largely controlled by the driver’s personal habits, learning different techniques to avoid and handle distractions, as well as anticipate other distracted drivers can be helpful.
Defensive driving courses also cover the dangers and effects of driving while tired, drunk, or under the influence of drugs.
Taking a defensive driving course can, in some, situations lower a driver’s insurance rates or keep them from being increased. Florida law allows drivers over the age of 55 years of age to take a defensive driving course and then apply for an insurance discount. The amount of the discount varies, but it can last several years. While younger drivers may not get the same advantage, defensive driving is not age specific and can be practiced by any driver.
Having taken a defensive driving course at some point does not mean the driver can use that as an automatic defense to negligent driving that causes an accident resulting in serious injuries to others. For example, a driver cannot successfully claim that he cannot have caused an accident solely because he has taken a defensive driving course and is a great driver. This is not likely to sway a jury that is presented with other evidence of the driver’s negligence.
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Getting injured in a car accident can cause serious injuries that can affect a person’s life in many lasting ways. To find out more about how you can seek compensation following an accident caused by a negligent driver, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation.