Each day, thousands of motor vehicle accidents happen in Wisconsin. And in some of those accidents, people are injured, and some people even lose their lives. In fact, in 2016, 31,066 injuries were reported in Wisconsin automobile accidents and 524 people died in car crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

No one wants to end up seriously injured in a car accident. But how can you prevent that? One way to prevent accidents is to practice defensive driving techniques.

What is defensive driving?

With defensive driving, drivers anticipate potential problems to avoid being in an accident. They slow down so they have time to react to everything going on around them. They watch what other drivers are doing and react accordingly.

What exactly is included in defensive driving?

Defensive driving includes first following all basic traffic laws. That means obeying speed limits, coming to complete stops at stop signs, and using a turn signal and checking your blind spot before merging.

Other defensive driving techniques include the following:

  • Use the Three-Second Rule. Drivers should maintain a three-second distance between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead of them. This can be gauged when the vehicle ahead of you passes a sign, a tree or a building. As soon as the vehicle passes that object, count to three. Have you already passed the same object? Then you are following too closely and need to slow down. Having a three-second distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you will give you more time to react if that vehicle suddenly slows down or makes an unexpected turn.
  • Reduce your distractions. Distracted driving has become more of a problem in recent years because of the increasing use of cell phones behind the wheel. As a result, each day, nine people in the United States are killed because of distracted driving. The best method to avoid distracted driving is to put your phone away completely. Or at least use a cellphone mount and only use your phone as a navigational tool. Anything else will take your attention off the road too much.
  • Yield to aggressive drivers. Let those drivers who are speedily whipping between lanes, just trying to get ahead of traffic faster, go right on by. Get in the right lane if someone is aggressively tailgating you. No good will come from antagonizing these drivers, so it’s best to slow down and let them move past you.
  • Slow down when traffic is heavy or road conditions are bad. When you are going slower, you have more time to react to when a vehicle suddenly stops ahead of you or hits a patch of ice and fishtails in front of you.

By following these defensive driving tips, you’re more likely to stay safe on the road. So not only will you avoid the hassle of dealing with getting your vehicle repaired or replaced after an accident, you won’t end up suffering any auto accident injuries either.