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7 Defensive Driving Tips for Louisiana Motorists


Many traffic accidents can be avoided by using defensive driving tactics. Defensive driving means keeping your eyes on the road and other vehicles so you have a better chance of anticipating and avoiding potentially dangerous situations.

Using the seven defensive driving tips below can help reduce the risk of an accident that could cause severe injury or death.

If an accident occurs, contact our experienced Baton Rouge car accident lawyers for a free legal consultation. We can help investigate your claim and possibly pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered.

Ways to be a Defensive Driver

Using the following defensive driving strategies can help you avoid accidents:

Look Far Down the Road

Try to look between 12 and 15 seconds ahead of you to anticipate possible dangers. You should try to determine what is happening three or four vehicles ahead of you so you will be prepared when you reach their location. Looking further ahead gives you the opportunity to anticipate when you might need to slow down, stop or make another maneuver.

Be Aware of All of the Vehicles Around You

Try to have an awareness of other drivers around you, including those behind you and to the side. Having a spatial awareness of the traffic in the near vicinity can help you react more quickly if a dangerous situation arises.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

Many accidents can be avoided by maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you.

It can take several seconds for a vehicle to come to a complete stop. By allowing two to three seconds of space between you and the next vehicle, you can give yourself more time to react.

An easy way to determine how far a vehicle is from you is to find a fixed object by the road like a traffic sign or tree and count the seconds it takes for the object to pass the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you and reach your front bumper.

Do Not Engage in Distracted Driving

You should always keep your attention focused on the road and avoid common distractions such as:

  • Talking or texting on a cellphone
  • Changing radio stations
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading
  • Programming a GPS system

Any necessary adjustments to your GPS, radio or air conditioning should be made before driving. You can also ask your passengers to do these things for you.

Distracted driving accidents often result in severe injuries, such as internal damage, concussion, spinal cord injuries, whiplash and skull fractures.

Stay Alert

Driving requires quick reflexes and precise movements. That is why you should never get behind the wheel when you are impaired by any of the following:

  • Alcohol - Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Even if you have had only one drink, your reflexes and reaction time can be impaired or slowed down. Have a designated driver or arrange for alternative transportation if you plan to drink.
  • Drugs - Drugs can impair a person's reaction time, judgment and perception. Illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs may all cause adverse reactions that can impair your driving ability.
  • Drowsiness or lack of sleep - Driving while tired can slow your reaction time and make you more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

Help Other Drivers See You

Another effective strategy to avoid accidents is to make yourself more visible to other drivers. Avoid blind spots when possible, turn on your headlights when it is dark or there is inclement weather, and make sure your brake lights are working. You should also use your turn signals when you plan to turn or change lanes.

Anticipate the Actions of Other Drivers

Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers and do not assume that other motorists will follow all traffic rules. Do not expect other drivers to move out of your way, merge properly, allow you into a lane or to not run a red light. Expecting others to make mistakes can give you more time to react and avoid an accident.

Contact Our Skilled Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Unfortunately, auto accidents happen every day, no matter how many motorists practice defensive driving.

If you or a loved one is injured by a careless driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for the damages you sustain.

Contact our personal injury lawyers in Baton Rouge today for a free, no obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis and do not charge you for our services unless we recover compensation.

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