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Defensive Driving

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Defensive Driving

Tim HillerbyMorgan
15 December 2009


Once you have passed your driving test, you do not stop being a learning driver.

It is important that you speak to your driving instructor about posttest training. Their driving school will have a policy stating which post test course they offer.

Posttest training does two things. It fills in the blanks in your learner driver training. The focus of the driving lessons changes. The focus is on the skills a qualified driver needs. This takes you from learner driver to real driver.

One of the most important skills a real driver can develop is defensive driving.

A defensive driver is not a scared driver. A driver seems to be in the right place at the right time at the right speed. A defensive driver sees the problems early and reacts to avoid any difficulties.

We will be learning about the five skills of a good driver. Spend a day practicing each skill on your own before you do your in car training.

Skill 1 - Look well ahead Think back to when you were learning to drive. Did things seem to happen all of a sudden? When you are learning to drive your attention is focused in the car. As you developed as a driver, you became more aware of what was going on around you. The hazard perception test helped develop your awareness of the road ahead. Skill 1 takes hazard perception to the next level. The human eye has evolved to see into the distance and pick up movement close by. So, by making an effort to look as far down the road as you can you are making the best use of your eyes. Try this exercise next time you drive into work or college. Look as far down the road as you can. Say what you see out loud.

Skill 2 - Keep your eyes moving The human eye is never still. It is constantly moving about. Try staring at the end of a pencil for two minutes. What happens to the end of the pencil? In driving, we use the natural movements of our eyes Try this exercise next time you drive into work or college. Start by looking as far down the road as you can. Now look from building to building - scan the pavements as well as the road. Now check to each side of the car. Now look in the rear mirror. Keep repeating this cycle. How much more did you see compared to the last exercise.

Skill 3 - Spot the problems Try this exercise next time you drive into work or college. Give a running commentary on what is happening around you. Every time you spot a hazard or problem, say it aloud.

Skill 4 - Keep space Now that you have practiced spotting the problems, you need to practice keeping space around you. You know that you need to stay back from the car in front. What about the sides? Adjust your position in the road to keep the greatest space from the greatest danger. A bike to the right and parked car to the left - move to the left. Remember never hurry to slow down. As soon as you see a problem, react to it. React early and adjust your speed - chances are the problem will have cleared before you get there.

Skill 5 - Be seen Make sure that you signal your intentions to other drivers as early as is safe. Now try the defensive driving quiz


The Drivers Ed Company manage the BTEC in Driving Skills. This combines the work of driving instructors, driving schools and learner drivers. The online course runs alongside driving lessons to form a powerful driver training aid. This course will improve pass rates and reduce deaths on the roads. www.driversedcompany.com

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