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What Are the Three C’s of Defensive Driving?

What Are the Three C’s of Defensive Driving?

There are many safety principles you should follow as a defensive driver. To learn how to drive defensively, take our online defensive driving course.

  • Driving carefully requires actively monitoring your own actions on the road.
  • Never assume that other vehicle drivers will follow the laws.
  • Never retaliate to a unsafe driver, it only worsens the situation. 

It is important for you to know that driving is not risk-free. There are many safety principles and key factors that go into actively incorporating defensive driving strategies into your everyday life. Some safety principles you should regularly follow as a defensive driver are the “Three C’s of Driving.” These principles are as follows: 

  1. Care
  2. Caution
  3. Courtesy

We will be going into more detail about each of these in the following sections.

Driving With Care

Being a careful driver means that you must actively mind your own behavior on the road. Always be sure that you drive according to the driving laws and proper signage. Another thing to be aware of when driving is the weather and road conditions. Always take this into consideration before getting behind the wheel. For example, if it is snowy or icy out, you will want to drive slowly and keep a good distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. 

Aside from general driving practices, there are a couple different things you must regularly take care of before getting on the road. 

Caring For Your Car

In order to drive safely and carefully, you must regularly and properly maintain your vehicle. Regular maintenance allows for a safe and smooth driving experience. For example, if you do not check your tire pressure before getting on the road, you are more likely to get a flat tire. A flat tire is a common cause of losing control of your vehicle, which is a hazard both to you and other drivers on the road.

Developing Safe Habits

Many experienced drivers find that they do not use conscious thought once they get behind the wheel. This is because driving is a habitual activity. Therefore, whether you are a new driver or a seasoned driver, developing safe driving habits is a very important aspect of becoming a defensive driver. 

Developing safe driving habits helps you to perform safe driving actions without even thinking about it. It is important that you start developing these safe driving habits when you initially learn to drive because unsafe driving habits are harder to break later on in your driving career. 

For example, if you do not actively practice using your turn signals when you are learning to drive, it will develop into an unsafe driving habit. In order to break this habit, you will have to reteach yourself to use your turn signals.  

Exercise Caution

While being careful is dependent on what you choose to do as a driver, being cautious is dependent on what other drivers do. When it comes to defensive driving, you should never assume that other drivers on the road will do the right, logical, or predictable thing. There is always a chance that the other driver is distracted or under the influence. Driving cautiously will ensure that you and your passengers will get from point A to point B safely. 

Watch Out For Other Drivers

Caution can be used to check other drivers on the road. Always be on the look out for other drivers who might be:

  • Speeding excessively
  • Tailgating
  • Driving while distracted
  • Ignoring stop signs or lights

Concentration is Key

Being focused and aware while driving is vital to your safety, as well as the safety of the other drivers on the road. As a defensive driver, being aware of your surroundings and the other vehicles on the road, gives you more time to react and avoid or minimize the effect of hazards on the road. 

Motor accidents caused by distracted driving increase with each passing year. There are many different things that can cause distracted driving. So it is important to remember to always keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. We will discuss the different types in detail throughout the following sections. 

Cognitive Distractions

Studies have shown that around 62% of drivers who caused an accident due to distracted driving report a moment when they were lost in thought, completely disassociated from the task at hand. It most commonly occurs when the individual is leaving work for the day, dealing with a lack of sleep, or just having a bad day. This is why maintaining concentration while driving is very important. 

Calling or Texting

Cell phone use is a factor in about 12% of incidents involving distracted driving. When you send a text or answer a call while driving, you are taking your attention, both physically and mentally, away from the road. Since the introduction of smartphones, there has been an increase in the frequency of serious and deadly vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving. Taking your eyes off the road, even for just a split second, could result in you losing your life or taking another. 

Things That Are Happening Outside Your Vehicle

Imagine you are driving down the road and you see some red and blue lights flashing ahead. As you pass you slow down and crane your head to see what happened. This action is regularly referred to as “rubbernecking” and is extremely dangerous. Turning your head or “rubbernecking” takes your eyes and your mind off of the road, which decreases your allowed reaction time and puts you at risk of an accident. 

When you find yourself in a similar situation, remember the phrase: “Curiosity killed the cat, and satisfaction brought him back.” Unfortunately, you are not a cat; never take your eyes off the road.  

Not Being Prepared

Before you get behind the wheel of any vehicle, get everything ready. For example, set the AC or heating and get your playlist going before you put the car into “drive.” As a defensive driver, you don’t want to hunt through your purse or try to change vehicle controls while you are driving as this will take your attention away from the road. 

Use Common Courtesy On The Road

Using common courtesy may seem obvious, but studies have shown that incidents caused by aggressive driving and road rage increase every year. You never know who the other driver is and what they are going through or what they are capable of. Therefore, it is better to be nice to other drivers and take precautions to keep things from escalating. Be polite and try to give the other driver the benefit of the doubt if they cut you off or do something to annoy you. Whatever you do, do not retaliate; it will always just make the situation worse, which could result in someone getting hurt. 

Why Do I Need To Learn Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving aims to lower the danger of vehicle collisions by correctly instructing individuals to drive with caution and good judgment. Every aspect of unsafe driving and vehicle accidents impacts an individual in some way, whether that be because they were in a collision or knew someone else who was in one. 

Traffic Collisions & Physical Consequences

Accident losses affect people’s lives on a social and individual level. Vehicular accidents cause an estimated 41,000 fatalities and 3,236,000 injuries per year. Getting into a car accident can have serious bodily effects. A survivor may have severe wounds that cause severe agony, suffering, and even financial difficulty.

How Do Collisions Impact Mental Health

The majority of civilian instances of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the U.S. are caused by auto accidents. Car crashes can be incredibly mentally damaging, causing the victim to experience feelings of worry, anxiety, and stress that linger long after the impact.

The likelihood of PTSD among survivors of serious auto accidents is higher than that of survivors of less severe incidents. For instance, fatal collisions involving loved ones may cause long-term emotional suffering. In order to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, one may need to consult a mental health expert.

The Dynamics of a Crash

Vehicle collisions are almost usually the outcome of a chain of circumstances that can be prevented. The severity of a crash is influenced by the speed, location, and size of the object or other vehicle being struck. The act of one vehicle striking another vehicle or another object is not the only collision that can happen in an accident, though.

When not using a seat belt, the second accident, in which the driver and other passengers crash against a windshield, seat, or another vehicle component, can be just as harmful as the first collision.

Crash Prevention

Knowing how to avoid traffic accidents and spot possible hazards before it’s too late is the key to every successful defensive driving tactic. Some important crash prevention techniques are: 

  • Scanning the road and adjusting to the environment
  • Following distances according to the driving laws in your state. 
  • Recognizing the stopping distance of your car
  • Considering reaction distance
  • Environmental risks
  • Automobile emergencies
  • Driving together
  • Passing and the required open space
  • Understanding the right-of-way
  • Train crossings and speed modifications

Our Defensive Driving Safety Training Course

Here at Hard Hat Training, we offer a Defensive Driving Safety Training Course that is available for purchase and completion today. This training is regulation-aligned and covers a variety of information including:

  • Vehicle inspections
  • Safe driving conditions
  • Road rage
  • Road conditions
  • What to do in an emergency

We Also Offer It In Spanish

We also offer this Defensive Driver Safety Training Course in Spanish for those employees who would prefer the experience.