Travel

Driving Offensively and Defensively

If you have your driver’s license, then you know how scary the roads can be when you are not the only one responsible for keeping yourself and your passengers alive. It comes down to how each person on the road drives. I had an experience in my sophomore year of high school where I was riding with a friend to school, and we were struck by a large truck. The whole experience could have been prevented if everyone had worked together to create a safe driving environment.

My friend and I had stopped at a local gas station before heading out to class one morning. A supply truck had parked parallel to the highway, which blocked the view from an oncoming curve of cars. Other vehicles had parked illegally next to the road, blocking the view from the other direction of the highway. As my friend pulled the car forward towards the road, we waited patiently until we thought the road was clear. We had been blocked in so there was no way to back up and go out a different entrance. Our only option was to wait and miss class or take a chance and pull out onto the road.

We should have waited until the truck, or the other vehicles had left. It would have been worth missing the first few minutes of class to avoid being hit by another car. There were different ways to avoid being hit, we just felt cornered and chose poorly.

As soon as we pulled onto the road, a large Ford F-150 truck punched through the driver’s side of the car. My friend and the other passengers exited the vehicles to get out of the road. There was now an oncoming eighteen-wheeled truck nearing my side of the car. My seatbelt and door were jammed. Everyone had to move out of the way to keep anyone else from getting hurt. Fortunately, the eighteen-wheeled truck was able to move onto someone’s driveway to avoid hitting me.

Had the second truck not taken measures into his hands to avoid hitting me, then I would probably not be here today. Had my friend and I waited to pull onto the road, we would not have caused the wreck in the first place. Had the other drivers not parked irresponsibly, then it could have also been avoided.

My point is that paying attention to your surroundings and not relying on the other drivers’ ability to drive responsibly can be the difference between having an accident and not. Here are some ways to drive both offensively and defensively:

  • When merging into another lane, check your mirrors and through the windows, multiple times. Let your blink go for more than a few seconds to be sure that no one from another lane is merging at the same time. Merge slowly.
  • Do NOT break check people. If someone is riding too close to your bumper, slow down to below the speed limit. They will likely get the message. Do NOT ride close to anyone’s bumper. A car length space between you and the other vehicle is the law.
  • The far-left lane on the interstate is the “passing lane.” It is illegal to drive on this side of the road unless passing other vehicles. If someone is driving on your tail or is flashing their lights at you, move into another lane.
  • Driving Safety Tips: https://www.nationwide.com/driving-safety-tips.jsp

sarah

Sarah is a UAB student and an intern for GirlSpring.

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