Even while you have no influence over other drivers’ actions, you have a lot of power over how you drive your car. With defensive driving, you can take a few simple precautions and improve your chances of having a safe journey.
Also, if you have a traffic violation, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina law permits the Court to make you take a defensive driving class to keep the offense off your driving record and improve your safety on the road.
Read on to learn more about the rules of defensive driving in Myrtle Beach, Charleston, SC.
What Is Defensive Driving and Why Is It Important?
Defensive driving refers to driving that actively lessens the risks connected with operating a vehicle.
Remember, you and the other drivers in your vicinity are only human, and humans make mistakes. A defensive driver considers the potential actions of other road users in addition to their own actions. By driving safely and steadily, defensive driving practices lower the risk of an accident or incident and can even save money on car maintenance.
Defensive driving is all about being aware of potential risks, avoiding aggressive driving, and taking preventative measures to avoid an accident.
What is considered defensive driving?
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as a combination of moving traffic infractions committed by a person to risk other individuals or property. Driving aggressively can take many forms, from dangerous behavior to extreme violence.
Some common aggressive habits include tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the road shoulder, speeding, cutting off traffic, yelling, honking, flashing headlights, and making inappropriate gestures while driving. At its worst, it can involve ramming or bumping another car or brandishing weapons. Other aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Disobeying stop and yield signs
- Driving in prohibited zones
- Failing to signal lane changes or turns
- Running red lights
- Ignoring other drivers
What Are the Best Practices of Defensive Driving in Myrtle Beach, SC?
Here are some defensive driving tips when in Myrtle Beach, SC.
1. Focus on the task at hand
Don’t let air conditioning, radio, kids in the backseat, or an argument with your spouse distract you from your duty as a driver. Always keep an eye on the road and your car. According to the NHTSA, drivers under 20 are most likely to be distracted behind the wheel, contributing to 11% of fatal collisions.
Although it doesn’t come naturally, paying attention may be practiced and developed into a habit. Work at actively assessing what you see while driving by making deliberate, consistent decisions to connect your mind to your eyes. This is referred to as “situational awareness.”
2. Always keep a safe following distance
You never know when you might need to come to a sudden stop, and if you follow another car too closely, your brakes won’t be able to stop your car from hitting it from behind.
Make sure to give yourself enough room when driving on the highway or back roads so you may stop gradually rather than abruptly, which raises the risk of physical damage, including whiplash injuries.
3. Know your blind spots
What blind spots do you have? Depending on the vehicle, there may be blind spots such as the sides near the vehicle’s rear where you cannot see anything by looking in your mirrors.
Depending on the vehicle, there may be blind spots such as the sides near the vehicle’s rear where you cannot see anything by looking in your mirrors. Forward-quarter blind spots can occur in vehicles with high seating positions, making it difficult for the driver to see objects low to the ground in front or to the sides of the vehicle.
It’s crucial to check your mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds while driving. Simply relying on mirrors is insufficient, however.
The blind spots on most cars are big enough to conceal other cars. Because mirrors may fail to show a vehicle changing lanes, make sure to turn your head to look for approaching traffic before you switch lanes.
4. Slow down in rain or snow
When it begins to rain in Myrtle Beach, the general recommendation is to reduce speed by a third. South Carolina snow is rare, but you should lower your speed by half if driving in snowy conditions. Be extra defensive when driving with the potential for ice.
Make sure your tires are in excellent condition and are properly inflated.
5. Pass safely
If you choose to pass another car, ensure your front and rear are clear. Make sure you have enough room to pass on one-lane roads without obstructing approaching traffic. Pass only when it is permitted to do so by road markings.
Maintain your following distance so you can observe what’s ahead and avoid tailgating before passing. Finally, while reentering your lane, make sure to allow the overtaken car ample space. You should be able to see the vehicle’s front end and the tires on the ground in your mirrors.
6. When in doubt — yield
Err on the side of caution if you are unsure who has the right of way. Give way if another driver appears to be disputing your right of way even though you are aware of it. It is preferable to lose a little time than to get involved in an accident.
7. Stop at red lights
Running a red light at an intersection is a main reason for crashes. It can occasionally be a lack of focus on the road, or that you’re in a rush. The best action is to reduce speed and assess the situation before each intersection. Don’t try to beat a yellow light. Additionally, check for clear traffic when the light turns green — don’t rush in instantly.
8. Always signal your intentions
Always signal your actions, such as signaling before a turn or lane change at all times. Be careful not to convey the wrong message by signaling too soon, for instance, if you are approaching an intersection and want to turn right into a road or lot immediately after the junction. Oncoming traffic may assume that you intend to turn at the intersection rather than beyond it and may turn left in front of you.
9. Wear your seat belt
Always keep your seatbelt on. In the event your defensive driving techniques can’t avoid an inevitable collision, they’ll shield you against impacts, absorb collision forces, and stop you from being ejected from the car.
Contact David Aylor for Your Myrtle Beach Traffic Accident Consultation
As long as you adhere to defensive driving rules and all other traffic laws, your journeys in Myrtle Beach and the state of South Carolina will have a greater standard of safety.
However, if you were involved in a traffic accident, an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you pursue the best legal course of action. Contact David Aylor Law Offices in Myrtle Beach today to discuss your case.
Defensive Driving FAQs
What is the most important skill of defensive driving?
Scan your surroundings regularly.
What is the “no-zone”?
The blind spots of a truck or bus are larger because they often don’t have rear-view mirrors. Avoid lingering in the right or left side under their side mirrors, and also the immediate space to the front and back of a truck or bus.
What is the 4-second rule?
This rule advises that you remain at least four seconds behind the vehicle in front of you to mitigate against potential abrupt stops.