In order to be a safer driver, learner drivers should practice what is called defensive driving.
Defensive driving is a way of driving which is designed to reduce accidents and make drivers more aware of their surroundings.
You can drive defensively too by adhering to a few simple rules and concepts.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and be on a constant lookout for potential dangers or hazards around you. Check your rear-view and side mirrors as well as in front of you. If you are aware at all times, you’ll be able to react better to any situation which could spring up.
Dangers or hazards can be anything that has the potential to cause a dangerous situation – a child walking next to the road could suddenly run into the road, for example. A car not keeping a safe following distance behind you is another. There may be more than one hazard at any given time – such as if a child ran into the road in front of you while the vehicle behind you is not keeping a safe following distance. You may need to break hard suddenly in order to avoid hitting the child, but the vehicle behind you might drive into you because their close following distance has not given them enough time to react. Once you have identified what the hazard is, you need to understand how it could affect your speed or direction.
Once you have understood a hazard, you need to predict what you would do about it if it became a danger. What if that child ran into the road? You need to decide on what action you would take in order to avoid the danger, and how this action could affect other vehicles on the road. If you needed to swerve to avoid hitting the child, would you be swerving into an oncoming vehicle? You need to predict a course of action that will present the minimum amount of danger to everyone in the situation.
Once you have evaluated a situation, you need to decide on what you’re going to do about it. You may need to reduce your speed, use your hooter as a warning or perform an evasive manoeuvre.