Defensive driving teaches you to pay attention to your surroundings and how to react in a potentially dangerous situation. This is handy if you find yourself facing one of these frequent car crash scenarios and all you have to avoid a collision is your skill and ability to react decisively.
Head-on collisionThese are collisions with other vehicles, animals and stationary objects like trees. Often these crashes result in serious injuries to the brain and spinal cord as many occur at high speeds.
Avoidance:• Keep a constant eye on oncoming traffic;
• Reduce your speed as much as is safely possible;
• If you do not sacrifice any of your control over the vehicle, get the other drivers attention by flashing your lights;
• If they do not move over, move as far over to the left as possible but do not swerve into their lane in case they make a last minute correction; and
• If you can, move off the road completely.
Rear-end collisionThese are the most common collisions, most often caused by distracted driving.
Avoidance:• Pay attention to your surroundings;
• Remove any distractions from your vicinity;
• Keep a following distance of at least three seconds;
• Do not tailgate; and
• Leave a larger following distance in wet or low-visibility conditions.
Side-on collisionThese are some of the most dangerous especially in cars without side airbags. The sides of a car also have less space to absorb impact.
Avoidance:• Never skip a robot or stop sign;
• Look both ways before crossing road, even if it is your right of way;
• Look for a potential escape route which can be safely taken;
• Decide if speeding up or slowing down can help you avoid the collision; and
• Next time you purchase a vehicle try buy one with as much safety technology as you can afford.
Low-speed collisionThese occur at speeds less than 20km/hour. They most often occur while driving through neighbourhoods or reversing out of parking spaces or driveways. It is still possible to be injured.
Avoidance:• Don’t relax your concentration at any time while behind the wheel – crashes happen no matter what speed you travel at; and
• Do not remove your seatbelt until the car is stationary.
Eugene Herbert is the MD of MasterDrive.