Defensive Driving Checklist
Before you start driving, there are several simple things that you should be doing to ensure that you will be ready to drive in a safe, smart and defensive way.
1. Walk Around the Car
While this might seem like a strange thing to do, it is very beneficial. It gives you a moment to assess your surroundings as well as your vehicle’s exterior health. During this time you can take note of pedestrians in the area, whether your tires are underinflated, and check to see if your windshield needs to be cleaned. Pedestrians can be difficult to see from within your vehicle, so this helps give you an idea of what you will need to be on the lookout for. If you see a child, you will know to search for them before you start moving your vehicle.
2. Adjust Your Seat
Having your seat in a good position is important. After all, you need to be high enough to have good visibility of the road and far enough back that you can reach the accelerator and brake. Make sure that you are also at least 10 inches away from the air bag.
3. Adjust Your Mirrors
Have you have ever noticed a car in your rear-view mirror, only to have it vanish for a few brief moments before reappearing in your side mirrors? This area is known as a blind spot. It’s a fact of life that cars have them. In fact, some cars have larger blind spots than others. However, a properly adjusted mirror can go a long way in minimizing them.
Driver’s Side Mirror
- Have your forehead touch the window’s glass, then, adjust the mirror until you can just barely see a sliver of your car
- When you sit up straight in the driver’s seat, you shouldn’t see your car at all
Passenger Side Mirror
- Lean until your head is positioned over the center console (the space between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat)
- Adjust the mirror until you can just barely see a sliver of your car
- Adjust the mirror every day to account for changes in posture
- Position yourself as you expect to sit while driving
- Move the mirror to show as much of the back window as possible
4. Adjust Your Headrest
Although headrests appear to be have their purpose rooted in comfort, they are actually very important safety devices. The most frequently reported injury in auto insurance claims are neck sprains and strains and the best way to prevent these whip-lash injuries is to have a properly adjusted headrest. Always be sure that your headrest is no more than 2.4 inches away from the back of your head, and make sure that the head restraint is as high as your head for the best protection.
5. Adjust the Steering Wheel
Feeling comfortable in your car goes a long way in ensuring you will be able to quickly respond to road situations. Some steering wheels can be raised or lowered, which can do anything from improving visibility to reducing arm fatigue. If you can’t adjust the steering wheel individually, you should consider your steering wheel comfort when positioning your seat.