You know you should never drive when drowsy, distracted by your device or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Take safety one step further by practicing defensive driving methods, designed to shield your vehicle from collisions caused by other drivers. 

Try these techniques to avoid auto accidents and protect yourself and others on the road from serious injury. 

Plan to react 

Keep an eye on the other drivers around you and anticipate their actions. Leave plenty of distance from other cars so you have time to react if another vehicle suddenly stops, swerves or enters your lane. Think a few steps ahead and plan for the worst-case scenario so you can take action to avoid a crash.  

Adjust for conditions 

Crashes occur more often in poor weather. When traveling at night, in the rain or in other circumstances with slippery roads and limited visibility, reduce your speed accordingly. Increase your following distance and turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you. 

Know where to go 

When you allow plenty of space between your vehicle and other cars, you create escape routes you can use to avoid a collision. Be aware of the paths you will take if one of the drivers around you makes a dangerous move. If you notice another car speeding or driving aggressively, switch lanes to stay out of the driver’s path if possible.  

Watch your speed 

Always adhere to posted speed limits, which apply to ideal conditions. When roads are slippery, reduce speed so you can retain control of the car and see cars and other obstacles. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination, especially when you are traveling to an unfamiliar location. Unsafe speeds significantly contribute to traffic accidents 

Defensive driving classes are available through your local department of motor vehicles. Taking an approved class may qualify you for an insurance discount. Taking advantage of these tactics reduces your risk of involvement in a serious auto accident.