Torque Tips | Defensive driving

Defensive driving

-reap the benefits of daily driving-


Many of us believe that if you a good amount of driving experience, maintain and service your vehicle and focus while driving that we are safe and road-friendly drivers. These mentioned factors do contribute towards safer South African roads for all drivers, but there are other factors drivers should consider to improve their driving capabilities and experience on the road. Today we are discussing one of these factors namely defensive driving to our inquisitive audience.


What is defensive driving?


Defensive driving is a set of unique driving techniques and strategies used by a driver to lower the risk of a vehicle accident when driving. These defensive driving skills help the driver predict and teaches them how to handle potential road hazards and situations along with driving habits and decisions to avoid. Anyone can take a defensive driving course to improve their driving abilities and promote their overall awareness on the road. This course will enable a driver to notice common things overlooked by most drivers, all while learning how to make better daily decisions and analysing the road when driving. This course teaches and trains everyday drivers in a controlled environment under the supervision of professionals. It also teaches the driver how to identify and handle drunk and aggressive drivers on the road.


Basic defensive driving lessons include the following:


  • There is a three to four-second rule, where a driver needs to always keep a distance of two to three meters between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them to react timeously to any potential situation. This distance needs to increase in certain weather and road conditions as well as when driving in the dark.
  • The driver always has to be alert and keep an eye out for any blemishes on the road e.g. potholes, sand on the road and also any hazardous liquids such as diesel spilt on the road that could cause trouble and potentially damage your vehicle.
  • The driver also needs to always have an escape route or alternative route in case any sudden or hazardous obstacle appears unexpectedly like a road being blocked.
  • The driver is also taught to consider other motorists and to think for them when needed. This is done by predicting their next move and to notice a mistake other drivers are making.
  • They learn how to make use of the road more effectively with taught habits such as learning how to maintain and adjust their current speed in certain situations for instance when the speed limit is 100 km/h but it is raining and therefore you should only drive a maximum of 70 km/h.
  • Under no circumstances should you creep up on a truck and then unexpectedly overtake it. You should ensure that the truck can spot you by keeping a safe distance and to signal your move of overtaking by using your indicators for a few seconds before you do.


Benefits of defensive driving:


  • Drivers that have a defensive driving course are lower risk and therefore pay a lower vehicle insurance premium and end up saving a lot of money in the long run.
  • Drivers that have a defensive driving course are also less likely to get a speeding or road violation ticket and rarely face the wrong side of the traffic law.
  • These drivers are also better drivers in general and this vital information also guarantees their safety and enables them to get the best driving experience from their vehicles e.g. the fact that they don’t speed means that they don’t brake harshly, this means that you get more kilometres on your tyres and brake pads.

We hope that you ensure safer driving by joining a defensive driving course and reap all the benefits as well.


Written by: Ashley Roos