Offensive driving is an important concept to understand because driving offensively places drivers and the people who surround them on the road at a greater risk of accidents. Those who operate vehicles in this way try to take control over the road, forcing drivers around them to adapt. Many road rage incidents are instigated by such drivers. When people drive offensively, they do not pay attention to the actions of others and may become aggressive. Drivers who engage in this type of driving behavior are much likelier to cause accidents that result in injuries or fatalities.
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What Is Offensive Driving?
Defensive driving is when drivers remain alert and aware of the actions of the drivers around them on the road. They anticipate what other drivers might do and react accordingly. Defensive driving is the safest way to drive and can help people to avoid involvement in accidents.
By contrast, offensive driving is when drivers drive aggressively. Instead of reacting to and anticipating the actions of other drivers, offensive drivers ignore the actions of others and engage in reckless and dangerous driving behaviors. They might speed, move in and out of traffic lanes, tailgate other drivers, and drive angrily. Offensive drivers fail to react and instead try to force others to adapt to their driving. Aggressive drivers may react with extreme anger when they encounter other drivers who are causing minor annoyances like traveling the speed limit or driving too slowly in the passing lane.
Driving offensively is dangerous and may lead to accidents and road rage incidents. The types of behaviors that may spark an altercation include such things as tailgating, talking or texting on a cell phone while driving, not letting others pass or merge, speeding, changing lanes erratically, and straddling lanes.
Driving Defensively Around Offensive Drivers
If people encounter offensive or aggressive drivers, there are a few defensive driving tactics they can use to avoid accidents or dangerous encounters. Motorists who are driving around drivers who are aggressive should avoid honking at them. They should allow them to pass and should give the offensive drivers plenty of room. Other motorists should watch for indications that an offensive driver may suddenly change lanes and slow down to let them in. While offensive driving may be annoying, it is best for people to minimize their encounters, so they can avoid altercations and accidents.
Using defensive driving techniques may help keep you and your passengers safe. Some defensive driving tips to employ when behind the wheel include:
An important defensive step you can take to help avoid car crashes is to create space around your vehicle. Depending on factors, such as the weather and traffic conditions, you will want to ensure you have a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Generally, it’s advisable to allow a distance of two to four seconds.
Following the Traffic Laws and Signals
Traffic laws and signals create order and predictability on the roads. Knowing what to expect from one another may help drivers prevent motor vehicle accidents that can leave those involved with serious or fatal injuries. Driving defensively, you should adhere to all the traffic laws, signals, and signs.
Expecting the Unexpected
While you follow the traffic laws and signals, don’t assume that other motorists will do the same. Further, you cannot anticipate that the road will always be clear and conditions free of risk. Expecting the unexpected, such as another driver braking suddenly or hitting a patch of ice, can help ensure you are prepared to react should a situation arise.
Having a Plan
Expecting the unexpected to occur will only help so much. You should also have a plan for how you will react and avoid potential hazards. For example, when traveling behind a tractor-trailer, you may look to have space in the lanes or shoulder on either side of you. Having a plan of action may prove helpful if the trucker must brake suddenly, and you cannot stop in time to avoid crashing.
Understanding offensive driving dangers, and the steps you can take to avoid them, may help you avoid getting into potentially serious or deadly collisions.