Some tips on defensive driving

In driving school, instructors will cover all of the everyday skills that they need to drive safely and correctly. However, it's also important that new drivers are confident in less common situations. Here are some tips for some situations all drivers should know how to deal with. 

Flooded roads

In heavy rain situations, it is possible for roads to become flooded, which can result in a situation where the car cannot get traction on the road. This is known as aquaplaning and can be very dangerous if the driver doesn't know how to control the car. In this situation, the driver needs to remain calm and not brake or accelerate suddenly as this can lead to a further loss of control. Slowing down gradually by reducing the pressure on the accelerator can help the car wheels to regain contact with the road and help the driver to have control over the car again. 

Skidding on oily or sandy spills

When travelling at high speeds, such as on a highway, and running over a sand or oil spill, it is possible for the car's tyres to lose traction and start to skid. When a car starts to skid, many inexperienced drivers start to wrench the wheel around into a full lock in the opposite direction. Instead, you should point the car in the direction that you have intended to go in order to regain traction. The car should be slowed by taking the foot off the accelerator to help the driver remain in control.  

Sudden catastrophic car failure

In spite of best intentions and maintenance, it is possible to suffer a catastrophic failure such as a loss of brakes, a broken axle or engine failure while on a busy road. Being able to quickly navigate a path out of the oncoming traffic can minimise the chance of a multiple car collision, which reduces risks for all drivers. The driver should immediately activate hazard lights and move to the shoulder of the road, while continuing to check that they will not be coming into oncoming traffic as they move. 

If you want to be able to drive safely and deal with unexpected hazards, it can be a great idea to take a defensive driving course with an experienced instructor. These courses will guide you through various scenarios and give you practise in how to cope with unexpected hazards and stay safe on the road.