Road Tips

Ideas for driving (and surviving) on the road.

How to Break Down

defensive driving texas how to break downGet out of traffic.

The goal is to get out of the traffic flow without causing a collision. If your vehicle is disabled, that can be a monumental challenge. Be patient, make sure the path is clear and remember to signal.

Find a safe place to stop.

Try to park in an area with flat terrain away from traffic. If you need to change a tire or perform other repairs, make sure you have enough room to safely work. Turn on the emergency flashers. Set out flares or emergency reflectors.

Get help.

Unless help is nearby, stay with your vehicle. Police or a tow truck are likely to come by. If you have a cell phone, call for help. Raising your hood or tying a cloth to the door handle signals other drivers that you need assistance.

Keep Your Distance

defensive driving texas counting distance

When driving, time is distance and distance is what keeps you from having a collision. Always leave a safe gap between your vehicle and surrounding traffic.

Following Distance.

What is the safe distance to leave between your vehicle and the one you’re following? It depends on your speed, road conditions, vehicle weight and more. The goal is to give yourself enough time to react and stop or steer your way out of trouble.

Minimum following distances:

  • 35 mph and under: 2 seconds.
  • Up to 45 mph: 3 seconds.
  • Up to 70 mph: 4 seconds.

When to increase following distance:

  • slick roads
  • limited visibility
  • bad weather
  • driving a heavy vehicle
  • going downhill

Measuring seconds.

How do you measure seconds on the road? Look ahead and find a reference point like a tree, sign or road marker. When the vehicle you’re following passes your reference point, start counting: “One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” Keep counting until your vehicle reaches the reference point.

Intersection distance.

How long does it take to cross the road?

  • Stopped at an intersection, it takes about four seconds to cross a two-lane road.
  • Making a right-hand turn and accelerating to 30 mph takes about six seconds.
  • Turning left takes about seven seconds.
  • To be safe, wait until there’s a gap in traffic that’s at least two seconds longer than your turning time.

Sharing the Road

texas road safety share roadWho owns the road? All of us.

Each of us has the right to use the road—whether we walk, ride a bike or drive a car, truck or 18-wheeler. But we can’t have it all to ourselves. We have to share it with everyone else.

When driving, you have to know which part of the road is yours and respect what belongs to someone else. That’s what makes it all work. Unfortunately, some people aren’t very good at sharing.

Can’t we all just get along?

At the grocery store, people are usually quite nice. No one cuts you off in the checkout line or tailgates you with their shopping cart or yells “Move it, slowpoke. You’re going too slow down the cereal isle!” But on the road it’s a whole other story.

defensive driving texas angry manDriving seems to bring out the worst in us. We become pouting, angry, selfish little brats wheeling a lethal weapon through the streets. We take care of Numero Uno and to hell with the rest. Our self interests come first. We want to get where we’re going and get there fast. Everyone else on the road is just a nuisance—an obstacle in our way. We’ll do whatever it takes to get around them because driving is a cut-throat business.

It seems that when we start being drivers, we stop being human.

Warning: This product contains humans.

defensive driving texas contains humans

It’s easy to forget that underneath all the sheet metal and glass of an automobile lives a real human being.

On the road we are lost in a sea of vehicles and feel anonymous, even invisible. We usually can’t see other drivers and they usually can’t see us. So instead of seeing people, we see traffic—a nameless and faceless beast. Traffic is the enemy and must be defeated.

The truth is, traffic is not the enemy. Traffic is people. People who have wants, needs and desires—just like you.

We’re better together.

Guess what? Cooperating with others is in your best interest. Things are so much better when we work together—traffic flows more smoothly, collisions are reduced and everyone gets there quicker.

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