Defensive Driving

1. Before you drive, survey your vehicle.                                                                                                                                         Are your tires at the correct pressure? Are external mirrors set properly? Are there any hazards, such as objects or small children, near your vehicle? Are your windows all clear? Do you have fluid for your windshield washer, and are the wiper blades clean and smooth? Is your license plate visible?
2. When you drive, pay attention. What is ahead, behind, and beside you? Be aware of what is 15 to 20 seconds ahead of you, both directly ahead and to the sides, so that you can anticipate everything that may force you to react.
3. Move your eyes. When you focus on what is immediately ahead, your peripheral vision is affected, and you start to develop tunnel vision. Instead, regularly move your eyes, and occasionally look toward what is in your peripheral vision, particularly when you are approaching cross streets.
4. Use your mirrors regularly.  Check your mirrors every five to eight seconds, and know where vehicles behind and beside you are in relation to your vehicle, particularly those that are approaching your blind spot.

 5. Shoulder check every time. 

Even if you are sure you know the location of every vehicle beside and behind you, practice shoulder checking before you move to the right or left. The driver beside you may have a different view of how much room there is beside you.
6. Make connections.  That ball rolling across the road may be followed by a young child. Traffic ahead of you moving into the other lane may mean a lane closure or hazard ahead. A siren may mean an emergency vehicle is coming up behind you. The speeding car on the side street may not stop before crossing your path. The earlier you make a connection between what you see and a potential hazard, the earlier you can safely respond to it.
7. Wear a seat belt, and secure children and objects in your vehicle. .  In the first moments after a collision, you need to focus on keeping control of your vehicle. That's difficult to do if an object behind you has just struck the back of your head. It's impossible when you've been thrown out of the vehicle or through the windshield
8. Avoid distractions. Talking on your cell phone, text messaging, getting into an argument, or even changing the channel on your radio can all take your attention away from what is around you. Using a mobile device while driving is against the law in the NWT.
9. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead of you.  You should be no closer than four seconds behind a car or light truck, and at least six seconds behind a large commercial vehicle. Leave even more time when the road or weather conditions are poor.
10. Don't drive in someone else's blind spot.  If they don't see you, they can't avoid you.