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Knowing the right skills for defensive/safe car driving is utmost important, especially for novice drivers. It not only keeps you safe out there on the road but also saves your time and energy by helping you navigate with more caution and thus reduces chances of a mishap.

Here are some of the key pointers to note if you wish to become a safe car driver:

Be responsible behind the wheel

Do not drink and drive:

This rule tops the list and for the very obvious reasons. Make sure that you don't drink and drive as you put not only yourself but also others on the road in grave danger. Also, there is a good possibility that you'll get your licence suspended if caught under the influence of alcohol.

Use seat belts:

Using seat belts drastically cuts the chances of injury or fatality. As per NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of fatal injury for passengers aged 5 and above by 45%, and also reduce the rate of moderate to serious injury by 50%.

Avoid distractions:

Being distracted while sitting behind the wheel is seriously a bad idea since the road demands your full attention at all times. Distraction also slows down your reaction time which can prove to be deadly, especially at highway speeds. So make sure that you do not use your cell phone while driving. And if needed, pull over and stop the vehicle to use your phone.

Avoid drowsiness:

You are more likely to make mistakes if you are feeling drowsy behind the wheel and there are several studies which also back this claim. Zoning out even for a moment is enough to cause a serious accident. Thus, it is recommended that you pull over the vehicle for some time and get some rest before joining the road back.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Observe the speed limit:

It is rightly said that 'do not drive faster than your guardian angel'. The greater the speed, the greater is the risk of a fatal injury, irrespective of how safe your car is. As per studies, speeding contributes to around 30% to 40% of all fatal crashes.

Obey three seconds rule:

Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead. It's critically important to avoid following another car too closely, since it gives you lesser time to react in case the front car turns or brakes suddenly. Hence, it is advisable to maintain a distance of at least three or more seconds between two cars.

Be vigilant:

Expect the unexpected. Never assume that all other drivers are paying as much attention as you on the road.

Use mirrors and check your blind spots:

All the mirrors, be it side view mirrors or the centrally placed rear view ones, are there for a purpose and that is to keep you updated of the traffic behind you. Make sure you learn how to use them and also check your blind spots from time to time.

Use direction indicators and hazard lights:

Direction indicators can save lives of other motorists by giving them signal that your car is about to take a turn. This gives others time to react - making it both the safest and most courteous thing to do while on road.

Never run a red light:

When you try to run a red light, there is always a risk that you might collide head-on with another car or bike. Also, running over a pedestrian is another risk that you mustn't be willing to take.

Take care of mechanical issues:

Regularly check that the mechanicals and cycle parts of your car including tyres, brakes, suspension and steering are in good running condition.

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