Defensive Driving in Montana
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Defensive driving is a method of operating a vehicle that helps you anticipate dangerous situations before they happen. Basically, you always have to think that the worst will happen―the car in front of you will cut you off; tree limbs will fly off the back of that gardening truck; people will speed and spin out during snowstorms; so you'd better be prepared.
Here are a few defensive driving tips:
- Be extra alert and slow down around school buses, ice cream trucks, parks, playgrounds, schools, and parked cars. These are all areas where small children (or even distracted adults) often dart out or fling open doors as you drive past.
- Maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you. Even if the guy ahead is going too slow for your standard, fall back. No tailgating! There should be at least three seconds in between.
- Always have an escape plan, so don't keep the same speed at the cars next to you. At a red light, try to leave a little space in case you need to swerve out of the way.
- The most dangerous time during a rainstorm is within the first few minutes, when water mixes with oil to make for slick conditions. Slow down accordingly.
- Slow down during bad weather; there's no need to go the full speed limit if you can't see properly.
- Watch out for out of state drivers or those with interior lights on. They're unfamiliar with the roads, are probably looking for something on a map, and will probably stop in the middle of the road and make a U-turn from the far right lane.
- Watch out for trucks with cargo. Debris is supposed to be tied down or tarped, but often comes loose, with disastrous results.
- When crossing an intersection, even if you have the right of way, slow down and look.
- Forget road rage. If someone cuts you off, drives erratically, or otherwise irritates you, let it go. You may be right, but you won't be able to teach the other person a lesson. If you suspect someone is driving under the influence, call the police.
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