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The Art of Defensive Driving or "How I Survived Los Angeles Traffic"

Learning to drive in rural Minnesota was a breeze (when it wasn't icy of course) compared to my initial driving experience in Southern California. I remember arriving in Los Angeles and thinking to myself "how the heck to kids learn to drive in this insane amount of traffic"! After a few hundred miles of being honked at and making some ill-advised left turns, I finally got the hang of how to handle the mean streets of LA with the help of my new best friend, Defensive Driving. Driving Safety

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The Art of Defensive Driving by Jonny Driving School

You're a good driver… It's the other people on the road you need to worry about, right?

The truth of the matter is this: Nearly every auto accident involves at least two people. Though one driver may be legally at fault, chances are if either driver involved had reacted differently, the whole car crash mess could have been avoided.

And this, more or less, is the whole idea behind defensive driving. While some driving experts tout complicated defensive driving methodologies to help new and old drivers become more alert drivers, a little common sense is really all that is needed. It's this author's expert advice to simply "be one step ahead of other drivers" on the road. Don't wait for something bad to happen to you while you drive, rather, sniff out driving danger and then take the appropriate measures to avoid the hazard.

To help drive this point home, consider these obvious examples of how to drive defensively. As you can see, it's not rocket science:

  • You're traveling on the freeway and you find yourself behind a large van with a mattress string-tied to it's roof. Hmmm… might be a good idea to give this not-so-bright van operator a little extra space or you might find yourself eating mattress.

  • You're driving on a multi-lane major street through a busy part of town with parked cars lining the road. Gee, I wonder if someone might swing open a car door without notice. If it's safe, we should switch lanes to the left in order to avoid winning a "door prize".

  • Another driver ahead of you, yet in a different lane, has come to a complete stop at a green light. Instead of racing ahead towards the green light, why not ponder why the other driver is stopped. Maybe they hear sirens coming that you can't hear because you're blasting your radio? Or may there's a little old lady crossing the street who needs a little extra time to clear the crosswalk. Or maybe it's nothing at all... but better safe than sorry, right?

The common theme: When you see potential driving obstacles, expect the worst so that if the worst happens, you have ample time to react. And if the worst doesn't happen? Well all the better!

About the Author: Jonny is an driving expert and licensed instructor with several years of drivers training experience on some of the meanest streets in and around Los Angeles, CA.

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