Keep alert and be prepared

Woman in car checking mirror

Defensive driving involves being alert and prepared. It is crucial for drivers to remain alert to what is happening inside the vehicle as well as outside the vehicle. You should also be prepared to react to any condition should it present itself while you are driving.


Here are a few tips on how you can stay alert and be prepared for changing conditions:

  • Keep your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel
  • Scan the road ahead for problems
  • Check mirrors frequently
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Yield to other drivers who are determined to get there first

Defensive drivers are also alert and focused on their driving and prepared for anything that might occur on the road. Being a defensive driver means keeping your mind on your driving and your hands on the wheel. You can’t be talking on the phone, thinking about other things, fiddling with the radio or CD player, or carrying on animated conversations with passengers. You also have to constantly look well ahead for changes in traffic or road conditions. If you see brake lights ahead, slow down and be prepared to stop. Keep an eye on what’s going on behind you, check your mirrors frequently for oncoming vehicles.

Always expect the unexpected when driving. That way, you'll never be surprised and you'll always be in control. Watch for other drivers making sudden moves. Keep alert for pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals darting out in front of you. If you're a defensive driver, you'll also yield to other drivers instead of challenging them to a dangerous duel. Think about the way you drive. Do you always use the best defensive driving techniques? Ask others to talk about the defensive driving techniques they use and learn from them.

Woman in car checking mirror
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
Was this helpful?