Driving is unpredictable. There are a lot of different factors at play, and you can’t control what other drivers will do. They might do something illegal, or they might make a mistake. Your drivers need to know how to drive safely and prevent accidents before they happen, and defensive driving is a big part of doing that. Defensive driving is basically being alert for potential dangers and having a plan to respond to them. The ultimate goal is for the driver to be able to prevent an accident by adjusting or changing their own actions. They can’t control anyone else on the road, but they can control their own decisions and vehicle.
There are three parts of defensive driving: seeing the possible danger, understanding what to do to respond to it, and acting immediately and quickly.
1. Seeing the danger
To give themselves as much time as possible to react to a danger, tow truck drivers need to constantly scan the road. They also need to use their mirrors and look beyond the car in front of them. They need to recognize any potential dangers as soon as possible. The more time they have to react, the more likely they’ll be able to stop an accident.
A defensive tow truck driver will not wait for the danger to go away on its own. They immediately have a plan of action and will be prepared to act on it. They stay alert for anything that could cause an accident, whether it’s another driver, weather conditions, or traffic and the roads.
2. Knowing your plan
Seeing the hazard as soon as possible allows a defensive driver to create a plan of action right away. They can act quickly because they already know what they’re going to do. One way to help tow truck drivers to come up with their plans of action is to prepare them for different situations and talk about what-ifs.
If they know a plan of action already, they won’t have to come up with it on the spot. They’ll be calmer in an emergency, potentially avoiding the accident altogether or reducing the damage.
3. Acting on the plan
A defensive tow truck driver will act immediately to avoid the hazard. The sooner they’re able to act, the more time they have to prevent a car accident from happening. Remember, a defensive driver doesn’t wait for the danger to resolve itself. They know that they have to act to avoid it.
A defensive driver also needs to be familiar with the traffic laws and all applicable regulations. They need to know right-of-way, but they also have to understand when they need to yield the right-of-way to a dangerous driver to avoid an accident. They need to be prepared for other drivers to not respect right-of-way, and they can’t assume that the other driver will change their course.
Adjusting to poor driving conditions
Defensive driving also means that a driver is willing to change their driving habits and make adjustments because of poor driving conditions. Those conditions could be traffic, weather, lighting, or road quality. A tow truck driver should know how to assess the driving situation and adjust their driving appropriately.
Defensive driving and improving safety
As the owner or manager of a tow truck business, you know how important it is to emphasize safety. As far as defensive driving is concerned, you can consider having your drivers take a certified defensive driving course so that they can hit the road knowing how to prevent accidents. There are a variety of courses and tests out there.
Defensive driving takes practice, but eventually it will become second nature. It means that your drivers will be ready for any surprises on the road. Cars and tow trucks are dangerous, even though we’ve gotten numb to the danger because we drive every day. In short, defensive driving means tailoring your driving to adjust to the surprise actions of other drivers and pedestrians and adjusting to compensate for bad driving conditions. Educating your drivers about defensive driving can help them avoid accidents and help you avoid an increase in your tow truck insurance rates. It’s a win-win.
Speaking of your tow truck insurance rates, if you want to save some money on your rates, we’d love to help! Just fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we’ll get you three free quotes for your tow truck insurance. We like saving people money and getting them the coverage they need. It’s what we do.