There is a lot going on while we are driving: we are controlling the car, scanning for pedestrians, watching for traffic lights and signs, and anticipating what other drivers are doing, but the decisions we make, as drivers, on how we are going to drive, are the most-important decisions we can make. There are four ways we can drive; we can be passive, aggressive, assertive or defensive.
Passive driving is driving overly cautious, driving too slowly, being fearful of making a turn or using the gas pedal. Driving in a passive manner can make the driver, themselves, a hazard. A passive driver can slow traffic in a way that can make other drivers become aggressive. Passive driving can be very common for “Passive driving may be common with less-experienced or nervous drivers.”
Aggressive driving is driving in a manner that is reckless and unlawful and that can cause collisions that can be fatal. Aggressive driving is speeding, cutting other drivers off and running yellow and red lights. Aggressive driving also includes drinking and driving or texting and driving. Aggressive driving can have serious consequences for others, as well as for the driver.
Assertive driving is driving with confidence and control—making the left turn when we have the appropriate space, without hesitation; making a smooth lane change and not slowing down. An assertive driver uses the space available safely and confidently.
Defensive driving is driving in a way that we do everything reasonable to prevent a collision, in spite of the actions of others or the conditions around us. It is yielding the right of way when needed. If it looks like you are going to be cut off, slow down and let the other person cut you off. They may be 100 per cent in the wrong, but at least you never got into a collision. Defensive driving is also driving to the road conditions. Slow down in bad weather. And at night, turn your lights on and slow down a bit.
So … we want to avoid driving passively and we never want to drive aggressively. We want to drive in a defensively assertive manner, to drive with confidence but be willing to give up the right of way to avoid a collision. We all want to get home at the end of the day; we want to be able to say, “That was a good day” (getting into a collision would make for a crappy day). Let’s all remember to drive in that defensively assertive manner so we can all get home in a safe and timely way (and continue having a good day).
Drive safe, everyone.