History of Defensive Driving
A driver safety program called the Driver Example Program was developed in 1964 by Chris Imhoff of the (US) National Safety Council. The program instituted a Defensive Driving Course (DDC). Defensive Driving Courses, along with Instructor Development Courses were offered beginning in 1964 and 1965, typically through corporate sponsorships.
General principles of Defensive Driving
Driving defensively includes:
- Controlling your speed.
- Looking ahead and being prepared for unexpected events.
- Being alert and distraction-free.
- Regarding other participants in traffic:
Preparedness for all sorts of actions and reactions of other drivers and pedestrians.
Not expecting the other drivers to do what you would ordinarily do.
Watching and respecting other drivers.
- Regarding your own vehicle:
Maintaining a safe following distance.
Driving safely considering (adjusting for) weather and/or road conditions.
Adjust your speed before entering a bend, in order to avoid applying the brakes in the middle of a bend.
Training and courses
Several US government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private schools have launched specialty courses that improve the public's driving skills. In the United States a few of the familiar courses in defensive driving include Alive at 25, DDC or Defensive Driving Course, Coaching the Mature Driver, Attitudinal Dynamics of Driving, Insurance discount, Seat Belt Safety, Handsfree, Professional Truck Driving, and DDC for Instructors. In relation to this, the government has launched active airbag and seat belt safety campaigns that encourage high visibility enforcement.
In addition to improving one's own driving skills, many US states provide an incentive to complete an approved defensive driving course by offering mandated insurance discounts or a way to mask a traffic ticket from one's driving record. In some instances, these courses are referred to as a traffic school or a defensive driving school. States with the biggest incentives include Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. A number of private providers offer a variety of courses.