Spring is in the air, and that means pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, motorcycles, skateboards and scooters are out in full force. If you are driving a car or truck, you have a distinct size advantage over these other modes of transportation, and that means you need to take responsibility for driving defensively to keep the rest of the people on the road safe.

“What? Is this guy really telling me I have to think for everyone around me?” In not so many words, the answer would be, “Yes.”

As the driver of a car or truck, you do need to be careful around pedestrians, bikes, motorcycles, scooters, and other forms of transportation. It’s called driving defensively.

You’ve probably heard about defensive driving, and perhaps you’ve even taken a required course after getting a ticket to avoid having points assessed to your driver’s license. But actually defensive driving is something you should do every day of your life.

Defensive driving means always assuming that the pedestrian is going to walk out in front of you, the bicycle is going to run a red light, the cars halfway through the intersection are going to turn left after the light is red, and that the drivers all around you are distracted.

Wow. That sounds a little scary, doesn’t it? But if you drive defensively, you give yourself a much better chance of avoiding accidents that could hurt you or your passengers, and certainly you give the pedestrian and the bicyclist a chance to avoid being hit by you.

How do you drive defensively? You pay attention to what you are doing. You avoid all outside distractions – no cell phone calls, no texting, no consulting the GPS – just drive! You watch the right hand lane for bikes, you watch the crosswalks for pedestrians, and you drive the speed limit at all times.

There is no meeting you have to go to, no deadline you are trying to meet that makes it worth risking your life, your passenger’s lives, or the lives of the motorists and others around you.

Defensive driving takes practice. It also takes planning. That means don’t leave your home with “just enough time” to get where you need to be. Leave early. If your son needs to be at soccer practice on time to avoid running laps, don’t rush in traffic to get him there, leave early enough to get him there safely. A few laps of running is better than a lifetime of debt caused by a wrongful debt suit for hitting a pedestrian.

So slow down, people! Plan ahead! Put away your smart phone! Turn down the radio! Drive defensively and keep everyone on the roads safe.

David Van Sant is an Atlanta accident lawyer who works with the victims of accidents of all types. For more information on personal injury law or to discuss your case, contact Mr. Van Sant today.

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