If “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” then the practice of defensive driving is worth the lives of 42,000 people who die in automobile accidents each year.
The National Safety Council estimates 26 percent of all car collisions are related to the usage of cell phones; so “driving while distracted” is fast becoming a serious threat to public safety. It’s just one reason defensive driving — or the intentional practice of increased awareness around our vision and reflexes — promises to bolster our safety on the road.
Defensive driving means anticipating something could go wrong. Our defenses serve to protect us from threat if we turn them on — right along with the ignition.
Arizona’s topography and majestic beauty creates its own challenges for even the most skilled of drivers. From tightly packed cities to quiet town squares, every driver must adapt to the unique challenges and conditions of the varied landscape.
Knowledge of the region and its roadways, along with preparation for possible weather conditions ahead of time are the first steps in practicing that ounce of prevention. Driving to Jerome’s tucked away corners during the winter months requires more careful preparation for the possibility of snow and ice than an afternoon excursion to downtown Phoenix.
From navigating bustling freeways to small-town dirt roads, motorists are wise to stay ahead of the curve. Driving across Arizona’s full spectrum, from Interstate I-10, crossing large expanses of desert during scorching heatwaves to Interstate I-40, where forested elevations and falling snows hone our response reflexes means we need to prepare for what’s ahead.
In addition to weather changes, drivers must be prepared for the diversity of wildlife encounters, from darting coyotes to lingering elk. When enjoying the slower pace of the rural stretch, stay alert for the occasional herd of cows or hungry bull in search of breakfast. Proceed with caution; stop, smell the daisies and do your part to preserve our State’s natural treasure.
The Arizona Department of Transportation offers a 24/7 Traveler Information Service: visit az511.org; or dial 511. Motorists can easily source the necessary details for an excursion around the Grand Canyon State in real-time to prepare for weather, road conditions, speed limits and more.
In deference to our State’s independent spirit, Arizona’s law enforcement efforts promote voluntary compliance with traffic laws. But with the increased integration of radar cameras to catch moving violations, defensive driving will not only prevent motorists from the cost and hassle of traffic citations, but also, driving mindfully will save the highest cost – our safety, health and well-being.