The National Safety Council introduced the concept of defensive driving in the mid-1960s as an initiative to save lives by avoiding collisions. These safety measures involve observing other drivers and preparing to react to their possible actions. 

Give defensive driving a try with these basic techniques for safe motor vehicle operation. 

Think ahead 

Give other vehicles substantial following distance so you can successfully avoid a collision if a car crosses in front of you, stops suddenly or otherwise risks a crash. Experts recommend remaining at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, or more when traveling faster. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing and plan an “escape route” if an accident is imminent. For example, would it be safer to switch lanes to avoid the other car or pull onto the shoulder? 

Abide by speed limits 

Driving too fast is a major risk factor for serious traffic accidents. Never exceed the speed limit, and reduce your speed further in poor weather conditions. Give yourself extra time to arrive, especially if you are driving to a new place. Keep in mind that the statewide maximum speed limit in Connecticut is 65 miles per hour, or 25 miles per hour on residential streets, unless otherwise posted. 

Stay focused and alert 

Driving while drunk, tired or distracted also contributes to motor vehicle collisions. Avoid getting behind the wheel when you are not well-rested and take a break if you feel yourself getting sleepy on a long drive. Never drive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Texting and device use are the biggest driving distractions, but you should also avoid eating, talking on the phone and anything else that takes your attention off the road. 

Connecticut state law requires insurance companies to give drivers a minimum 5% premium discount for completing an approved defensive driving class. These courses are available through AAA.