Defensive Driving Starts Before You Learn To Drive
Following are a number of tips to help you drive in the most effectively defensive way possible. Defensive driving will reduce your vehicular defenses substantially, but it’s just one of many strategies you can employ to achieve this result. Several more worth considering include:
1. Driver’s Education
Driver’s Ed can reduce your insurance expenses while additionally teaching you effective defensive driving techniques that are essential in an increasingly urban driving environment with an expanding population. Attending driving courses can help you pass your test more quickly, and once passed, ensure you pay the minimum necessary amount in vehicular insurance.
2. Always Insure Your Vehicle
Insurance isn’t fun, it’s costly, and let’s be honest: to a certain degree it’s a racket. You’re going to have one claim every 19 years, but you’re going to pay around $1k annually depending on the level of coverage you get. However, that’s the rules of the game, so you’ve got to play by them.
If you lapse in coverage, resuming will cost you more. Your best bet is to buy insurance initially, and retain it perpetually. If and when you switch companies, don’t let coverage lapse in the process. Also, ensure you know your legal recourse in the event of a denied insurance claim.
3. Exercise Proper Maintenance Strategy
A vehicle that is properly maintained will be less likely to break down unexpectedly in a place which is inconvenient, and costs you hundreds of dollars. Read your driver’s manual and replace components at strategic intervals. There are certain things you can take your time on by monitoring them.
Its pretty obvious when serpentine belts start to go; you can run them until they get a “look” to them which requires replacement. Sometimes it will be under the projections of your user manual, sometimes over. The more defensively and carefully you drive, the less wear-and-tear you put on a vehicle, allowing components to last longer. A good rule of thumb: drive like your grandmother.
4. Learn The Patterns Of Traffic
High traffic produces higher likelihood of collision. Avoiding traffic as best you can will reduce your likelihood of being wrecked into, costing you money directly and collaterally. You can’t avoid all traffic, but you can pay attention to patterns, and figure out secondary routes that may be longer, but take less time because they avoid traffic. Time is money, and so are repairs. Avoid wasting time and paying out the nose in repairs by reducing their need through traffic avoidance strategy.
5. Plan Your Trips Out Ahead Of Time
This point dovetails from the previous one: figure out where you’re going, and what conditions will be like when you arrive; and as far in advance as possible. Internet maps can make this a lot more simple than it used to be. Additionally, know the time of year. Avoid holiday travel during high-traffic times if possible; or at the very least, leave in the dead of night when traffic is statistically low.
6. Start With A Beater
If you’re new to driving, don’t be so foolish that you buy a new car valued at around $30k and pay it off every month. That’s just setting money on fire and dancing around it like a savage. A better strategy is to buy a cheap old beater at around $1,000. If you get a year’s worth out of it, it will have paid for itself. Also, you won’t feel so bad when you make mistakes and tear the thing up.
When it breaks down, you can either get another one, or consider investing in a finer vehicle. Unless you can drop $30k on a car directly, and not be impacted financially, it’s not a wise move to have your first car be new.
7. Buy Used
Generally, buying used is a wise tactic. The cost you’re shooting for is about $5k, and you want to pay it all off at once if you can. If you’re fastidious about maintenance, and strategic about how you drive, you’ll get the same kind of use out of a used vehicle that most people get from a new one, but you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars.
Saving Time And Money
If you’re strategic to ensure you plan your driving ahead of time, start with a beater, buy used, take classes to learn more effectively how to drive while reducing insurance premiums, learn traffic patterns, and keep your insurance up to date at all time, you’re going to reduce necessary costs of vehicle ownership.
Even so, you should expect to pay around $2k to $3k a year in terms of gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. Budget for that, and keep an eye on expenses. That way you’ll be able to see how well you’re saving.