A considerable number of accidents occur due to driver impatience, and one of the most common mistakes drivers make when in a hurry is speeding.
Defensive driving includes observing the speed limit and adapting your speed as needed to suit the conditions on the road. Drive at a steady, appropriate pace, and you are likely to get there at roughly the same time as those drivers that weave in and out of traffic, tailgating here, zooming past there, and always rushing to make that light.
In rain, snow, and fog, always reduce your speed until you feel confident about being able to monitor and interact appropriately with the traffic around you. Observing the speed limit is about your safety but also about acknowledging others and sharing the road not only with other cars but with trucks, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians (especially children and the elderly) and animals.
Think ahead and anticipate. Be particularly cautious around stopped or slowing vehicles, as this is the site of many collisions. At intersections, slowing down is likely as drivers make turns, and exiting and entering a high-speed road is yet another situation where mismatched speeds of the cars merging could cause a collision.
Remember that, the greater the speed, the more severe the collision will be. Collisions are particularly likely to happen when driving considerably over or under the speed limit; however, only the former increases risk of injury and fatality. Over 15mph, even seemingly minor increases in speed can prove fatal. Pedestrian death rate doubles when speed is increased from 25mph to 35mph. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, risk of severe injury for a pedestrian increases from 10% at an impact speed of 16mph, to 50% at 31mph, to 90% at 46mph. Risk of death follows the same trend: 10% at 23mph, 50% at 42mph and 90% at 58mph. (https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/default/files/2011PedestrianRiskVsSpeed.pdf )
As part of an effort to ensure both mobility and safety in traffic, roads are undergoing changes and are being redesigned; these changes, however, are slow and only intermittent. Some of the strategies used to slow down or calm traffic include speed bumps, narrowed roads, chicanes, road diet, and others. In addition, enforcement of traffic regulations is used to help regulate traffic and ensure safety.
Still, defensive driving, in particular the elements of focus, alertness and patience, remain the optimal strategy for getting you to your destination safely and smoothly.