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Opinions of Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Columnist: Daniel Kaku Annor

7 qualities of a defensive driver

Safety on our road is our civic responsibility Safety on our road is our civic responsibility

It is observed by the data put out by the Motor Traffic & Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service that road accident has claimed 771 lives in January to March 2021. This means road accident has claimed more lives than COVID-19 has done since it first surfaced in Ghana in March 2020.

This makes road safety campaigns and education a duty call for all well-meaning Ghanaians. In this article, we are going to look at the 7 qualities of defensive driving as some of the best ways to ensure safety on our roads since most of our road accidents are caused by human error through aggressive driving.

Defensive driving is a way of driving to protect oneself, passengers, vehicle, property, pedestrians, and other road users. This type of driving seeks to save lives, time, and money. On the other hand, driving that does not seek to consider the above is termed aggressive driving. Aggressive driving does not consider the value of lives, money, and time.

The seven (7) qualities of a defensive driver or defensive driving include but not limited to:


The quality of closely monitoring your surroundings on the road, keeping your eyes far down on the road, paying attention to sound, and taking notice of road signs informs the driver of what to do. It helps the driver to gain insight into what to anticipate.

Meaning, drivers should not be bereft of road signs nor adamant about various safety indications and markings on the roads. The ability to detect changes in your vehicle sound can also help to detect vehicle faults for immediate attention.

2. Concentration

Driving is a skill that demands your key human senses. It requires an active hearing, seeing, and sound mind to ensure effective driving. Distractions on the road come in three main forms: distractions that take your eyes off the road, those that take your hands off the wheel, and those that take you off your right unexpectedly.

The mobile phone is the number one device that distracts driving. Avoid texting and driving to safe life. Attempting to pick items that have dropped in the vehicle can take both your eyes from the road and also loosen your grip on the wheel which can cause road accidents. Potholes are undeniable another form of destruction on our roads. It has caused many road accidents in the cause of avoiding them.

3. Anticipation

It is the skill of knowing the probable to expect and predicting possible actions of other road users is a quality that saves lives. You must always think for the other road user to ensure your safety, that of your passengers and property.

4. Tolerance

Your ability to accommodate the behaviors of other road users can help reduce road crushes. Insisting on your right on the road can lead other vehicles into trenches and head-on collision. Losing a second to safe life could save you the possible eternal guilt; that is if insisting on your right to the road can exclude you from the ripple effect of a road accident.

5. Be Considerate

Being considerate is a seed you would like to reap from another road user when you find yourself in that corner. It is therefore required of every driver to be kind in dealing with other road users.

6. Patience

Patience is being able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Aggressive drivers are not patient. They tend to bully, intimidate and overlook the right of other road users. It is the quality of being patient that can help control your speed, harsh and wrong overtaking. It is better to arrive at your destination safely than arrive in the hospital or mortuary swiftly.

7. Responsibility

Safety is the responsibility placed in the bosom of every road user. It yours and mine to ensure that we gain the requisite knowledge and technical know-how needed to equip us to protect lives and property on our roads.

A responsible driver makes a fair and sound judgment of every situation and places responsibility first at his/her doorstep. Holding yourself accountable for accidents that involve you gives the moral responsibility of ensuring safety on our roads. Aggressive drivers are reckless. Defensive drivers are responsible.

Be a defensive driver by:

1. observing road signs and indications

2. paying attention on the road,

3. predicting dangers and avoiding them

4. being tolerant to other road users

5. being considerate (kind) towards your fellow road user

6. avoiding overspeeding and wrong overtaking - Being patient!

7. being a responsible citizen who thinks of your safety and that of others on the road.

Safety on our road is our civic responsibility. Let's join hands together to protect precious lives and property. Let's love our lives and seek to protect the life of others.