Defensive Driving vs. Aggressive Driving

defensive drivingDuring an argument, has someone ever accused you of being too defensive? In a debate, being on the defense is sometimes a bad thing. It can make you look hostile, hypersensitive, or unwilling to listen or change. When driving, though, being defensive is the safest bet!

According to the standard Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations, defensive driving is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Of course, everyone on the roads should want to drive safely and effectively, and many people already do. You might be practicing defensive driving without even realizing it.

Defensive Driving Includes:

  • Planning ahead for any obstacles
  • Always being aware of the speed of your vehicle
  • Having appropriate reactions to other drivers and their actions
  • Respecting others on the roads
  • Not engaging in risky driving behavior, like texting and driving or driving after consuming alcohol
  • Being aware of any weather or road conditions

Simply put, a defensive driver is alert, prepared, and always ready for an unexpected challenge. While there are negative connotations around the word “defensive,” being defensive is important when you’re behind the wheel. If another driver does something reckless, like runs a red light, you want to be able to defend yourself against injury or damage.

Defensive Vs. Agressive

Keep in mind, though, that defensive driving is not the same thing as aggressive driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, aggressive driving is defined as committing unprovoked attacks on other drivers. This might include improper following, illegal passing, or erratic lane changing. Unlike defensive driving, aggressive driving is likely to lead to injuries, damage, or violent road rage incidents. In fact, aggressive driving plays a role in 53% of fatal car accidents.

When behind the wheel, there’s nothing wrong with being a little defensive!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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