Anyone who has driven for any length of time knows that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. But, even if you are the best driver in the world (nice to meet you Mr. Andretti, can I get an autograph?), it’s still a good idea to learn some defensive driving techniques in order to avoid the expense and hassle of a collision. Because, nothing can ruin your day quite like getting in an auto accident, except maybe getting that auto repair bill from the auto shop.

With that in mind, Fort Collins Foreign Car Service presents 5 defensive driving tips to keep you out of the auto shop and happily motoring along.

  1. Stay Sober And Pay Attention – You didn’t think we’d be starting this list out with a doozy of a revelation like this, but guess what? Not driving drunk and keeping that phone in your bag or pocket can do wonders to prevent auto accidents that may result in an expensive auto repair. Also, keep an eye on other distractions. We love mom’s ability to multi-task, but driving the kids to school while drinking coffee, applying makeup and quizzing little Jimmy on his ABCs may not be the smartest move if you don’t want an all expenses not paid trip to your local auto shop.

  2. Go The Speed Limit – Again, a revelation worthy of the enlightened one himself. But, in all seriousness speeding is not a smart option. It gives you less time to react if someone cuts you off or there is a sudden obstacle in your way that was previously unnoticed. Not to mention, it kills gas mileage and doesn’t actually get you there much quicker in most cases.

  3. Don’t Tailgate The Guy In Front Of You – I recently saw a great bumper sticker on the back up some woman’s car. It said, “Tailgating me will not make me go faster.” Wise words indeed. As obnoxious as it can be when motorists travel in the left lane (as seems to be popular here in Colorado), resist the urge to ride right up on them. If they should stop suddenly, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise.

  4. Keep Your Head On A Swivel – Being alert and looking not once, but twice when merging or changing lanes can save your butt many times. Also, hesitate before you try to anticipate a driver’s actions. Don’t assume that just because that guy’s light just turned red he’s going to stop. Wait until you see him slow down. Failure to do this is a leading cause of auto accidents and the requisite auto repair that comes with them.

  5. Stay Calm and Motor On – We saved the best for last. No, not just because we think we’re clever for coming up with yet another take on a much played out meme. But, because this is the key to defensive driving: don’t get upset. Don’t get angry, because it will just make you more anxious and aggressive yourself. If you can’t control your emotions when driving, pull over and take a quick break. Call a friend. Just spend a minute outside and take a deep breath. Don’t panic!