Leave Yourself an Out
Do you plan to avoid trouble when you are driving? A defensive driver always tries to maintain a space cushion around their vehicle to give themselves both time to decide and a place to go if a problem occurs. It is an active role rather than a reactive one and requires continual thought and adjustment.
Always maintain at least two seconds following distance from the vehicle in front of you. This space gives you time to react when things go wrong. It also gives you more room to see what is going on further ahead on the highway and avoid problems before you become involved in them.
Keep a cushion behind your vehicle as well. One way to deal with a tailgater is to make more room in front of you so that the tailgater has more time to react if something happens. Another is to slow and encourage them to pass, or pull over and stop to let them by. Trading inconvenience for safety is always worthwhile.
Always wear your seat belt. It helps to maintain a space cushion between you and the interior of your vehicle. If you have an airbag equipped vehicle this is even more important! Maintain at least 10 inches distance between you and your airbag and use the seat belt to keep you properly positioned in the event of deployment.
Never match speeds with the vehicle travelling beside you on multi-lane highways, especially at freeway exits. Offset your vehicle to the front or rear so that you have a place to change lanes into if the need arises. This will also avoid having someone collide with you if they don't check properly before a lane change.
Never drive in another driver's blind spot. If you cannot see the other driver's face in their rear view mirror, they probably can't see you either. Remember that there are huge blind spots for drivers of transport trucks. Avoid the "no zone."