What is the difference between defensive and low risk driving?

DEFENSIVE vs. low risk driving.

— By Kashish Christian

Road safety is a crucial aspect of any driver’s repertoire. As a driver, you are responsible for yourself, those in your car, the cars driving around you and pedestrians using the foot paths and crossings. Defensive and low risk driving are two important factors of being a safe and responsible driver. 

Beginner and experienced drivers can struggle to identify and manage the risks presented on the road. 

Low risk driving refers to the critical skill of being able to anticipate hazards on the road by staying alert whilst driving.

Defensive driving ensures a driver is capable of responding to the hazard at hand correctly, to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.

It requires in depth knowledge of the vehicle dynamics and the safety systems in place.

The 3 main road accident factors...


Speed is important to understand when considering defensive driving. Particularly, how various speeds impact the time it takes to safely stop the car.


Alcohol tolerances between individuals vary, which is important to consider when gauging the impairment one person feels from one drink compared to another. 


 Fatigue is one that is often overlooked, it is important to know your limit and your ability to drive safely when you are tired. Stop and rest when you feel tired. It could make the all the difference.

Low risk driving is linked to these skills that are learnt and adapted into practice. The ability to perceive a situation is half the skill, and being able to currently respond to the hazard is the other half that maximises the safety of yourself and those around you. The awareness of high pedestrian activity times or areas such as school zones and shopping centres. 

Our phones are also a big part of losing focus whilst driving. It can be easy to want to quickly read or reply to a text message that you heard go off on your phone, but those seconds can be precious in reacting to avoid an accident.

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