Defensive driving (DD) is a marketing nickname for a reasonable and responsible vehicle operating techniques. I actively do not like the term. It implies, that someone is on offensive, and driver is on defensive. Normally there is nobody offending the driver, but himself. And we don't talk about tactical driving, do we? I prefer to get away from defense and use the term “responsible" or "prudent" instead of "defensive". It conducts the intended message without implying enemy-enemy relationship, and therefore, lose-lose approach. Running a website on car driving safety tips, I don't have much choice however. Almost nobody is going to search for responsible or reasonable driving. Very few people are searching for the safe one. Hence I'm going to use the officially accepted term throughout "Fun and Safe". As much as I would prefer to avoid it.
Defensive Driving is not a rocket science. Basically, it is all about minimizing the odds of accident happening. As with many other things in life there is a science part and an art part to this. Things like checking tire pressure or consulting a map in advance definitely go to the science part and can be taught and reproduced easily in no time. On the other hand anticipating other drivers' moves cannot be digitized, and depends heavily on your experience. Still, this is a skill that one can acquire. It just takes some time and dedication, and the time is in the order of years rather than weeks or months.
You cannot just attend a Houston defensive driving courses and promptly become a safe driver. Or "defensive driving texas", or any other DMV or court mandated course for this matter - such online courses in Texas major cities like Dallas, Austin, or Houston are just the most popular on the Internet for some reason. If anything, such a course just gives you some information. Providing this information is correct, it still has to be internalized through years of putting it to use. Only when checking the mirrors every now and then, keeping the right distance depending on internal and external factors, and most other basic and advanced vehicle operating techniques become driver's second nature, he matures and becomes a safe one.
The major part of DD is anticipating other drivers' moves. Master driver does not need to react to dangerous traffic situation at the last moment. He constantly accesses all what is happening on the road. He anticipates how things are unfolding, and acts to avoid the danger way before it becomes evident to novice drivers. You can easily tell master driver from the average one by watching them braking. Master driver is almost never forced to apply the brakes in emergency. Slight touch of a brake pedal or even just a drop of gas takes him out of a dangerous situation well before it develops. For the novice, almost any braking is an emergency one.
Another important part of DD is clearly communicating your existence and intentions to other drivers. I always drive with my low beam on, night or day (I switch to high beam during night if needed of course). This way I'm sure fellow drivers see me. I always try to buy light colored cars for the same reason. Using your blinkers is not an option, it is a way of communicating your intentions when you travel on the road. And your stop lights should be always in order. If your actions or existence take surrounding drivers by surprise, your odds of getting into an accident are extremely high.