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THE SMITH SYSTEM: Five Keys to Defensive Driving

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by

Scott Lachut

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of THE SMITH SYSTEM: Five Keys to Defensive Driving

Aim High In Steering
Develop an effective search pattern and then use it. The pattern should be 20 to 30 seconds ahead of your vehicle.

This will be about 1 to 2 blocks ahead at 25 to 30 miles per hour in the city and about 1/3 to 1/2 mile at 55 to 65 miles per hour on the highway.

Keep Your Eyes Moving
Roadway and off-road conditions are always changing. Search the scene constantly.
Get The Big Picture
Search the whole scene, not just part of it. When we drive, our minds do not interpret everything we see.

Make Sure Others See You
Communicate with drivers and pedestrians.
Drive where others can see you.
THE SMITH SYSTEM: Five Keys to Defensive Driving
THE SMITH SYSTEM: Five keys to defensive driving
Drivers who use these programs of safe driving skills are less likely to be involved in fatal crashes than those who do not.

They are not hard to learn and, in fact , we all use them everyday while walking, riding a bike, or driving a vehicle.
Your overall search pattern should include areas 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 30 seconds ahead of you.

Because of searching, leave a 6 to 7 second following distance.

Traffic checks in any direction other than your intended path of travel should be brief.

Be sure to include your mirrors in your overall search pattern.

For this reason, we must learn to look at things selectively.

When driving, look for things with crash potential.

This will be about 1 to 2 blocks ahead at 25 to 30 miles per hour in the city and about 1/3 to 1/2 mile at 55 to 65 miles per hour on the highway.
Anticipation is an important component of your search pattern.
The best way to anticipate others’ movements is to make eye contact with them.
Leave Yourself A Way Out - Or A Margin Of Safety
Always leave yourself a path of escape—a way to avoid a collision.
When things with collision potential develop well in front of your vehicle, you may need to respond with only a simple reduction in speed to let the conflict clear.
Those that develop in your immediate path of travel will become more difficult to handle.
As your judgment of time and space improves and you learn to anticipate dangerous actions by other drivers, you will be able to minimize your risk.
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