Thursday, February 19, 2015
Smith key to driver safe and better
Key 1 . Aim high.
Let drivers ahead telegraph information to you. Sometimes their actions or brake lights
can be warnings of a problem ahead which may not yet be visible to you.
Look ahead to where your vehicle will be in 15 seconds.
Keep your eyes aimed up high – you will see everything below.
Identify potential road hazards while there is still ample time to take evasive action if
Most drivers only have 3 to 6 second eye lead time – how about you, test yourself when
you get on the road.
Tailgaters are “low aim drivers” – the only thing they can see are the taillights ahead of
them which causes last second decision making
Keep your eyes aimed high around turns and curves. Be aware of where you are turning
before committing to the turn. Low Aim Driver Habits:
Hug one side of traffic lane
Swing wide to avoid parked vehicles
Over steer, swing wide in turns and curves.
Provide a choppy, jerky ride.
Are surprised by events and obstacles ahead.
High aim steering and 15 second eye lead time are habits that can’t be formed without practice. You’ll be able to evaluate information sooner and drive safer!
Avoid backing period.
If backing is the only option “Aim High In Steering” by :
Scan the backing area and its surroundings
Identify potentially hazardous objects
Do not allow your eyes to dwell on the closest objects while overlooking
those at a slightly greater distance.
Watch for any changes in your surroundings as you approach the stopping
Key 2 big picture.
The “Big Picture” involves using your eyes to create a 360 degree circle around the
To obtain the “Big Picture”, we need to check our mirrors often – every 5 to 8 seconds or
Avoid vision barriers! Maintain proper following distance – 4 seconds (minimum) behind
the vehicle ahead of you. Increase distance when you have poor visibility or as weather
To calculate the 4 second rule find a stationary object ahead. As the vehicle ahead
passes that object count 1001, 1002, 1003, and 1004. When you have counted 1004, you
should be passing that object.
Avoid a fixed stare – staring will rob you of your big picture.
Distractions take away your big picture. Avoid your distractions and avoid others that are
Avoid backing period.
If backing is the only option, get the “Big Picture” by:
G.O.A.L.- Get Out And Look if unsure of conditions in blind areas.
Look for any animate or inanimate objects that could be potentially
Back upon arrival instead of departure.
If possible obtain assistance backing from another person.
Key 3 keep your eyes moving
In order to “Get the Big Picture” we must keep our eyes moving to activate our full visual potential.
We have 2 types of vision: Central and Peripheral.
Central vision is the 3 degrees of vision we actually focus with. You read with your
Peripheral Vision is about 180 degrees around you. While it is not in sharp focus, it picks
up color, movement and light. It is your early warning system while driving.
Don’t get in to a stare – it will rob you of your early warning system. Don’t stare at
anything more than 2 seconds.
Before going through an intersection, look left, right and left again to ensure it is safe to
proceed. Look left first!
Observe objects in quick glances – move your eyes every 2 seconds to increase
awareness to the brain
Avoid backing period.
If backing is the only option, “Keep Your Eyes Moving” by:
Scanning the entire area in quick glances with your central vision. This expands the peripheral vision and allows more information to be collected.
Avoiding turning while backing. Turning simultaneously causes the front end of the vehicle to move laterally.
Backing the vehicle slowly while your eyes move rapidly. If someone or something intrudes the “Big Picture”, slow backing allows time to react.
Recognizing and avoiding drivers who seem distracted.
Key 4 leave yourself an out
Build a “Space Cushion” around your vehicle, to the front, rear and sides. Surround your vehicle with space!
Avoid traveling in clusters. Clusters are unsafe because they limit your options. If one makes a mistake the whole cluster suffers.
When stopped behind another vehicle, stay at least 1 car length (15ft) back. This cushion allows room if struck from behind.
When stopped at an intersection, stay back at least 1 car length (15ft) back. If rear ended this affords a buffer zone from being pushed into the middle of the intersection.
Anticipate the actions of others. Decide what they may do and what you will do in response.
On streets with parked cars, avoid traveling in the right lane. This keeps the right side of space cushion closed.
Avoid backing period
If backing is the only option, “Leave Yourself an Out” by:
Select a parking spot with the fewest threats.
Your “Space Cushion” will protect your vehicle if hazards are nearby.
When backing, back no further than you must. Allow room for entrance into the
back of the vehicle.
When backing along a curb side, position your vehicle at a practical distance from
the parked vehicle.
When exiting from a backed in parking spot, NEVER CUT THE WHEEL TOO
SHARPLY prior to exiting parking spot. Pull forward, and once both sides of vehicle is clear, then proceed with turning. Leave Yourself a Safe Out!