The Smith System Driver Education Dave Haskins Major Concept • Space Cushion Driving – Why? – Unlocks Vision Barriers – Good Vision – buys time and space and gives you the opportunity to avoid trouble and adapt to traffic conditions. Five Habits 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Aim High in Steering Get the Big Picture Keep Your Eyes Moving Leave Yourself an Out Make Sure they See You Aim High • Look far ahead in the lane you are using. • Vision high – look 20-30 seconds down the road • Main idea: “Look where you want to go and not where you are at.” What you should do. . . • Stay in the center of your lane • See objects (moving and fixed) well ahead of you • Stay back from other vehicles • Adjust your speed according to weather conditions Big Picture • New scenes and new situations are constantly presenting themselves as your drive. • It is YOUR responsibility to get the BIG PICTURE What is it? • About 20 seconds down the road and the width of the roadway. • Not just what you can see, but what you should see. What you should do • Eliminate barriers • 4-8 second following distance • Reduce speed if following distance is not possible • CONCENTRATE AND ANTICIPATE!!! Keep your Eyes Moving • This is key to establishing the big picture • Because the traffic around you is continuously moving, your eyes should be too. • Every 2 seconds, your eyes should move. – You should be looking at, – Near, far, inside mirror, outside mirrors, etc. What you should do • Eyes move every 2 seconds – check rear every 5-8 seconds. • Before changing lanes, turning or stopping, check the rear • Avoid drivers who appear erratic or unsafe • No eye distractions (phones, traffic accidents, etc) Leave Yourself an Out • Space Cushion! • Choose the proper lane, leave space ahead and on one or both sides • Plan for space, but be ready for anything What you should do • Choose the lane of least resistance • Leave one side open for swerving if necessary • Only pass when it is safe to do so (you have enough space, the visibility is good and there is appropriate distance) Make Sure They See You • COMMUNICATE WITH OTHER DRIVERS • Use your turn signals • Hand signals, soft brakes • Eye contact • Gentle tap on horn What you should do • Turn on lights in darkness or low visibility • Signal early • Avoid driving in the blind spots of other drivers Smith System Driver Evaluation Check List • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Aim High in Steering Keeps vehicle centered in the lane. Sees moving and fixed objects at least a block away in city traffic and at least one half mile ahead on expressways or highways. Maintains a safe following distance. Avoids swerving when passing other vehicles, turning or approaching parked vehicles. Reduces speed to allow for poor conditions or reduced visibility. Get the Big Picture Avoids being boxed in when lanes ahead are blocked. Avoids severe breaking and abrupt turns. Adjusts speed when approaching intersections. Correctly anticipates moves of other drivers and pedestrians and avoids conflicts. Slows down before entering “no control” intersections or where there is a possibility of conflict. Keep Your Eyes Moving Keep eyes moving at least every two seconds and checks to the rear every five to eight seconds. Checks to the rear before changing lanes, turning, or stopping. Stays clear of erratic drivers. Checks in all directions and leaves a space cushion before starting up at intersections. Disposes of eye holding distractions quickly. • • • • • • • • • • • • • Leave Yourself an Out Recognizes the lane of least resistance and positions the vehicle accordingly. Allows extra following distance when crowded by a tailgater. When possible, leaves at least one side open for swerving room. Passes only when there is space, visibility, and distance to do safely. Quickly re-establishes space around the vehicle when space diminishes. Make Sure They See You Alerts non-attentive drivers and pedestrians with gentle tap of the horn or flick of the lights to get eye contact (includes those on bicycles and motorcycles). Turns on lights when visibility is low in order to be seen. Tries to obtain eye contact with people when conditions dictate that it should be done. Gives early signals for turns of lane changes and checks to see if they are heeded. Does not ride in the blind zone of drivers on left right. Note: This checklist is copyrighted by Smith System Driver Improvement Institute, Inc., 1993.