Friday, February 24, 2012

Smith System

Local Driving School

The Smith System describes principles that will help you apply SIPDE and drive both safely and defensively.
1.      Life up your eyes and look well ahead of you. Don’t just look at the road in front of you. Lift your vision and look down the road 20-30 seconds.
2.      Keep your eyes moving. Beware of getting “tunnel vision.” Don’t just stare directly ahead, but search everything. Look on and off the road ahead to see if anything might get in your way.
3.      Get the big picture. Try to see everything going on at a scene. If you’re coming up to an intersection, look at everything going on around it. In the movies you see Secret Agents doing this all the time. They’re looking all around to see what’s going on. You should do the same thing…within reason of course.
4.      Make sure others see you. You need to make eye contact with other drivers and pedestrians before assuming they see you. Communicate with other drivers. Use your signals and make your intentions clear.
5.      Leave yourself a way out or a margin of safety. Always make sure you have a way to escape a potential situation. Never allow yourself to get trapped. Drive so that you always have some space around your vehicle that you could move to if need be. For example, if you’re on a two lane road and you see an oncoming bus in the opposite lane and some bicyclists on the side of your lane, drive so that you pass each of them one at time. Don’t drive so that you pass both at once.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is SIPDE?

Local Driving School
(877) DRIVE-16

What is SIPDE?


SIPDE describes the 5 abilities every driver must have. SIPDE is an important and useful system to help you drive safely and anticipate things before they become a problem. There are 5 abilities:

1.     Search
2.     Identify
3.     Predict
4.     Decide
5.     Execute

Search and Identify means you’re able to notice what’s going on around you. If you drive with your eyes closed you’re going to crash. Why? Because you couldn’t see; you weren’t aware of what was around you. Likewise, if your eyes are open, but you’re not aware of your surroundings, you won’t be able to drive safely. You must be aware of traffic signs, other vehicles, pedestrians, road markings, etc. To Search, scan the road ahead of you 20-30 seconds. To Identify, look for objects or conditions within 12 to 15 seconds ahead that could be a problem. You need to do more than just “look” at things, you have think about what you’re seeing and identify if anything could be a threat.

Predict means you’re able to anticipate or make a good guess on what might happen next. If you see an oncoming vehicle with its left turn indicator on, you must be able to predict that it might turn in front of you. You must predict what might happen and prepare for it.

Decide what action you need to take, whether it’s to slow down, speed up, move, etc. In most situations you will have more than one option, so you need to decide on which option is the best one. If you see a car next to you merging into your lane, the worst thing you could do is panic. You have to decide to out of the way and let them know you’re there.

Execute means you take action on your decision. You don’t just know what needs to be done, but you do it.

Let’s give a very common example:

You’re driving in the right hand lane and approaching an intersection. The light is green. A car on the street you’re approaching is also in its’ the right hand lane and looks like it might turn onto your street—right in front of you!

How do you avoid getting in an accident?

First, you should be constantly searching your surroundings, looking 20-30 seconds ahead. Second, you must identify there is a car ahead of you that could cause a problem. Third, you must predict the car might turn in front of you, even though your light is green. Fourth, based on that prediction you must decide to either slow down or get out of the way, and fifth, you must execute that decision. You must actually take the necessary steps to slow down or get out of the way.

All of this can happen in a matter of moments. This is why driving takes great care and focus. But safe driving requires more than just knowing SIPDE in your head. It must become a part of your driving routine. You must constantly be scanning ahead 20-30 seconds, identifying objects ahead of you that could cause a problem, predicting what they might do, deciding what action you’re going to take, and then executing that decision. If even one step is missing, you will almost certainly have an accident.