5 Smith rules of driving

Updated: 10/25/2022
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Aim high in steering - The farther down the road you see while driving (and he's talking about "seeing, not just looking"), the less likely you are to have a wreck, he says, adding "Be aware of what's going on around you." Keep your eyes moving - Eye movement helps keep you from getting into a driving trance, the fixed stare of the driver whose mind is elsewhere while her/his ton of metal is moving at up to a 100 feet a second. Eye movement makes drowsiness less likely, too, and makes it more likely you'll frequently check your rear-view mirror. Get the big picture - Practices one and two help you stay aware of what's around you, but there's more, including road conditions, weather, and any changes in the condition of your vehicle, including fuel level, engine temperature, electrical systems, and any abnormal vibrations or sounds.

Make sure you are seen - You can't assume other drivers are aiming high, keeping their eyes moving, and getting the big picture. They may not have noticed that you're hurtling in their direction. Having your headlights on makes you more visible and they take no extra fuel, Ronald notes, so, "Turn 'em on," day and night. Even then, though, don't assume that other drivers have noted your presence or your turn signal that's blinking or even, heaven help us, the red light facing them as you both approach an intersection. Leave yourself an out - Where can you go (to the median? to the shoulder?) if something happens suddenly just ahead of your car? If you've been aiming high, moving your eyes around, and getting the big picture, you're more likely to know what to do when faced with the need for a sudden change in flight path. "Always try to have an escape route because it matters little who is right or wrong in bad situations, staying out of any 'mess' is the very most important thing," he writes.

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