Driving systems are common in the world of commercial driving.
As a commercial driver, you’ll be on the road day in and day out all week long. Protecting yourself and others is a top priority, and that’s why so many people rely on the Smith System Driving system, better known as the Smith 5 Keys, to:
- Reduce the risk of accidents
- Make themselves safer drivers
If you’re new to driving systems, Smith System defensive driving for commercial drivers is one of the most well-known and used systems in the industry.
Why Choose the Smith System 5 Keys?
Smith Systems aims to teach drivers differently, and they provide drivers with the tools and knowledge they need to make smarter decisions while behind the wheel. When you choose this system, it offers behind the wheel training that is shown to:
- Reduce the risk of accidents
- Reduce risk of injury
- Save on fuel
- Improve employee satisfaction
- Lower maintenance costs
- Save lives
As the nation’s first fleet driver safety organization, Smith System has been in operation since 1952 and now offers training to 250,000 drivers per year. Out of the fleets on the Fortune 500 list, more than half have chosen the Smith 5 Keys system to keep their drivers safe.
The service is offered in 22 languages in 100 countries.
When you choose this system to make your fleet or yourself a safer driver, you’ll be offered a wide range of educational options, including:
- Behind the wheel training
- Classroom instruction
- Safety compliance consulting
You can also consult with the company on the best technology to integrate into your fleet. Smith360 offers telematics and advanced GPS location to help better monitor and track your fleet, too.
Some of the clients that have worked with the Smith System have been able to reduce their preventable accidents by 60%, while others have experienced a 450% improvement. These are staggering figures and enough to entice any driver, owner operator or fleet owner to consider the Smith System to help make their operations safer.
What is the Smith System?
The Smith 5 Keys is a system, proven to work, that can help reduce your risk of accidents on the road. As a set of rules, these “5 keys” can help you be more confident on the road and increase your safety, too.
When trying to save lives, reduce collisions and prevent injuries, the system works very well.
What are the Smith 5 Keys?
1. Aim high in steering
The first key aims to reduce collisions by being able to use distant information that you have available. You’ll learn to see, evaluate and act on the information available so that you can reduce your chance of an accident.
A few of the key points in Key 1 are:
- Your eyes are not designed to work at a faster pace than walking
- Look ahead and envision where you’ll be in 15 seconds
- 15 seconds offers you a great margin of safety and ample advanced warning
- Use the increased lead time to make driving more economical and efficient
2. Get the big picture
You’ll learn how to analyze all of the information available to you so that you have a picture of the traffic. When you have a complete picture of the current traffic, you can reduce your risk of traffic mistakes.
A few of the key points in Key 2 are:
- Scan ahead, but don’t forget to look at the rear and sides
- Continually scan and update your information
- Check your mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds
- Focus on only the most important objects on the road
- Allow for proper distancing to eliminate any visual barriers in your way
- Allow for enough distance to make your own decisions and not rely on the individual in front of you
3. Keep your eyes moving
Scanning the road ahead of you is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of accidents. You’ll learn scanning techniques that will make you a safer driver and reduce the chances of a costly error leading to an accident.
A few of the key points in Key 3 are:
- Don’t focus on a single object for too long or risk lowering some peripheral vision
- Before entering an intersection, scan thoroughly
- Move your eyes every two seconds
- Resist fatigue by continually stimulating your mind with eye activity
- Scan for and avoid drivers that look distracted
- Avoid bringing your own distractions into your vehicle
4. Leave yourself an out
A method of control as a driver that should be learned early on is how to leave yourself an out. This includes learning proper spacing so that if any accidents or issues on the road occur, you can safely get out of harm’s way.
A few of the key points in Key 4 are:
- Surround yourself with space rather than vehicles
- Adjust your speed to allow enough space and cushion
- Work to keep your front and side open even if you lose space in other areas
- Switch lanes and do your best to avoid anyone that may be tailgating you
5. Make sure you are seen
Preventing traffic conflict is often as simple as making eye contact with another driver. When drivers know that you’re around and have seen you, this reduces the risk of a traffic conflict.
A few of the key points in Key 5 are:
- Look for potential danger early on so that you can react accordingly
- Send warning signals early if you think that there’s a potential threat on the road
- Use your hazards or other warning devices to get the attention of other motorists
- Eye contact remains vital, but don’t use it as the only tool to prevent an accident
The Smith System 5 Keys is a simple and straightforward system that allows you to avoid making costly mistakes on the road. While the keys may seem simple and obvious to some, this is just the start of the training you’ll receive.
Instructors will go in-depth into each of these keys to ensure that when you’re on the road, you can reduce your risk of accidents.