The Smith System: 5 Keys to Drive Safe

In today’s climate where delivering freight quickly takes priority, it’s more important than ever that truck drivers are keeping safety at the top of their mind. From the moment you take your place behind the wheel to when you’re finding your place to park for the night, it is your responsibility to look out for not just yourself and your truck, but those around you that you share the road with. This is where the Smith System comes into play; this system focuses on driving defensively and makes safety not just an afterthought, but something you’re actively practicing. In this blog, we go into detail about why the Smith System is important and the steps you should be taking to prevent accidents on the road.

In today’s climate where delivering freight quickly takes priority, it’s more important than ever that truck drivers are keeping safety at the top of their mind. From the moment you take your place behind the wheel to when you’re finding your place to park for the night, it is your responsibility to look out for not just yourself and your truck, but those around you that you share the road with. This is where the Smith System comes into play; this system focuses on driving defensively and makes safety not just an afterthought, but something you’re actively practicing. In this blog, we go into detail about why the Smith System is important and the steps you should be taking to prevent accidents on the road.

What is the Smith System and, What is the Primary Goal of the Smith System?

In today’s climate where delivering freight quickly takes priority, it’s more important than ever that truck drivers are keeping safety at the top of their mind. From the moment you take your place behind the wheel to when you’re finding your place to park for the night, it is your responsibility to look out for not just yourself and your truck, but those around you that you share the road with.

This is where the Smith System comes into play; this system focuses on driving defensively and makes safety not just an afterthought, but something you’re actively practicing. In this blog, we go into detail about why the Smith System is important and the steps you should be taking to prevent accidents on the road.

What are the 5 Rules of the Smith System?

Aim High in Steering 

Looking ahead on the road will keep you from missing any hazards before it’s too late, and give you adequate time to react if you’re in danger. Ideally, you should be looking far enough to see 15 seconds ahead of your current position – this distance will change depending on how fast you’re driving. At 65 MPH, this will be slightly over a quarter of a mile!

Get the Big Picture 

When driving, you should not only be focused on what’s in front of you. Making sure you know what’s going on all around you is important in preventing collisions. Check at least one of your mirrors every 5-8 seconds and try not to focus your attention on anything distracting – Instead, stay alert to your surroundings. You also should maintain proper following distance so you can see ahead of other vehicles.

Keep Your Eyes Moving

Keeping your eyes moving will not only help you to stay attentive (eye activity stimulates your brain and will help ward off fatigue), but will keep you aware of your surroundings and help you to spot any hazards. Always make sure to scan intersections before passing through them, as they account for nearly 40% of all vehicle collisions.

Leave Yourself an Out

The fewer vehicles around your truck, the safer you’ll be. Leave yourself plenty of space if at all possible. Make sure you’re in the proper lane and maintain a good speed to keep this space cushion open. You’ll inevitably find yourself in close quarters at one time or another, but do your best to at least keep your front and one side open in case you need to avoid a hazard. Tailgaters are a huge risk factor in accidents, so avoid those vehicles when possible.

Make Sure They See You

In the event that you spot a potentially dangerous situation, you’ll want to be sure that nearby drivers are aware of the danger as well and can react accordingly. If you need to alert other drivers, use your warning signals such as your blinkers and horn as soon as they’re in range to be detected by other drivers – try to establish eye contact if you can, so you know you have their attention and they acknowledge your warning.

By keeping these five techniques in mind whenever you’re behind the wheel, you’re making the road safer for everyone. Avoiding preventable accidents is your duty as a professional truck driver, and maintaining a clean safety record is a great way to grow your career. If you’re looking for more tips on how to drive safer, be sure to visit the official Smith System website for additional resources and training. At Melton, safety is our #1 priority, which is why we offer such an extensive pre-hire evaluation program. Our trucks also come equipped with the latest technology in safety so you can feel confident on the road; check out our equipment page here.

 

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