The Five Principles of Defensive Driving


1.  Look Ahead

  1. Look 15 seconds into your future. Don’t just look at the vehicle in front of you.
  2. Vary your line of sight. When driving in the city look at least a block ahead. When rural driving, scan ahead 100 yards, 1/8th mile, ½ mile and then back to 100 yards, etc.

2.  Get The Whole Picture

  1. Look for hazards such as other motorists, car doors opening, and children playing nearby.
  2. Situational awareness is critical. Anticipate and predict other drivers’ actions.
  3. Play a lot of “what if” scenarios in your head.

3.  Keep Your Eyes Moving

  1. It is very important to cycle your eyes to the mirrors, gauges, and the environment approximately 3-5 seconds.
  2. When approaching an intersection, always scan it leftright before entering an intersection.

4.  Leave Yourself A Way Out

  1. Have a “space cushion” around you. Try not to get boxed in. For example; you are behind a semi-truck and Randy Wilkison Transportation Director 804 Skyline Rd, Laramie, WY 82070 (307) 721-4470 transportation@acsd1.org another comes parallel to you, reduce your speed, giving yourself more space between you and the front semi.
  2. Maintain a safe following distance at all times using the 4 second rule, adding 1 second for highway speed and 1 second for inclement weather.
  3. If you are being tailgated, decrease your speed to force them to pass you safely. Do NOT react angrily or tap your brakes to warn them off.
  4. When stopping behind a vehicle, leave enough of a gap so that you can drive around them if they stall, or if you are struck from behind, you do not collide with the vehicle in front of you.

5.  Make Sure They See You

  1. Use your signals; brake lights, directional, 4-ways, headlights, horn and eye contact.
  2. If you are coming up to a corner and the other driver seems like they may be on the phone or is looking away from you, give your horn a tap to get their attention. Randy Wilkison Transportation Director 804 Skyline Rd, Laramie, WY 82070 (307) 721-4470 transportation@acsd1.org.
  3. Use your 4-way (hazard lights) whenever you are doing something abnormal or unexpected in a school bus. Examples of this are: Slowing down more than 20 MPH less than the speed limit on highways. Poor road conditions/poor visibility. Deviating from your lane because of obstructions or hazards; i.e. Law enforcement vehicle traffic stop, animal in the road, etc. It is also a good idea to use your hazards when backing up.