Expedite Expo 2021 July 16 - 17

Are drivers using the five keys to the Smith System

Bruno

Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
US Marines
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After seeing a post about a Expedite driver that was killed. I thought I would post the five keys to the Smith System for drivers. I had a school bus pull out in front of me last week as I was going down the street I live on. I called the school system where the bus was from and talked to the director of transpotation for this school system. I was shocked to find out that this director didn't know what the Smith System was. I told him that this is something that all of his bus drivers should know and learn.

From my many years at Roberts Express/FedEx Custom Critical I was thankful that Pat G. was a big supporter of the Smith System. For those of you that don't know the five keys to the Smith System, here it is.

Smith System

5 Keys of Defensive Driving


1. Aim High in Steering
Look 15 seconds into your future. (Don’t just look at the vehicle in front of you)

2. Get the Big Picture
Look for Hazards. (Other Motorists, Pedestrians, Vehicle doors opening)

3. Keep Your Eyes Moving
Don’t stare. (Use your peripheral vision)(Stop the fixed habit stare)

4. Leave Yourself an Out
Monitor the space cushion around you and your truck.

5. Make sure They See You
Use your signals- (Directionals, 4-Way Flashers, Head Lights, Brake Lights, Horn, Hand Signals) Make Eye Contact.
 
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EasyDoesIt

Active Expediter
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Excellent post. The motoring public has no idea just how difficult it is at times to drive for a living.
 

Jason2

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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you know david, when I was hauling my campers and trilers I always done everything listed for my safety.I guess to be on safe side but never thought about it to much.Just never wanted to be in an accident that could have been avoided if at all possible.

Even out on the interstate if I thought a big truck was going to need to get in frontI would always back off a little to give him the benifit of dout.
 

RETIDEPXE

Veteran Expediter
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you know david, when I was hauling my campers and trilers I always done everything listed for my safety.I guess to be on safe side but never thought about it to much.Just never wanted to be in an accident that could have been avoided if at all possible.

Even out on the interstate if I thought a big truck was going to need to get in frontI would always back off a little to give him the benifit of dout.

I was in a situation 2 days ago where I had backed off because a noticed a car carrier coming onto the interstate around a circle entrance ramp ahead, semi passing me to my left, so no changing lanes, and calculated if he didn't hold within the entrance ramp's 3rd lane, we would occupy the same space at the same time and collide. I slowed enough to give myself time to see, well, he didn't hold his lane and I was able to shut it down quick enough from 55 to 25mph. I was glad to know my truck can decelerate as quick as it did.......and there was nobody behind me.

BTW< just came down I-75 thru Atlanta 7 a.m. rush hour, talk about the Indy 500, geeezzz!
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
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As part of Triples training,Roadway had The Smith Co come out and give us a course. Classroom and a driving test.
Very good,basic theory that should be reviewed periodically.
You must stay out of situations to pull three trailers at a time.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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I don't know how long the Smith System has been around or how Smith can even take credit for it..all common sense rules.....My grand dad taught me all of the above, when I was learning....

I can remember him saying always leave an out....AND

Don't stare at that first deer cross the road...watch for the second one...:)
 

Moot

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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I don't know how long the Smith System has been around...

The Smith System has been around since at least the late 1970s where it was part of my Driver Education training curriculum. This is an excellent program and reading the 5 key points Bruno posted is a great mental refresher, especially with winter fast approaching.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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The Smith System has been around since at least the late 1970s where it was part of my Driver Education training curriculum. This is an excellent program and reading the 5 key points Bruno posted is a great mental refresher, especially with winter fast approaching.
That is my point..I learned the very same points in the 60's.....guess my grandfather should have marketed common sense before it went extinct...LOL
 

butterfly610

Veteran Expediter
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There are so many incredibly bad drivers out there. My dad taught me very basic, common sense things about driving that I've always used. Watch ahead of me not just the one car in front of me, don't wait till the last minute to get in the lane you know you need in a couple miles ahead, don't follow super close (I hate tailgaters). I follow the speed limit. It just seems like if you have common sense on the road, you'll be okay. I'm amazed at how many accidents could be avoided if people just used their heads. I even look behind me. You'd be amazed at how many times I've had to get over because I could see someone not paying attention coming up behind me and riding in the middle of the lane:/
 

BigCat

Expert Expediter
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Smith systems is common sense driving that you shouldn't have to watch videos for. Everyone should have the common sense to be aware of what is going on around them and not follow too close. That could be why I have an accident free record.
 

leezaback

Seasoned Expediter
Owner/Operator
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in my dreams-everyone I meet has common sense-then I awake to a world filled with idiots who should never have been given a steering wheel ! for those who have it-thank you ! I learned the smith in tractor trailer school,thru the colledge. Now the schools seem to focus on driving forward and parking where ever one wants. Another thing I learn every day is patience, except in NYC-that goes out the window fast. Thanks for the refresher:rolleyes:
 

Bruno

Veteran Expediter
Fleet Owner
US Marines
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Smith systems is common sense driving that you shouldn't have to watch videos for. Everyone should have the common sense to be aware of what is going on around them and not follow too close. That could be why I have an accident free record.

Jake the system is to remind people of common sense. It really doesn't matter when or who started it, as long as it gets out to new and long time drivers. It's to refresh a drivers way of thinking when driving. My father said it was around when he started driving in 1962.

But here is what I found out for you OVM.

www.smith-system.com
 

Rocketman

Veteran Expediter
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One thing for the experienced drivers to think about. When I started driving a few years ago, I started out at Maverick in North Little Rock pulling flatbeds. In their orientation they told us how they were making the transition to training new drivers and why. They claimed that research shows that newer drivers tend to stay focused more (basicly, their scared to death and paying attention because of it). The more experienced drivers tend to take short cuts and not stay focused on the job at hand, they have become TOO comfortable in their job. The new drivers tend to have more accidents, but they are fender bender type accidents usually. The experienced drivers have fewer accidents overall but many of them are the really bad accidents.

I have no proof or documentation to support what they told us, but that is what they said. In short, even the drivers with many years in the seat need to rededicate themselves to being focused and alert at the wheel.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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Way back when I drove....we had dedicated runs....every month owner would switch us around and we'd learn every run that way....ALSO it kept us a little sharper while driving....one tends to get to know the road TOO well...you take the road for granted....until it pops up and bites you in the butt...

Bruno..Thanks buddy for the link..:)
 

ATeam

Senior Member
Retired Expediter
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In short, even the drivers with many years in the seat need to rededicate themselves to being focused and alert at the wheel.

Every minute of every day, and every second of every minute. Momentary lapses of attention can be fatal.
 

ATeam

Senior Member
Retired Expediter
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in my dreams-everyone I meet has common sense-then I awake to a world filled with idiots who should never have been given a steering wheel ! for those who have it-thank you !

Have you ever made a mistake that common sense would have had you avoid? Common sense is not that common, and even among those who have it, common sense is not active at all times. Drivers who believe they are good drivers because they have common sense are kidding themselves. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that the more confident you are in your driving abilities, the more of a threat you are to yourself and others.

It's not about having a million safe miles behind you. It's not about being a better driver than most others on the road. It's about understanding that the most dangerous mile you will ever drive is the mile you are driving right now.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
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If you aren't good...a little luck goes a long way...

Everyone makes a mistake...every once and awhile...
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
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If you aren't good...a little luck goes a long way...

Everyone makes a mistake...every once and awhile...
 

aquitted

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
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I am really surprised at how bad the professional drivers have gotten When I started in 1981 the pro's were safe and courteous. Now I see more road rage with the pro's and inconsiderate truck drivers if they use their turn signal at all it's while they are already in the turn or lane change process. Most of them are worse than the 4-wheelers they badmouth. I'm not going to brag on my driving abilities or record but i'm not nor will I ever drive as bad as most of the 18 wheeler clowns
 
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