Smith System Training – 5 Keys of Defensive Driving

Smith System® Driver Improvement Institute was the nation’s first professional driver training company.  Established in 1952 by Harold Smith, it operates on the principle that most collisions are preventable if the right driving habits are learned, practiced and applied consistently.  Since then, millions of drivers throughout the world have benefited from this system.

It operates on 5 key principles:

Aim High In Steering

Look at least 15 seconds into your future, not just at the vehicle in front of you.

Get the Big Picture

Look for hazards.  (Other Motorists, Pedestrians, Vehicle doors opening, etc.)

Keep Your Eyes Moving

Don’t stare.  Use your peripheral vision.  Stop the fixed habit stare.

Leave Yourself an Out

Monitor the space cushion around you.

Make Sure They See You

Use your signals.  (Directionals, 4-way Flashers, Head Lights, Brake Lights, Horn, Hand Signals.)  Make eye contact.

Here at P&S Transportation, we offer Smith System® classes to our drivers.  They are taught by Ben Dunn at our Birmingham, AL terminal, and by Buck Ivey at our Emporia, VA terminal.  These classes are a great way to be involved with your Safety Department, and offer great tips and tools for sharpening your flatbed driving techniques.

Please contribute below on how your flatbed driving skills have improved since completing Smith System® training.


  1. Marc Fillion says:

    I think the “fixed staring habit” can be especially negative for truckers. It’s extremely easy to zone out when you’re driving, but it’s dangerous for you and everyone else. Even just being aware of the habit can make truckers more alert.

    • Russ says:

      I can understand its especially easy for truckers to get ‘hypnotized’ by the road, long drives, straight roads. I see cars/trucks/suvs do it too. I think Smith System should be a requirement for ALL drivers.

  2. Olamilekan says:

    How can I b a progressing professional driver

  3. Jim Stiles says:

    I have used the Smith System as a Driver Education instructors for over 40 years.

    Last week I received a post card from Colorado, from a former student that I taught in 1967. He was thanking me for the defensive driving I pounded into the students. He had just averted a bad accident that he would not have seen developing had we not practiced such situations using the 5 Principles.
    He was thanking me, so I want to thank you for the many, many, students over the years who benefited from the system. Keep up the good work!

    Jim Stiles
    Lansing, MI 48911

  4. Ntoney André guillaume says:

    Very good training

  5. Bruce K Gardner says:

    I’m a Fleet Safety Trainer for Smith System. My last preventable MBA was 1977 before I learned the system. IT WORKS! I’ve been training Smith System for 17 yrs to every type of driver. Commercial, office workers, truck drivers, etc.

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