Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving



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I think, therefore I am,” is a well-known quote from Rene Descartes, way back in 1637. Nowhere is this truer than on the streets.

As mentioned earlier in this course, a thought always precedes an action. In this section we are looking at thoughts in these areas:

  • Attitude – What is our attitude towards others on the streets and how do we respond to the attitude of others?

  • Awareness – How alert are we to and conscious of our surroundings?

  • Impairment – Are we or others under the influence of some substance that can affect our thought processes? Alternatively, are we distracted in some way that can also negatively impact our judgment?

Then we also have a more technical section discussing various laws of physics and how they affect decisions we can make.

Finally, there is a fun Q&A section in the form of a quiz.

Here are the broad areas that we will spend time on:

🛈 Info:

💡 Tips:

? Questions:


🛈 Driving and thinking ability

Driving requires a combination of physical skills, cognitive abilities, and effective decision-making. The process of driving involves continuous sensory input, processing of information, and making split-second decisions. Here are some key aspects of driving and their relationship to thinking abilities:


  • Visual Perception: Recognizing and interpreting information from the environment, such as road signs, traffic lights, and the movement of other vehicles.

  • Auditory Perception: Listening for important auditory cues, such as sirens, honks, or sounds from the vehicle itself.


  • Selective Attention: Focusing on relevant information while filtering out distractions, such as conversations, music, or mobile phones.

  • Divided Attention: Managing multiple tasks simultaneously, such as monitoring the road, checking mirrors, and responding to traffic.


  • Risk Assessment: Evaluating potential risks and making decisions about how to navigate various traffic situations.

  • Problem-Solving: Quickly responding to unexpected events, such as sudden stops, lane closures, or changing road conditions.


  • Short-Term Memory: Remembering recent events and information, such as the current state of traffic lights or the actions of nearby vehicles.

  • Long-Term Memory: Recalling traffic rules, routes, and driving strategies acquired through previous experiences.


  • Hand-Eye Coordination: Using motor skills to control the steering wheel, gear shift, indicators, and other vehicle controls.

  • Foot-Eye Coordination: Coordinating foot movements with visual input for tasks like braking, clutch control, and accelerating.

Situational Awareness:

  • Predictive Thinking: Anticipating the actions of other drivers and predicting potential hazards based on the current traffic situation.

  • Environmental Awareness: Being aware of road conditions, weather, and the overall driving environment.

Concentration and Focus:

  • Maintaining Focus: Sustaining attention on the road for extended periods without becoming fatigued or distracted.

  • Cognitive Load Management: Balancing cognitive resources to handle multiple tasks without cognitive overload.

Emotional Regulation:

  • Stress Management: Managing stress and emotions to stay calm and focused while driving, especially in challenging or high-pressure situations.


  • Flexibility: Adapting to changes in traffic flow, road conditions, or unexpected events without compromising safety.


  • Performing Simultaneous Tasks: Effectively managing different aspects of driving simultaneously, such as steering, checking mirrors, and scanning for potential hazards.

It's crucial for drivers to be in good physical and mental health, exercise sound judgment, and continuously improve their driving skills. Regular self-assessment, defensive driving courses, and staying informed about changes in traffic laws contribute to safe and effective driving. Additionally, avoiding distractions and being aware of one's own cognitive abilities play a significant role in road safety.

💡 Advantages of thinking ability

Thinking ability is a critical skill for safe driving. Here are some advantages of thinking ability on the roads:

  • Anticipation: Good thinking ability allows drivers to anticipate potential hazards and react to them before they become dangerous. This includes predicting the movements of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists on the road.

  • Quick decision-making: Safe driving requires quick decision-making skills. Drivers with good thinking ability are better equipped to make split-second decisions when faced with unexpected situations on the road.

  • Risk assessment: Good thinking ability allows drivers to assess risks and avoid dangerous situations. This includes recognizing when it is unsafe to overtake or when the road conditions are hazardous.

  • Focus and attention: Good thinking ability helps drivers maintain focus and attention on the road. This includes avoiding distractions such as texting, eating, or talking on the phone while driving.

  • Problem-solving: Safe driving requires problem-solving skills, such as figuring out the best route to take or how to navigate through heavy traffic. Drivers with good thinking ability are better equipped to solve these problems effectively.

In summary, good thinking ability is a critical skill for safe driving. It allows drivers to anticipate potential hazards, make quick decisions, assess risks, maintain focus and attention, and solve problems effectively on the road.

? Why are drivers getting worse?

The perception that drivers are getting worse can be influenced by various factors, and it's essential to consider multiple aspects when discussing changes in driving behavior. Here are several factors that could contribute to the perception that drivers are getting worse:

  • Increased DistractionsThe prevalence of smartphones and other electronic devices has led to a rise in distracted driving. Drivers using phones for texting, talking, or browsing while driving can pose significant risks.

  • Traffic Congestion: Growing urbanization and increased population density in many areas have resulted in more traffic congestion. Congested roads can contribute to stress and frustration among drivers, potentially affecting their behavior.

  • Lack of Driver Education: In some regions, the quality and availability of driver education may vary. A lack of comprehensive driver training can lead to a lack of understanding or adherence to traffic laws and safety principles.

  • Aggressive Driving: Aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, speeding, and road rage contribute to unsafe road conditions. These behaviors can escalate conflicts between drivers and increase the likelihood of accidents.

  • Traffic Law Violations: A disregard for traffic laws, such as running red lights, ignoring stop signs, or failing to yield, can lead to an increase in traffic incidents.

  • Fatigue and StressModern lifestyles, demanding schedules, and increased stress levels can result in fatigued driving. Tired drivers are more prone to making mistakes and poor decisions on the road.

  • Impaired Driving: Despite awareness campaigns and legal consequences, impaired driving due to alcohol, drugs, or medication remains a significant issue and contributes to accidents.

  • Lack of Road CourtesyA decline in courteous driving behaviors, such as yielding to pedestrians, allowing safe merging, or respecting the right of way, can lead to conflicts and unsafe conditions.

  • Technological Distractions: In-vehicle technologies, navigation systems, and entertainment options can contribute to cognitive distractions, diverting attention away from driving tasks.

  • Inconsistent Enforcement: In some areas, inconsistent enforcement of traffic laws may contribute to a perception that there are fewer consequences for unsafe driving behaviors.

It's important to note that while these factors may contribute to concerns about worsening driving behavior, it doesn't mean that all drivers are getting worse. Many factors, including education, awareness campaigns, improved infrastructure, and enforcement, play a role in shaping overall driving behaviors. Efforts to address these issues, promote safe driving practices, and enhance driver education can contribute to improved road safety.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving