The Idaho Transportation Department assigns DMV personnel to
evaluate all Defensive Driving School courses to ensure that they meet
standards of delivery and content. The Idaho DMV Driving Manual
outlines several key defensive driving techniques that require
inclusion in any Defensive Driving Course and will include such content
as ‘accident avoidance:”
- Scanning: To be a defensive driver, you have to see what is going
on. Avoid a fixed, straight-ahead stare that may let you drift off in
daydreams. Keep your eyes moving and learn to read the road.
- Look Ahead: Good drivers keep an eye on what is happening about ten
to 15 seconds ahead. That is about a block in city driving. By doing
this, you will avoid the kind of last minute lane changes, turns, and
stops that often cause accidents.
- Look to The Sides: As you approach any place where other cars,
people or animals may cross your path, look to both sides. Do not rely
on traffic lights or stop signs. Always watch out for other
drivers—they may run the light.
- Look Behind: Check the traffic behind you frequently—several times
a minute—so you will know if somebody is tailgating, coming up too fast
or trying to pass. Most rear-end collisions are caused by vehicles
following too closely.
- Blind Spots: These are areas near the left and right rear corners
of your vehicle that are not visible in your mirrors. If your vehicle
does not have a right side view mirror, the right blind spot will be
larger than the one on the left. Never rely on your mirrors alone.
Before you make any move to the side, quickly turn your head to see if
your blind spot is clear. Also, avoid driving in someone else’s blind
spot. It is as important for other drivers to see you as for you
to see them.
- Identify: Scan the road ahead for potential hazards such as a
vehicle, pedestrian, animal or situation that could force you to slow
down, speed up or turn.
- Predict: After spotting a potential hazard, predict what will
happen. Generally, it is safest to predict the worst. For example, if
you see children playing on a street corner, prepare for one of them to
run in front of you.
- Decide What To Do: The key to defensive driving is making a sound
decision ahead of time rather than reacting to danger at the last
- Execute: The final step is to execute your decision in a smooth,
predictable manner—in time to avoid an accident.
These topics and many more are emphasized in an Idaho Defensive
Driving course. The purpose of the content is to convey to
drivers the importance of driving with cool, calm heads and to acquire
the ability to predict and avoid dangers on the road.