Skip to main content
The Smith System

The Smith System Can Improve Fleet Safety

The Smith5Keys® was designed to provide a new outlook on road safety and improved fleet performance. 

The Smith System of safe driving was developed by United States World War II veteran Harold Smith. While Smith was serving in the Navy he saw a shocking statistic of car crash deaths on a billboard. He was shocked to realize that the number of car crash fatalities exceeded the casualties of war. This pivotal moment inspired Smith to open “The Safeway Driving School” in Detroit in 1948.

After some trials and tribulations teaching young drivers, he found success in developing simple ways to remember his fundamentals. Thus, The Smith5Keys® were born and simplified his concept so that it was easy to remember fast. 

What are The Smith5Keys®?

The Smith5Keys® empower drivers with space, visibility and time in dangerous situations. 

1. Aim High In Steering® 
This concept simply heightens your awareness to what’s in front of you. Being able to look ahead 15-20 seconds into the future. Look to where you want to go and you’ll have better predictability of the other drivers. 

2. Get The Big Picture® 
Equally as important to what’s in front of you, is what’s toward your sides and rear. It’s important to constantly check around you fully every 5-8 seconds. Keeping a safe follow distance allows for greater visibility of the big picture. This of the big picture as the operating space you share with other motorists. The entire width of the roadway and about 15-20 seconds in the future.

3. Keep Your Eyes Moving® 
By constantly surveying your surroundings you’re able to better predict unsafe situations when they arise. There’s always something to observe while in motion or stopped at an intersection. Never focus on one object too long, which can greatly diminish your peripheral vision. Additionally, scan intersections upon entering. You never know when someone decides last minute to pull out in front of you. 

4. Leave Yourself and Out® 
Always be sure that you have at least one, if not two exits while driving. Avoid tailgating and tailgaters entirely. Doing so drastically reducing your chance for collision. Try not to travel next to another vehicle for too long. You may need that space in a defensive driving situation, so best to keep an area next to you clear at all times. 

5. Make Sure They See You® 
By utilizing the previous Keys, you can better predict and unsafe situation. Direct Eye contact with another driver is a pretty effective way to make sure YOU are seen. In order to better direct someone’s eye contact with you, use the tools you have at your disposal such as your cars horn, or headlights. 

In conclusion, by adapting The Smith5Keys® as a truck driver, you can greatly reduce your stress on the road. We all know that being a truck driver is one of the hardest jobs in the world. So, no matter where you are in the world, these 5 Keys can provide you with that “safety cushion” around your truck. 

At ITF Group, we are committed to the safety of our fleet. Our drivers have the tools or the “Keys” to drive safely on our roads. If you have what it takes to be part of a team committed to safety, check out our careers page and apply today!