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Practical Defensive Driving Ideas


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#1 DirtyTrigger

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:29 AM

I started writing a reply to a thread about where a gentleman asked about make-shift or impromptu weapons in the car and got me thinking. Some mentioned, "your vehicle" and they were spot on, but I though I could add more to it. As I started to write out my reply, too off topic so i though Id post it here. Its nothing huge, and some of you probably been through this stuf before. But figured it Id put it out there for some maybe of the new folks.


Driving a vehicle is a very dynamic and fluid thing to do. We can do out best to keep our heads on swivel, but, driving is unpredictable thing. More often than not, we are at the mercy of everyone else. So, think about these ideas and apply, alter as needed to stack the deck in your favor if something goes wrong. Among our travels we can be exposed to something lame and common as a traffic jam, or as horrific as a car-jacking. The tips and tricks will help give you options if something goes wrong. I teach various tactical stuff and I emphasize Options is a very valuable word. When you are in SHTF moment and your are out of options, you will learn how priceless it can be.

My ideas come from variuos places. I work patrol sometimes for an LEO agency and also have done a few private security details, escort thing (Trust me, sounds cooler than it was) along with other vehicle based operations. Perks of a gear head and a trigger puller. All though I know there are more, I am not an expert and I'm only 1 cup of coffee in this AM.

The biggest issue to a car is is lack of space. "Getting boxed in" i,e, Trapped

- Space is critical in any situation. When you get to an intersection or traffic. Always keep at least a half car length (not including the "normal" space you would have) of space in front of you. Enough room to move forward 10-15+feet. Or be able to turn out of your spot. Don't creep up. They guy behind you will creep up. Next thing you know, your boxed in.

Ideally, when stopped in traffic intersection, You, as the driver should be lined up with the trunks of the cars next to you

This keeps the people in the next lanes over, from being able to eyeball you. People behind you can't see in your passenger space. It makes it easy for you to sit back and observe. If they get out, you will see them coming, you will have time to react. You will have enough room to stop someone from getting you door handle or windows by driving back and forth. Also, you will have enough room to steer left or right to try and run over their feet with the front wheels

If you get hit from the rear, this space will act as a cushion and cut down on the chances or impact of you hitting the car in front of you. If it turns into traffic jam, you should have enough room to turn out of your lane. This can also add the escape side if things. Cutting down on the impact on the vehicle in front of you will lower the chances of your doors being buckled and impinged.

If it is a 3+ lane road with an intersection, try to stick to the outside lanes (you can turn out if need be) if it gets really bad, car jacking to stuck in traffic, you can turn out over the sidewalk or into the median.

Temporary Vehicle Staging. (That's tactical speak for parking)

This gets brought up a lot but it s so true. I tend to park my truck out by itself. Park it out of the high density traffic areas. Most of the time, just means parking 10-20 spaces farther out. This has its perks for many reasons.
- Less chance for someone to hide around other cars
- Less likely someone will break in. Out by itself, bad guys will feel exposed. Risker to loitter around. Easier for me to eye ball it from my location as less obstruction around it. Even my son now knows, I tend to park where I can keep an eye on it from inside the restaurant or store if its avaible.
- Buys me time to asses my situation as I am walking out if I see something that doesn't look or feel right around my truck. I don't want to talk up on anyone if I can help it. More often than not, my son or my girlfriend is with me
- If I do find myself in a confrontation, I have space to move. Before I draw, I need to create space. Both in self preservation and helps if I need to make a that critical decision and articulate why I had to display (draw down) or use lethal force.

"*Detective, I dont know what his problem was. I kept backing up and he kept following me. I was yelling at him to leave me alone and stop following me. But, even after I pulled my weapon, I tried to back up but he kept approaching me." A lot of parking lots have cameras. Remember that.

- If I need to spend any length of time in my vehicle, emailing or text on phone, I like having space around me, gives me more chance to spot someone.

- If it is dark, and you are on your phone texting or surfing. You will lose your night vision... and you will be lit up inside. Everyone will be able to see your face, and that you are exactly where they want you, pre-occupied. If it is a shitty 'hood or you need to be at it for awhile... I tend to find the back of a store and back up against the wall if I cant find a wide open parking lot somewhere. The back of building or wall eliminates 180 degrees of approach. And keep your head lights on. Head lights will blind anyone toward your front. Same concept on how we use our hi-output lumens flashlight (This goes especially to my fellow LEOs who we as a whole, like to sit in the dark with our heads buried in a laptop and just our marker lights on)


These 3 concepts I follow. They are nothing fancy but they, if you get into good practice, will keep you out of trouble, help you see trouble coming, and if it does find you, give you options to deal with it.

Stay safe.

Edited by DirtyTrigger, 02 September 2014 - 02:42 PM.

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#2 CrazyD

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:10 PM

Alot of that I do as well. I have been really working on my situational awareness lately. However, I do tend to not leave myself alot of wiggle room when in traffic or stopped at traffic lights. Something I know I have to work on.

 

Great write-up!


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#3 PsychoFish

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 05:09 PM

Spot on John! I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else to add to that. BTW, When are we gonna meet for lunch???


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#4 Scuba CN

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 06:49 PM

When stopped in traffic I always leave about 1-1.5 car lengths between me and the vehicle I am behind; I like having room to move if needed and I don't want to worry about getting pushed into the front vehicle if someone hits me from behind. The only point I would add is do your absolute best to ignore your phone or other devices until you are parked at the back of a store or whatever; I have had so many close calls because of some soccer mom or teenage girl that was more concerned with texting than they were with driving, and with them making it dangerous enough out there you don't need to add to it by playing around with your phone or iPad.

 

As far as temporary vehicle staging when shopping, parking out in the open makes it a bit more difficult and much more obvious for someone to block your vehicle in. When parking in a confined space (i.e. parking space against a wall, in front of your garage, etc.) I would say it is better to park facing out. When facing out you can jump in and go if needed, with a better view of the roadway and any potential hazards coming your way, for those with trucks I'm willing to bet there is more usable power/torque going forwards should you need to push your way out past an obstacle, and putting the rear against a solid barrier makes the rear hatch more inaccessible to any badguys. Parking nose in means that ramming your way out with the back end is less likely to leave your vehicle inop but makes it more difficult to view potential hazards coming toward you and requires you to stop (or close to it) and shift into drive in order to get on your way.


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#5 spenceman

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:31 PM

Great post. I like the point you make about lining yourself up with the trunk of the next car. Now I just need to not be lazy and park further away, it doesn't help that I feel like a won something every time I find a close spot.


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#6 DirtyTrigger

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:58 AM

 

 

 I would say it is better to park facing out. When facing out you can jump in and go if needed, with a better view of the roadway and any potential hazards coming your way, for those with trucks I'm willing to bet there is more usable power/torque going forwards should you need to push your way out past an obstacle, and putting the rear against a solid barrier makes the rear hatch more inaccessible to any badguys. Parking nose in means that ramming your way out with the back end is less likely to leave your vehicle inop but makes it more difficult to view potential hazards coming toward you and requires you to stop (or close to it) and shift into drive in order to get on your way.

 

 

I have seen this and its a tough one.  I will say this about it, technically., it is probably better to park by pulling in.  If you have to escape, ramming to the rear will save your engine.  This would be important if you have a car.  Waste the trunk, protect the vitals.   Mostly, the radiator is the most vulnerable  item.  Also, the gearing ratio for reverse, depending on the transmission, is around the same as 1st gear.  So you aren't really losing much in the way of power.

 

But to me honestly, there are pros and cons to each. So I think it really depends on the person, vehicle one is driving, operational status, (Patrol or going to the grocery store) and the environment. Cars parked across from you.  If you did get blocked in, say by a full size SUV, I am pushing the Honda across from me out of the way.

 

That said, I usually always back in. I drive a 99' Dodge Ram 1/2 Ton.  Not that big, but big enough to be a pain.  And generally speaking, reversing, it becomes more manageable to steer into a parking spot.   And yes, I have a shell on the back so I had to laugh as I do that exact trick.   Back up enough that they cant it open. I do that a lot when at my girlfriends house.  I keep a bunch of camping gear back there I want to stay back there.


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#7 DStevenson

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:18 AM

As stated above I do many of the same things you fellas do, and I love to hear what others do that make their lives safer.

 

Being that I grew up in the Detroit area (there was a time it was livable) my father always taught me to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you at stops because at the time getting boxed in, or drawn into a double collision accident with the intent to rob you was a more common problem then it should have been.

 

I do that to this day, leaving more space to respond in less desirable areas.  Do I sneak and lock the door when someone is approaching my car at a stop light?  no.. I let them see that I am making that gesture, in my opinion letting them know I am prepared for their approach.  I look right at them and "CLUNK" they hear the door lock.  I'm not worried about hurting their feelings.


Edited by DStevenson, 03 September 2014 - 11:18 AM.

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#8 AaronK

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 05:39 PM

You dont lock your doors all the time?

#9 mangeface

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 06:41 PM

My doors automatically lock once I hit around 25mph. I wouldn't drive around with unlocked doors personally. Seems to be too much of a risk if you aren't on your A game.

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#10 DStevenson

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:14 PM

You dont lock your doors all the time?

 

No I don't.  If my car did it automatically I would be totally cool with that... BMW's... pffft...I may have disabled the option when I was re-coding the ECU/BCU, I'll have to check this weekend.

I live in quiet white suburbia.... not that it can't happen out here (guy just got shot and killed during a road rage incident yesterday) in "quiet white suburbia".


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#11 Scuba CN

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:42 PM

I have seen this and its a tough one.  I will say this about it, technically., it is probably better to park by pulling in.  If you have to escape, ramming to the rear will save your engine.  This would be important if you have a car.  Waste the trunk, protect the vitals.   Mostly, the radiator is the most vulnerable  item.  Also, the gearing ratio for reverse, depending on the transmission, is around the same as 1st gear.  So you aren't really losing much in the way of power.

 

But to me honestly, there are pros and cons to each. So I think it really depends on the person, vehicle one is driving, operational status, (Patrol or going to the grocery store) and the environment. Cars parked across from you.  If you did get blocked in, say by a full size SUV, I am pushing the Honda across from me out of the way.

 

That said, I usually always back in. I drive a 99' Dodge Ram 1/2 Ton.  Not that big, but big enough to be a pain.  And generally speaking, reversing, it becomes more manageable to steer into a parking spot.   And yes, I have a shell on the back so I had to laugh as I do that exact trick.   Back up enough that they cant it open. I do that a lot when at my girlfriends house.  I keep a bunch of camping gear back there I want to stay back there.

 

That's what I figured; there is generally far less important stuff in the back end of the vehicle. It's good to know that there isn't significantly less power going backwards. Luckily I am either in an 07 Ford Explorer or the Beast, a V10 Excursion with snowplow attachment points  :headbang:  :cool: .

 

My doors automatically lock once I hit around 25mph. I wouldn't drive around with unlocked doors personally. Seems to be too much of a risk if you aren't on your A game.

 

Mine auto lock as well, but I'm not sure if they do it at a certain speed or simply after I put it in drive. In any case I still have a tendency to double check that they are locked when stopped for any length of time.



#12 AaronK

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:08 PM

Mine autolock at 15mph but I always lock them as soon as I'm inside. Do you lock your house? Concept is the same to me.

#13 DeathwatchDoc

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 07:32 PM

I'm pretty OCD about locking the car as soon as the final passenger is aboard. Pretty OCD on how I park as well. I like to keep my vehicle in site when I am in a restaurant, but failing that, I park away so I have great views of the environment as I approach. Another thing, especially at night, I tend to walk towards the middle of a lane on a parking lot. Leaves me with more room to react if someone is hiding between vehicles. 


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#14 stoddy9311

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 05:10 PM

good write up!

 

when off duty (in body not mind :-)) always park like mentioned, pisses the wife and kids off haha...



#15 PHWOARchild

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Posted 15 December 2014 - 02:07 PM

My car doors lock when I put it in drive. Put it in park, they unlock, at least the driver door does. If I'm in a shifty area, they get locked before I put on my seat belt.

 

I also give room in front of my car in traffic. It gives me at out if I need it. I too avoid lining myself up with another driver, I'd rather be in a spot where I can observe them.



#16 pira114

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 07:17 AM

Ok, I have a different habit with door locking.

All the passenger doors get locked. The driver door stays unlocked, unless I'm parked for an extended time.

Reasoning is that I will be easily able to bail if I need to.

The other thing I do is I enter and exit a vehicle as quickly as possible. I'm first out and last in when traveling with people. And the seat belt does not go on until the car is just about to roll, and it comes off just before parking.

This may all seem silly. It's a mix of stuff I've learned from several sources over the years. The whole theory being that one is most vulnerable in a vehicle that's just about to move or has just stopped.

What do you all think? Are these habits I need to break?

Edited by pira114, 16 December 2014 - 07:24 AM.


#17 Scuba CN

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 10:24 AM

Ok, I have a different habit with door locking.

All the passenger doors get locked. The driver door stays unlocked, unless I'm parked for an extended time.

What do you all think? Are these habits I need to break?

 

Seems like sound reasoning to me but I prefer having all the doors locked. You might want to check to see if your door handle automatically overrides the lock. With my truck and my mother's car pulling on the handle (to exit the vehicle) for the driver's door will let you exit whether the lock has been engaged or not, while all the other doors remain locked until unlocked manually or with the unlock button. I thought this was a standard safety feature to prevent the driver from being trapped in the event of a crash or some other emergency but I could be wrong.



#18 pira114

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Posted 16 December 2014 - 10:28 AM

I have a 2002 Yukon XL, a 2003 Xterra, and a 1992 F250 Diesel. None of them will open when locked without manually unlocking it.

Edited by pira114, 16 December 2014 - 10:29 AM.


#19 AaronK

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 12:22 AM

That's the only thing I miss about my explorer. Doors opened from ththe inside without being unlocked




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