Lessons From Defensive Driving

01 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

After I stumbled on Bob Saller’s “70 Rules of Defensive Driving” on Roadtrip America, I was hit by a totally random thunderbolt of inspiration, and immediately thought of how to apply some of them in running a business.

Note: Here’s just my free and on-the-fly interpretation, I picked the rules that rung a bell. Visit the site yourself to see all 70 of Uncle Bob’s life-saving rules for the road, and to get the real background, click on the links below to see the actual rule I’m referring to.

Ready?

Rule #10: Drive Precisely
Precise is neat, exact, meticulous. Being precise means executing an action according to something, fitting something — a plan, a destination, a specific goal. Precise is the opposite of sloppy.

If you’ve suffered the embarrassment of having a half-baked job come back to haunt you, you’d know how things like expediency may sneak you through, but taking short-cuts avoids the lessons, the mastery you could have earned, e.g. learning to do it right the first few times vs. doing fast to get it done in one go.

Rule #11: Chill Out
Relax, de-stress, literally take a load off and put your feet up (Sitting all day is bad for your health) or pound the pavement (Exercise helps. A lot). Stop clenching, it’s bad for your teeth. And your blood pressure.

Take a deep breath, then a few more. It’s attitude. It’s the journey, not the destination. It’s you, choosing to be in control, not you allowing your emotions to rule the roost.

Rule #12: Look Down the Road
Try to see what’s coming your way by looking ahead. Although all that craning may strain you a bit, it’s part of what you have to do — you put your neck out to see what’s waiting for you out there, whether it be a golden opportunity, a safer route, or pot-holes.

Practice long-term vision, not short-sighted decision-making. Use broad focus, not micro-focus (to avoid missing everything else coming at you from the sides).

Note: Uncle Bob has a very nice tip on checking your peripheral vision. Go check it out.

Rule #14: Drive to Communicate
Make your presence known so you won’t get run over or get your signals crossed with other people. Communication is key. And don’t come up from someone else’s blind spot — that’s a bad idea. People can have very strong reactions to being ambushed.

Rule #16: Always Signal Your Intentions
Who knows? By making your message clear, you can get support from interested parties. At the very least, making your intentions knows lets you clear a path and establish a right of way to your goals.

Stay tuned for more Lessons From Defensive Driving.

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