Driving Situational Awareness

Have you ever seen a car jacking happen? Ever felt as though you are being followed? Driving your car to and from work you know your route well and you know where the trouble spots are and probably avoid whatever you can too. A person also pays attention to the traffic, trying to avoid any accidents that could accrue. I pay attention to those who are waiting to get into traffic too. All these become routine coming and going and your situational Awareness is on your safety but, what about at stop lights, gas stations and jammed up traffic?

First I want to share three drills to practice driving situational awareness that can be practiced every day.

1. During your driving commute to work, pay attention (safely :wink: ) to the vehicles around you. Do you recognize any of them from the day before or from any previous commute? See how many vehicles you can pick out that travel the same route at the same time as you. During the days (years!) of my regular commuting, it was very interesting to discover over time the same vehicles that traveled much of the same route during the same time. It makes sense of course (other people commute to work during the same approximate times as you), but I found the exercise to be interesting…

2. While observing other cars on the road (safely!), look at and notice the driver. What is the driver doing? Are you able to ‘sense’ their body language? How do you feel about the way they are driving? This drill hones your awareness of observation and your instinctive ‘sense’ while in a moving environment where observation may be a bit difficult (observing out and through your own bubble and into someone else’s).

3. As you are driving, randomly pick a car and then as quickly as you can – begin any and all observations to describe the vehicle to someone else. For example if you had observed a getaway car in a crime and you were asked to describe it, what details would you be able to recall?

If you think someone is following you, take the next exit, then get back on the main road. This isn’t something most people would normally do, and if someone follows you off the road and then back onto the highway, you know something’s up. Better yet, they should know you’re on to them, and disengage. Make four right (or left) turns. Their car can be the second or third car behind you to avoid spotting them following you. If someone is actually trying to follow you, they’ll probably drive past you occasionally, then change lanes and fall back.

If you are in traffic try to stay in the right lane so you are able to turn right out of traffic. Also when you are driving keep your doors locked so, when you are at a red light no one can just open your door. Even when getting gas at a gas station, have your doors locked. Carjacking occurs most often in a busy commercial area where cars are parked and when the owner is entering or exiting the parked vehicle. Most car jackings or attempts (65%) occur within five miles of the victim’s home. The carjacker wants the keys readily available and the car door unlocked for a quick getaway.

Another step to take is change your times you leave to work as well as your route. Who does not like a change in scenery?

When it comes to road rage, remember your steps to using deadly force, 1, Escape, evade and avoid any situations that can lead to danger. 2. De-escalate the situation. Do not aggravate the situation to become deadly.

So, stay safe out their and watch your 6, as well as, your 9 and 3! Well, you get my point! Stay Aware of your surroundings and be safer!
Is there anything else someone can bring up that will help?


Great point on remembering details about vehicles we see on the road.

Before I started carrying, I did something similar so I could avoid following those who hold up traffic. I’m a numbers person and have even memorized the usual suspects’ license number.

Sometimes, when I feel something’s off, either going to or coming from work, I would pass my house once or twice.


I take the same road to work everyday. Sometimes if I’m running a little late I take the highway. But I do notice on my way to work at least several vehicles that take the same route I do. I also notice the drivers as we are stopped at a light. Sometimes we glance at each other and wave. At 4:30 AM it’s pretty dark still. I do shut my doors as I’m driving to and from work and at all times when I’m driving because I try to make it harder on the car jackers. As far as someone following me I’m always looking in my rear and side view mirrors just in case I have to make evasive moves. When I am stopped at a light I give myself enough room behind the vehicle in front of me in case I need to get around in traffic and I avoid being in the middle lane.