49er Driving School 

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7 Dangerous Driving Habits

listed in the order they are taught

We live in a mobile society where drivers, in an attempt to get along with others, have adopted similar driving habits.  And nearly all new drivers have spent a lifetime as passengers, putting them in an advantageous position to observe these habits. Thus consciously and subconsciously, during years of observation, passengers have learned the habits of their drivers.

For the most part, the greatest influence has come from family members, mostly from Moms and Dads. So when the student starts their professional driver training program, they have already been mentally prepared to drive in similar ways. T
he problem here is a large majority of the driving mentors have their share of "bad" habits, and have unwittingly passed them along. Here are the critical seven habits that must be modified to prevent students from becoming driving clones.



A. Behind the first cross line (limit line or first crosswalk line). 

B. Behind the intersection when there is no limit line or crosswalk.

C. While you can still see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of you touching the road. 


A.  The base position is a balanced two-handed grip on the steering wheel at 10 & 2 o'clock.*

B. Avoid gripping the wheel too tightly; think cheeseburger in your left hand, cheesecake in your right.*

C. Avoid CAVEMAN STEERING: Turn corners and skill maneuvers with the hand over hand technique.*

D. Each stroke should be one-forth of the circumference of the wheel; approximately ten-twelve inches.*

E. Learn to steer with the least amount of wheel movement; avoid over-steering.


A. Look 3 to 5 cars ahead based on your speed and the weather (click: step 1 of the TRIANGLE OF SAFETY).

B. Check the mirrors frequently (click:  MIRRORS & Step 3 of the TRIANGLE OF SAFETY).

c. How to increase your vision speed and accuracy ( click: C IT AS IT IS). 


A. Posted speed limits and the Basic Speed Law (never drive faster than it is safe based on existing conditions).

B. The minimum speed law (do not impede the reasonable flow of traffic).

C. Straight driving speeds versus speed in curves and turns.

D. NHTSA 2008 Speeding-Vehicles Fatal Statistics.

E. Why most of us should never drive faster than 37.3 mph (60 km/hr).


A. Learn to judge distance accurately to signal a minimum of 100 feet on surface roads and 200' upon freeways.

B. Do not look at the signal mechanism when turning it on and off; instead, keep your eyes on the road or the mirrors.

C. Learn to use the lane change "cancelling" feature.


A. Most drivers believe the law gives them the R-O-W [Right Of Way] (click: RIGHT OF WAY).

B. Most drivers believe the first driver to arrive at an intersection has the R-O-W (click: RIGHT OF WAY).

C. Most people believe Pedestrians always have the R-O-W in all situations (click: RIGHT OF WAY).


A. Following distance UNDER 50 MPH in dry and wet weather. (click: TRIANGLE OF SAFETY).

B. Following diatance OVER 50 MPH in dry and wet weather. (click: TRIANGLE OF SAFETY).

C. Spacing in moderate to heavy traffic conditions for maximum safety. (DIAMOND OF SAFETY)       


*Steering Disclaimer: 

The California DMV Handbook recommends 9 & 3 and 8 & 4 o'clock hand positions as the desired ones to reduce the possibility of turning the steering wheel too sharply; as well as to help prevent forearm and hand injuries from airbags in the event of an accident. Additionally, the DMV suports Push-Pull cornering instead of the traditional Hand Over Hand steering maneuver. To the best of my knowledge, the powers that be did not consult with the Driving School Industry prior to making their decision to adopt this, the British way of driving, as their standard.  Having driven in England many times, I understand the differences of the two systems and the British way is based on maneuvering on narrow and winding country roads, and through "round-a-bouts" or traffic circles, in place of intersections; of which we have very few examples of, here in California.   I believe, as does most of the driving school industry, that 9 & 3 or 8 & 4 o'clock steering INCREASES the likelihood of more serious and more frequent accident occurrences.  I further believe that the forearm and hand injuries are caused by holding the steering wheel too tightly (death grips), rather than because of where the driver places their hands.  However, as there are no current studies to date that supports anyone's conclusions, as to which technigue is best, I will continue to teach as I have for over 45 years, the Arthur J. Galli method, as explained above.  In the final analysis, people should make up their own minds about what is best for them, based on their experiences during the fifty or more hours of practice that accompanies the training program.

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