Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Defensive Driving Tools for Safety was written and presented by Jeff Hohlstein, a Community Traffic Safety Team member in Clay County, Florida. This educational driving and traffic safety video is geared towards aging road users. However, these are essential tips and reminders for all drivers.

Watch the Defensive Driving Video Presentation:

Learn about setting side view mirrors for blind spots. Understand the importance of keeping a safe following distance and obeying the speed limit. The “three-second rule” is a good idea for all drivers to keep in mind. While this rule is flexible and isn’t always appropriate in every driving situation, it can foster good driving habits that reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and similar accidents.

Gain an understanding of observing a vehicle’s front wheels, approaching intersections safely, and scanning through a signalized intersection. Learn how to use the OODA Loop while driving. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. When you do it again and again, it becomes a constant decision loop. Retired Colonel John Boyd, USAF, developed this rapid decision-making tool. Today, OODA is used by many Armed Forces and Police agencies and can be used as a defensive driving tool for motorists.

Flip through the Defensive Driving Tools for Safety Presentation:

Most people set their side view mirrors straight back and miss their blind spot completely. The video covers how to set your side view mirrors to cover your blind spot.

This video discusses how to use OODA to stay safe while driving. Defensive driving is much about managing space around your vehicle. The most controllable area you have is your safe following distance. OODA will help you do that right. OODA will also help you develop scan patterns for navigating intersections and avoiding a collision when someone unsafely enters your right-of-way.  

Uses of OODA in defensive driving:

  • Observe > Following distance, traffic patterns; intersections of all kinds; vehicles around you.
  • Orient > Calculate the following distance; identify other potential conflicts.
  • Decide > Action to maintain safe following distance; plan to avoid those other conflicts.
  • Act > Establish/reestablish safe following distance; avoid those other conflicts whether or not the crash would have been your fault.
  • Do it again > Practice OODA until it’s as natural as driving itself.
Jeff Hohlstein presenting Defensive Driving Tools for Safety

Click here to read Jeff Hohlstein’s first article, Three Defensive Driving Tools to Avoid Great Impact, and what the video presentation from 2020.

UPDATED Florida Bike Safety Law

We are concerned Florida is still one of the most dangerous states for cyclists and want to take this opportunity to remind cyclists, pedestrians and motorists of the updated Florida bike safety law. Passed to improve bike safety on our roadways, this bill went into effect on July 1, 2021, and was .

Here is a summary of some of the updated Florida bike safety law changes which were made to the existing statute:

  • Motorists can make a right turn while passing a bicyclist only if the bicyclist is a minimum of 20 feet from the intersection.
  • Florida driver’s license exams will now include bicycle safety questions.
  • Cyclists in groups of 10 or fewer can proceed through an intersection after coming to a complete stop. Motorists must let the last rider pass before proceeding.
  • Motorists MUST obey the 3 feet passing law.

Drivers who do not obey the law could be subject to a non-criminal moving violation.

To read more about these important updates, visit the Florida Senate website: CS/SB 950: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety.

Northeast Florida Bicyclist Crash Facts:

  • 6,146 Floridians were injured in bike-related crashes in 2021. Of those, Northeast Florida DOT District 2 reported 500 injuries, which includes 13 fatalities. The number of fatal injuries from bicycle crashes declined from 23 in 2020.
  • Bicycle fatality and serious injury crashes made up about 8% of the total fatality and serious injury crashes on our Northeast Florida District roadways during 2021.
  • Almost ¾ of all bike crashes happen in broad daylight.
  • Bike crashes tend not to be the result of the cyclist or motorist being impaired.
  • Duval County had the most serious bike-related injuries and fatalities in District 2 in 2021. 
updated Florida bike safety law

The Traffic Safety Team website has dozens of important bicycle safety tips and resources. They are available for free. Below are some that you may download, print and share.

Visit our Bicycle Safety page for more resources. Materials are free to download and share. There are bookmarks, tip cards, posters and social media graphics. We also have a Safety for Kids page with bike safety activities!

Give 3 feet when passing

Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver

2019 Celebrate Safely Artwork
Impaired Driving Celebrate Safely
Sneak peek at this year’s new
25th Anniversary poster!

We have promoted our annual Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign and the Recipes for the Road booklet for 24 years. According to Florida’s 2021-2025 SHSP, one out of every four traffic fatalities in Florida involves a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs. Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver and Recipes for the Road focus on the SHSP strategies of both education and insight into creating safer communities. They are specifically designed to work with local partners. This includes law enforcement, team members, restaurants, and bars. The goal is to promote responsible alcohol service and personal use at events or party hosting. They also promote safe transportation choices that encourage alternatives to driving while impaired.

Impaired Driving Initiative

This impaired driving initiative was created to help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries throughout the holiday season. The Drive Safe and Drive Sober message is key at any time of year, and especially during the holidays. The following are important impaired driving safety tips and reminders included in this campaign. Before drinking alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver. Never let your friends drive impaired. Get a safe ride home – call a cab/ride-share. If you’re hosting a party, offer alcohol-free beverages, serve food, and make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

During the holiday season, District Two CTST members reach out to local restaurants and bars to display the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign. Materials include 11×17 full-color posters, coasters, and stickers. Numerous neighborhood establishments throughout Northeast Florida participate every year.


Recipes for the Road is part of our Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver program. This year’s Annual Recipes for the Road is a 20-page digital recipe booklet filled with nonalcoholic drinks, mocktails, appetizers, treats, and traffic safety tips. There is also an 8.5×11 version to download, print, and share. Our recipe videos have become very popular on social media channels like Pinterest and YouTube. 


Free Resources

Be a Community Traffic Safety Team “Virtual Volunteer” and share these Celebrate Safely images on your social media accounts. Don’t forget to follow and tag us! 

@trafficsafetyteam on Facebook and Instagram or @trafficsafetyfl on Twitter and Pinterest.

Celebrate Safely logo

Make sure to check out the following:
Recipes for the Road: nonalcoholic drinks and safety tips
Mocktails: drink and food recipe cards and videos
Seasons of Safety: traffic safety-themed holiday card collection
Impaired Driving: traffic safety page with more resources and materials


Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are designed to help pedestrians safely cross busy or higher-speed roadways at midblock crossings and uncontrolled intersections, where a majority of pedestrian fatalities occur. The PHB is an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal. It assigns right of way and provides positive stop control, and allows motorists to proceed when the pedestrian has cleared the travel lane. 

PHB High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk Operation Guide 

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program developed a simple guide to help explain the process of a PHB for both motorists and pedestrians. Learn what drivers and pedestrians should do when they approach a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. 

Click here to download the PDF Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Guide, watch the video and flip through the digital book below.

Northeast Florida uses PHBs in communities to increase driver awareness of pedestrian crossings at uncontrolled, marked crosswalk locations. They are different from regular pre-timed pedestrian traffic signals as they are only activated when needed by the pedestrian.

PHB Instructions for Drivers and Pedestrians

PHB Step 1 art

STEP 1
• Drivers will see all indication lights are dark when there is no pedestrian waiting to cross, and the pedestrian signal will maintain a “DON’T WALK” symbol.
• Pedestrians who want to cross the street will need to push the button to activate the system.

PHB Step 2 art

STEP 2
• Drivers will see a FLASHING YELLOW light for a few seconds when pedestrians push the button. Drivers should reduce speed and prepare to stop.
• Pedestrians will still see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and should wait.

PHB Step 3 art

STEP 3
• Drivers will see the flashing go to a STEADY YELLOW light, warning them the indication will soon turn to a STEADY RED light.
• Pedestrians continue to see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and should remain waiting.

PHB Step 4 art

STEP 4
• Drivers will see a STEADY RED light, which requires them to STOP at the stop line.
• Pedestrians will then see a “WALK” symbol to cross and should look in both directions to make sure all vehicles are stopped.

PHB Step 5 art

STEP 5
• Drivers will see ALTERNATING FLASHING RED lights, as pedestrians cross the street. During this period, drivers are required to STOP and then they may proceed with caution if crosswalk is clear.
• Pedestrians will see the WALK indication change to a flashing countdown that indicates how much time they have remaining to cross the street.

PHB Step 6 art

STEP 6
• Drivers will see all lights are back to dark at the end of the flashing countdown and may continue to proceed through the crosswalk if it is clear.
• Pedestrians will see the “DON’T WALK” symbol and must push the button to activate the system again.


For more Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon resources and information, visit: FHWA Safety Program.

No Regrets When You DRIVE WITH CARE & CROSS WITH CARE

Teen Drivers Speeding

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Team examines the tragic trend of teen drivers speeding.

Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle Report

In January, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), in partnership with Ford Motor Company Fund, released a new report, Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle.  The new analysis for GHSA found that from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers (16-19 years of age) accounted for a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups (30%). During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in speeding-related crashes in the United States.

Recently, we created and shared a video of a local teen driver. He shared his reasons not to speed after receiving a hefty speeding citation. His story is a positive one as no one was hurt. Unfortunately, there are too many injuries and fatalities among teenage drivers and passengers.

Teen Driver Statistics in FDOT District Two

FDOT District Two had 6,928 total teen driver crashes in 2019. Despite a strong Graduated Driver License (GDL) law in Florida, we are still experiencing a high volume of teen crashes. Below are some more statistics on teen drivers in our communities.

The numbers of crashes with injuries increase as inexperienced teen drivers get more confident and start showing careless driving behaviors like speeding. Males and females injured in teen driver crashes are about even. Serious injuries and fatalities are predominantly male, by almost double. Duval County, with the higher populated–urban areas, illustrates a drastic increase of injuries and fatalities among teen drivers. Together, our traffic safety community, partners, parents and caregivers can help reduce risky and careless teen driving through education, training, and law enforcement.

More Teens and Speeding Reports

Click here to read the complete GHSA news release: As Traffic Deaths Spike During COVID-19, New Report Examines Unsettling Trend of Teen Drivers Speeding – and Dying – on America’s Roads.

Click here for the full GHSA and Ford Motor Company Fund PDF report: Teens and Speeding: Breaking the Deadly Cycle, which examines the significant role speeding plays in teen driver fatalities and offers practical tools to help parents rein in this lethal driving habit.

Additional Teen Drivers Speeding Resources:
Florida Teen Safe Driving Coaltion
FDOT State Safety Office – Speeding and Aggressive Driving