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.

Traffic Safety is Going Green

In honor of Earth Day, and upcoming Arbor Day, we wanted to share a positive change from the devastating COVID pandemic and how Traffic Safety is Going Green. By going virtual for our Traffic Safety Team meetings, we reduced our paper consumption and waste. This simple act of green saved over 30,000 sheets of paper during the last year.

Eliminating printed meeting packages, presentations and newsletters reduced paper usage substantially. Saving the files digitally also allows for team members to view the materials before, during and after a meeting. This is also a great resource for those who were unable to attend the virtual meeting. We saved paper and ink and we offered a new digital service for our Community Traffic Safety advocates.

The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program hosted online monthly county team meetings, and districtwide summer and winter virtual gatherings over the past year. This gave an opportunity for team members and partners throughout our 18 counties to connect safely, while also reducing their carbon footprint and gas consumption by not traveling by car.

Our Traffic Safety Teams are on the road to safety and happy to go green. With the use of digital devices and online resources, the trend of helping save our planet and going green can continue regardless of where or how we meet in the future.

More Seasons of Safety, including this Go Green for Earth Day image can be found by clicking here.

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


Walk Safe Activity Card

Presenting our Walk Safe Activity Card. Since last year’s Florida Mobility Week through this October’s Pedestrian Safety Month, the FDOT District 2 Community Traffic Safety Program distributed 15,000 Walk Safe activity cards. They are available for free at all 18 county local library systems in Northeast Florida.

Walk Safe - Walk the Path to Safety card
Walk Safe – Pedestrian Activity Card with Safety Tips for Drivers and Walkers

This Walk Safe activity card is double-sided with a walking wise crossword puzzle and a walk the path to safety maze. Great for kids, parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. Libraries are a wonderful place for key traffic safety education and information resources for our CTSP to distribute at no cost to our local communities. Pedestrians and drivers should always pay attention, put phones down, keep eyes up, look, and listen.

Walk Safe - Walk the Path to Safety card

We have also created this free digital, one-sided 8.5×11 Walk Safe, Pedestrian Safety resource available here for downloading, printing and sharing with your community.

Remember to Always Be Cautious and Pay Attention – Walk Safe!

Walk Safe, a pedestrian safety and educational resource, is part of a series. The Ride Safe, Drive Safe and Bike Safe pieces are available online below. Each piece has a different activity or puzzle with important traffic safety tips and reminders. Our goal is to help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways through education and community outreach.

More Pedestrian Safety Tips

Pedestrians are a vulnerable road user. Whether walking for enjoyment, exercise or engaged in work on the roadway, they need to be safe. Our goal is to increase driver awareness and education of pedestrian traffic safety. Click here for more pedestrian safety tips.

CTSP Flashback FAQ Videos

We produced a new CTSP Flashback FAQ video series that we are excited to share with you. Our CTSP Flashback FAQ videos showcase some timeless Traffic Safety Team talk. After more than 20 years, these clips provide insight into the essence of the CTSP in Northeast Florida that still apply today. 

Watch these six CTSP Flashback FAQ videos and learn the answers to some common questions we receive.

CTSP Flashback FAQ Videos

Flashback FAQ #1 and #2

FAQ #1: What is the Community Traffic Safety Program?
A:
The premise of the program is local communities, solving local problems with state assistance. Our mission is to reduce traffic-related crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The CTSP is a volunteer organization sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation. Traffic Safety Team members work together to develop solutions. We commend our partners for their active participation and on-going commitment to traffic safety in our 18 county district. We invite you to be a part of the solution. Help us promote safety on our roadways and move toward zero fatalities.

FAQ #2: What is a Community Traffic Safety Team?
A:
Community Traffic Safety Teams (CTSTs) are locally based groups of highway safety advocates who are committed to solving traffic safety problems through a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary approach. Members include city, county, state, private industry and citizens. The common goal of each CTST is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes within their community.

Flashback FAQ #3 and #4

FAQ #3: How does the CTST solve traffic safety issues?
A:
Northeast Florida CTST members are the eyes and ears on the road, working together to develop solutions and solve traffic safety issues on our roadways. CTSTs are made up of what is termed the four E’s: Education, Enforcement, Engineers and Emergency Medical Services. All of these disciplines add to the richness of each team and allow broad collaboration in the solving of local traffic safety concerns related to drivers, passengers, vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and roadways.

FAQ #4: Who are the members of a Community Traffic Safety Team?
A:
FDOT District Two CTST members include city, county, state, private industry and citizens. Members are multi-disciplinary – integrating efforts of the four “E” disciplines that work in highway safety, including Engineering, Education/Public Information, Enforcement, and Emergency Medical Services, along with local community partners, businesses, officials and citizens.

Flashback FAQ #5 and #6

FAQ #5: What is the W H A L E Check, Child Passenger Safety Program?
A:
W.H.A.L.E. (We Have A Little Emergency) CHECK – Child Passenger Safety Program was first introduced in May of 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida by the Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two’s Community Traffic Safety Program. W.H.A.L.E. Check is a child passenger safety education and identification program for parents and caregivers in Florida. In the event of an automobile crash, children are often too young to identify themselves or provide helpful information. The W.H.A.L.E. Check informational flyer also includes child safety seat guidelines and safety tips to help prevent injuries in case of a car crash.

FAQ #6: What is the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver Program?
A:
The Northeast Florida Department of Transportation District Two Community Traffic Safety Program’s annual Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver campaign was created to help reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries throughout the holiday season. During the week of Christmas through New Year’s Day, local establishments are promoting the Celebrate Safely, Designate a Driver program by displaying the materials provided. The 11×17 full-color posters will be displayed in neighborhood restaurants and bars. The stickers are for servers and bartenders to wear, and for sticking onto table-talkers, menus, and bill holders. (NOTE: Due to the hardships and challenges many local establishments are battling with COVID-19, we are not requiring them to provide free nonalcoholic drinks.)