Congratulations on the purchase of THE CONTROLLER™. Used in combination with the BEHIND THE WHEEL GUIDE, you will find this program will provide an excellent course which will teach valuable driving skills. It is assumed that students will be thoroughly versed in the laws, regulations and driving practices of the states where they will be licensed. We have provided convenient diagnostic material at the end of this guide as a supplement to the skills-based information in this book.

Students and teachers should be familiar with the laws governing driving before beginning this course. The CONTROLLER™ program cannot substitute for legal and technical knowledge for driving in your area. The information provided in this guide would help you to develop valuable driving skills without the stress and danger associated with going it alone.


The information provided in this guide was developed for both the teacher and student. The teacher should read what is in the In-car Guide for the student. The student should read what is in the In-car Guide for the teacher. Both of you will, therefore, have a better understanding of what the new student needs to learn for the teacher, also what the new teacher is learning for the student.


Let’s Begin!


Having a driver’s license is one of the most important privileges our society offers us. A license means freedom and being a qualified driver means you are capable of making responsible decisions. With this sense of responsibility comes newfound independence as well. I know you’re eager to get started learning the skills and knowledge necessary to earn your license. So let’s get going.

It all begins with your States Learners Permit. Note that in all 50 States you can NOT drive alone with your Learner’s Permit. Another licensed driver must accompany you. In most States the licensed driver must be over the age of 21. If you already have your States Permit, great, then we can continue with our program!

TRAFFIC CRASHES -- Everyone’s Concern

Every 14 minutes someone in the USA dies in a vehicle crash. In one year, about 40,000 people in the USA are killed. This figure represents the population of a medium-sized city.

These sobering facts are just one indicator of how important it is to know the rules of the road and to drive safely and responsibly. Traffic safety continues to be a major concern for government officials as well as those responsible for law enforcement and members of the judicial system.

There is no national code for laws governing the use of our roads, but states generally adhere to commonly agreed upon statutes, so there is uniformity in laws and other important rules regulating the use of our streets and highways. You must know and use these regulations at all times!

Adhering to the safety standards governing our roads is absolutely crucial in order for you to maintain your own safety as well as the well being of others. You must develop the habits that create PERFECT DRIVING.


The need for producing better, more capable and informed drivers is imperative. While it is a difficult to take responsibility for reducing the escalating accident rate, you can take personal responsibility for developing good driving habits by evaluating your own driving skills and measuring your own driving against the standards of Perfect Driving.

So, what is Perfect Driving?

Perfect Driving means that you complete every trip without accidents, without committing traffic violations, without excessive schedule delays, without being abusive to other drivers, and without discourtesy to others you meet on the road.

There are specific behaviors, which, all together go into making a Perfect Driver. We will define these behaviors throughout this course.

One of the most important concepts in Perfect Driving is called Preventability.


Perfect Driving means the ability to operate a motor vehicle in order to avoid being involved in a preventable crash. Preventing accidents is the number one responsibility of all drivers. Most crashes are preventable by one or more drivers involved in mishaps. Preventing an accident may mean letting the driver in the wrong have the right-of-way instead of insisting on your legal right. As a driver, you must take all possible and reasonable precautions to avoid an accident. Avoiding accidents is an emotionally taxing responsibility that means keeping your cool and exercising emotional restraint.

This course is designed to give you the skills and attitudes so you can know and practice reasonable precaution and avoid becoming involved in an accident.



Defensive driving is a key concept in preventing accidents. Using Defensive Driving skills, you lessen your chances of being involved in an accident. Defensive driving means anticipating the unexpected which can arise at any moment in the driving situation.

As a Defensive Driver, you must learn to “give” a little, to expect the unexpected: the actions of other drivers, pedestrians and such unpredictable and ever changing factors as weather conditions, road hazards and traffic conditions, the mechanical condition of your car, and even your own emotional and physical state. Defensive driving is an attitude fulfilled by skills, which you must sharpen through constant practice.


The professional driver knows how to anticipate danger and how to react accordingly, so that defensive driving is not just a slogan but a crucial set of skills and attitudes put into use during every moment of the driving situation. Here are the three interrelated steps that you must put into play to prevent accidents. Know them and use them!

  • SEE THE HAZARD: Anticipate what will happen in the next few moments. The more capable you are of foreseeing danger, the more you will be able to act in order to prevent an accident.
  • UNDERSTAND THE DEFENSE: You must not only see danger coming, but you must react appropriately to avoid the potential danger becoming a reality. There are specific skills you must know, so that you choose the appropriate defensive skill to prevent an accident. Learning these skills means not only knowing them but being able to apply them automatically in response to danger.
  • ACT IN TIME: Once you have seen the hazard and you know the defense against it, ACT IMMEDIATELY! Never hesitate, don’t take a “wait-and-see” attitude.



Making a left turn across traffic can sometimes be a nerve-wracking situation. This move is especially tricky and demanding. Most of these accidents occur because the driver attempting to turn tries to dispute the right-of-way with oncoming traffic. Oncoming traffic always has the right-of-way. Patience really counts in this situation. Don’t be pressured into making such a turn. Wait until traffic is clear before attempting to turn.

If, on the other hand, you are approaching an intersection in which a car is waiting to turn left, slow down in case the car turning left suddenly darts in front of you.

Accidents also frequently occur when a car waiting to turn left is hit from behind and driven into the path of oncoming traffic. You can avoid this gruesome scenario from developing by keeping your wheels pointed straight ahead when waiting to negotiate a left turn at an intersection. If someone hits you from behind, you won’t head into oncoming traffic.

Always signal your intentions to avoid accidents with drivers behind you. Use your directional signals at least 100 feet before your turn.


Drivers often do outrageous and unexpected things at intersections. They may turn abruptly, often from the wrong lane, signal improperly or not at all, or screech to a sudden stop. Be Alert! Since turning always makes driving more complex, know your turns in advance; get into position early and slow gradually after signaling.

Watch for landmarks, signs or house numbers that indicate when you will make your turn. Remember; sudden, last minute swerves cause pile-ups! If you miss a turn, continue on until you can safely correct your mistake. It should go with saying, but yield signs, flashing red or amber lights and stop signs all require you to exercise particular caution. Always be expecting the unexpected!

Such warning or stop signals mean you must be on guard for other drivers who may not obey or heed the warning. You, of course, must obey these signals and then act accordingly, with caution, while watching for others who are not as alert as you are. When two vehicles enter an intersection from two different streets at the same time, the driver of the car on the left must yield to the car on the right. But don’t risk your life on assuming everyone will obey the rules. Some drivers forget, others ignore the rules, still others don’t even care, and nobody wins when an accident happens. So, obey the yield and right-of-way laws, but be very aware of other cars that may not be as careful as you are.


Here are a couple of tricks to stay safe at intersections:

  • If you are approaching an intersection with a stale green light, keep your right foot off the accelerator and cover the brake pedal. If the light changed or someone ran their red light, you would have eliminated the ¾ second reaction time.
  • With your right foot covering the brake pedal, look at the intersection to the left first, then to the right, then back to the left again. Since traffic from your left is closer to you and crosses your path first.
  • Show your intentions! Let others know exactly what you intend to do and where you intend to go at intersections. When you’re going to turn, signal to get into the proper lane early then perform the lane change after checking that your path is clear. Signal to turn at least a half a block or 100 feet in advance of the intersection. When turning right, get close to the right hand curb. It may seem hard to believe, but some impatient, dangerous types will try to pass you on the right, despite the fact it’s illegal. Watch out for small cars, bikes, scooters or cycles that might get between you and the curb. When turning left, remember don’t try to beat oncoming traffic, which always has the right-of-way. Yield to approaching vehicles turning right. Keep those wheels straight while waiting to turn left, so if someone rams you, you won’t fly into the intersection and into the path of approaching traffic. Check your mirrors (both side and interior) to make sure the driver behind you is aware of your intention to turn. Always use your signals. He may try to pass you on your left just as you start to turn.

1, 2, 3, GO…WITH CARE

How many times do I have to say it, “Intersections are tough!” When you’re sure the way is clear, GO! Hesitation and over caution at an intersection can cause accidents by confusing other drivers. But, there is a balance here. The key is to make sure the intersection really is clear before committing to forward motion. So, after your light turns green carefully make sure nobody is running the light, then GO! Tension is greater at intersections. If you have a car in front of you at the light, don’t tailgate when the light turns green and you start to move. The driver ahead may have to react to something you can’t see. If he hits his brakes, you could crash into him. So, just let him take off, then whisper to yourself, “1-2-3-go,” before you follow.

Exercise particular caution at familiar intersections and normally empty residential streets. Your awareness can be lower in these circumstances that seem benign, but where hidden dangers often lurk. Driveways, building or other business entrances, parking lot exits all pose danger, as a car may lurch into the street unexpectedly. You should treat any entrance into the street as cautiously as an intersection.


Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but backing up can be very dangerous, especially if you are unfamiliar with this awkward maneuver. The defensive driver avoids backing up whenever possible, because he knows the risks of reversing his car. Whenever you can, you should simply plan your route to avoid back ups.

Never back around a corner. If necessary, go around the block to avoid such a blind maneuver. If you can avoid doing so, don’t back out of driveways or alleys into the street. Instead, wherever possible, pull into the driveway or other location and turn around so you are headed out front end first. When you do not have sufficient room, or for any other reason that limits your ability to reposition your car head first, in a quieter location you may back out of traffic, so you will be positioned to head out into traffic and not have to back out.

When you are parking, be alert to problems involving backing up on the street. Remember that it’s better to back out of traffic than into traffic. When you simply can’t avoid backing up, follow these rules:

  • Get the complete visual picture before you back, even if you have to get out and walk around your car to scope out the situation. After getting the complete picture, start backing up right away before the situation has a chance to change. Keep alert to any developing dangers while you perform your backing maneuver so you can react swiftly to avert an accident.
  • Back up slowly and smoothly. Don’t lurch into traffic when backing.
  • Check both left and right, front and back. Use your outside mirrors and inside mirrors to constantly monitor as you back up.
  • Never depend entirely on your mirrors to judge distances to your rear. All mirrors do have blind spots due to their size. Mirrors help you check clearances and enable you to spot pedestrians and other hazards unexpectedly moving into your path as you back, but mirrors can deceive you in measuring the distance between you and any object at your rear.


Passing or being passed is fraught with danger, since these maneuvers can result in head-on collisions, sideswipes, or you can be run off the road. Always BE ALERT TO PASSING SITUATIONS!

Cars can pass you in the following ways:

  • Cars can approach and pass you on a straight road. This is the usual passing situation.
  • As you are pulling out from a parking spot, cars can pass you also. So far, these two ways of passing are legal, and they happen all the time, but…
  • Sometimes, as you are attempting to pass another vehicle, a car can attempt to pass you, and the other vehicle.

So, keep your cool, obey the rules of the road and avoid an accident, even if the other guy does something crazy.


You can either view passing as a competitive situation, or a situation that requires and elicits cooperation. Being passed is a real skill. Your chief goal is to prevent an accident.

You can also be a Good Samaritan. Help the other driver to complete a successful pass. Don’t compete or race with them. Check oncoming traffic, and slow down if the passing car needs more room to safely get back into the lane in front of you.


Before changing lanes, look in your mirrors and glance back over you right or left shoulder to make sure your blind spot is clear. So, how do you know which shoulder to look over? Simple, just remember this rule, “RIGHT LANE, RIGHT SHOULDER, LEFT LANE, LEFT SHOULDER.” Obviously, it’s crucial to cover the blind spot in the direction you’re going, since a car may be lurking in the very place your mirror can’t see. Once you’ve made sure you’re in the clear, begin to signal. Only then, if the lane where you intend to go is clear, should you move over.


Know the risks and benefits of passing and weigh them carefully. There’s nothing wrong with passing; you may be in a hurry, the car in front of you may be traveling slowly, you may simply want to be in front of him, but always exercise care and planning when passing. If you are uncertain about passing, the best rule is, “When in  doubt, don’t!”

If you do decide to pass a vehicle, you need to:

  • Be certain you always maintain a safe following distance. Follow the car in front of you, allowing at least one car length for every 10 miles an hour of speed (more if the weather’s bad.)
  • Check the traffic ahead, both in your lane and the oncoming cars. If your car and an oncoming car are approaching one another at 65 M.P.H., you are closing the gap between you at the rate of 130 m.p.h. Since it takes you 10 seconds to pass the car ahead of you, the oncoming car must be at least a half-mile away.
  • OK, now check traffic behind you. Somebody could be trying to pass you! First look in your rear view mirrors.
  • Go ahead and signal before you change lanes.
  • Then glance over your left shoulder to check your blind spot.
  • Now, smoothly change lanes and…
  • Accelerate as you move left. Of course, observe all speed limits!
  • Continue to accelerate as you pass the car and…
  • Signal that you intend to move back over to the right lane.
  • Return to the right lane when you are sure it is clear. While still in the left lane, glance in your rear view mirror. If you can see the car you are passing, you are well clear. Check your right blind spot to be sure the lane is still free and move back over.
  • Whew, you made it!
  • But don’t forget to resume normal speed as soon as you have completed your passing maneuver.


Every year single-car accidents account for a third of all traffic fatalities, the same number of deaths due to two-car accidents. Why do they call one-car accidents “mystery crashes?” Because dead people don’t fill out accident reports. Investigators have to guess at the cause for such accidents. Really, it’s a mystery why these crashes happen to anyone. The mystery crash is the one type of accident over which the driver has complete control.

You can prevent a mystery crash from happening to you by learning the causes of these incidents and avoiding them.

A sharp unexpected curve, a sudden bump in the road or a bad chuckhole; they all spell disaster if you’re not prepared to expect the unexpected.


One of the most frequent causes of mystery accidents involves the motorist encountering a sharp curve. Learn to anticipate turns in the road.

  • Look far down the road so you can see a curve approaching. Slow down before you enter the turn. Don’t enter a turn at a high rate of speed and then slow down and hit the brakes as you are already into the curve. You could lose control of the vehicle.
  • Be prepared for warning signs telling you that you are coming to a curve. These signs will alert you to the degree and direction of the curve and advise you of the speed you should be traveling as you enter the turn.
  • Slow down as you approach the turn. Slowly accelerate before you enter the turn so that, by the time you have left the curve and have entered straight away, you can resume normal highway speed.


As many fatalities occur on open straight roads as on curves. The best defense against hidden problems leading to mystery accidents is to be alert. Signs will often be posted to alert you to other hazards that my be lurking up ahead; dips in the highway, narrow bridges, bumps and railroad tracks pose special problems and will often be posted. Be aware of these warnings and respond. Confronting hazards at high speed, especially if you slam on your brakes, can cause you to lose control of your car.


Many drivers don’t seem to understand that when it rains, snows, sleets or fogs, you need to compensate for these adverse conditions. How many times have you seen a driver skid out of control on an icy street? Bad weather spells extra caution, but it doesn’t have to mean increased accidents. Here are a few secrets for staying safe  when the storms blow.

  • Adjust your speed to weather conditions. Posted speed limits tell drivers the maximum allowable speed for ideal conditions. Slow down in rain, snow, patchy fog or when visibility is reduced. In light fog keep your headlights on the low beam so you can see. In heavy fog, get completely off the road. Turn off your lights but turn on the hazard lights so that other  drivers don’t think you are still on the road as they might hit you from the rear.
  • When attempting to stop or slow down on slippery roads, never slam your foot on the brake as this may lock your tires and send you into an uncontrolled skid. Press and release your brakes once or twice every second to alternate intervals of braking and steering control. As you can tell, that technique is for late model cars. Now days with the aid of anti-lock brakes, (ABS) this locking of the brakes will not occur. Your ABS system is a wonderful, revolutionary safety feature, which avoids any kind of locking of the wheels. In the case of having to apply full braking power, you are still able to control and maneuver left and right turns, whereas without ABS, turning left and right once the wheels are locked is impossible.
  • If you do skid, steer in the direction of the skid, that is, the direction the back of the vehicle is sliding. This maneuver will return control of the vehicle to the driver.
  • Use snow tires and always carry chains for emergencies. It is also wise to have emergency medical supplies and a blanket stored in the trunk in case you are stranded.
  • The early phase of a rainstorm is dangerous. A soapy thin slick of oil, grease and water forms during the beginning of a rainstorm, reducing traction and making for hazardous driving, especially so, since other drivers may not react to conditions they may not know are dangerous. After an hour or so of hard rain this slick residue is washed from the pavement, which then has better traction. Reduce speed during these early stags of a rainstorm.
  • In the fall, wet leaves pose a hazard to motorists. On curves during or after rain leaves may make pavements slick and as dangerous as if ice glazed the asphalt. Highway speed, wet pavement and bald tires can mean your car HYDROPLANES or slides without either steering or brake control. A thin film of water between the road and your tires accounts for the hydroplaning effect. Slow down in wet weather and check your tires frequently. Good tread reduces the chance that you will lose control of your vehicle and go careening over wet pavement.


Remember the mystery crash? A car in poor mechanical condition can be the culprit leading to an accident. Never operate a car that has faulty brakes, steering or tires. If a tire does blow, don’t panic and don’t apply the brake either. Braking can cause you to lose control. Instead, hold the car steady and decelerate until you coast to a stop, preferably off the road.

Before each and every time you leave in your car perform a safety check. Are your brakes, steering, tires, horn, lights and wipers in good working order? After you complete your drive, perform the same checks. Have any defects corrected immediately.


What if you’re driving down the highway and you see another car headed toward you in your lane! Believe me, it happens. Other drivers can fall asleep at the wheel or can pass out from drugs and alcohol, but you don’t have to be the victim of a kamikaze encounter. Do not try to swerve left in order to avoid the other driver. He might suddenly cut back into his lane and hit you, when he realizes he’s in trouble. Instead, slow down immediately, flash your lights, blow your horn and pull to the right as far as possible. Pull onto the shoulder if you can.

The defensive driver takes nothing for granted. You don’t have to become the victim of a mystery crash or a kamikaze encounter.


All of the driving hazards I’ve spoken about in this section and others I haven’t mentioned, are affected by your physical, emotional and mental condition. Drinking, use of drugs, exhaustion, emotional trauma and illness can all impair your driving performance.

Some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, prescription and illegal drugs can cut your reaction time. Even so-called “stay awake” non-prescription drugs can actually make you fall asleep with your eyes open. At the first sign of drowsiness or fatigue, (droopy eyelids, stiff neck muscles, decreased awareness) pull over at a safe spot and get out of the car to stretch your legs. Take a deep breath, look around or get a cup of coffee. If you are still drowsy, take a nap. Everyone has endurance limits.

Your state will provide you with detailed information about alcohol use, impairment, and driving laws. Study and know the physiological effects of alcohol and how impairment affects your driving. In combination with other drugs alcohol can be especially devastating. Dulled reflexes, reduced inhibitions and numbed judgement dramatically increase your risk of being involved in a deadly accident.

Accidents are caused by the drivers, why are drivers accident-prone? Answer: because of the driver’s physiological condition at the moment. In other words, what is the driver thinking about as they are driving down the road? The driver could be thinking about the day at work, home, loved ones, the up coming trip to the lake, etc. Or, the driver’s emotional stress can destroy their concentration. Anger can also be deadly when a driver acts out their feelings behind the wheel. If you’re upset or worried, don’t drive. Arguing should be strictly forbidden while in your car. Tell your passengers that you are the boss while you are driving and that you have a rule that spats are illegal while you are driving. Any behavior that limits your concentration must be avoided.


Each and every driver bears a personal responsibility for highway safety. The ever growing injury and death toll due to traffic accidents, sky rocketing property damage and insurance rates—all constitute one of our most pressing social concerns. But this is one set of problems we can do something about! Perhaps there is no one, simple solution to the pain and difficulties caused by road accidents, but drivers themselves bear as much responsibility for increased traffic safety.

Traffic control and enforcing the rules of the road make you responsible for knowing the regulations and obeying them. Your main task as a driver is to act in order to prevent accidents. Driving is not only a great privilege, but it is also a great responsibility.

On a road, street, highway, expressways and freeways your own life and the lives of your passengers are in your hands. Driving to avoid accidents through employing the skills you will develop during The CONTROLLER™ program is crucial to your welfare.

Many of the safety problems that arise constantly during driving can be effectively and immediately solved. Drive defensively and know what to do when dangerous situations come up. --Good Luck and safe driving!

Driving Success Inc.
Driver Educational Products, 60th year
Copyright © 2024
Purchaser agrees, that neither the inventor of the CONTROLLER™ nor Driving Success, Inc. shall be held liable in the event that an accident occurs while using the CONTROLLER™. At the time of purchase the buyer accepts and understands all the responsibility of safe use, of the CONTROLLER™. While every effort has been made to assure safe use, no assurance can be made that the CONTROLLER™ will be used according to recommended safe operating procedures outlined in this book or in any instructions or material either provided with this product or provided separately in writing or verbally. The inventor and Driving Success Inc. shall be deemed free and clear of any liability in the event of an accident, injury, death or misuse of the CONTROLLER™. The user assumes all liability in the event of any vehicle accident using the CONTROLLER™.