While the concept of defensive driving has been around for 50 years, in-cab driver training company Instructional Technologies Inc., makers of Pro-Tread, have developed an update to apply the concept to modern roads, trucks and drivers.

"With defensive driving, you need to shift your thinking to just the next mile: How do I drive the next mile safer?" notes the company.

Over the past decade, ITI has developed what it calls the Pro-Defense system, using the letters of the word “defense” as a mnemonic device.

D — Distractions — Cell phones are a problem, but far from the only distraction. Distractions play a role in one-in-four motor vehicle crashes. What are the hidden distractions for drivers, and how can we counter them as individuals and as a company?

E — Effective Communication — A two-way process between you and other road users. Learn how to drive predictably, communicate your intentions, and read the subtle intentions of others.

F — Fatigue Management — Fatigued drivers have slower responses and are more likely to be distracted and quick-to-anger. Learn how to manage your driving and non-driving hours to avoid fatigue.

E — Evaluating Space — Learn how to take charge of the space around you. Drivers must be responsible for what happens the space on either side of the vehicle, in front and back, as well as top and bottom.

N —Navigating Hazards — Hazard awareness means being aware of your surroundings, especially as you move from freeway to city street and to parking lot or loading dock.

S — Speed Management — Speed is the leading cause of crashes. Not speeding is not a skill, but rather an attitude. Learn how to adopt an attitude that lets you drive the appropriate speeds for both conditions and environment.

E — Essential Planning — Plan your day and driving route for maximum safety — it's more than just avoiding left turns. Every action that you make in your vehicle should be planned.