Classroom Instruction

With a focus on collision prevention through hands-on training, UCSB's “Road Ready” Defensive Driver Training Program helps drivers to see, think and react to driving challenges— no matter where they travel or what types of vehicles they operate. Most collisions are preventable if the right driving habits are learned, practiced and applied consistently. The focus of this class is hands-on, on-road learning in actual driving environments. We start out with classroom instruction and finish on the road.

The course begins with a short in-class session that lasts about two hours. The instructor will cover accident statistics and introduce The Smith-System’s 5 Keys concept of Space Cushion Driving. There is also emphasis on backing collision avoidance techniques – backing is the most common collision for UC drivers. After several videos outlining our methods are shown, a brief recap is conducted to prepare trainees for the written examination. The classroom portion of the training concludes with a multiple-choice written examination.

UCSB Road Ready logo

The remainder of the course is spent in a vehicle, on the road; the best place in which poor driving habits can be identified and overcome. Students participate from behind the wheel and from their observation seats. Some areas of focus are: proper following distance, controlling intersection risks, anticipating driver error, and reducing fuel consumption and maintenance costs. At the conclusion, each participant will receive a written evaluation, handout materials, a certificate of completion, and a wallet-sized course completion card.

Costs & Benefits

All costs related to set-up and operation of UCSB’s Defensive Driver Training program have been paid for out of Be Smart About Safety (BSAS) funds. These costs include the “train-the-trainer” certification course for EH&S staff instructors, purchase of all associated training materials (DVD library, posters, instructor guides, participant handbooks), training vehicle rentals and salaries for EH&S/Industrial Safety staff instructors. This funding has also paid for the certification training for our “partner” campus department instructor staff. These departments include Housing & Residential Services, Transportation & Parking Services, the Recreation Center, and Workers’ Compensation.

Participants and their departments receive multiple benefits with minimal time investments. These include:

  • Increased safety for faculty, staff and student vehicle operators and passengers
  • Increased driving skill & vehicle operator confidence levels
  • Decreased vehicle repair costs and vehicle “down” time

For more information or to request training, please email the Industrial Safety Program at

Behind-the-Wheel Instruction