what is SIPDE?
“SIPDE” is an acronym where each individual letter stands for a different word. This shouldn’t be confused with synonyms which are different words with the same meaning, or cinnamon which is a delicious spice that makes oatmeal taste better. Acronyms are mnemonic devices that help improve memorability and aid in the retention of information. Examples include “scuba” which stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus or “Volvo” which stands for “very odd looking vehicular object.”
When it comes to safety and the ability to anticipate dangerous driving conditions no acronym is more important to learn than “SIPDE,” and it’s one that I teach all my students. Let’s break it down letter by letter:
It might help you understand the importance of “SIPDE” better, if instead of thinking of yourself as a driver taking a group of your friends on a road trip, you imagine you’re an explorer leading a group of adventurers on a safari through a dangerous wilderness.
You “search and scan” the waist-high grass of the African Savannah looking for dangerous animals. “Identifying and interpreting” each sight and sound searching for clues to see if any lions or tigers are nearby waiting to pounce. You see a pride of giant jungle cats drinking at a waterhole twenty yards away, as they turn towards you with hunger in their eyes, you “predict” that you and your pals are on the menu for that day’s lunch.
As the ravenous felines bound towards you and your fellow travelers, you devise a plan of escape, and “decide” to run away. You’re not as fast as a lion or tiger, but you know that you’re faster than your friends, so you “execute” your escape plan sprinting away leaving your pals behind you to be eaten, as you make it to safety.
I hope this little allegory helps you understand the importance of using the concept of “sipde” as you drive. The freeways and highways around you might not be as fraught with peril as the wilds of deepest darkest Africa, but they still must be navigated with care, and the main concern you have when you drive should always be safety. Never forget when you’re on the streets “it’s a jungle out there.”
By Daniel Holzman
Local Driving School