Book Review: Drive to Survive!

During my yearly training audit, I reminded myself that I needed to get some more education on defensive driving and vehicle tactics. As a result, I purchased several book related to this topic on Amazon.

This is a brief review of Drive To Survive!

I started reading this book as soon as I got home from hearing Dr. Sherman House’s lecture on Becoming The Civilian Defender at the Hebrew Hogger Fundraiser last weekend. He and I were on the same page regarding critical skills to practice. His lecture reminded me that I need to get after my lagging skill-sets. Performance and defensive driving is something I don’t have official training in. I’ve started with this book.

The book’s author is Curt Rich, who was a Vietnam War vet and student of Jeff Cooper and Masaad Ayoob. So Rich wrote this book for the average person trying to drive in the real world, with discussion about avoiding everyday crazy drivers, everyday combat driving techniques, evading criminal activity on the road, high performance maneuvers to evade capture, positioning your vehicle in the real world, anti-kidnapping and carjacking techniques, and avoiding “Murphy” on the road.

Some of the topics I found interesting:

  • Setting up your mirrors to have no blind-spot, and proper seat adjustment
  • Hand placement on steering wheel. 9 and 3 with thumbs up, not wrapped
  • The two-second follow rule, and two-second green light rule
  • Maximizing ABS brakes. “Threshold Braking” with ABS brakes and how stop much shorter than fully depressing your brake in an emergency stop. He also includes some exercises you can do to practice.
  • How to be ‘smooth’ while you drive. (Smooth is fast, after all)
  • Dealing with tailgaters, erratic drivers, and someone following you (3 right turns)
  • Rules if you’re being chased. Evasive maneuvers and running through road blocks.
  • The section on car-jacking and kidnapping is very useful. Lots of tips that are easy to integrate into daily life.

This book was written in 1998, so several of the technological advancements he mentions on luxury cars are now standard in nearly all vehicles. The tactics are still completely applicable.

This book is DEFINITELY worth your time. It’s a short read at 125 pages or so. Considering copies are $0.01 plus shipping, you’re silly not to have a copy on your shelf.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some bootlegger’s turns to practice…


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Mundane Movements: Driving Part 1 – Position, Escape, and if needed… Fight!

Remember, you’re behind the wheel of a two-ton bullet.

-My Grandmother Joan, explaining the dangers of driving when I was 15

It turns out Grandma Joan didn’t know she was also talking about the best way to get out of an ambush when you’re in a car. The reality is that the skinny pedal on the right is the quickest solution to a vehicular based thug problem (V.B.T.P.). This young woman had it right. I could cover this from the angle of ‘a parent with a child’, but in general my tactics would only become more aggressive when with baby.

It’s all about leaving avenues of escape, preserving distance, and remaining aware of the world around you. Are we noticing a theme yet?

Hello Sir.
Skinny Pedal on the Right.

I’ll get you thinking with a short video:

LiveLeak –

This is interesting because there are two distinct outcomes within the same event. On the one hand, we have the gentleman who had the opportunity to present his pistol and offer an alternate plan to the scum-bag’s. Our scum-bag then decided he would search for an easier mark. On the other hand, we have the next guy who got carjacked while stopped at a light and was forced, at gunpoint, to drive from the police. Here’s the lessons I garner from this short clip:

  • It’s always helpful to have a gun, the will to use it, and the opportunity to grab it. I don’t condone having a gun in your vehicle unless you’re wearing it, but it worked out for the first guy ( and in lots of other cases, too).
  • These events come on fast, even faster when you’re daydreaming or otherwise caught unaware.
  • The first attempted carjacking happened while loading a vehicle. Check the Mundane Movements posts for ways to see it coming.
  • The second (successful) carjacking happened at a stoplight. I would assume the victim had unlocked doors, and for whatever reason couldn’t or didn’t react fast enough to drive away.

Read this article for a great overview of carjacking information.

Pay special attention to the most likely groups to be carjacked.

  1. The elderly.
  2. Females alone/with children.
  3. People preoccupied, not alert or aware of surroundings.
  4. People parked in isolated or darkened areas, dark streets, parking lots or driveways.

My intention with this post is to cover the best practices that I’m aware of for daily driving. The tips we’ll go over in the first post are the usual defensive driving stuff with an eye for rapidly escaping a developing situation. The second post in this series will be pictorials of the best way I know of drawing a gun inside of a car. But please make no mistake, it is always better to use the car as the weapon and jam the skinny pedal on the right.

In Drive:


  • You control the space between your front bumper and the car in front of you. If you can see where the tires of the car in front of you touch the road, then you have enough room to pull around that car. That space is useful for a myriad of everyday things like being able to pull out of a slowing lane, not rear-ending the car in front of you if you get rear-ended, and it extends to emergency use if the need arises.
  • If feasible (most useful in a city), be in the lane nearest the sidewalk. You now have an extra ‘lane’ if needed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ‘break the rules’ in an emergency. If it helps, I give you permission to drive over the sidewalk, through a red light, or over the double yellow lines if it means you can drive yourself out of a carjacking.
  • Make it a habit to glance at all of your mirrors at least once as you come to a stop. Carjackers like to come out of blind-spots.
  • As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors and start the car. Get into drive and start rolling as soon as possible.

It isn’t rocket surgery. It’s about using the best tool you have to escape. The car. In the next installment, we will assume that you can’t drive away. I’ll review the best and safest way to get your gun out while seated in a car, and how to quickly get out of the car with minimal hiccups.