1. If motor strains, don't force wood through blade. Shut off saw, and try new piece or new blade.
2. Whenever blade is less than 6 inches from fence, use push stick. Otherwise, hook fingers of pushing hand over fence to keep them clear of blade.
3. Watch kerf where wood exits blade. If it gets pinched, immediately stop saw and get new workpiece.
4. Always guide workpiece using fence. Never cut freehand.
5. Hold your control hand in one location, between you and blade, bracing workpiece against fence as you feed it through blade with other hand.
TOH Tip: Before every rip cut, measure the distance from the fence to the miter slot, front and back. If the measurements are the same, kickback is far less likely. - Norm Abram, TOH master carpenter