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a good driving manual

a good driving manual

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Published by: wilder on Oct 10, 2007
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06/06/2013

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If something is in your path and you need to stop, you need to see it in time to be able to stop. It takes
much longer and further to stop than many people think. If you have good tires and brakes and dry
pavement:

• At 50 mph, it can take about 400 feet to react to something you see and bring your vehicle to a
stop. That is about the length of a city block.
• At 30 mph, it can take about 200 feet to stop. That is almost half a city block in length.
If you cannot see 400 feet ahead, it means you may not be driving safely at 50 mph. If you cannot see
200 feet ahead, you may not be driving safely at 30 mph. By the time you see an object in your path, it
may be too late to stop without hitting it.
Here are some things that limit how well you can see and hints you can follow to be a safer driver.
DarknessIt is harder to see at night. You must be closer to an object to see it at night than during the
day. You must be able to stop within the distance you can see ahead with your headlights. Your

22

New Mexico Driver Manual

headlights will let you see about 400 feet ahead. You should drive at a speed that allows you to stop
within this distance or about 50 mph.
Rain, fog or snowIn a very heavy rain, snowstorm or thick fog, you may not be able to see much more
than 200 feet ahead. When you cannot see any farther than that, you cannot safely drive faster than 30
mph. In a very heavy downpour, you may not be able to see well enough to drive. If this happens, pull off
the road in a safe place and wait until it clears.
Hills and curvesYou may not know what is on the other side of a hill or just around a curve, even if
you have driven the road many times. If a vehicle is stalled on the road just over a hill or around a curve,
you must be able to stop. Whenever you come to a hill or curve where you cannot see over or around,
adjust your speed so you can stop if necessary.
Parked vehiclesVehicles parked along the side of the road may block your view. People may be ready
to get out of a vehicle or walk out from between parked vehicles. Give parked vehicles as much room as
you can.
Sight-distance ruleDrive at a speed where you can always safely stop. To tell if you are driving too
fast for conditions, use the “Four Second Sight Distance Rule.” Pick out a stationary object as far ahead
as you can clearly see (e.g. a sign or a telephone pole). Start counting “one-one-thousand,
two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, four-one-thousand.” If you reach the object before you finish
saying “four-one-thousand,” you need to slow down. You are going too fast for your sight-distance. You
must not drive faster than the distance you can see. If you do, you are not safe and could injure or kill
yourself or others.
You should also use the “Four Second Sight Distance Rule” at night to make sure you are not “over-
driving your headlights.”

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