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occurs when you successfully complete this Traffic Violator Course. You will increase your knowledge of California's driving laws as well. Why is that important? When your safety is at risk, raising your driving consciousness is always beneficial. The unfortunate truth is many drivers get tickets simply because they are not paying attention or have forgotten some rule of the vehicle code. In other words, what you are about to read can save you money by helping you to avoid breaking the law, receiving a traffic citation, and having to pay the penalty. But more important, what you are about to read can easily save your life… or someone else's. A. THE SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY OF OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE When you get behind the driver seat, you’re not just driving a car. You are driving a 2,000 pound plus piece of machinery. The lives of your passengers and all other drivers and pedestrians around you on the road are at risk. Driving is the most dangerous thing you do on a daily basis. One little mistake at any speed, whether at 65 mph or 35 mph, can be deadly. As a driver, your responsibility is not only to respect the law but also to appreciate the risks when you operate your vehicle, risks both to yourself and to the other drivers with whom you share the road. Yes, the key word here is SHARE. 1. MOTOR VEHICLE IS A WEAPON You don‘t believe that? Any object that weighs as much as a car does and is fueled by 20 gallons of a flammable liquid while moving down the street at 50 feet per second has the power to do some serious damage. Remember all weapons, including cars, can kill people. The problem is that we have become so used to driving our vehicles, that we tend to take them for granted. If you get up every morning at the same time, get dressed the same way, go about your morning routine, and then head for your car, you may be tempted to drive in a routine or complacent manner. The problem inherent in adopting a set routine is that we can become complacent and take things for granted. For example, just because there wasn’t a child behind your vehicle yesterday as you backed out of your driveway, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a child hiding behind your car today. But how often do we walk around to the back of the vehicle and check for hiding children, their toys, obstructions, etc.? 2. THE DANGER OF THE CAR IF NOT OPERATED PROPERLY Automobile collisions are responsible for more deaths than the total lives lost in every war the United States has ever fought. It is an enormous number, and a tragic one. We all need to wake up to the fact that the automobile is truly the deadliest weapon in America. You need to treat your automobile with respect and caution as you would any dangerous weapon. More and more people illegally carry a gun in their car "for emergencies."
3. PARKING RESPONSIBILITIES
When parallel parking, your wheels should be no further than 18 inches away from the curb. Be sure to set the parking brake and put the car in 'park' if you have an automatic transmission. If you have a standard transmission place in 1st gear and apply the parking brake. When parking on an uphill slope always turn the front wheels away from the curb and roll backwards, so the rear of the front wheel stops against the curb. Set the parking brake. When parking downhill turn the front wheels toward the curb and roll forward, so the front of the wheel stops against the curb. Set the parking brake. When parking uphill or downhill where there is no curb, turn the wheels toward the shoulder so the car will not roll onto the road if the brakes fail. Also, you may not park and leave your vehicle unattended within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. B. OBEY THE LITERAL MEANING OF LAWS If all drivers obeyed all traffic laws all of the time, the majority of traffic collisions would be eliminated. You may not agree with certain laws. Maybe you think the speed limit on your favorite street should be raised...or lowered. But we can all agree on this: these laws serve a purpose. They demand a code of behavior that insures the safety and well being of every driver, cyclist, and pedestrian. It is every driver’s obligation and responsibility to not only know the law, but to obey it as well. It's important to become familiar with all regulatory signs and traffic controls, but more important to do what they tell you according to the law. Staying safe and legal on the road is easy to do if one wants to. It’s a comforting thought: If you always drive at the posted speed limit, you will never get a speeding ticket. (Unless you are in violation of the Basic Speed Law - more on that later.) 1. WHY MUST WE STOP COMPLETELY AT STOP SIGNS? Stop signs are posted for a very important reason. Intersections are the most dangerous places on the street. Stop signs help prevent cross-traffic collisions. Always come to a complete stop at every stop sign. You should stop at the limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line or crosswalk present, the driver shall stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway or railroad grade crossing.A handy tool is to count to three before starting up again. While you are counting, look left, right then left again. Confirm there are no pedestrians in the crosswalk or about to step into the crosswalk. 2. WHAT DOES ‘YIELD’ REALLY MEAN? ‘Yield’ means letting the other driver or pedestrian proceed before you. Reducing speed might be enough to let one car proceed. But if you have to yield to more than one car, a complete stop may be necessary.
C. COMMON COURTESY IS A KEY TO SAFETY Rude drivers tend to be unsafe and many times, even reckless. A lack of concern for others in most circumstances may be only mildly unpleasant; but at 65 mph it could be deadly. Common courtesy is absolutely essential to stay safe on the road. Some drivers who are ordinarily quite polite in face-to-face encounters with strangers are prone to behaving rudely when they are driving because they feel a certain sense of 'invulnerability' inside their vehicles. After all, they are surrounded by 2000 lbs of metal. Nothing can hurt them, right? There is also something to be said about "courtesy breeds courtesy". The driver you are nice to may just pass it on. Fluids are the key to battling the common cold. 1. THE ROADWAY IS SHARED BY ALL DRIVERS Many people drive as if they own the road. They think they are the only ones on the road. Sometimes this can be an expensive mistake, as well as a deadly one. We are not alone on the road. Just look around! Streets are crowded with cars and trucks, vans, SUVs and motorcycles. There are many different kinds of vehicles, some fast, some slow, some big, some small. Every driver must be aware of the distinctiveness that these vehicles have. Motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars and should be followed at a greater distance. Plus, they are smaller and sometimes difficult to see. On the other hand, large trucks are easy to see; but cutting off one in traffic is extremely dangerous because of the longer stopping distance required. Always drive with an awareness of where the other vehicles are around you. Leave yourself an adequate space cushion on all four sides. 2. COURTESY MAKES ORDER OUT OF CHAOS Driving in a crowded urban environment is a highly demanding and stressful activity, to say the least. It seems like rush hour is more like rush day. Traffic is crawling along and you need to be somewhere quickly. Now, just imagine what would happen if every driver acted on their anger and frustration behind the wheel. Not a pretty picture, is it? Road rage is on the rise and has been the cause of many more problems than needed. When you feel that urge to vent your anger on those around you on the road, take deep breaths and count to ten or put some soft relaxing music on. It sounds silly but may make the difference. You can avoid falling victim to another driver's road rage by not cutting off other drivers. You should always be checking to ensure you have enough room to maneuver and always communicate your intentions by using your signals. Also try to avoid tailgating; drivers tend to get angry when they are being followed to closely. If you find yourself in a situation with a "road raged" driver avoid any and all eye contact. Other drivers can even take a smile as a threat or challenge. Try to get away from the driver as quickly as possible.
3. TREAT OTHER DRIVERS THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED Remember the Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Driving with common courtesy is common sense. If you are a rude, inconsiderate driver you will be
treated the same way. But by being polite, letting the other driver merge... that attitude will more than likely be reflected back to you as well. It is the safest and ONLY way to drive.
II. USE AND MAINTENANCE OF REQUIRED SAFETY EQUIPMENT A. Lighting 1. PURPOSE Three separate lighting systems are required on every motor vehicle. The first system allows you to see where you are going, the second system is used to communicate with other drivers, and the third system makes your vehicle visible to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. High Beams/Low Beams Your headlights must be in full working order if you intend to drive at night. High beams are used for open highway driving in environments where there is little or no area lighting. Your "brights" are focused higher and cast their light farther down the road than your low beams. If you can’t see at least 1000 feet ahead, you should use your high beams. Low beams are for city driving, and are angled at a more downward angle. You also need to use the low setting of your lights in rain, fog, and other conditions that may hinder your sight. Using your high beam headlights in these conditions may cause the light to “feed back” and make things worse. Tail Lights Tail lights allow others to see your vehicle from the rear. They must be red and visible at a distance of at least 1000 feet behind you. Brake Lights Brake lights send a visual signal to the driver(s) behind you that you are decelerating. This will prompt him or her to slow or stop their car as well. Brake lights must be red. Pumping the brake in an emergency stop situation will cause the brake lights to flash on and off rapidly - This is your cue to stop as quickly as possible. Back-up Lights White lights become illuminated at the rear of your vehicle when your car is in reverse gear. These lights must project a white light onto the highway to the rear of the vehicle for a distance of not more than 75 feet. The rear license plate must also be illuminated and visible from at least 50 feet. Turn Signals
Slow or Stop
Flashing turn signal lights are required on all four corners of your vehicle. A turn signal must
precede every change of direction, turn, and lane change. These lane changes or turns must be signaled at least 100 feet in advance. Signaling too late is not only illegal - it is almost as dangerous as no signal at all. Even a turn from a lane marked ‘Left Turn Only’ or ‘Right Turn Only’ must be signaled! Emergency Flashers Drivers must be prepared for trouble. You might be involved in a collision or your vehicle could break down. Section 25251 (a) (2) and (a) (3) permit vehicles to be equipped with an emergency lighting system. These lights flash simultaneously on all four corners, both front and rear. If your vehicle becomes a hazard on the road you will be able to warn other motorists by activating your emergency flashers. 2. HOURS OF USE Headlights must be activated no later than half an hour after sunset and may not be turned off until half an hour before sunrise, and/or any other time when visibility is not sufficient to render clearly discernable any person or vehicle at a distance of 1000 feet. They must also be activated when conditions require windshield wipers to be in continuous use. Many new cars have daytime running lights. These lights increase safety by making vehicles more visible. 3. VISIBILITY REQUIREMENTS All lighting systems on your vehicle must be fully operational and clean at all times. If your vehicle is dirty, the lenses covering your lights may be dirty, also. This will diminish the distance your lights can be seen, thus making you less visible to other drivers. This also severely hampers your own ability to see. So keep your car clean. 4. MAINTENANCE AND PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES Always check to see if your lights are working before driving. If your car has a burned out or broken head or tail light, you could be stopped and handed a 'notice to correct' (Fix-it ticket) or a regular citation. 5. LIGHTING DURING DARKNESS (24250 VC) When driving at night, your vehicle must be equipped with operational lighting equipment. 6. LIGHTING DISTANCE REQUIREMENTS (24251 VC) All lighting distance requirements in the Vehicle Code presuppose a straight, level, and unlit roadway under normal atmospheric conditions, unless otherwise stated. 7. Lighting Equipment Requirements (24252 VC) Every driver must maintain all lighting equipment in top working order. Make sure all bulbs are of the proper voltage and properly installed. The voltage of every lamp socket on your vehicle must be no less than 85 percent of the bulb’s design voltage. 8. Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps
but shall not be substitutes for headlamps. vehicles. They should be mounted no higher than 30 inches. High beams must be dimmed to low beams when you are following another vehicle at 300 feet or less. Up to two red fog taillamps may be mounted on the back of the vehicle. both primary and auxiliary systems. The edge of these lenses should be at least 4 inches from any brake light. Neither beam should be focused so as to strike the eyes of an approaching driver. Low beams must illuminate to a distance of 100 feet. Single Beams (24410 VC) On vehicles manufactured and sold prior to September 19. Use of Multiple Beams (24409 VC) High beams must be dimmed to low beams when you are within 500 feet of a car approaching from the opposite direction. and no lower than 12 inches. 24602 VC) No more than two fog lamps may be mounted on the front of a vehicle. They may be mounted no higher than 60 inches. Fog lamps (24403. Fog lamps may be used in conjunction with. the headlamps shall not project the high-intensity portion of the light higher than 5 inches below the center of the lamp at a distance of 25 feet when the vehicle is not loaded. and no lower than 16 inches. Auxiliary Driving and Passing Lamps (24402 VC) Optional driving lamps may be utilized on the front of a vehicle if they are mounted no higher than 42 inches. must be arranged so that the driver may select between distributions of light projected to different elevations. and no lower than 22 inches. and no lower than 12 inches.Headlamps on Motor Vehicles (24400 VC) Two working headlamps are mandatory on every motor vehicle (except motorcycles) during darkness. and other objects at a distance of 350 feet. . Multiple Beams (24406 VC) All headlamps on a vehicle. Fog taillamps may only be used in conjunction with headlamps. They should be mounted no higher than 54 inches. Upper and Lower Beams (24407 VC) High beams must be aimed and be of sufficient intensity to reveal persons. 1940.
Turn Signal Lamps (24953 VC) Turn signals must flash either a white or amber light visible to the front of the vehicle. designed to be displayed primarily when the vehicle is parked. 24801 VC) No vehicle may be driven at anytime with only the parking lamps lighted. or any lamps mounted on the front of a vehicle. REAR LIGHTING EQUIPMENT Tail Lamps (24600 VC) Tail lamps (or running lights) allow others to see your vehicle from the rear. 10. They must be clearly visible from a distance of at least 300 feet. All passenger vehicles.9. Back-up Lamps (24606 VC) White lights become illuminated at the rear of your vehicle when your car is in reverse gear. Turn Signal System (24951 VC) Any vehicle may be equipped with a lamp-type turn signal system capable of clearly indicating any intention to turn right or left. 1973 must have turn indicators mounted no lower than 15 inches. B. tractor-trailers. PURPOSE . and buses registered after January 1. trucks. They must be red and visible to 1000 feet behind you. Parking Lamps (24800. the combination of vehicles shall be equipped with a lamp-type turn signal system. SIGNAL LAMPS AND DEVICES Turn Signal System Required (24950 VC) Whenever any motor vehicle is towing a trailer coach or a camp trailer. These lights must project a white light that will illuminate the highway to the rear of the vehicle for a distance of not more than 75 feet. and either a red or amber light visible to the rear. Visibility Requirements of Signals (24952 VC) Turn signals must be visible in normal daylight as well as nighttime from a distance of at least 300 feet to the front and the rear of the vehicle. Stop Lamps (24603 VC) Normally referred to as brake lights. there must be two at the rear of your vehicle and they must be red. BRAKES 1. Parking lamps are those lamps permitted by Section 25106. A vehicle shall not be driven at any time with the parking lamps lighted except when the lamps are being used as turn signal lamps or when the headlamps are also lighted. 1958 must be equipped with turn indicators. Motorcycles registered after January 1.
your brakes will not work as well as they should. 2. One of the in the name of love". Have your car serviced if you detect any kind of warning sign that might indicate possible brake failure. Because brakes are so important. REQUIRED BRAKE SYSTEMS (26450 VC) The law requires two separate braking systems. Most brakes are an even shorter distance. MAINTENANCE AND PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES (CONDITION OF BRAKES (26453 VC) Your brakes must be in good condition and in good working order at all times. It would be impossible to reduce your speed. which will only affect the rear wheels. 5. they must be properly maintained. The ABS will pump the brakes automatically. The parking brake must be mechanically applied usually by stepping on a separate brake pedal (often found to the left) or lifting a “hand brake” (usually between the driver and passenger seats). even if your own car doesn’t have them. The parking or emergency brake is a mechanical device (usually operated manually). Knowing how to operate an anti-lock braking system (ABS) properly is a must.Vehicular Control Just think what would happen if your vehicle didn’t have brakes. Brakes work in conjunction with your tires. 3. Stopping Requirements The Vehicle Code requires that stop it within 25 feet when actually able to stop a car in author's favorite songs is "Stop your vehicle must have brakes that will traveling at 20mph. The “service brakes” are dual hydraulic and are activated by pressing on the foot pedal. you probably have a leak in your master cylinder. or are under-inflated. These brakes must stop all four wheels. let alone stop. ice. Pumping antilock brakes will essentially neutralize them. 4. PARKING BRAKE SYSTEM (26451 VC) The parking brake must be sufficiently strong to hold the vehicle on any grade upon which it can drive under all loading conditions. Don’t ignore these warnings. If the pedal goes all the way down to the floorboard. The action on your foot pedal might feel different or you might hear a strange sound (like a grinding or loud squeaking) when you step on the brake. Instead. it will come in handy. If you ever borrow or rent another car with this system. If your tires have worn-out tread. and on any road surface that is not compromised by snow. NEVER PUMP anti-lock brakes in an emergency stop. keep constant pressure on the pedal. The author enjoys playing baseball in the park. or loose material such as gravel. CONDITION OF BRAKES (26453 VC) . Brakes are one of most important safety feature on a motor vehicle.
2. 4. reflective. . Not just wind . dirt. A windshield that is dirty or cracked will diminish visibility and make things unsafe. 5. This is hardly a safe situation.All brakes and component parts shall be maintained and kept in good condition and good working order at all times. Transparent materials must be gray. 3. MAINTENANCE A driver with a cracked windshield may be cited for a violation and if cited. and insects. The brakes shall be adjusted to operate as equally as practicable with respect to wheels on the opposite sides of the vehicle. PURPOSE Visibility The windshield protects the driver and passengers from the outside elements. C. All other passenger vehicles on the road must have an adequate shatterresistant windshield. dust.e. It is illegal to have anything hanging from the rear-view mirror that obstructs the driver’s vision. CONTROL AND STOPPING REQUIREMENTS (26454 VC) Service brakes must be capable of controlling the movement of a vehicle. green. and may reduce normal transparency by no more than 35 percent. and non-reflective. Screening Driving with no windshield at freeway speeds would put a gale-force wind in the driver’s face. stopping it. At least 35 percent of the window must remain unobstructed. Motorcycles are the only exceptions to this law.). PROHIBITED DEVICES OR EQUIPMENT Any shades or other sun screening devices that are attached to the windows must be temporary in nature (i. 6. removable. ordered to correct the violation within 48 hours. WINDSHIELDS AND MIRRORS 1. and holding it on any grade upon which it is operated and under all vehicle load conditions. or neutral smoke in color.but precipitation and airborne debris such as pebbles or rocks kicked up by the cars around you. REQUIREMENTS TO AID VISIBILITY Every motor vehicle on the roadway is required to have an adequate windshield. WINDSHIELDS (26700 VC) Motorcycles and some collector’s cars manufactured in the early 20th century are not required to have windshields.
Stickers and decals are legal only in certain positions • • • • Side windows. MATERIALS OBSTRUCTING OR REDUCING DRIVER’S VIEW (26708 VC) No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any object or material placed. 7. self-operating windshield wipers. one mounted on the left-hand side and one mounted on the right-hand side if the vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to obstruct the driver's view to the rear. or it's load.either to the front or the rear of your vehicle . MIRRORS (26709 VC) Most drivers should have all three mirrors. Mirrors must be capable of reflecting a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the vehicle.then you are in violation of the law. displayed. affixed. you need to replace them immediately! 8. if the driver has in his or her possession a certificate signed by the installing company certifying that the material meets the requirements of the vehicle code. If your wipers make visibility worse by leaving streaks or smears. torn or worn.6. or if the vehicle is towing another vehicle when the towed vehicle. One mirror must be affixed to the left-hand side of the vehicle. Every motor vehicle is subject to California registration. which are to the rear of the driver 5-inch square bottom left front windshield 7-inch square bottom right front windshield 7-inch square bottom right rear window For the purpose of reducing ultraviolet rays. this material must be removed and replaced if it becomes bubbled. except a motorcycle. . The other mirror may be mounted in the interior or on the right-hand side of the vehicle. WINDSHIELD WIPERS (26706 VC) If your vehicle is equipped with a windshield. All vehicles registered in a foreign jurisdiction (out of state) and all motorcycles must have at least one rear view mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of 200 feet to the rear. 10. drivers may apply colorless and transparent materials to the front side windows. Vehicles must have two rear view mirrors. it must also be equipped with automatic. obstructs the driver's view to the rear. CONDITIONS AND USE OF WINDSHIELD WIPERS (26707 VC) The law requires that wipers must be in working condition at all times and under all weather conditions. DEFECTIVE WINDSHIELDS AND REAR WINDOWS (26710 VC) If your windshield or rear window is in such a condition that it hampers your vision . or applied on the windshield or side or rear windows that obstructs or reduces the driver's clear view through the windshield or the side windows. However. must have two rear view mirrors. installed. 9.
when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation . But remember. it can be towed away by the police. contribute to road rage and make your trip less safe. if your car alarm sounds for more than 20 minutes. 3. PURPOSE The horn is your warning system to other motorists and pedestrians. PROHIBITIVE AMPLIFICATION A customized horn may be illegal. E. HORNS OR WARNING DEVICES (27000 VC) Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a horn in good working order. USE OF HORN (27001 VC) The driver of a motor vehicle .’ And sirens are legal only on emergency vehicles. USE You may only use your horn to insure your safety and the safety of others. 5. A tap of the horn is usually enough to alert another driver or a pedestrian if you think they don’t see you. The author played the baritone horn in high school band. and shall be audible for a distance of at least 200 feet. Your horn could save your life or someone else’s. MAINTENANCE It is illegal to drive without a horn in good working condition. This can irritate other drivers. You can be cited if an officer considers it to be ‘unreasonably loud or harsh. frustration or to notify the driver in front of you that the light has turned green. 7. PURPOSE . AUDIBLE DISTANCE The horn must be loud enough to hear at a minimum distance of 200 feet. TIRES 1.shall give audible warning with his (or her) horn. The horn is an absolute must when protecting one’s self on the road." Try not to honk your horn in anger.D. Make sure it is working properly. 4. Most car alarms are wired to the horn. This includes avoiding a collision or warning others that you are near a "blind spot. Warning Device There is a difference between using your horn for safety reasons and using your horn to let other people know you are upset with them. 2. HORN 1. 6.
with much use the tire treads wear smooth. Think about the last time you walked on ice and you will see how important traction is. TREAD DEPTH OF PNEUMATIC TIRES (27465 VC) No person shall use a pneumatic tire on a vehicle axle when the tire has less than 1/32 of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at any location on the tire. It‘s time for some new tires! 3. After a while. whether you drive hard or easy. Without traction a vehicle would not be able to accelerate. MAINTENANCE It’s a good idea to not wait until your tire is in pieces on the freeway before you think about checking them. check for bulges or splits in the sidewalls or tread. SAFETY BELTS Seat belts save lives. next to the size. driving in extreme heat or cold will warrant variations in tire pressure. and turning. Tread wear indicators (TWI) or tread bars.Your tires are the only things between your vehicle and the road. or change direction. make sure they are balanced before installation and they should be rotated every 6. Traction Traction has to do with the friction that enables the tires to move your vehicle along the pavement. Good tires are essential to being safe on the road. REQUIRED CONDITION. When the tread is worn down you will see a horizontal band of rubber across the tire. Keep in mind. They provide control during all phases of movement: acceleration. Tire treads are designed to provide traction and to push any water on the road out of the way. All your control is there. 4. deceleration. Vehicle Control The area your tires cover at any given time is only a matter of inches. slow down. all cars are equipped with lap belts and shoulder belts by law. you might want to let a professional remove it. 2. There are other restraint systems available. and of course. INFLATION. Every once in a while. F. AND TREAD There are a number of factors that may influence your tire wear. Yet many people still die needlessly in car crashes because they didn’t buckle up.000 miles to allow for proper wear of the tread. Tires should be replaced before they become bald. such as front and side impact . how many miles you put on them. plain and simple. the types of road surfaces you tend to be on. stop. The tire factory lets you know the proper inflation by printing it on the side of the tire. The inflation and amount of tread on your tire will make the difference in your level of traction. If you see a sharp object stuck in the tire. cruising. When getting new tires. A tire in good condition increases the amount of control by decreasing the chances of skidding or slipping.00010. vehicle suspension and steering. are required on all tires. Since 1968. Their inflation.
anyone 16 years of age or younger must be provided a seat belt. It is also a violation to disable the shoulder belt by tucking it under your arm. If you don’t. it doesn't change the law of physics that states if a classic car is going 60 mph and suddenly stops due to a collision. there may not be a next time. This gives the driver more control of the vehicle.” The odds of being one of those are worse than winning the lottery. You can get pulled over specifically for not wearing them. 1968. PURPOSE Not only do seat belts prevent drivers and passengers from being thrown out of the vehicle in a collision. However. The lap belt will keep you in the car but will not prevent you from folding at the waist and hitting your head or upper body against the steering column and the dash. However. you can slide under the shoulder harness and injure yourself that way. NEVER disable the shoulder belt by tucking it under your arm! And if you have a car that has automatic belts that come on after the door is closed. Reduce Injuries and Fatalities Statistics don’t lie. No dealer shall sell or offer for sale any used passenger vehicle that was manufactured on or after January 1. Check this out: • • Seat belt + air-bag reduces fatalities 70% Seat belt alone reduces fatalities 60% Granted. regardless of the year of the car. 3. USE OF SEATBELTS As we have said. And for many. This is much more difficult to do if the driver is in the passenger seat! Please keep in mind that both the shoulder and lap belts are equally important. seat belts and airbags are responsible for saving thousands of lives every year. there are some drivers and passengers who claim to have survived collisions because they were not buckled. A collector car manufactured before 1968 without seat belts as standard equipment is an exception to the seat-belt law (as long as it is not driven every day).airbags. 1. There have been many situations where after the initial impact the driver is still able to prevent his vehicle from hitting others. but they also hold the driver in position during sudden steering and braking maneuvers. The shoulder harness prevents that so. They are what we call “the exception to the rule. the unrestrained driver will continue on at 60mph. They won’t be so lucky next time. However. This is an accommodation to car collectors who. MAINTENANCE . would have their investment devalued. usually through the windshield or into the dash. if forced to install non-standard equipment. other than a motorcycle. 2. unless it is equipped with at least two seatbelts that are installed for the use of persons in the front seat of the vehicle. You are twice as likely to survive a collision if you are wearing a seatbelt. you still need to put the lap belt on manually. all vehicles manufactured since 1968 come equipped with seatbelts as standard equipment.
5. The law allows for penalty assessments and court costs to be added to the maximum fine imposed on first and subsequent seat belt violations. not passengers. often ride in the trunk of their friends’ cars. CHILD PASSENGER SEAT RESTRAINTS: REQUIREMENTS (27360 VC) As of January 1. the California Legislature passed a trunking law banning this practice. give the shoulder harness a quick pull. so check them for signs of wear. They are also designed to collapse in a crash.Seatbelts must always be in top working condition. If it doesn’t. A child is allowed to be secured in the front seat of the vehicle if: • • • • • • There is no rear seat The rear seats are side facing jump seats The rear seats are rear-facing seats The restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat All rear seats are occupied by children under the age of 12 years Medical reasons necessitate that the child not ride in the rear . TRUNKING – 21712 VC When two teenagers died after riding in the trunk of a friend’s car. which would crush anything – or anyone – in the trunk. Many people. Passengers who are found riding in the trunk also will be charged with an infraction. However. particularly teenagers. 4. There are some exceptions to the seat belt rule: taxi and limousine drivers. child seat requirements have been made more stringent. This may be because there are not enough seat belts or the driver is too young to have passengers. you might want to have the belt checked. Remember to secure all your passengers properly in safety belts. It should lock. paramedics and police. Any tears in the fabric or fraying are dangerous. A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person and all passengers 16 years of age or over are properly restrained by a safety belt. A booster seat will probably be necessary for a small child once he is out of his car seat to allow the seat belt to accommodate his tiny body more safely and effectively. The law now states that every child under six years of age or weighing less than 60 pounds must ride in an approved child restraint seat. SAFETY BELTS: REQUIREMENTS (27315 VC) No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person and all passengers are properly restrained. The law requires that a child under 6 years or under 60 pounds riding in an approved child restraint seat must be secured in the rear seat of the vehicle. NEVER let them sit where they cannot be properly restrained. a driver with a medical condition that doesn't allow for the use of a belt and emergency personnel such as firemen. Drivers will be charged with a misdemeanor if they knowingly allow a person from riding in the trunk of a vehicle. Get them fixed or replaced. (Have you ever tried to look behind you with the belt locked? Not easy!) To test the belt. Better safe than sorry. Seat belts are supposed to have some give for comfort and safety purposes. thus raising the maximum amount of the fine that may be imposed. Not true. this practice is very dangerous because car trunks are designed to carry cargo. 2002. Some people think that just because the belt is not in a locked position all the time that there is something wrong with it.
A child may not ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle with an active passenger air bag if they are under one year of age. Have children ride in the back seat. so secondhand smoke is more damaging to their health than to adults. A small child named Kaitlyn died in a parked vehicle when she was left for two hours in 100º heat. or riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system. The Safety Council recommends waiting until your child is 12 years old and around 100 pounds before he or she rides up front. since it is the point farthest removed from front. it is also the law. There is also another problem with breathing the air inside a car: cigarette smoke is concentrated and more hazardous than in a place such as the home. particularly when inside your car. particularly those strapped in their child seats. Don’t smoke when you are around children. or there is a significant risk to the child. weigh less than 20 pounds. Children often have no choice but to breathe the same air as their smoking parents when riding in the car. SMOKING IN MOTOR VEHICLES Section 118948 of the Health and Safety Code makes it unlawful to smoke a pipe. The bodies of children are still developing. whether in motion or at rest. The message is this: NEVER leave your children behind in the car when you exit. They are at a height and weight that can be dangerous when struck by an airbag. This is a secondary offense. in which there is a minor. the California Vehicle Code has been amended. KAITLYN'S LAW -15620 V.) And common sense says. It now prohibits parents or guardians from leaving a child six years old or younger in a vehicle unattended when the vehicle’s engine is running. meaning you won’t be stopped simply for this violation. the keys are left in the ignition. . it can be dangerous.C. (Be sure to discard yours if it has been in a collision. Never use a second-hand child safety seat. If it was involved in a collision before you had it. cigar or cigarette in a motor vehicle. even with the windows cracked open. any child seat more than ten years old should be replaced.) Be sure the child seat is properly installed and please. rear and side impact collisions. MORE TIPS FOR CHILDREN‘S SAFETY: • • • • • NEVER put a child in a car seat that has a passenger-side air bag in front of it. buckle in the child! The child seat should not be able to move more than about an inch in any direction. Babies less than one year of age and less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child seat in the center of the back seat (which is the safest place in your vehicle. To bring them along is not just a good idea: under the terms stated above. or person under the age of 18. In response to this tragedy.
. EMOTION AND FATIGUE Are you stressed out? Is life challenging right now? Drivers are not only distracted by things in their vehicles (cell phone. 3. If you were pushing your shopping cart in the store and someone accidentally bumped your cart. You may feel like you can take on the world. you must be able to anticipate problems before they happen. you should always behave as you would when you meet someone walking or in a supermarket. they might be nice to someone else and so on. What is your state of mind behind the wheel? Do you get angry easily? Don’t bring your problems into the car. It may even start a snowball effect.III. They feel invincible surrounded by all that steel. When two cars arrive at a four way stop at the same time. maps. a police car. When to Give It Up If the other driver fails to surrender the right-of-way. 2. It is very easy to get lost in those feelings and not pay as much attention as you should. crying babies) they are also distracted by what’s going on in their life. and so on. Maybe you just got a raise or other piece of good news. The other driver is neither your enemy nor your competition. A. 1. Any emotion can be a dangerous distraction to a driver. DRIVING COURTESY AND ATTITUDE Common courtesy makes sense especially on the freeway moving at 60+ mph. ANGER. let the other driver go before you. don‘t fight back thinking “I have the law on my side. Anything you do while driving that is not directly related to operating your vehicle can be dangerous to you and others. When cell phones were first introduced. they got a lukewarm reception. Drivers with bad attitudes who demonstrate rude and sometimes reckless behavior behind the wheel oftentimes cause collisions. RIGHT-OF-WAY Many people are unclear of this concept. If you are nice to someone. DEFENSIVE DRIVING (Plus Pertinent Traffic Laws & Attitudes) To be a defensive driver. STRESS. Never assume that a car will stop just because it’s your turn. be sure to make eye contact to confirm that it is safe to proceed. the car on the right always has the right-ofway. would you yell or give them an obscene gesture? Probably not (we hope!) Try not to be rude or abusive while in your car.” And if you’re not sure of the law. an ambulance and a postal service vehicle come to a four way stop at the same time. BE AS COURTEOUS WHILE DRIVING AS IN OTHER SOCIAL CONTACTS When you drive. Little known fact: If a Fire truck. Be courteous and considerate. When to Use It The other driver must surrender right-of-way before you can take it. The other driver may not be paying attention or just not want to follow the law. the law may say you can proceed but you should make sure you don’t unless the other driver(s) allow you to. In situations that require a four way stop. the law states that the postal vehicle has the right of way due to it being a federal vehicle while the others are state. You can only do this by paying attention. their lunch.
The suspension period for an assault is six months for the first offense and one year for a second or subsequent offense.Drivers may tend to get violent so avoid driving too close to them. You could miss a stop sign. so they hate to be slowed down. It’s tough enough to stay safe on the road when you’re calm and alert. Always make sure you have a space cushion .Some drivers tend to cut people off. Keep a spray bottle filled with water and when you feel like you might start to nod off. Don't take it personal and try to cut them off as well. often displaying a vicious disregard for anyone’s safety. on another driver. it helps all the more. The court may. If you are in an area where you can’t pull over and you are alone. Anybody in a state of rage is a possible threat to everyone. Don’t make it more difficult by allowing your emotions to get in the way. often times the wind in your face is very helpful. drivers have lost their lives. Some are angry ALL the time. On the other hand. In extreme cases of road rage. If you keep the bottle in the fridge until you leave. and well rested. spray the back of your neck. laughter might cause you to squeeze your eyes shut or tilt back. This is especially good on long trips. Remember to be courteous . If you are fighting to stay awake. They tend to drive too fast and take more chances. commonly known as "road rage". The law authorizes the court to order suspension of the driving privilege of any operator of a motor vehicle who commits an assault. Your adrenaline will increase. cool.Falling asleep behind the wheel is also a dangerous situation. here are a couple of tips to help you stay awake: • • • • Roll down your window. Turn your radio up and tune it to music you are least inclined to listen to. you should change drivers or get off the road and take a nap in a well lit public place. Avoid eye contact . in lieu of or in addition to the driving privilege suspension. If you are one who loses your temper you must do whatever you can to manage your emotions. The best thing is to stay out of their way! Try to only use this lane if you are passing another vehicle. such as a parking lot. How to Recognize It Most drivers get angry from time to time. How to Avoid Becoming a Victim • • • • Avoid driving in the left (fast) lane -Emotional drivers tend to drive faster than the speed limit and get frustrated easier. How Does Emotion Affect Driving? Angry drivers are reckless ones. signal before you turn to alert other drivers of your intentions. So stay calm. .Angry drivers who are upset about something may take this personally and think that you are challenging them. emotional or asleep at the wheel stands a much greater chance of colliding with another vehicle. Instead. order a person convicted under this section to complete a court approved anger management or "road rage" course. Eat something like sunflower seeds. The act of opening the shell with your mouth actually keeps you awake. Collision Potential What exactly is the danger? A collision! A driver who is stressed.
Visibility On the other hand. But the speed limit is just that. WEATHER Slow down when it’s coming down! Rain. Fog. the odds of meeting a drunk driver on the road are greater at night. We must also change the way we drive to meet the demands of these different driving conditions. Also. And how many times have you found yourself behind the guy who is creeping slowly down a street. Hot to cold. daylight visibility and a dry road. Snow . glare off the headlights of oncoming vehicles can be a problem. too much sunlight can be a bad thing. etc. During the day. always drive at the speed limit or slower. Visibility is usually limited only by obstructions in the road. Driving at night on an open highway with no area lighting can be dangerous in the sense that some drivers will actually ‘overdrive’ their headlights -. Excessive speed is the cause. depending upon conditions. We have a natural tendency to be tired at night. 1. 2. drive ahead of their lights. while looking for street numbers! Driving on well lit streets whenever possible is another good tip. Rain. taillights. But at night your vision is limited to what is revealed in the light produced by your headlights. as you scan the roadway your eyes must constantly adjust to a wide range of lighting intensities oncoming headlights. Clearly. DAYTIME VS. At night. Speed The posted speed limit is for driving under ideal conditions. you decrease your chances of dividing your attention between the road and trying to find your way around. and ice are all hazardous to your safety. so many people think the limit is the jumping off point and tend to drive 10-20 mph faster. Use visors and sunglasses to reduce glare. Unfortunately. the limit. All of us have probably driven on the freeway or highway heading right into a blazing sunset. Plan Your Route Know where you’re going and how to get there before you embark on your trip. Then they are surprised when they get a ticket for speeding! At night. but never over the limit. always give yourself a greater safety buffer when changing lanes.in other words. Many drivers are less alert at precisely the time driving conditions demand that they pay extra attention. Night driving presents other challenges as well. Depth perception is limited. For example. NIGHTTIME Visibility is a crucial factor in driving. snow.B. a safe driver will analyze the road as well as his or her own state of alertness and adjust speed accordingly. if a driver fails to adapt to a wet road by increasing the space cushion and slowing down. sleet. By doing this. Also. It stands to reason that the more you can see the safer you will be. one can see better during the day. that driver is begging for trouble. Plus. illuminated signs. Day into night. ADJUSTING TO THE DRIVING ENVIRONMENT The driving environment has a way of constantly changing. Sunshine into rain.
It’s actually a reflex action to do this. Wet Roads Many people underestimate the risk of driving in the rain and overestimate their own driving skills and/or the ability of their tires to handle diminished traction. Slippery Brakes tend to become wet when driving in the rain or on a wet road after the rain stops. Falling. You are driving too fast for conditions and can be written up under the basic speed law. Never use high beams (brights) in the fog. reduce your speed (don't go too slowly. This is another good time to slow down while increasing following distance. You will then be in a better position to react properly when you need to brake for real. however). . Driving 65 mph (the speed limit) on the freeway during a rainstorm is illegal. If the front of the car starts to head to the left. Tire traction is reduced on a wet road and that increases braking distance. another vehicle with the same idea might strike you from behind. your car should be equipped with snow tires and/or chains. If you must remain on the road. Speed Speeding in wet weather will increase your chances of losing control or colliding with another vehicle. so reduce speed and leave more of a space cushion. the light will reflect back. Braking Distance It takes your vehicle two-to-three times longer to stop when the road is wet. Do not pull onto the shoulder and stop. the road still gets very slick very quickly and since not a lot of rain is coming down to wash away the slippery grime.It is said that the most dangerous time is during the first 30 minutes of a rainstorm. it stays slick longer. Slow down! Wet roads can be extremely treacherous. It might help to put on your hazard lights. Be sure to test your brakes. Drivers are either not intimidated by a few drops so they fail to reduce speed or can‘t handle any change in the weather so they overdue the cautious driving. In some parts of the state. Use your fog-lamps. Driving in heavy fog is like driving with a blindfold. swirling snow reduces visibility much more than rain. Nasty weather conditions demand a much greater degree of ‘defense’ behind the wheel so keep your eyes moving and anticipate trouble before it happens. Try locating the white line on the side of the road or the center stripe to guide you. If you’re planning on driving in the snow. Get off the road if you can. especially when it gets so bad you can't see a thing. Remember. Fog is extremely frightening. Steer the front of the car in the direction the rear end skids. When the water first hits the road it becomes slick from the oil and grease that has been seeping into the pavement for years and rises to the surface when the moisture hits it. ease your foot off the gas and do not step on the brake. The Four Seasons is a fancy hotel in California. you wouldn’t turn the steering wheel that way! Just be careful to not “overcorrect”. The most important thing to do in a skid is to not panic. If you do go into a skid. The most dangerous rain is a light drizzle after a long dry spell. This could cause you to spin completely around. the police will not allow you to proceed if you are not so equipped.
In order to avoid hydroplaning. Potholes. push in the clutch to let them turn freely. If you swerve onto a soft shoulder at high speed. The risk is usually greatest during heavy rain or when there is a large puddle on the road. slow down when there is a lot of water on the road. do not use the brakes to slow down. Your vehicle will be more visible. or slightly open a couple of windows. and slowly steer left. Slow down if the road surface is in bad condition. Be especially careful driving through puddles. And if your wheels scrape against the drop off. Do everything you can to have the most visibility. If the vehicle is hydroplaning. If the drive wheels start to skid. the risk of hydroplaning will be reduced. Seasonal Hazards Every Season experiences its own hazard. These are just some of the . Drop offs A drop off is when the asphalt abruptly ends on the right. and loose debris could get you into trouble. you could lose control of your vehicle. Soft Shoulders Country roads often have a soft shoulders made up of packed dirt or gravel. This occurs usually during heavy rain or when there is a large puddle on the road. straddle the edge of the road. 3. This will slow your vehicle and let the wheels turn freely. your tires can lose all contact with the road at about 50 mph. If your right wheels leave the pavement take your foot off the gas. speed or improper inflation. as it is to see. Use your defroster (warmer air defrosts more quickly). Windshield wipers are important here. cracked asphalt. If you follow in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. Bad Pavement Always scan ahead to be prepared for changes in road conditions. But be careful. you may need to drive completely onto the shoulder and reenter the road from a dead stop. See and Be Seen It’s as important to be seen. You can regain control by releasing the accelerator and pushing in the clutch. It could be a drop of as much as four or five inches to a soft shoulder. In a heavy rain. Reduce speed and you’ll notice your wipers will be working better. Windshields can fog up in the rain. Slow down on these roads. too. One of the author's favorite tropical fish is the red tail. During the summer it’s blinding sunsets. Always turn on your headlights if you’re driving in the rain. If you hydroplane you may not be able to steer or brake. spring and winter bring the heavy rains. and Santa Ana winds blow in the fall.Hydroplaning Hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose contact with the road because they are riding or floating on a thin layer of water. if you turn your wheel too sharply you might lose control of your vehicle and fishtail into oncoming traffic. ROAD CONDITIONS Defensive drivers need to figure out the condition of the driving surface and adjust their driving technique accordingly. It can also occur because of low tire tread. If your wipers are not clearing water off the windshield quickly enough (assuming your blades are in good condition) you are driving too fast.
the speed limit is only 25 mph! Learn the speed limits on all the different types of roads and you will be much better off. stop signs. 4.special problems drivers encounter at different times throughout the year. Whether a turn or a lane change. or leaving an intersection. Stopping Limits . turn left before you get to the middle. If everyone is paying attention and doing what they are supposed to. It seems as though everyone is trying to get somewhere in a hurry so there is a good chance that someone will try to “make” the light. but pedestrians and cyclists as well. always be aware when approaching. or just end up driving in your lane. the risk of a collision decreases. signaling too late is as bad as no signal at all.are not controlled by signs. Cars moving in opposite directions have the potential for doing serious damage to themselves and their occupants. Marked/Unmarked Busy intersections are usually controlled with signal lights. Many collisions in city driving occur there. entering. Unmarked intersections . The defensive driver anticipates and adapts to these hazards.usually very lightly traveled . When you approach always slow down to 15 mph and scan left. INTERSECTIONS Intersections can be a particularly dangerous part of the road. We usually drive at 35 mph on most surface streets. Speed Some streets do not have posted signs to tell us the speed limit. As a defensive driver. and/or yield signs. Why? The reason is simple: the intersection is occupied by not only cars. right. But on a business or residential street that has no sign. and left again before proceeding. Signaling Distance All changes of direction must be preceded by a signal 100 feet prior to the maneuver being made.
BLACKED OUT SIGNAL LIGHT. .no turn in the direction the arrow is pointing *REMEMBER: If you are in the left lane with a Red Arrow and the cars to your right have a Green light. MOUNTAIN Different roads demand different driving skills. But sometimes. you still cannot GO! YELLOW ARROW . CITY. there may be a short line before the crosswalk you must stop there. then the place to stop is an imaginary line from curb to curb. Prepare to stop.At most intersections you are required to stop before the first crosswalk line otherwise known as the limit line.stop FLASHING RED . treat the intersection as a four way stop.protected turning time is ending. 5. The two ways of accomplishing this are: observing the posted speed limit signs and/or learning the “prima facie” or unposted speed limits.stop and proceed when safe YELLOW LIGHT prepare to stop FLASHING YELLOW . Green does not mean GO. Signal. you must know the posted speed limit on all roadways.proceed with caution *REMEMBER: Contrary to popular belief. You should be ready to adjust your technique at any time to handle changes in driving environments. stop at the intersection and proceed as if the intersection is controlled by a stop sign in all directions. Green means GO when it’s safe! And Yellow does not mean GO FASTER! RED ARROW . FREEWAY.reduce speed but proceed with caution GREEN LIGHT . Speed As a licensed driver. If there is no visible limit line. OPEN ROADWAY. Controlled Signal Control RED LIGHT . If the traffic signal is out.If a traffic signal light is not working because of an electrical power failure.
In the city.” There is a count just before a rocket gets sent into space. start to count: One-one-thousand. so should the signaling distance. That distance is called the “3 Second Rule. YOU MAY NOT PASS.” Here’s how it works: Look up ahead at the car in front of you and select a fixed object. If you signal a lane change 100 feet early on the freeway. Traffic Conditions Traffic conditions are constantly changing. Braking distance is also affected by the condition of your brakes and your tires and the condition /grade of the road. Not to mention the weight of your vehicle. If the line on your side is broken. Signaling Distance As speed increases. Make sure you have plenty of room and time before. If the line is solid on your side of the road. BE SURE TO: • • • Check the stripes in the road Scan ahead for oncoming vehicles Signal your intention . of course is against the law. you may pass -. When the vehicle you are following passes that fixed object. Passing Passing on a two-lane road is an extremely dangerous maneuver. as long as it’s not moving: a sign. that’s only one second of warning you have given the car behind you! To be safe. Open Roadway Before you pass. This could be anything. so does the distance you need to stop your vehicle. the only way to pass would be to exceed the speed limit. But at 65 mph the stopping distance more than quadruples! It takes more than a football field to stop. three-one-thousand. As a defensive driver. the 3 Second Rule is the best way to keep that “space cushion. This equals closer to roughly five seconds.BUT ONLY WHEN SAFE. which. a lamppost. At 35 mph it should take you approximately 100 feet to stop. Too many lives have been lost because a driver failed to judge the distance of an oncoming vehicle. one must always be ready to respond to whatever challenges arise. during and after you pass. Watch the center lines. two-one-thousand. At three-one-thousand. a signaling distance of 500 feet on the freeway is recommended.Following Distance As a defensive driver you must always try to follow the car ahead of you at a safe distance. ask yourself this question: ‘Is passing necessary here?’ If the vehicle in front of you is driving at the speed limit. It is the only time a driver is allowed to proceed in an opposing lane of traffic. But consider the freeway: At 65 mph your vehicle travels 100 feet in one second. Because of the different speeds on different roads. a tree or other landmarks. Always exercise extreme caution when passing another vehicle. signaling 100 feet prior to turning is considered safe. Braking Distance As your speed increases. you should be passing that same fixed object.
Know the road and your vehicle! 6. Distractions Inside the Vehicle Let’s go over some of the more popular distractions: .• • Pass as quickly as possible Don’t reenter the lane until you can see the entire front of the vehicle you passed in your rear-view mirror. This is a mistake. you will feel compelled to pass. Section 21752. Passing on a downhill slope can be extremely dangerous. viaduct. So anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the safe operation of their motor vehicle will drastically increase his or her chances of being involved in a collision. (c) When approaching within 100 feet of or when traversing any railroad grade crossing. NEVER PASS: • • • • More than one vehicle at a time When the yellow line on your side is solid When approaching a grade or a curve When within 100 feet of a bridge. Bad things can happen in small distances. If you are caught behind a slow moving truck. (b) When the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of any bridge. that may be risky. unless you are facing a straight road ahead. Remember. which is struggling to make it up a steep grade. (d) When approaching within 100 feet of or when traversing any intersection. on the freeway at 65 mph you are traveling 100 feet every second. viaduct. Accelerating down a steep grade might send you speeding out-of-control. or tunnel. railroad crossing or tunnel V. Mountains Driving on mountain roads presents a number of challenges. that’s 100 feet extra you shouldn’t have traveled. states that no vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions: (a) When approaching or upon the crest of a grade or a curve in the highway where the driver's view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction. and even then. DRIVING DISTRACTIONS Did you know that as of January 2001 law enforcement officers are required to report specified known or suspected driving distractions to have been associated with a traffic collision? If you are distracted you can’t be a defensive driver.C. (This section shall not apply upon a one-way roadway). And your vehicle may not have sufficient power to accelerate on a steep upgrade to the degree necessary to pass successfully. If you hit the brake a second later than you should have.
According to a California Highway Patrol Report. AUTO RIGHT OF WAY It seems that almost every day. The only way you can continue driving and using your cell phone is if you use a headset or any hands-free device. This automatically cuts into your attention span. you have taken your eyes off the road and have become a hazard. 2008. Keep your eyes moving. don‘t focus on just one thing. except in life-threatening emergencies. reading billboards. because they are simply not paying attention. and fiddling with radio/tape/CD player are just a few more of the dangerous distractions people are doing while driving their 2000+ pound weapon. If you must divide your attention. I won't go into the gory details but I think you can figure out what happened. a woman was in her car stopped at a light. the more one speeds. that was close!" Unfortunately. text messaging devices and laptop computers. However. so this ban removes one of the more prevalent distractions. Consuming food and beverages -. but to miss that collision. So they hop on the phone.If you spill something on yourself or your car. C. the natural tendency is to look down and try to minimize the damage. there is a collision at the intersection you go through on your way to work. Most drivers will experience at least one in their lifetime of driving. you won’t be able to use any type of wireless device. most people in this situation will go right back to the phone! Beginning on July 1. reading. Right there. both quickly and intermittently. Learn to glance back and forth. Not just to avoid a ticket. Collision CAUSATION Collisions happen.Shaving. this particular distraction is very common in many other busy cities and states. The driver coming up behind her didn't notice she had stopped for the light due to his being on the phone and rammed into the back of her car. Many people are either bored in their car or feel that they are wasting precious time by just "driving". using your handheld cell phone while driving becomes illegal. you won’t be able to gab away while holding your cell phone in traffic! That’s because on this date. Other common distractions -. Applying make-up -. IMPROPER TURNING The number one accident at a crossway is when one vehicle is making a left hand turn while . • • • Distractions Outside the Vehicle These include but are not limited to: looking for street numbers. some. That's because many people don't understand the concept of "right of way". The idea is to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Many people speed because they feel it will get them there faster. Understanding why collisions happen may help to avoid them.A few years back. rubbernecking at collision scenes. Have you ever been on the phone while driving and had a close call (pun intended)? Maybe you found yourself swerving a little too much or ended up almost rear ending the car in front of you. including cell phones. She thought this was a good time to use her lipstick. You may pause for a second and think "wow. But if you are under 18. the primary collision factors that occur on roadways are: SPEED Most drivers will speed at one time or another. interacting with passengers.This is not only very popular in Southern California.• Talking on the cell phone -. the better their chances of a collision. A conscious effort needs to be made to watch your speed. It’s just an unfortunate fact that teens are generally more easily distracted.
fog or wind. Whether it is rain. right. Remember. Not exceed your limitations will help you avoid collisions. that is one too many. 4. As the operator of a motor vehicle you should be constantly scanning. Collision TYPES Intersections Many collisions happen at intersections. fatigue. the driver's response to the environment is. newspapers and every other medium that DUI is a major cause of collisions. Be prepared! 6. medication. MENTAL Emotions. you should be ready to react to any condition at any time. STOP SIGNS AND OTHER SIGNS Disobeying or just not seeing signs are the fourth major cause of collisions. By their lack of concentration they can place themselves and you in hazardous situations. and fatigue can affect your physical state. Being prepared can save you. 3. 'that car came out of nowhere!' If you say even once. they fly through them at high speeds! There are . ENVIRONMENT Although the environment is usually not the cause of an accident. By establishing and utilizing good visual habits you are avoiding possible collisions. PHYSICAL Operating a motor vehicle requires focus. This subject is an extremely serious issue and as such will be covered in great depth later in the course. distractions and just plain not thinking. OTHER DRIVERS Other drivers can be dangerous.V. Be on look out and know what's going on around you. You may be the one who has to make a decision. which can be demanding on your body. 2. which can save peoples lives.another vehicle is directly approaching them. and lack of concentration are the cause for numerous accidents. It is not polite to stare. An accident can occur from a daydreaming or upset driver. Be sure to scan left. Factors of age. Some drivers don’t merely roll through stop signs. in most cases the car going straight has the right of way. and then left again. All people are different and can endure different levels of physical pressure. checking your mirrors and checking your blind spots. VISUAL HABITS How many times have you thought to yourself. DUI It has become painfully obvious through T. Some drivers do this deliberately while others fall victim to lack of sleep. quick reflexes and decision making. It is imperative that when you are about to operate a motor vehicle that you have are focused on the task of driving. 1. 5. Understanding why collisions happen may help to avoid them..
The surrounding traffic must yield to all emergency vehicles (both sides of the roadway) as well. When you come to a four-way stop situation in which two cars arrive at the same time. Indicate to the pedestrian that you are going to wait for them to proceed. If the view up the cross street to your left and right is obstructed (for example. This is simple common sense! Plus. If two cars arrive at a four-way stop at the same time from opposing directions . always yield the right-of-way. Here are some other examples of when you should yield: • • • • • • Yield for emergency vehicles that are sounding a siren and displaying red lights. 22352(a)(1)(b) V. Left turn and U-turn must yield to all other traffic except right-turn-on-red . you must slow your vehicle to 15 mph while traversing the intersection if during the last 100 feet of your approach you do not have a clear and unobstructed view of the cross traffic for a distance of 100 feet in each direction. Sometimes a pedestrian in the middle of the street will wave you on when you try to stop for him or her. If you go you can get a ticket! Stay stopped until the pedestrian gets the hint.) Yield to a pedestrian crossing the street. You must allow all cross traffic to proceed before you.C. (Although there will probably be a stop sign controlling the intersection. meaning no signal lights or traffic control signs of any type. the car approaching on the street that ends must yield to through traffic. Blind 22352(a1b) V. a residential street lined with trees). Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. Right-of-Way When you are facing a triangular sign that reads YIELD. At a ‘T’ intersection.C If the intersection has no controls. Stay clear of any intersection. it might be necessary to slow to a crawl or even come to a complete stop to make sure you can cross the intersection safely.the left turn must yield for the car proceeding straight. pedestrians crossing the street and turning vehicles are but a few.many factors that contribute to heightened chances of a crash at intersections: changing traffic lights.one car signaling a left turn and the other car wanting to proceed straight ahead . pull to the right and stop. the car on the left must yield to the car on the right.
That vehicle may be trying to accelerate off the line. Cross traffic may have a green light but those vehicles must wait until you complete your left turn. Right The vehicle code states that a right turn must finish as close as is practicable to the curb in the lane farthest right on the street being entered. When turning right. And don’t forget to check the crosswalk for pedestrians and the sidewalk for bicyclists who might be directly in your path of travel. If there is a collision both vehicles could be at fault. you may think you have the right of way but it's a fact that the vehicle making a left may be found at fault. even if the other vehicle ran the light! Be certain that the stop is being made before proceeding.• Turns Right-turn-on-red yields for EVERYBODY vehicles and pedestrians! A collision that occurs during a turning maneuver is almost always caused by driver error. If you are the lead vehicle in a Left Turn Only lane and the light turns red. Sure. Resist the urge to make a quick left turn in front of an oncoming car. . Left Left turns have the potential to be dangerous because your vehicle must cross in front of an oncoming vehicle. watch for another vehicle turning left into the adjacent lane. A vehicle turning left may enter either lane as long as it is not occupied. never assume that the oncoming vehicle will stop.
The vehicle merging onto the freeway must yield to them. reduce your speed and anticipate small children darting out between parked cars. Be sure to check your mirrors frequently. The merging driver must accelerate to freeway speed in the merging lane with turn signal activated. . Don’t speed. especially in city driving. Merging at too slow or too fast a speed might cause a collision. A pedestrian ALWAYS has the rightof-way even when not crossing at a marked crosswalk! Wait to proceed until you’re absolutely certain the pedestrian is safe! Freeway Freeway driving has fewer variables than city driving. There is no cross-traffic.Simultaneous When two lanes are turning left or turning right each vehicle must stay in its own lane. And most of these were in front of a crosswalk at an intersection. as we said earlier) and signal all your lane changes well in advance Merging The right-of-way belongs to the vehicles already on the freeway.000 pedestrians are hurt or killed in California each year by motor vehicles.Commercial Vehicles We’ve all seen the sign on the back of a big truck: CAUTION! VEHICLE MAKES WIDE RIGHT TURNS! If you try to squeeze by a truck to the right you might end up forced onto the sidewalk where you could very easily hit a pedestrian or actually get crushed by the truck! Pedestrians Always watch for pedestrians. Check the left mirror and safely enter the flow of traffic. It’s really very easy to avoid a collision on the freeway. When driving through a residential neighborhood. Drivers making simultaneous turns need to think that the other driver may get sloppy and drift into the wrong lane. Nobody’s opening their car door in traffic or walking their dog. bike riders or skateboarders. no pedestrians. always follow at a safe distance (3 seconds. About 15. Wide Turns .
But it is recommended that slower moving vehicles be passed on the left. He may have been asleep or passed out and if he awakens at the last moment. At times. like a freeway. change lanes. be particularly aware on one-way streets. Rear-end A rear-end collision is almost always the fault of the driver to the rear. Always try to keep a space cushion on all four sides of your vehicle. When driving on a 4-lane street with a solid double yellow center line the safer place is in the right lane unless you are preparing to turn left. There is little margin for error if an opposing vehicle drifts over that double-yellow line. Lane Changes One of the many causes of collisions on the freeway is reckless lane changing. Just make sure you have the cushion between you and the guy in front and as soon as you can. Head-on Unfortunately. get over and out of the tailgaters way. This gives you an escape route in four directions. Space Cushion Don’t tailgate and if another vehicle is tailgating you. Passing On a multilane roadway. How many times have you seen someone in the fast lane just swoop over all the lanes to exit the freeway? You can bet he wasn’t paying attention! Signal all lane changes and make them gradually. Fixed Object . he may follow. signaling five seconds before your lane change is recommended at freeway speeds. a head-on collision can happen anywhere. If you can’t. If you swerve into an off ramp at the last second you risk cutting someone off. NEVER pull to the left if the car is coming at you. try your best to get away from them as soon as possible. However.Exiting Give yourself enough time to safely leave the freeway. Football games often have tailgating parties in the parking lot. Try not to move into the right lane until you’ve passed the acceleration lane from the previous on ramp. Then wait as long as possible before pulling off to the right. But that’s small consolation if you’re the one who got hit. it is legal to move ahead of a slower vehicle to the right of that vehicle. Not knowing how to properly change lanes causes some drivers to judge distance and speed incorrectly. So don’t tailgate! If someone is tailgating you. as long as you are not exceeding the speed limit. using your mirrors can help in this situation. If you go to the left. Every lane change must be signaled in advance. Speed up or slow down to avoid driving alongside another vehicle. don’t slow down to try and make them mad. Other drivers are simply not paying attention. Keep in mind that a tailgater is a far too aggressive driver and believes nothing will go wrong. If you see a car coming at you in your lane on country road. honk your horn and flash your lights. reduce speed. his first reaction to finding himself on the wrong side is to jerk his car back into his own lane. The earlier you signal the safer your lane change will be.
usually another vehicle. Brakes A brake failure can have disastrous consequences both for you and the other drivers.Don’t Assume Just because your light changes to green does not mean it is safe to go. DECIDE what your best course of action is. 1.Just about anything might be sitting in the middle of a city street. Tires Check your tires frequently. mattresses. so many people are trying to "make" the light that a good rule of thumb is . but DO NOT step on the brake. Then PREDICT what the other driver is going to do. Watch for balding areas and nail-heads. Specific procedures for dealing with a brake failure will be described later. especially on a crowded roadway. Unfortunately. DEFENSIVE DRIVING TECHNIQUES Defensive driving requires the operator of a motor vehicle to be alert enough to anticipate trouble so that one is not taken by surprise. If the object is small enough you could drive right over it and not see it. Now let’s discuss how you can avoid collisions in the first place. Vehicle Failure Proper maintenance should keep your vehicle in good. Slippery Surface Skids Don’t forget to slow down in the rain. motor vehicles are famous for developing sudden and unexpected problems. D. EXECUTE the maneuver. You need to be ready and able to react to this. and lawn chairs. Abrupt steering action over water could trigger hydroplaning. Specific procedures for dealing with blowouts will be described later in the course. Boxes.. Collision AVOIDANCE A basic understanding of what can cause collisions is just the first step. Don’t swerve suddenly to avoid the obstruction.. If your car is fishtailing then ease your foot off the gas pedal and turn in the direction of the (rear end) skid. working condition.. If you always look ahead you will have time to take evasive action. or in lanes on the freeway. There is a formula for safety: S-I-P-D-E: Defensive Driving Technique SCAN the road to IDENTIFY potential trouble . Be Alert .. Especially at busy intersections. the list is endless.
Lane Placement Are you surrounded by a cluster of vehicles? Is your lane moving too fast or too slow? Always choose a lane that gives you the most visibility and the greatest space cushion. If another driver can't see you it may help to hear you! 2. On the freeway at 65 mph you will travel roughly 75 feet in that split second. So. stepping on the brake. Think Ahead Thinking ahead is anticipation. Always be ready for trouble.on the road . Don't be distracted.. Look to the sides and analyze the road ahead to anticipate problems and be ready to take evasive action. Always drive with as much of a space cushion as possible. That took way too much time to figure at a needed moment so they went with the 3-second rule. . or any combination thereof.waiting 2 or 3 seconds before proceeding on the green. AVOIDING A COLLISION WITH THE CAR AHEAD It’s very simple: always drive at a 3 second following distance.. But if you’re on the cell phone the time it takes to respond could be double.at any speed! Use of the Horn Your horn is an essential tool for collision avoidance. stepping on the gas.has a COMPLEX REACTION TIME of 3/4 of a second. keep your reaction time at its best by limiting your activity when you’re behind the wheel to one thing: OPERATING YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE! Three-second Rule Follow the vehicle in front of you at a three-second interval. And surprise is something you don’t want . Choose your lane and your position within the lane with an eye toward your best chance of safety. steering to the left. Evasive action can be steering right. Reaction Time If you are distracted behind the wheel your reaction time will increase. The old rule had to do with feet and speed. This is the time it takes to get your foot on the brake after you observe a hazard up ahead. And there’s a good chance you won’t be able to stop in time. Escape Techniques If swerving to avoid a vehicle on your right that has cut you off causes you to collide with a vehicle on your left you obviously failed to keep your cushion around you on all sides. Maneuver into some wide-open space if you have to. When to Increase Following Distance to Three Seconds or More Increase following distance in reduced visibility such as nighttime or during inclement weather conditions. never tailgate and pay attention to your driving and you decrease the chances of colliding with the car ahead of you. A vigilant driver whose eyes are where they should be . Anticipation negates the element of surprise.
the greater the distance needed to stop your vehicle. entering an intersection or driving in heavy traffic. Have A Passenger Help with Navigation . If you are stuck behind a larger vehicle that blocks your view you must increase your following distance to decrease the collision potential. visual lead-time should be increased to 30 seconds or roughly 1/4 mile ahead. REMEMBER: Keep your eyes moving! Don’t just look far. On the freeway. pull over and park your car. that means you need to follow at 6 to 9 seconds on a wet road! Momentary Distractions . It takes 4 times the stopping distance at 50 mph than it does at 25 mph! When Adverse Roadway or Weather Conditions Exist It takes 2 to 3 times longer to stop your car when the road is wet. If you have to do something in the car for more than a few seconds. Use good judgment.When Being Tailgated If another vehicle is following you too closely just change lanes and get that vehicle in front of you! Tailgaters are dangerous! Get away from them quickly and safely! When Vision is Blocked or Visibility is Poor Defensive drivers need to see several vehicles ahead (a 1/4-mile ahead on the freeway). take intermittent glances.. Take Short Looks If you must take your eyes off the road. If the recommended following distance on a dry road is 3 seconds.Pick a Safe Time To Look Away If you absolutely must take your eyes off the road be sure not to look away when turning. changing lanes.. look near as well. Check the Situation Ahead In the city. When Speed is Increased The higher the speed. Don’t look away for too long. drivers should have a visual lead time of at least 12 seconds or one block.
and then safely change to an open lane. let them have the map or look for street numbers. you can see over and around the vehicle. even jaywalkers . always slow before entering the curve so your vehicle doesn’t drift across the center lines. Watch for Brake Lights in Adjacent Lanes If you see brake lights up ahead. Wait for the light to change and make sure the opposing traffic has stopped before proceeding through the intersection. This is not only illegal but extremely dangerous as well. be careful. position yourself in such a way as to avoid having larger vehicles in front of you. Is it stopped? It might . Take notice of any signs relating to the upcoming road. And when you are making that left turn on a busy street. A four or five second gap will allow you to see ahead of a large truck. be aware that there might be a problem and prepare yourself. leave more space between you and the vehicle ahead. and/or curves beyond the crest. look at the car in the left lane. Here are just a few: Traffic Controlled Intersections Since most collisions occur in intersections. steepness. If you have a passenger.We’ve all seen drivers on the freeway with maps open on the steering wheel. But certain locations have a greater chance of it. Some are controlled by flashing red lights but others are not. Not an easy thing with all the SUVs on the road! Check Ahead for Speed on Hilltops and Curves When approaching a steep hilltop. Use your rear view mirror to check for vehicles tailgating you.and be prepared to stop. Many wide boulevards have crosswalks in the middle of the block. If possible. Approaching Crosswalks It is imperative to avoid a collision with a pedestrian. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians. Locations to Watch for Trouble A collision can happen anywhere and at any time. don’t be impatient. Beware of the car in the opposing Left Turn Only lane and anticipate that it might try to make that left in front of you. Look Over and Around the Car Ahead If you leave enough space between your vehicle and the vehicles ahead. Start Braking Early Begin braking early to avoid having to slam on them. If you are driving in the right lane and approaching a crosswalk. Look Ahead for Trouble Most trouble can be avoided by looking ahead and paying close attention. If you are being tailgated. always scan left-right-left when driving through. When you approach a curve.
Slippery or Ice-covered Streets Bad weather alone does not cause collisions. Vehicles entering. AVOID BEING REAR-ENDED BY ANOTHER VEHICLE In recent years. Drivers of these vehicles sit much higher and have a better view of the road ahead. Take care around them and try to give yourself some distance. Snow tires and traction devices are needed for snowy/icy conditions. schools. Ice is extremely treacherous . Be alert and aware when driving by parks. doors are very difficult to hang if not done properly. turning left and right. Be ready! When building a house. Parking Lot Entrances Any location that has a lot of activity is hazardous.it could cause a complete loss of control if you don‘t change your driving for it. you can anticipate the blocked lane and move to the left. The lot might be full.be waiting for a pedestrian that is crossing but not visible to you at that point. but many of them still drive like they are in a sports car. Lanes Next to Parked Cars Occasionally a driver will park their car and open the door without looking. Signal Early for Turns. recreational areas and residential streets. An oncoming car can tear it off its hinges. Increase Following Distance from Vehicles Ahead If you are a tailgater you are just begging for trouble. during inclement weather the distance must be increased You need more room to brake and stop. exiting. If someone is sitting behind the wheel there is a chance they are about to open their door or pull out into traffic without looking or signaling. Under perfect conditions follow at 3 seconds. Interchanges Where Cars Enter and Leave If you are proceeding straight through a freeway interchange you should position yourself well in advance. the growth in sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has produced a new set of hazards. Stops. It’s the driver’s inability to adjust that causes collisions. 3. Stay away from merging lanes. Don’t just drive through without slowing to check. If you look ahead. and Lane Changes . causing cars to be lined up into the street. Unsafe lane changing is one of the major causes of collisions on the road. Where Children are at Play Children are unpredictable and have been known to dart out into the street in the path of a motor vehicle. If you are driving in that right lane you must continually scan the parked cars ahead of you.
Check dashboard-warning lights to ensure that your lamps are working. Also. or lane changes. Change lanes carefully. There is a panic button in banks. you should be far enough back to not hit the car in front if you get rear-ended. But a better way is to use your mirrors constantly. change to a slower lane.When you signal early for turns. your brake lights are a warning to that car. But it definitely pays in the long run to give yourself a little more room. Check Direction of Travel Even though you signal. Keep Rear Lights Clean and Working Even if your vehicle is not washed on a regular basis. do not assume that the space you wish to occupy is clear. Brake Smoothly and Gradually Sudden braking is usually a panic move and will surprise the trailing driver. This will allow tailgaters to pass. And it is likely your insurance company will deem the front collision to be your fault because you were stopped too close to that car in front. you let the other drivers know just what you are planning. . Keep Pedal Depressed Whenever you stop at a red light. Keep Pace with Traffic When Possible If you feel you cannot keep up with traffic. Check all mirrors regularly! Before Changing Lanes. keep in mind that the car on the other side of the space might have the same intentions as you. This will help avoid the change from a one car to a two car impact. Glance over your shoulder to check blind spots before making any lane change. The car that hits you from behind could cause you to strike the vehicle in front of you. feeling someone’s hot breath on your neck is one way. They should be activated as early as possible. Remember. After Stopping. keep your foot firmly on the brake. You should be able to see the back of the front car’s back tires. Also. Check Mirrors for Following Distance of Other Vehicles How can you tell if the car behind you is following too closely? Well. you should clean your rear lights when you gas your vehicle. stops.
Select Speeds to Position Vehicle Between Clusters of Vehicles The only way to achieve an adequate space cushion around your vehicle is to analyze the pattern of traffic activity and actively adjust your speed to find breathing room.Speed up or slow down to get him out of your blind spot. The lane is filled to capacity and overflowing into the center lane.Surprises are no fun while driving. The most common maneuvers are to slow or stop. But sometimes it pays to speed up. . Positioning the Vehicle Laterally Be ready for vehicles in adjacent lanes drifting toward you. such as a vehicle turning left in front of you. you must decide what to do next. Identify Hazards Early . while at the same time the traffic signal changes to red and a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk. Choosing a Safe Path of Travel Ahead A common hazard involves a line of cars in the Left Turn Only lane. you have no escape route. you will probably have time to change lanes to the right and proceed through the intersection. Always drive with a space cushion all around your vehicle. Select Lane Position Within Clusters to Allow Greatest Maneuverability • • • • Avoid the other guy’s blind spot . preventing through traffic from proceeding. you must be ready to avoid multiple hazards. Possible Speed or Position Adjustments Using good visual lead-time allows you to avoid difficult situations by speeding up. Importance of Adequate Visual Leads Scanning the road well ahead of your vehicle will enable you to identify hazards earlier. or making lane changes. Sound familiar? If you spot this hazard early.4. Look over and around the car ahead of you. The Surgeon General says that smoking is hazardous to your health. thus making evasive action easier to accomplish. Only do this briefly to avoid the collision. Avoiding Multiple Hazards . Don’t forget to check parked vehicles if you’re driving in the right lane. slowing down. Adjusting your position within your lane can help you avoid getting sideswiped. HOW TO CHOOSE AN ALTERNATIVE PATH OF TRAVEL AS ESCAPE ROUTE If other vehicles surround your vehicle…. It is generally safer to accelerate into a lane change than to brake into one. Predict Potential Hazards . Keep your eyes moving and check your mirrors frequently.Defensive drivers are constantly asking themselves two questions: 1) What is likely to happen? and 2) What is the worst thing that could happen? You can avoid a wreck by expecting the unexpected. Adjust Speed and Position to Avoid Potential Hazards After identifying a potential hazard.In heavy traffic.
Slow Before Entering If you negotiate a curve at too high a rate of speed. particularly on a 2 lane rural road. Be Prepared to Brake and Move to the Right One of the deadliest collisions is being hit head-on. Compromise to Reduce the Risk of Hazards Sometimes we are confronted by multiple hazards. An Approaching Vehicle Drifts into Lane of Travel A head-on collision must be avoided at all costs. Defensive drivers are always looking for a safety zone . centrifugal force could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Avoid hitting anything head-on by bailing out onto the shoulder or other suitable escape route. On a Curve Curves are dangerous when drivers ignore the need to reduce speed. Be ready for a car initiating a reckless lane change and pulling out into yours. Sound Horn and Flash Lights Sound your horn and flash your headlights. in case the oncoming driver is asleep or passed out.even before the need arises. Slow Down On recognizing the possibility of a head-on collision. By driving defensively you should notice that the right shoulder might be an adequate escape route. If you wait. Stay to the Right of the Lane . Watch for yellow diamond warning signs and slow down! Always slow when approaching and accelerate out of the curve.Anticipate and Plan Possible Escape Routes Don’t wait for an emergency to look for an escape route. Pull to the Right Pull to the right even if it means striking the vehicle next to you. immediately slow down. Defensive drivers must analyze these dangers and quickly decide on a course of action that will reduce the collision potential or eliminate it entirely. A Long Line of Cars Approaching from the Opposite Direction This is a hazardous situation. it may be too late. The author used to play little league on a baseball diamond.
Why does this happen? If it bends it won’t break. take your foot off the brake just before the impact and then hit the brake again. By letting your car roll a bit. What should you do? Ease up on brake to allow slight forward movement to absorb energy from impact. 5. PROTECTING YOURSELF WHEN A COLLISION CANNOT BE AVOIDED If a collision is inevitable. Use of Head Restraints . If you can and there is no one in front of you. Being Hit from the Rear Picture this: you are stopped at a red light. On a four lane road the safest lane in which to negotiate a curve is the right lane. you absorb some of the impact. Relax your body. Serious injuries may result.On a two-lane road. slamming on the brakes may prevent you from being hit by cross-traffic. You glance up into your rear-view mirror and see a vehicle bearing down on you at about 35 mph. But be careful! You don’t want to be driving so fast as to have to drift into the left lane. don’t tighten up your arms. drivers who have the time to react and brace themselves are often injured more seriously. Conversely. keep to the right side of your lane. If you are a passenger in the front seat of a vehicle that is about to be hit NEVER put your feet up on the dash to brace yourself. There’s no escape route ahead or to the sides. Relax! INTERESTING FACT: Many drivers who are surprised by a collision tend to be injured less severely because their bodies are relaxed at the very moment of impact. When to Apply the Brakes If you are rear-ended and the force of the collision propels you into an intersection. This will protect you if an oncoming vehicle drifts over the center lines. A lot of damage is done because the irresistible force is hitting the immovable object. try to minimize injury by turning your vehicle in such a way as to distance yourself (assuming you are alone in the car) from the force of the impact. You have hopefully not stopped too close to the car in front of you and you are wearing your safety belt.
Covering your face with your hands might provide you with an added measure of protection. Always steer in the opposite direction from a right-angled. you are risking a whiplash injury. or “T”-angled. Being Hit from the Front Prevention is the best remedy for a head-on collision. Protection When Not Wearing a Shoulder Strap Some drivers tuck the shoulder strap under their armpit because it is uncomfortable. Trying to hold your body back by gripping the steering wheel in a collision at just 30 mph would be like jumping out of a third-floor window and putting out your arms in front of you to break the fall! . Being Hit from the Side If you are alone in your car. On a street with no center turn lane. Always wear a shoulder strap. If your head restraint is positioned too low as to allow your head to bend back. Bracing Against the Steering Wheel If you are struck from the side. impact. a right side collision is obviously preferable to being hit broadside on the left. Protecting Your Face When Wearing a Shoulder Strap The shoulder belt will prevent your face and upper body from striking the steering wheel during a head-on collision. Adjust the headrest to cushion your head by not letting it fly back. Decrease the odds of this ever happening to you by remembering to scan left-right-left whenever you enter an intersection! Preparing to Steer If you are struck by another vehicle from the side it is still possible to control your vehicle. Some drivers feel they don't need to wear a shoulder strap and assume that they can brace themselves adequately in a collision and don’t need a shoulder strap.Make sure your head restraint is properly positioned. the left lane has greater inherent danger since the only thing that is separating you from that oncoming car is two lines of yellow paint Stay in the right. This is a seat-belt violation and you might suffer serious facial injuries in even a low speed collision. Try not to have the sun visor down as that might do damage if it strikes your head. brace your head on the headrest and remember to relax your body. where you are sitting.
Immediately reduce to low beams. or riding bikes and skateboards. Too many senseless deaths occur due to the driver not being aware of his surroundings. Pay special attention around: Maintenance and Construction Areas Orange signs indicate road construction and maintenance. haven’t you? When driving at night on a country road with your high beams on you might see the eyes of a deer shining up ahead on the shoulder to your right. Kids can be unpredictable whether they’re on foot chasing balls and Frisbees. The deer might otherwise dart out in front of your car or just freeze in the middle of the road. REMEMBER: TRAFFIC FINES ARE DOUBLED IN WORK ZONES! Slow down and drive cautiously when the roadway is busy with construction and maintenance. If you can. And don’t forget your own driveway! Check behind your car before you even get inside to make sure your kids aren’t playing there.6. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS Certain emergencies arise when you least expect them and require a constant level of vigilance from the driver. . But certain driving environments are just more indigenously hazardous than others. A squirrel could dart out in front of you at any moment on any city street. schools or any location where children might be congregating. In rural areas (and in many mountainous urban areas as well) you could easily encounter a deer or other large animal in the roadway. You have heard of the expression “like a deer caught in the headlights”.you might hit a pedestrian instead. Orange cones are used to close off lanes and funnel traffic flow. don’t swerve to avoid the animal . Watch for flagmen directing cars. Children Be cautious when driving by parks. firmly apply your brakes. but don’t make any abrupt steering maneuvers unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that your escape route is clear. Animals Animals are a potential hazard in any kind of driving environment. Although it might be your first reflex reaction.
The speed limit in a residential area is 25 mph. You should drive slower in inclement weather because the condition of the road is not optimal. or debris up ahead? How heavy is traffic? Are there visibility problems? You can be cited for driving at the posted speed limit in weather conditions that are less than safe. up to 70mph. And then there are those that just don’t know the laws pertaining to speed. However. A. 1. But keep in mind. For example. ESTABLISHED SPEED LAWS Speed limits are established by law and. pedestrians. so be careful and always pay attention to speed limit signs.22349 V. even though it is not always posted. Every driver must ask the question: “Am I going too fast for these conditions?” Rain. 22356 V. Others just aren’t paying attention and don’t realize they are speeding. PURPOSE OF BASIC SPEED LAW The Basic Speed Law says you may never drive faster than is safe for prevailing conditions. these speeds change at a moment's notice. often ignored. but it's pouring rain. RESIDENTIAL ZONES Residential zones are usually areas defined by single-family dwellings. while in densely populated and heavily traveled urban areas we are required to drive more slowly.. interstate highways and in rural areas. maximum speed is 55 mph. fog are hazardous conditions that you must be alert to. let's assume you are traveling at 35 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone. some people believe the law does not apply to them or their situation. The basic speed law applies.” There are families with children who live on residential streets. C.C. it doesn’t give anyone the right to drive too fast. Just because the street may appear to be wide open. please keep in mind that the key word here is “residential. Let’s review them now. Is there construction.) A higher speed limit can be found on the interstate away from urban congestion. SPEED LIMITS FOR DESIGNATED AREAS Faster speeds are allowed on freeways. snow. FREEWAY. Slower vehicles should always keep to the right side of the roadway. You may not drive so slow as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic unless it is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law. Why? Well. Just because you think it is safe doesn't mean that it actually is safe. .C. PURPOSE OF MINIMUM SPEED LAWS Minimum speed laws ensure a safe traffic flow. Some residential areas with wider streets have a posted speed limit.IV. The speed limit on the freeway ranges usually from 65 mph to as low as 55 mph. a bicycle rider. sleet. according to the conditions. Please remember to drive cautiously. (On a 2 lane undivided highway with no posted speed limits. B. unfortunately. 2.
stop signs. 3. you also have to look for pedestrians. however. utilize any other funds available to it to pay for the erection of those signs. or yield right-of-way signs. Alley . The law also provides that the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit with respect to school grounds is applicable when approaching or passing within 500 feet of the school grounds. A local authority is not required to erect any sign pursuant to this paragraph until donations from private sources covering those costs are received and the local agency makes a determination that the proposed signing should be implemented." The letter of the law defines that as any time during school hours essentially from 7AM to 5PM! Keep in mind that "present" doesn't necessarily mean visible. SENIOR CENTERS-22352 V. and for cars pulling out into the street. In a residential area. fences and large vehicles parked close to the intersection. Also. bushes. RAILROAD CROSSING. 5. children riding bikes may suddenly veer into the street. Fines for violation that occur in school zones are enhanced. 4. signs. What could obstruct your view up the street? Anything from trees. For example. who are crossing more often. 6. BUSINESS DISTRICTS A business district contains commercial enterprises. keep in mind the inherent dangers of a business district! Cars make illegal U-turns from parked positions. the speed limit is 15mph. Pedestrians often race across the street without notice. 8. SCHOOL ZONES School zone speed limit signs indicate an order to reduce speed (to 25 or 15 mph) "WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT. contiguous to a street other than a state highway and posted with a standard "SENIOR" warning sign. 7. They can hide behind trees and may dash out into the street suddenly. They are also very unpredictable. Trucks back up seemingly out of nowhere. The speed limit in a business district ranges from 25 mph to a speed deemed safe by the engineer and is posted according to the city engineer’s assessment of traffic conditions. This subdivision does not apply in the case of any railway grade crossing where a human flagman is on duty or a clearly visible electrical or mechanical railway crossing signal device is installed but does not then indicate the immediate approach of a railway train or car. it will take you and your vehicle much longer to react to the situation. A local authority may. they chase balls and other toys that roll out into the road. When traversing a railway grade crossing. The vehicle code requires drivers to reduce speed to 15 mph unless the intersection is controlled by traffic control signals.22352 V. If you are traveling at a higher rate of speed and something unexpected happens. if during the last 100 feet of the approach to the crossing the driver does not have a clear and unobstructed view of the crossing and of any traffic on the railway for a distance of 400 feet in both directions along the railway . When passing a senior center or other facility primarily used by senior citizens.C.Children are small and hard to see. the speed limit is 25 mph.C. But again. BLIND INTERSECTIONS If you can't see at least 100 feet down the cross street in both directions within 100 feet of an intersection you are approaching a blind intersection.
These include: • • • • • • • Any vehicle pulling a trailer A truck with 3 or more axles Any vehicle transporting explosives Any vehicle towing another vehicle A farm labor vehicle transporting passengers Any school bus transporting students Any trailer bus These vehicles may never exceed 55 mph under any circumstances. when the road is wet it takes 2 to 3 times longer to get the job done! Stopping your motor vehicle requires a series of separate and discreet steps: 1. REACTION TIME AND DISTANCE You react to the hazard. A vehicle traveling at 50 mph requires 4 times the braking distance of a vehicle traveling half as fast at 25 mph. It takes an average of 3/4 second to touch the brake after you decide you need to stop. state of alertness and level of distraction. 2. 3. PERCEPTION TIME AND DISTANCE You perceive the need to stop and you take action to do so. In other words. SPEED AND STOPPING DISTANCE You need to pull over for an unmarked police car. E.and it is affected by many factors including the driver’s age and physical condition. D. F. the speed limit is 15mph. TEMPORARY MAXIMUM SPEED LIMIT (22349 VC) . it increases exponentially. BRAKING DISTANCE You are slowing to a stop with your foot depressing the brake. And remember. Stopping your car takes a LOT longer than you think both in time and distance. This is reaction time .While traveling in an alley unless otherwise stated. 4. This is perception time and it is affected by the driver’s vision. The author has been trying to reduce his weight. take your foot off the gas and place it on the brake. STOPPING DISTANCE Perception distance + reaction distance + braking distance = stopping distance. SPEED LIMITS FOR DESIGNATED VEHICLES Certain vehicles are required by law to observe reduced speed limits. The author has been trying to reduce his weight. The distance traveled during reaction time is referred to as reaction distance.
traffic and the surface and width of the highway. With exception to the prima facie speed limits. unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation. Any person who drives a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 100 miles per hour is guilty of an infraction punishable by fine or suspension. any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. If a vehicle is caught driving at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic and is not being driven in the right-hand lane (or as close to the right edge or curb). undivided highway at a speed greater than 55 miles per hour unless that highway. H. be sure not to do it in your vehicle! A first conviction for involvement in a speed contest will lead to a court order to perform 40 hours of community service.No person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour. even on a street that has no sign. has been posted for a higher speed by the Department of Transportation or appropriate local agency upon the basis of an engineering and traffic survey. 15 mph in any alley 15 mph when traversing railway grade crossings. G. This does not apply if the railway grade crossing has a signal device. proof of financial responsibility will be required for reinstatement. . except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. in addition to fines and/or jail time. Also. If your driving privilege is suspended. or portion thereof. MINIMUM SPEED LAW (22400 VC) No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. I. the driver does not have a clear and unobstructed view of the railway for a distance of 400 feet in each direction. which is likely. PRIMA FACIE SPEED LIMITS (22352 VC) Have you ever driven down a street that has no speed limit sign? This doesn’t mean you can make up your own speed! The law requires every licensed driver to know the speed limit. You have to pull over for an unmarked police car. • • • • • 25 mph on a highway (other than state highway) and in any business or residential district. BASIC SPEED LIMIT (22350 VC) No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather. visibility. J. a person may not drive a vehicle upon a two-lane. 25 mph when passing a Senior Center adjacent to a street. 15 mph approaching a blind intersection (uncontrolled) when no traffic controls are present. the driver could be cited for a violation. In no event may a person drive at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property. SPEED CONTESTS ( 23109 VC) If you think racing is fun.
However. two sets of double yellow lines are considered to be an "island" or a "wall. DESIGNATED LANES OF TRAVEL On most roads we have a choice . If. Any of the following vehicles must be driven in designated lanes. side street) BROKEN LINES . For example." SOLID LINES . and even ‘double-double’ lines all have a special purpose. or if no lane has been designate. first we must understand the markings of the lanes. the driver may use the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane. in the right-hand lane or a close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway. we depend on yellow and white lines to designate the way the roads should be traveled. and every licensed driver must know their meaning. specific lane or lanes have not been designated on a divided highway having four or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction.may not be crossed (generally speaking. This does not apply to a driver who is preparing for a left or right-hand turn or who is in the process of entering or existing from a highway or to a driver who is . • • • • • • • A A A A A A A truck with 3 or more axles truck towing another vehicle passenger vehicle towing another vehicle school bus transporting students trailer bus vehicle transporting explosives farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers When passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.separate vehicles traveling in the same direction. Your decision will be influenced by two factors: the type of road and your safety needs.anywhere from 2 to 6 lanes in which to position our vehicles. A. Specialized lanes are reserved for specific vehicles and maneuvers. PROPER LANE USE In order to understand proper lane use.may be crossed if it is safe to do so. Double lines. broken lines.V. YELLOW LINES. unless otherwise prohibited. but you can cross them to turn left into a driveway. however. single lines.separate vehicles traveling in opposite directions (except freeway carpool lanes). One example is while making a left turn. WHITE LINES . Do your best to refrain from crossing white lines needlessly. There are arrows that indicate direction and special lanes dedicated to buses and bicycles. this applies only if they are single (double) yellow lines. You are only allowed to cross these lines under certain conditions. any such vehicle may be driven in either of the two right hand lanes.
No exceptions! 2. a left-turn or U-turn shall not be made from any other lane . and other driver’s blind spots too.C.5 V. keep in mind that smaller vehicles are . 4. Vehicles may not use the two-way left-turn lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into a highway or when preparing for or making a U-turn when such turn is permitted by law.A two-way left-turn lane may not be used for passing. Section 1. nor in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle where the roadway ahead is clearly visible and the center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance. 3. If you are constantly driving to the right rear or left rear of another vehicle. you may be in their blind spot. Watch for signs and pavement markings that restrict vehicle usage and limit direction. B.) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes a vehicle shall not be driven in the extreme left lane at any time. TWO-WAY LEFT-TURN LANE (21460. When a two-way left-turn lane is available. Vehicles must stay safely positioned inside these lanes. with the inside line dashed and the outside line solid on each side of the lane. if you’re in another driver’s blind spot. or in preparation for a left turn. or where the center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signposted to give notice of such allocation. This means you risk that the other driver cannot see you. you could be vulnerable to a collision.C. Solid double yellow lines on a road prohibit passing even when there is no oncoming traffic.) A two-way left-turn is a lane near the center of the highway set aside for use by vehicles making left turns in both directions from or into the highway. However. LANED ROADWAYS On a road with multiple lanes in each direction. POSITION OF VEHICLE IN LANE OF TRAVEL Every driver must continually adjust his/her vehicle's position inside the lane. This section does not apply upon a one-way roadway. are usually divided by 'meridian barriers. No vehicle may be driven in a two-way left-turn lane for a distance of more than 200 feet. They are designated by parallel double yellow lines. The other driver may think it is safe to suddenly change lanes.' Most other roadways use raised or painted dividers or "double-double" lines two feet or more apart to separate oncoming traffic. Also. broken white lines will indicate each lane of travel. in reaction to the movement of other vehicles. Be wary of your own blinds spots. such as freeways. DIVIDED HIGHWAYS Divided highways. THREE-LANE HIGHWAYS (21659 & 22348c V.required necessarily to drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on his or her intended route. The law does not prohibit a vehicle from being driven across a two-way left-turn lane.
rather than DOWN the hill use your brake. 2. MOUNTAIN ROADWAYS If two vehicles traveling in opposite directions cannot pass each other on a mountain road. MARKED LANES Position your vehicle in the center of the lane to minimize the chances of colliding with vehicles on either side of you. Be particularly careful on curves . REQUIRED LANE USE AND USE OF TURNOUTS In order to improve the flow of traffic on rural or mountainous roadways where slower moving vehicles like motor homes and recreational vehicles are likely to be encountered.) 3. EXCEPTIONS TO DRIVING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF ROADWAY Generally you must be on the right side of the roadway when driving. 1. SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES .even if you have the right of way. The car going downhill must back up the hill to allow the other vehicle to pass. 5. traffic engineers have recommended special laws. If a small car stays in another driver’s blind spot. Make sure to control your speed when traveling down a steep grade. Signal and move to the right granting the oncoming car at least 50% of the main portion of the roadway. 4. it will certainly help you to avoid an accident.’ That could cause them to overheat and perhaps fail. NARROW ROADWAYS When driving on a narrow country road or on a winding urban hillside street be sure to reduce speed and keep to the right.and be sure to sound your horn if the curve is blind (where you cannot see at least 200 feet around the curve. the uphill car has the right-of-way. don’t demand it! If you’re thinking of safety first. its driver is creating an unnecessary risk! 1. Remember to yield to another car . Use a lower gear and avoid ‘riding the brakes. This is because it is always easier to back UP a hill using the gas.more difficult to see. Remember to keep your eyes moving constantly and scanning for hazards and other vehicles that are potential problems. They are: • • • • • When the right half of the roadway is closed When passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction When the roadway is too narrow Driving on a one-way street When making a left turn C. There are a few exceptions to this rule. OTHER VEHICLE APPROACHING Always watch for oncoming vehicles up ahead entering your lane of travel in order to pass. Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Passing on a winding mountain road is always ILLEGAL! Also keep in mind that even if you have the right of way.
slower-moving vehicles must pull off to allow vehicles behind to proceed ahead.5. however. V. (minimum of $271 in Ca. the lane to the immediate left of the right-hand lane. Motorcycles may travel in the diamond lane. . When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. or the right-hand lane for traffic as permitted under this code. some diamond lanes require three or more passengers. The violation is costly. If 5 or more vehicles are behind a slower moving vehicle. Designated Lanes for Certain Vehicles Whenever the Department of Transportation or local authorities with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions determines upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that the designation of a specific lane or lanes for the travel of vehicles required to travel at reduced speeds would facilitate the safe and orderly movement of traffic.Unless preparing to turn left. and any vehicle subject to the provisions of Section 22406 shall be driven in the lane or lanes designated pursuant to subdivision (a) whenever signs have been erected giving notice of that designation. any of those vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right edge or curb. However. a specific lane or lanes have not been designated on a divided highway having four or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction. any of those vehicles may also be driven in the lane to the immediate left of that right-hand lane.) If the road has a turnout. the department or local authority may designate a specific lane or lanes for the travel of vehicles which are subject to the provisions of Section 22406 and shall erect signs at reasonable intervals giving notice thereof.C. a slow-moving vehicle must drive in the right lane. that vehicle is required by law to pull off the road to the right (as soon as is practicable and safe. driving in them interrupts the flow of traffic. the driver shall use either the designated lane.) but more to the point. except as provided in Section 21655. If you do not qualify. If. Section 21655 Any trailer bus. SPECIAL VEHICLES Special vehicles such as buses or vehicles with two or more passengers may use the diamond lane if available. 3. and low emission and hybrid vehicles (45 mpg or higher) displaying a special decal from the DMV may use the lane as well without the required number of passengers. don't drive in these special lanes. when a specific lane or lanes have not been so designated. unless otherwise prohibited under this code. 2. Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision.
And when you are driving. VI. VISIBILITY AND BODY POSTURE The position of your body in the driver’s seat will affect your ability to see behind you. look under parked cars ahead for children’s feet. especially small children. 1. SMALL OBJECTS If you take a walk around your vehicle before getting inside you will avoid damaging your children’s toys not to mention your own tires on sharp pieces of debris. or him/her. B. BACKING UP SAFELY Backing up is a very simple move. CHECK BEHIND THE VEHICLE BEFORE GETTING IN There is a contiguous blind spot that surrounds every vehicle. The author thinks his girlfriend is special. Cautious drivers usually back up at a slow rate of speed. . Your child will be upset if you back over his/her skateboard.This subdivision does not apply to a driver who is preparing for a left. 2. CHILDREN Children and pets are difficult to see from the driver’s seat.or right-hand turn or who is entering into or exiting from a highway or to a driver who must necessarily drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on his or her intended route. Drivers must make visual confirmation that their blind zone is free of obstacles. Use proper posture here and make sure you can see. A. there is a routine that every driver should follow when getting into their vehicle. Backing up is EXTREMELY dangerous when not done correctly! Prior to backing up. always check for children. who can dart into the street behind your vehicle. Before entering your vehicle.
2. 2. Turning a vehicle while backing up complicates matters enormously because you have a much better chance of losing control of the vehicle. Place your LEFT hand at the top of the steering wheel. This is especially true if you think other drivers could be approaching. SPEED CONTROL Backing should be executed in a slow. If you plan ahead. you should never have to back up around a corner. D. BACKING SPEED A vehicle should move in reverse no faster than a person can walk. NEVER rely solely on your mirrors to back up. If for some reason you find yourself in a position that requires you to attempt this dangerous maneuver. if necessary. it is strongly suggested that you avoid this move whenever possible. C. On vehicles with manual transmissions. you can always go around the block. Your head should be turned forward intermittently when turning the vehicle while backing. the clutch will have to be engaged. 2. However. Once again. 1. If you just decide to punch your accelerator. STEERING Backing up in a straight line is dangerous enough. For example. SHARP TURNS As you turn in reverse the front of your vehicle could swing out and strike an obstruction. releasing pressure on the brake will provide sufficient movement. the chances of you losing control increase dramatically. there are some drivers who think that saving 20 seconds is worth the risk of endangering themselves and others. 1. BODY POSITION WHILE STEERING Backing up safely requires a shift in body position. Turn your head forward and check the front of your vehicle. HEAD POSITION WHILE STEERING Looking out the rear window gives you maximum visibility.1. These drivers are not expecting to see another vehicle approaching them. use extreme caution when backing around a corner. deliberate manner. Turn your head and upper body to the RIGHT and look out the rear window. Always be aware of the slightest sound or motion. To make a movie you need a lot of backing. RELEASE OF BRAKE PEDAL On vehicles with automatic transmissions. E. You can prevent the front of your vehicle from hitting any obstructions. WHEN MOVEMENT IS CONSTRICTED . Stop the vehicle completely if you need to. Also make sure your windows are clean and clear of hanging obstacles. since visibility is limited to the rear of the vehicle. BACKING AROUND A CORNER Backing up around a corner is an extremely dangerous maneuver.
FIND PARKING SPACES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE BACKING If you plan ahead and search carefully. If you enter an empty parking lot it’s a good idea to pull your vehicle forward into a space that adjoins end-to-end and park facing out. Always make an effort to physically turn and look out the windows. you can usually find a parking space that requires little or no backing. If you have passengers in the car with you. ask for help! 2. you won’t have to back up. you are bound to be near an intoxicated driver so extra caution is called for. Allow others to leave before you. When it’s time to leave. 1. Thousands of drivers are getting into their cars and backing out of parking spaces.You’re in a crowded parking lot after a sporting event. It is a lot easier to leave a crowded parking area after it isn’t so crowded. If a driver is intoxicated. For instance. he or she is more apt to be in front of you then. utility companies require that their drivers back into parking spaces so that. where you can keep an eye on them. if possible. USE MIRRORS AND PASSENGERS TO HELP NAVIGATE Make sure you use your mirrors effectively. Never use mirrors only to see your way. when they leave the space. 3. Extra caution is required Keep in mind also that in situations like this. . WHENEVER POSSIBLE AVOID BACKING All dangerous maneuvers should be avoided. they can pull out in a forward direction.
IDENTIFYING AN INTERSECTION Learn to interpret traffic signals. traffic signals and YIELD signs are present to “control” the traffic flow. Most collisions in city driving occur while entering.VII. UNCONTROLLED When no signs or signals are present is the intersection really uncontrolled? No. inside or exiting an intersection A. traffic signs and street signs that inform you how to handle the traffic at intersections. CONTROLLED Stop signs. the drivers who must exercise extreme caution to proceed through the intersection safely control it. 2. INTERACTING AT INTERSECTIONS An intersection is any location where two roadways cross or join. 1. .
2. If your vehicle is on the right be certain the other driver has surrendered the rightof-way before you proceed. . LEFT TURNS . When approaching an uncontrolled intersection. the duration of time for you to wait is 4 seconds. A traffic officer directing traffic and a delayed green light will also provide a protected left turn. scan left-right-left and proceed if safe.Uncontrolled intersections are usually located in residential areas. the vehicle on the left must yield to the vehicle on the right. PEDESTRIANS.PROTECTED AND UNPROTECTED A protected left turn is indicated by a green arrow with the opposing traffic having a red light. C. When making a right it’s 6 seconds and for a left it’s 7 seconds. Whenever possible. And never insist on the right of way. BICYCLES) Never assume that just because you have a green light you are invulnerable to another driver running the red. Always slow down when making this turn four wheels are always better than two. cross or turn busy streets at signal-controlled intersections rather than at intersections controlled only by a stop sign. even if it’s yours! B. especially if the left turn must yield to oncoming vehicles. JUDGING SPEED AND DISTANCE OF OTHER VEHICLES How fast is that other vehicle moving? How far is it away from you? Are you likely to collide with that vehicle? If a car is coming straight. As you make your turn. Make eye contact and don’t assume. scan left and right but never proceed until you confirm a large enough opening in the traffic closest to you on the left. 1. 1. make sure the crosswalks are clear and watch for bicyclists on the sidewalk preparing to enter the crosswalk from your right. An unprotected left turn requires the driver to wait for oncoming vehicles to pass before making the left. 3. When two vehicles arrive at the same time. CHOOSING A TRAFFIC GAP OR SPACE TO ENTER OR CROSS TRAFFIC When waiting at a stop sign. JUDGING TIME TO MAKE A MANEUVER A right turn will take longer than proceeding straight through the intersection. Left turns can take considerably longer. SCAN FOR HAZARDS (OTHER VEHICLES. SKILLS REQUIRED FOR CROSSING AND TURNING Special skills are needed for crossing and turning at intersections. reduce speed to 15 mph.
It is never safe to only look for vehicles.2. SCAN FOR HAZARDS (OTHER VEHICLES. keep your wheels pointed straight ahead. pedestrians and bicyclists are the main thing to look out for. make the turn.BEFORE AND AFTER TURN A left turn must be initiated from the (legal) lane farthest to the left. RIGHT TURNS . SUVs and commercial vehicles on the nation’s roadways are making blocked views a common hazard. 3. Make sure he is stopping before you commit to the turn! When turning onto a multi-lane street. CHECK FOR CONTROLLED LANES AND SIGNALS . While waiting to turn. the left turn vehicle can finish in any lane that is open if it’s safe. VEHICLE POSITION . BICYCLES) Since the right turn is executed closest to the curb. This prevents you from entering oncoming traffic lanes if you get hit from behind. Creep up into the intersection (not too far) and wait for oncoming traffic to clear. Judge the speed of oncoming vehicles . Get a clear view of the intersection before turning left.especially motorcycles. 1. 2.DON’T ASSUME the oncoming car will stop. when turning right always watch for an opposing left turn vehicle finishing in your target lane. D. But. After confirming the adjacent crosswalk is clear of pedestrians. PEDESTRIANS. because there is a good chance he won’t. A right turn arrow does not guarantee that a pedestrian or cyclist won’t suddenly appear in your path.PROTECTED AND UNPROTECTED A right turn executed improperly could cause major problems. Most of the time it will be a LEFT TURN ONLY lane. On a clear day you can see forever. When turning on the change of the light . WHEN VIEW IS BLOCKED Trucks.
Section 21209 E.TURNS The U-Turn is extremely dangerous. U .C. 5. WHEN VIEW IS BLOCKED It is unsafe to turn if you can‘t see. BICYCLES) Be certain there are no other vehicles within 200 feet and scan for pedestrians and bicyclists. Watch for all signs and signals. PEDESTRIANS. Right turn must finish in the right lane! 4. VEHICLE POSITION . particularly right turn arrows.BEFORE AND AFTER TURN A vehicle must have established position in the right lane and be signaling at least 100 feet before the intersection. simultaneous turn lanes and signs that prohibit right turn on red.Be on the lookout when driving through busy commercial intersections. V. SCAN FOR HAZARDS (OTHER VEHICLES. 3. So slow down and/or stop. 1. like turning around inside a parking lot or going around the block. scan the road and proceed with caution. (2) To enter or leave the roadway. He must yield for you but that driver . Watch to your left for a vehicle turning right on a red. (3) To prepare for a turn within a distance of 200 feet from the intersection. USE OF BIKE LANE FOR TURNS The only instances when driving in a bicycle lane are permitted are: You may not drive in a bicycle lane unless: (1) To park where parking is permitted. Consider a safer option.
F. BICYCLES) Make sure other vehicles. A permitted u-turn may be across double yellow lines when safe. SCAN FOR HAZARDS (OTHER VEHICLES. PROCEEDING STRAIGHT Green means go only when it’s SAFE to proceed. Watch the lead vehicle in the opposing LEFT TURN ONLY lane. except in an intersection. A u-turn is also permitted from a parked position.if safe. 2. pedestrians and bicyclists have acknowledged your right-of-way. It is always helpful to make eye contact with them and let him know you are making that U-turn. Scan left-right-left when proceeding through any intersection. . ILLEGAL U-TURNS • • • • • In the middle of a business/ commercial street (unless that street has a break in a raised or painted median and no prohibitive sign) In front of a fire station On a one-way street Anywhere a NO U-TURN is posted Upon a highway anytime a person does not have an unobstructed view of traffic in both directions for a distance of 200 feet.BEFORE AND AFTER TURN A U-Turn must start from the (legal) lane farthest to the left. Always anticipate a vehicle running the red light. but is not recommended and should be avoided!! 3. It doesn’t get you anywhere faster and that late red vehicle is coming through fast! 1.might not know the law. It may be completed into any opposite lane . of course. CHECK FOR PROHIBITIVE SIGNS If the controlled intersection has no sign pertaining to U-Turns then the maneuver is legal. especially when the light initially changes to green. PEDESTRIANS. It could make a sudden turn directly in front of your vehicle. Don’t be quick off the line. VEHICLE POSITION .
COVERING THE BRAKE PEDAL When driving through a busy intersection. After you change lanes. DISTANCE REQUIRED All turns and lane changes must be signaled at least 100 ft prior to initiating the maneuver. take your foot off the gas and place your foot on (but don’t depress) the brake pedal. SIGNALING FOR TURNS AND STOPS Every turn and lane change must be preceded by a blinking turn signal. 3. I’m sure most of us have been behind that car with the left turn signal flashing in the fast lane of the highway! The lighting of the torch signals the start of the Olympics. Sometimes the signal fails to cancel and must be turned off manually. 1. Signaling our intentions is a vital element in that communication. Brake lights will indicate to the other drivers that you’re stopping. PURPOSE OF SIGNALING To drive safely we must communicate with one another. just make sure your turn signal is off. G. The reaction time you save in an emergency stop situation could help you avoid a collision. 2. . DURATION OF SIGNAL Turn signals will turn off automatically after the turn is completed.2.
A. DESIGNATED LANE USE AND MARKINGS On a highway with a double yellow line at the center. you may only pass when the line on your side is broken.as long as the pass is executed safely and you do not exceed the speed limit. That’s a dangerous attitude. NEVER pass when the line on your side is solid. Two-lane Roadways . and not an intelligent one. If the vehicle you wish to pass is at or near the speed limit YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PASS! That would require you to exceed the speed limit.VIII. Do not be impatient. stay in your lane and try again later when it looks safe B. which is against the law. 1.the one passing and the one being passed .have to work together for this move to be successfully completed too many drivers feel challenged or offended when they are being passed. DEMANDS OF PROPER PASSING Good Judgment Before you pass. PASSING AND BEING PASSED Both drivers . ask yourself two questions: “Is it legal to pass?” “Is it safe to pass?” Rapid Decision-making Passing safely requires quick thinking and rapid reflexes. WHEN PASSING IS AUTHORIZED Lane markings and signs indicate when passing is allowed. Judgment suffers when a driver is frustrated. it is legal to pass a slower moving vehicle on the right . Freeway On the freeway. PASSING Passing is the most dangerous maneuver in all of driving. NEVER cross a “doubledouble” – two (2) pairs of solid yellow lines. When in doubt. Many factors need to come together properly in order for a pass to be executed safely. 1.
WHEN PASSING IS PROHIBITED 1. It is also prohibited to pass another vehicle going uphill over double yellow lines. Two-lane Roadways You are prohibited from passing within 100 feet of an intersection. Freeways You may never pass another vehicle on the freeway by exceeding the speed limit. yellow lines. or at railroad crossings. or at railroad crossings. Do not pass on curves. solid. Do not pass on curves. under bridges. C. SPECIAL SITUATIONS The vehicle code has identified five circumstances in which passing is very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs on two lane roads: 1. D. WITHOUT SUFFICIENT CLEARANCE . or when traversing an intersection. DESIGNATED LANE USE AND MARKINGS The law prohibits passing over double. Watch for NO PASSING signs posted on rural roads prior to a hill or an intersection.You are prohibited from passing within 100 feet of. It is also prohibited to pass another vehicle going uphill over double yellow lines. under bridges.
2. ON A HILL When driving up a hill behind a vehicle moving at less than 20 mph. E. DANGEROUS PASSING SITUATIONS . INTERSECTIONS OR RAILROAD CROSSINGS It is prohibited to drive to the left side of the roadway when approaching within 100 feet of or when traversing any railroad grade crossing. Even traffic on the other side of the street (going in the opposite direction) must stop. V. do not pass unless you are moving at least 10 mph faster. Section 21752 (d).You may never enter the left lane to pass unless that lane is completely visible in a straight away view and free of oncoming traffic. 4. SCHOOL BUS A school bus displaying flashing red lights may never be passed until the lights are turned off. "Bridges of Madison County" was a famous book made into a movie. 5.C. 3. You don't have to stop if you are on a divided road and a raised or painted median or 'doubledouble' (yellow lines) separate you from the bus or if you are on a multi-lane highway and the bus is on the other roadway that is headed in the opposite direction. BRIDGES OR ABUTMENTS Never attempt to pass when your vehicle is within 100 feet of a tunnel or a bridge.
A hill crest hides oncoming traffic. you can be ticketed. 1. be certain that the oncoming car is far enough away to allow you to complete the pass safely. straight road ahead. SIGHT DISTANCE AHEAD IS LIMITED Never try to pass another vehicle if there is not a clear. A fast moving vehicle coming around a curve could be difficult to see. 2. Other vehicles might turn and cross your path or stop abruptly ahead of you. ONCOMING CAR TOO CLOSE Before pulling out to pass. CAR AHEAD IS AT OR NEAR THE SPEED LIMIT It is illegal if the car you wish to pass is at or near the speed limit and you exceed the speed limit to pass. the safest move would be to reduce speed and fall back behind the vehicle being passed. 6. Passing Maneuver Times . If you continue and don’t complete the maneuver before the NO PASSING ZONE. F. Never try to “chance” it. 4. INTENTION TO STOP OR TURN Passing in an intersection is dangerous because you can’t be sure what the drivers in front of you intend to do. 3. 5. but also when you should not pass. PASSING POTENTIAL You must be able to judge not only the best time to pass. IDENTIFY PASSING SITUATIONS Is it legal to pass? Is the vehicle I wish to pass well under the speed limit? Can I see the road ahead? Is that oncoming vehicle a sufficient distance away? Is there enough room in front of the vehicle I wish to pass for me to safely re-enter the lane? You need to make sure you can answer YES to these questions to be in an excellent passing situation. then notices a NO PASSING ZONE up ahead. There is no good reason to make an unsafe passing move.Many serious collisions have occurred because drivers attempted a pass in the following situations: 1. LONG LINE OF CARS AHEAD If the vehicle you wish to pass is at the end of a long line of cars there may not be sufficient space to re-enter your lane in front of the car you’re passing. MANEUVER CAN’T BE COMPLETED BEFORE REACHING NO PASSING ZONE If a driver pulls into the left lane to pass.
An oncoming car should be at least TWICE that distance from you. ice. SCAN FOR HAZARDS Confirm the road is clear of obstructions and that there are no intersections within range. Checking for Road Traction Good acceleration is crucial.a vehicle heading towards you from 1/2 mile or more in the distance seems to be stopped. CHECK FOR BLIND SPOTS Check your mirrors and glance over both shoulders to make sure your vehicle is clear . Be aware that turning too sharply back into your own lane of traffic can cause skidding on a wet or icy road. STEPS FOR SUCCESSFUL PASSING REMEMBER . If the road has poor traction (due to rain. G. a common optical illusion is that . Identify a Safe Distance Ahead Estimate the distance you will need to complete the pass. watch for indications that the vehicle approaching you from the rear may be intending to pass you. Remember. Establish a Safe Response to Hazards Some roads are very narrow with little or no shoulder area to maneuver.on a straight road . Identify an End-of-pass Gap to Pull Back Into Lane Never pass more than one vehicle. Make sure you can see both headlights of the vehicle you passed in your rear view mirror before signaling and re-entering the lane. 2.the first step is to ask yourself this question: “Is it legal to pass here?” The answer must be “Yes!” 1. Vehicles Approaching from the Rear As you prepare to pass. Merging Vehicles Confirm there are no vehicles up ahead executing a pass in the opposing direction. etc) it will be difficult to pass quickly and safely. gravel. Remember. that oncoming vehicle needs to be TWICE that distance away. Oncoming Vehicles Be certain that an oncoming vehicle is a safe distance away. Are there any off-road vehicles in the vicinity? Watch for slow moving farm vehicles. Estimate the total distance you need for the pass. make it easier for them by slowing down a little and move to the right if you can.Generally. your vehicle must be moving 10 mph faster than the vehicle you are passing. If so. The author learned to drive in the snow in Connecticut.
WARN THE DRIVER AHEAD Tap the horn and/or flash your headlights. SIGNAL INTENT Your pass must be preceded by a flashing left turn signal. Wait until you can see its headlights in your rear view mirror. Make sure you have pulled far enough ahead of the vehicle you’re passing. . H. This will communicate your intention to pass to the driver in front of you. CHECK FOR BLIND SPOTS Quickly glance over your right shoulder as you complete the lane change. 7. 9. SIGNAL RETURN Activate your right turn indicator before returning to the right lane. 4.3. 6. you can be cited for speeding. DON’T FORGET – If you pass a vehicle that is driving at the speed limit. The gap sells lots of different styles of clothing. OBTAIN A SPEED ADVANTAGE For optimum passing you must achieve an advantage of 10 mph over the vehicle ahead. CREATE RETURN SPACE Do not re-enter the lane too soon. 8. RE-CHECK CONDITIONS AHEAD Check the road ahead again for vehicles leaving driveways or turning onto your road from an intersection. 5. WHEN BEING PASSED Always cooperate with the driver attempting to pass your vehicle. CREATE SPACE FOR VEHICLE PASSED In the event you changed lanes too early and notice the trailing vehicle is following at an unsafe distance .accelerate to create a larger gap. 10.
Maintaining Speed Maintain a safe speed. Be prepared to brake if a road hazard suddenly appears that could force the passer over to the right sooner than you both anticipated.1. Slowing slightly will allow the vehicle to complete its pass more quickly and safely. . Yielding Required NEVER speed up while the other car is passing you. SAFETY WHEN BEING PASSED If you are driving under the speed limit you must regularly scan behind you so you will not be surprised by another vehicle attempting to pass. Moving slightly to the right (within your lane) will help as well.
Slowing down will give you more time to SCAN the road to IDENTIFY hazards ahead. You need time to avoid a mistake. You will be able to spot hazards earlier. And be sure to scan sidewalk to sidewalk. animals and obstacles in the road and you have a daunting challenge. bicycles. MORE REACTION TIME TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO If you are driving too fast you will be forced to rush your decision. . and parking. MORE TIME TO SEE DETAILS AND IDENTIFY THEIR MEANING You need time to see every detail around you on the street and identify what it means. B. A. speeding up. 2. MORE TIME TO ANALYZE INFORMATION AND PREDICT WHAT’S NEXT Once hazards are identified you need time to plan for the probable outcome as well as allow for the possibility of a worst-case scenario. PREDICT what might happen. Keep your eyes moving and check mirrors frequently.IX. DEMANDS OF CITY DRIVING A city street is like an obstacle course. you miss the smaller things. At roughly 30 mph . REDUCING SPEED As you increase your speed over the speed limit you increase your chances of being in a collision. Slowing down will bring everything into clearer focus. Vehicles of every size and shape are moving in close proximity. LOOKING AHEAD OF TRAFFIC You should scan up to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. The slower you drive. When you go faster.that translates to about one city block. stopping. This is called “getting the big picture“. Looking away for even a second to change radio stations or dial your phone could mean disaster. and then have more time to react and take evasive action. slowing down. DECIDE what you are going to do and then EXECUTE your maneuver. the wider your peripheral vision. You need to see up to 10 cars ahead as well. Those couple of seconds you save by speeding can be the same ones that might save your life if you were going slower and able to react better. Add to that the problems created by pedestrians. 1. 3. 4. 1. LOOK AHEAD FOR TRAFFIC HAZARDS Don’t just stare at the vehicle in front. MORE TIME TO EXECUTE DECISIONS OR AVOID TROUBLE If you are forced to slam on your brakes in an emergency stop situation slowing down will shorten your stopping distance.
C. WHEN TO COVER THE BRAKE PEDAL Covering the brake is a great defensive driving technique. When the DON’T WALK sign stops flashing the YELLOW LIGHT will usually appear in 3-5 seconds. facing a green light and we ask ourselves.) This is helpful when we are half a block away. Be prepared to stop.even for a few seconds safety can be lost. your foot is off the gas and poised over the brake pedal. Approaching Signal Lights . but not depressing it. Look Ahead for Signal Changes When you scan a block ahead you will be able to see the signal light. Check for Stale Green Lights The CROSSWALK SIGN will often indicate when the green light is about to turn to yellow (stale green light. When you do this. 3. SIGNAL LIGHTS Busy intersections are controlled by automated traffic signals. Never try to beat the light. the better. 2.especially when the taillights indicate the car is being started. depending on the speed limit.2. COVERING THE BRAKE. Brake Lights of Other Cars Cover the brake and prepare to stop whenever you see brake lights illuminating up ahead. Running red lights is a common violation that often has deadly consequences. SLOW FOR REDUCED STOPPING DISTANCE Covering the brake will save you reaction time and reduce stopping distance. LEAVE ENOUGH DISTANCE TO MANEUVER Where is your “out?” Get a space cushion around your car. Some examples where you should cover the brake are: Next to Parked Cars When driving in the right lane next to a line of parked cars . NOT RIDING IT 1.will we make the light or not? When a driver is unsure . You can’t take evasive action if you have no place to go. It is the responsibility of every licensed driver to not only watch for signal lights but to obey them. But will you be able to make the light? The earlier you can answer that question. Anticipate Signal Changes Experience teaches us to anticipate the light changes and that allows us to make good decisions on whether to proceed or prepare to stop.
PASSING IN OR NEAR AN INTERSECTION The vehicle code says you may make a “safe change of direction” while inside an intersection. Also. On a city street you may only pass over the center line of travel when that line is broken. Pick a lane and stay in it. PASSING OVER CENTER LINE OF TRAVEL NEVER drive to the left of a solid double yellow line. 1. CHOOSING OF LANE 1. the center lane will usually have the least congestion. D. 2. You will be prepared to stop if somebody runs a red light. If the street has 3 lanes in one direction. There are many over the counter medications for congestion due to colds. CITY PASSING 1. F. Keep to the right or pull over and stop to allow traffic behind you to proceed 2. 2. The street will likely be a residential street and you will probably be passing a car that is stopped to let off passengers. E. KEEP UP WITH TRAFFIC SPEED AND WITHIN LIMITS Driving too slowly can be frustrating to other drivers. it is illegal to change lanes immediately before entering and immediately after exiting an intersection. Cars preparing to turn left should be in the left lane. CHOOSE LESS CONGESTED LANE UNLESS PLANNING TO TURN When you scan ahead it’s easy to judge which lane is moving better. Take care not to drive for more than a few seconds where the other guy can’t see you. You should always cover your head when it's raining. AVOID OTHER DRIVER’S BLIND SPOTS Every vehicle has blind spots off both rear corners. VEHICLE POSITION Drivers must position vehicles inside the lane for optimum safety and maneuverability.Always cover the brake as you approach an intersection. CHOOSE A LANE APPROPRIATE TO USE Slower traffic and cars preparing to turn right should be in the right lane. . Changing lanes all the time to get someplace faster is a dangerous way to drive. This is not recommended.
with only one lane in each direction. Spy". AVOID DRIVING SIDE-BY-SIDE The spaces immediately to your right and left should be unoccupied. 3. AVOID DRIVING IN BUNCHES If you drive in a bunch. Under certain circumstances. Constantly adjust position to maximize the space cushion around your vehicles as best you can. however. rolling through stop signs and ignoring potential hazards like bike riders and pedestrians. Side streets are usually residential. THROUGH STREETS VS. Through streets will generally provide a safer and faster route. The best position for your vehicle is away from the pack. Just take the proper precautions. TIME OF DAY AND TRAFFIC DENSITY Avoid peak traffic times if possible. AVOID OTHER DRIVER IN YOUR BLIND SPOT Speed up or slow down slightly and adjust your spacing to keep other drivers out of your blind spot and in your sight. One of the author's favorite cartoons in Mad Magazine was "Spy vs. CHOOSING A SAFE ROUTE Most drivers will chose the fastest and most direct route to their destination. 2.3. the shortest distance might not be the safest. Sometimes you can speed up to get out of the pack but it’s best if you slow down instead. SIDE STREETS Through streets are multi-lane boulevards designed for heavier traffic. 4. of course is almost impossible on today’s streets. TWO-WAY STREETS . G. 1. your maneuvering ability is severely limited. On occasion. Drivers circumventing busier through streets to avoid traffic can fall victim to speeding. surface streets might move faster than the freeway. Keep in mind that many drivers aren’t even aware of blind spots so don’t get angry if one continues to drive in yours. Especially during certain times of the day. This. 5. Become familiar with alternate routes. ONE-WAY STREETS VS.
Drivers can identify one-way streets by looking for one-way street signs. TWO-WAY LEFT TURN CENTER LANE USE Most boulevards have a shared center turn lane that allows traffic from both directions to initiate a turn off the street into a driveway or to complete a turn out of a driveway back onto the street. PARKED CARS HIDING CROSS TRAFFIC When approaching an intersection and scanning left. If an officer tells you it’s a one-way street. 2. have you ever had your view of approaching cars obstructed by a vehicle parked close to the corner? That vehicle might also block your view of a pedestrian or bicyclist. Just be careful because the oncoming vehicle may have the same idea and want to turn at the same time! . It is illegal to drive down the center turn lane. But it is legal to drive across a center turn lane. it’s not wise to answer back “but officer. cover the brake and proceed with caution. you can spot this with enough time to change lanes. immediately pull over and correct this. 3. DETOUR IN LANE OF TRAVEL A delivery truck or double-parked car might be blocking your lane. One-way streets are less dangerous than two-way streets. And if you find yourself going the wrong way on a one-way street. SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN CITY TRAFFIC Certain potential hazards are more associated with city driving. You can then avoid the frustration of being stuck behind a stopped vehicle in the right lane. 1. I was only going one way!” H. By looking ahead. Reduce your speed. since there is no oncoming traffic turning or crossing into your path of travel. Traffic parked on both sides of the street in the same direction is also a helpful clue.
Breaking and entering is against the law. Lane Choice Use the center lane unless preparing to turn right or left. 5. A sign reading DO NOT ENTER or NO TURNS Entering When turning onto a one-way street. right or left. if safe to do so.4. Always be on the lookout for pedestrians or bicyclists. make sure you have the right-of-way and that all other vehicles are giving you the right-of-way. No yellow center lines. Traffic signs on both sides of the street facing the same direction A sign reading ONE-WAY posted at the intersection. Exiting When making a right turn from a one-way street onto a two-way street you must finish in the right lane. DRIVING ON ONE-WAY STREETS Identifying Driving the wrong-way down a one-way street is dangerous. . A right turn onto another one-way street may be finished in any open lane. A left turn off a one-way street may be finished in any open lane -if safe. Speed Traffic on one-way streets tends to move more efficiently so there is a greater temptation to drive faster. broken white lines only. you may finish the turn in any lane that is open. TURNING AT CORNERS Before turning left or right. You can identify a one-way street with the following indicators: • • • • • Parked cars on both sides of the street are facing the same direction. Keep up with the flow of traffic but don’t speed.
honk your horn and move to the right. Dealing with Wrong-way Drivers Always be prepared for a wrong-way driver on a one-way street. so be alert! . WHEN AND WHERE TO EXPECT PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLISTS Be especially cautious when approaching crosswalks. Keep in mind that many drivers get confused with one-way streets and the more you are aware. Always make sure that the crosswalk is clear of pedestrians and bike riders before you proceed through a stop sign or make a right turn against a red light.This is also the only place where it is legal to turn left against a red light from a one-way street onto another one-way street. the safer you will be. Reduce your speed. 6. of course the maneuver is prohibited by a sign. pedestrians and bicyclists may be harder to see. Remember. Unless.
1. 2. All you have to do is look for guide signs that indicate the distance to your destination. A. there are many sites that offer maps and specific directions right down to the distance of each turn. PLAN TRAVEL TIME TO AVOID CONGESTION AND UNFAMILIAR AREAS Allow extra travel time to allow for mistakes you might make when driving to an unfamiliar location. But drivers can stay safe if they remember these simple axioms: don’t speed. You might encounter an on-ramp directly adjacent to an off-ramp. 3. it's illegal!) or you have to exit at the next off ramp and find your way back. BE FAMILIAR WITH ALTERNATE EXITS If you are aware of alternate exits you will be able to respond when faced with an unexpected ramp closure. Planning a route in advance helps to alleviate this problem. Knowing how close your exit is will help you time your lane changes as you prepare to leave the freeway. disoriented or unfamiliar with their surroundings. Here are some things to do. don’t follow too closely and don’t cut anybody off. singing along to the radio and all of a sudden you spot your exit coming up? You either have to swing over several lanes of traffic to make it (not only is this NOT suggested. Also. GUIDE SIGNS . slow-downs can happen anywhere and at anytime on the freeway system. 1. Freeway traffic tends to be lighter during midday hours. you may find yourself more stressed. Offramps are equipped with DO NOT ENTER and WRONG WAY warning signs to warn drivers. ENTERING THE FREEWAY Freeways have interchanges that provide on-ramps to allow drivers to enter the freeway.X. Look for these signs. try to avoid rush hour. ACCELERATION LANES Accelerating up to the necessary speed is the first challenge in freeway driving. If you have internet capability. Unfortunately. Acupuncture is considered an alternate treatment for many ailments. PLANNING A ROUTE IN ADVANCE Collisions often occur when drivers are lost. detour or collision on the freeway. Guide signs are large rectangular green signs with white lettering. If you are finding yourself late because you didn’t know the area. They also show you the alternate routes. Most freeway on-ramps are divided into three parts: the entrance ramp.INDICATING DISTANCE AND ROUTE DIRECTION How many times have you been driving down the freeway in the far left lane. This leads to more mistakes behind the wheel and more temptation to break the law and save time. DEMANDS OF FREEWAY DRIVING The higher speeds on the freeway create a completely different set of demands on the driver. the acceleration lane and the . B.
Check Speed of Freeway Traffic As you enter the acceleration lane. Then safely enter the through lane. (Don’t forget. Signal Until Entering Through-lane Traffic Remember to manually cancel your turn signal after the merge has been completed . Also. you might lose control of your vehicle if you drive too fast on a curved ramp. COMMON MISTAKES ENTERING FROM ACCELERATION LANE . We all have seen people try to merge 10-20 mph slower! On the other hand. C.unless you are planning to continue to change lanes to the left. Keep in mind that you must merge at the speed of the traffic on the freeway. 3 or more. In some cases. motorcycles and some low emission and hybrid vehicles can use the diamond lanes. They will indicate speed limits. Watch Vehicle Ahead for Sudden Stops Some merging drivers pay more attention to accelerating than to observing the vehicle ahead. pay attention! Locate a Gap in Traffic Turn on your left turn signal (if you haven’t already) and “target” an opening or gap in the lane to your left. The acceleration lane permits vehicles to reach near-freeway speeds before merging.merge area. These signs tell you how many. cues to yield or merge. Be Familiar with Entrance Warning Signs Pay attention to signs posted at freeway entrance ramps. Check your left mirror and glance over your left shoulder once again to confirm your blind spot is unoccupied. Adjust Speed for Merging onto Freeway Through-lanes Adjust your speed to line up your vehicle with that gap in traffic. If you don‘t want to become part of that vehicle‘s license plate. you need 2 or more people for the diamond lanes. curve in the road and diamond lane designations.) Observe Ramp Speed Limit Driving too slowly or too fast on the entrance ramp will make the merge more difficult. check your left side mirror and glance over your left shoulder to observe the speed of the vehicles to your left. Accelerate to match the traffic flow.
. These signals. don’t you? E. You have to get up to speed sooner. called timed entrance lights.NO ACCELERATION LANE Older freeways were designed without acceleration lanes. The faster vehicle wins the right of way. You do. other vehicles coming up fast behind you could cause trouble. SUDDEN SLOWING OR STOPPING If you are speeding up the entrance ramp and all of a sudden the cars have stopped on the freeway (a common occurrence on many freeways) you might be forced to hit the brakes. ENTERING DIRECTLY ONTO THE FREEWAY . Since freeways are only able to accommodate a specific number of cars at one time. When the red signal turns to green. Know what to do when there is no merging area. It is a challenging part of freeway driving. WAIT FOR A LONGER GAP BEFORE ENTERING You must wait for a longer gap in traffic when there is no acceleration lane to allow you to get up to speed. this device is invaluable. usually through the use of an intermittent traffic signal at the end of the on-ramp. The longer gap will give you more time and distance to accelerate. 1. D. 2. ACCELERATION SPEED TO BLEND INTO TRAFFIC The rate of acceleration must be considerably higher when there is no acceleration lane. MERGING AT TOO SLOW A SPEED If your vehicle is going too slow you might be forced to stop in the acceleration lane. 1. Know the proper way to navigate them. which could cause a rear-end collision.. you begin accelerating onto the freeway. 3. Try to avoid. Be aware of the other guy in the adjacent lane and merge SAFELY.. punch it! This is one of those times you should be glad that you have your car in good working order. 2. As you enter the freeway. smooth out the flow of traffic onto the freeway. posted signs warn you to stop at the upcoming red signal.Entering the freeway safely requires that a number of difficult moves be executed simultaneously. TIMED ENTRANCE LIGHTS This system funnels vehicles onto the freeway at timed intervals. Assuming you can find a sufficient gap and successfully merge.. right? WRONG! The car on the left has the right of way. Sometimes it feels like you are in a drag race with the car next to you and you are both waiting for that green light.. YIELD OR MERGE SIGNS BEFORE ENTERING Merging traffic must yield to traffic already on the freeway. In other words. 2. SPECIAL SITUATIONS There are three other types of entrance ramps. DOUBLE MERGE LANES Many on ramps require 2 entrance lanes to merge into one acceleration lane. Sorry! . 1.
2. 2. SCAN AHEAD FOR SIGNS INDICATING DESIRED EXIT LANE Green guide signs let you know in advance that your desired off-ramp is approaching. reducing your speed and allowing them to proceed ahead of you. WHAT TO DO WHEN AN EXIT IS MISSED At some time or another. F.O. Wait until the next off-ramp. . everyone misses an off-ramp. An exiting vehicle can leave the right through lane on the freeway before slowing. When exiting the freeway always yield to vehicles entering by signaling.V. These lanes are usually reserved for vehicles that have 2 or more occupants and usually motorcycles. DIAMOND LANES H. LEAVING THE FREEWAY 1. MULTIPLE DECELERATION LANES Busier off-ramps are equipped with multiple deceleration lanes. lanes (High-Occupancy Vehicle or car-pool) on-ramp lanes are indicated by white diamonds painted on the pavement. 3. Most items at the supermarket are scanned now.3. G. You can always find your way back. DECELERATION LANES Deceleration lanes allow drivers to reduce speed without endangering traffic to the rear. ADJUSTING SPEED Circular off-ramps require a reduction of speed from 65 mph to as slow as 35mph or even 25mph in just a few seconds! Be aware of this and start the slowing process early. Also be on the lookout for entrance lanes that are reserved for buses only. Be prepared for the possibility of multiple lanes merging into one lane. Don’t panic or get upset. Sometimes they can get confused with diamond lanes. Yielding to Other Drivers Some interchanges have weaving lanes that merge exiting and entering vehicles into the same lanes. EXIT LANES 1. it is usually less than a mile away.
You are not the sheriff in these parts and it is not your job to make others uphold the speed law. vehicles with mechanical trouble (and only until they can exit) and for exiting. move over and let them pass. CHOOSING LANES OF TRAVEL 1. If you have cars tailgating you. but it's true! So don't hold position in the left lane at 65 mph thinking you are in the right. AND STAY THERE! Unnecessary lane changing will not get you to your destination any faster . but safer. Curved Ramps Drivers will often rear-end another vehicle when they fail to slow down on a curved exit ramp. you have a hard time believing that. you can make your drive not only faster. If you force them to pass you on the right. Use of Right-hand Lanes Don't drive in the right lane unless you are driving slower than the maximum speed limit. Use of Right-hand Lanes The right lane should be used for slowing vehicles. Use of Center Lane If you’re going to be on the freeway for a considerable distance. I know. Keep in mind the basic speed law.Posted Limits Most off-ramps have posted speed-warning signs(yellow). By choosing the proper lane. Some drivers exceed the speed limit. Even if you are going slowly. Never drive faster than the conditions suggest. an officer can ticket you for impeding the flow of traffic. Use of Left-hand Lanes The left lane is for faster traffic and for passing (but you cannot legally travel in excess of the maximum speed limit). Since their speed limit is 55 mph... These speeds are always lower than the freeway speed. large trucks and vehicles pulling trailers are limited to the right 2 lanes.. THREE LANES OR MORE All up to date freeways have multiple lanes. .and it probably will slow you down in the long run. You may never cross over a double yellow to pass. so you need to be alert and ready to change at a moments notice. Dropping from 65 mph to 25 mph is a serious adjustment – so please do so safely! H. TWO-LANE FREEWAYS A double yellow line usually separates two lanes of traffic in each direction. find a center lane in which you feel comfortable. it’s hard to see a vehicle stopped around the curve so cover the brake and be ready! Watch for yellow diamond shaped signs. 2.
buses. of course you are transferring onto another freeway. (b) If a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time. 3. I. such as bold broken white lines. For example.are reserved for faster through traffic. RVs and vehicles towing trailers must all play well together at higher speeds. and is not being .If they are all bunched together it is usually an indicator that you are going too slow.It’s like being in the checkout line of a supermarket. If you keep to the left you can avoid having to slow down. be aware of vehicles behind you . Avoiding Merging Traffic Getting into position well in advance of the interchange will help to avoid merging problems with other vehicles. the line next to you starts to go faster! Use of Left-hand Lanes The left-hand lanes . Remember: ‘Slower Traffic Keep Right.’ Move over and let them pass. vehicles towing and on older freeways in urban areas. POSTED SPEED LIMITS Speed limits have been put into place to insure the safety of a variety of vehicles moving together in different and changing conditions. except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway. solid white lines and/or arrows. LANE USE WHEN APPROACHING INTERCHANGES Traffic flow slows when approaching interchanges because of increased lane changing. SPEED LIMITS 1.or #1 and #2 lanes . trucks. Some are as high as 70 mph (rural areas) and others as low as 55 mph (for trucks. Minimum Speed Any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. The Basic Speed Law says you may never drive faster than is safe for prevailing conditions. It's important to eat the four basic food groups. Maximum Speed Most freeways have a maximum posted speed of 65 mph. if it’s raining hard and you are going 65 mph in a 65 mph zone you could be cited under this law. Every time you move into a line that seems to be flowing better.) Speed for Conditions Maximum Speed limits are in effect only when the conditions and visibility of the road is best. Cars. When you are in these lanes. Watch for lane markings that are common to interchanges. unless.
There is a right and a wrong way to change lanes.C. The Department of Transportation. MAKING A SAFE LANE CHANGE The unsafe lane change is a top cause of collisions on the freeway. Or. or local authorities. unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation. because of a grade or in compliance with the law. Signs are used to inform all drivers of the designated lanes and change in speeds. you cause others to have to adjust to you. This is particularly a hazard at night when drivers are tired. If a lane or lanes haven't been designated on a divided highway which has four or more lanes. J. Also. 1. DANGERS OF DRIVING TOO SLOW You can cause a serious collision if you are driving too slowly on the freeway. CHECK FOR AMPLE SPACE . any of those vehicles may also be driven in the right hand lane or the lane on the immediate left of that right hand lane. Blocking the Flow of Traffic No person shall drive upon a highway at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.21655 V.a faster vehicle rear -ending a slower one. may designate a specific lane or lanes for vehicles required to travel at reduced speeds. By impeding the flow of traffic. 2.a move that may endanger other drivers. Lane Use for Slower Traffic . Slow-moving vehicles are just very dangerous on the fast paced roads.driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb. you might cause that vehicle to swerve . These lanes are usually on the right side. Forced Lane Changes A fast-moving vehicle can overtake a vehicle inching slowly uphill and slam into its rear. It is a very common type of collision. a car driving at 65 mph or faster cannot always judge correctly the speed and distance of a slower moving vehicle ahead. it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation of subdivision (a) of this section.
While you are trying to change lanes and you happen to be tailgating. 2. you run the risk of slamming into the vehicle in front of you if that driver suddenly hits the brakes. It‘s a lot safer than possibly cutting them off. make sure your lane change won’t place you in the blind spot of another vehicle. 3. Vehicle Ahead Make sure there is ample space between you and the vehicle ahead. Use of Mirrors Your mirrors are one of the most important devices in making a safe lane change. You can’t change lanes if there are cars occupying every space in the lane you want to move to. If another driver wants to pass you. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left in the event any other vehicle may be . It is a citable offense to change lanes on the freeway without signaling your intention if it interferes with someone else's driving (it is recommended to signal 5 seconds prior to making a lane change).First. LOOK FOR HAZARDS Scanning ahead will allow you to identify a sudden change in the flow of traffic (slowing or stopping) that will force you to delay your lane change. let him. Vehicle to Rear Use your mirrors to confirm there are no vehicles behind you approaching fast. make sure you have some place to go. You need to have the “big picture“ here. Vehicles to Sides Glance over your shoulder to make sure another vehicle isn’t in your blind spot. PLEASE USE THEM! Checking for Blind Spots After checking your own blind spots. SIGNALING IN ADVANCE Some drivers fail to signal their lane changes.
affected by the movement. Of course, if you are alone on a freeway and there is no one else affected, it is not against the law to not signal. 4. CHANGE LANES ONE AT A TIME With your signal activated, and after you have made sure you have the room and chance to pass, gradually move into your chosen lane. If you want to get over 2 or more lanes, you should be in each lane a minimum of 2 seconds. This will help to make sure you establish position before you change lanes again. Repeat the above procedures. 5. SPEED WHEN CHANGING LANES Your speed should remain constant during the change. If you must adjust speed, it is safer to accelerate into a lane change than to slow down. Avoid Slowing or Stopping If you must slow or stop during a lane change, the move probably should not have been tried. There might have been a hazard up ahead that you failed to see or you were tailgating or speeding. K. TIME MARGINS FOR FREEWAY CONDITIONS To drive defensively on the freeway you must look ahead as far as 1/4 mile and check your mirrors constantly. 1. ESTABLISHING A SPACE CUSHION Remember, a safe following distance on the freeway is three seconds. The vehicle behind you should be at a three second distance as well. Good luck! If you are being tailgated, change lanes to give yourself more of a space cushion. Avoid side-by-side driving and watch your blind-spots. L. HELPING OTHER DRIVERS ENTER OR EXIT Entering and exiting the freeway are potentially dangerous maneuvers - I bet there have been plenty of times you wish someone would be kind and allow you to enter or exit with ease. If you show that kindness to others, it may just come around to you. Not to mention you would be minimizing the chance of a collision. Something we all strive for. 1. MERGING SIGNS, WARNING OTHER VEHICLES ARE ENTERING THE FREEWAY Look for yellow diamond signs as you approach the merge area. These signs are placed on the approaches to the on-ramps. A merge sign prepares us for other vehicles entering our lane. Pilots will always announce to the tower when on approach. 2. ADJUSTING SPEED TO OPEN A GAP Help the merging driver by accelerating or slowing slightly to create a larger gap for the merging vehicle. 3. MOVING INTO ADJACENT LANES
By changing lanes to the left, you can create more space for the merging vehicle. If you are preparing to exit the freeway, you might want to stay out of the right lane until you have passed the acceleration lane. That way you will not interfere with merging traffic. M. FREEWAY EMERGENCIES Always expect the unexpected! Smart drivers are ready to react to emergencies, collisions, blocked lanes and other problems that might occur on the road. 1. BLOCKED ROADWAYS A variety of things could block the freeway. There might be road construction or maintenance work, a collision, or a large object in lanes. When you regularly scan the road ahead you can react early to a problem or slowdown and avoid the sudden swerving and braking that often ends in a crash. Steering Around If you see an object up ahead in your lane and it is small enough, you might be able to drive over it. Just be careful. Looks can be deceiving! You don’t want to rip open the underside of your vehicle. Drive slower when approaching any foreign object on the road. Unless you are in a monster truck, a larger object must be steered around. Even if you are in the truck you should go around! If you have maintained a space cushion to both sides of your vehicle you will have an “out” or an escape route. 2. STOPPING Sometimes stopping in lanes is your only option. For example, a collision up ahead has caused bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Warning Drivers to the Rear You must be concerned with the traffic behind you. This is why checking your mirrors frequently is so important! If you know what’s behind you, you have an idea what to do if something stops ahead. Warn the driver immediately to your rear, or your quick stop could trigger a chain-reaction collision. Here’s how: Brake Lights Pump your brakes before you hit them hard. Flashing brake lights will warn the driver behind you. Hazard Lights If there is time, your flashing hazard lights will be an additional warning to the traffic behind you. N. BREAKDOWNS When your vehicle becomes disabled on the freeway it is a potentially dangerous event. Prevention is the best cure. If you maintain your vehicle and have it serviced regularly, you avoid the hassle of being stuck in the middle of the freeway waving people around! Don’t ignore symptoms of trouble like strange noises, leaks, odors or vibrations.
1. PULLING TO THE SHOULDER The safest place to stop on the freeway is the right shoulder - as far as possible from moving traffic. Signaling Make sure you use your turn signal and begin to safely change lanes. If you are forced into a drastic reduction of speed, activate your flashing hazard lights. Shoulder Use and Vehicle Position Pull off the roadway as far as possible. Exit away from lanes and open the hood and the trunk to make your vehicle more visible. Unless the driver and passengers can immediately move to a safe area, it is recommended that everyone stay inside the vehicle with seat belts on until help arrives. Even if you are all the way off the road, a car has a chance of hitting you from behind. That’s why the seatbelt is still so important here. If you must leave your vehicle on the freeway, you'll want to remove it as soon as possible. A vehicle that is stopped, parked, or left standing on a freeway (even if disabled) for more than 4 hours may be removed. 2. WARNING APPROACHING TRAFFIC Do whatever you can to warn vehicles approaching from the rear. Hazard Lights Immediately turn on your hazard lights and exit the vehicle from your passenger side. Either lift up the hood or open the trunk to warn vehicles approaching from the rear. Flares or Warning Devices Placing a reflective triangle 50 - 100 feet behind your vehicle is a smart idea (always face traffic when out of your vehicle on the freeway). Some drivers have flares. Flares can be very dangerous, especially around gasoline. They can roll away into oncoming traffic unless you place the square cap on the back of the flare. Note: Please keep in mind that the above mentioned hazards and flares are suggested only for daytime. At night, you want to keep your lights, hazards and reflectors off. There is more of a chance that someone is driving under the influence at night. These drivers have a bad habit of focusing on flashing lights. Many people are injured or killed because they did not heed this advice. Of course, if your car is stuck in one of the lanes, this does not apply. Hazards and reflectors are needed. O. RE-ENTERING THE FREEWAY Assuming you were able to fix the problem with your vehicle, you now must get back on the freeway from a dead stop with no acceleration lane to help you out. 1. SIGNALING Alert traffic to your rear of your intention to merge. Turn off your hazard lights and activate your turn signal. (Left signal if you are on the right shoulder or right signal if you are on the median shoulder)
You can then continue a rapid acceleration after you enter the through lane. they unconsciously increase their speed. check your side mirror and monitor traffic in the next lane. sometimes it can feel like you are going slow! This is due to the fact that drivers can become accustomed to high speed. VELOCITATION . Speed Usually freeway drivers allow the driver on the shoulder to enter the lane (we hope). Watch for obstructions on the shoulder as you accelerate. They have been traveling so long at that speed they don't want to change. SPECIAL FREEWAY PROBLEMS Freeway driving poses special challenges. you must use the shoulder. ACCELERATING ON SHOULDER Since there is no acceleration lane. ENTERING INTO AN ADEQUATE GAP As you accelerate. P.2. it’s possible to reduce your chances of being pulled over for speeding by 50%! It only takes a second to check it.UNCONSCIOUSLY GOING TOO FAST Have you ever been in the car and traveling at a high rate of speed? After a while. It takes time to adjust to slower speeds.) 3. . Be prepared to speed up or slow down when entering the flow. Allow Time to Adjust to Lower Speeds Off-ramps have yellow speed warning signs indicating reduced speed ahead. After a period of time. Make sure the shoulder ahead is clear for a distance sufficient enough to allow you to begin getting up to freeway speed. Check for Hazards The freeway shoulder might be littered with debris. Be wary of drop offs (curbs on the shoulder that are about 6 inches high. Drivers often maintain their speed when exiting down a curved off ramp. One of the top reason drivers get speeding tickets is that they are simply not paying attention. 1. Check Speedometer By glancing at your speedometer on a regular basis. Long drives at high speeds tend to alter our state of mental awareness. If you find a large enough gap you might be able to change lanes while still driving under freeway speeds. Slow down! When driving on surface streets after leaving the freeway check your speedometer more frequently. Continue to check all mirrors and glance over your shoulder to make sure the road is free of hazards.
everyone wants to go fast to make up for lost time! (By the way.have your money ready. TOLL BOOTHS . or on an open highway.! Avoid Drowsiness Do whatever you can to keep alert: stop and take a break every few hours. There are plenty of signs telling you one is coming up and they are placed far in advance. Mile after mile of steady. Don't fall into that trap. Unfortunately. charge tolls. Tolls are paid at tollbooths that are positioned on approaches to a bridge. listen to music. DISTANCE AHEAD Signs provide other information. They are also trying to beat the other cars to race ahead. 3. REDUCED SPEED LIMITS Velocitation can be a problem when approaching toll booths so take special care to SLOW DOWN! 2. such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. chew gum or turn up the AC. DESIGNATED LANES FOR SPECIAL VEHICLES Signs will indicate separate lanes for trucks and passenger vehicles. be aware of other drivers changing lanes and moving into position. they are not that well known. including how far it is to the booth and how much is needed. But in many states. straight. Many bridges. avoid heavy meals.WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN APPROACHING Back east. Once it opens up. open highway with little or no traffic may seem like a safe road. many drivers are confused by them. When approaching and exiting toll booths. Because of this. change drivers. 1. toll booths are a common part of driving. Don’t dig through your pockets while your car is moving . the lack of visual input this type of road offers can make driving very dangerous. If all else fails. Signs also indicate automated lanes for exact change and booths with attendants. The author's favorite pastime is sleeping. HIGHWAY HYPNOSIS A wide.2. XI. pull off the road into a parking lot or other busy area and take a nap. causing the driver to fall asleep. Q. high speed driving with no need to change lanes will often put a driver in a lazy state of mind. you can't). DEMANDS OF DRIVING ON AN OPEN . Just relax and drive safely. It’s like when the traffic has been going slow for a while due to a jam.
OTHER USERS OF THE ROADWAY In rural areas you will encounter a wide variety of vehicles moving at different speeds. 3. Add to this an occasional wild beast or farm animal . ROADSIDE STANDS OR GAS STATIONS “Oh look! They’re having a sale on tomatoes! I’ll just slam on my brakes and whip my car over to the side here”. So always reduce your speed on rough roads. A.and you have yourself a problem! Be ready for any and all of it. So be prepared! 1. AREAS OF POTENTIAL HAZARDS Farm country with rolling hillsides and mountain roads with stunning views also present a variety of hazards. Avoid the temptation to make sudden turns off the roadway for gas or fresh fruit and vegetables. 5. . Heavy farm machinery often turns out onto the highway at slow speeds. Dirt. it is not without its own set of challenges. You need to be as alert and defensive on the open highway as you are anywhere else. 4. They are slower and less maneuverable than smaller vehicles. ROUGH ROAD CONDITIONS Over time. then begin reducing your speed in preparation for the turn. B. Chances are. TRUCKS There are many inherent safety problems with trucks. Take care to stay in your lane and not drift over. Watch for drivers entering the roadway in front of you at an unsafe time or at slow speeds. these heavy tractors and farm machinery will have an adverse affect on the road surface. UNMARKED FARM AND FIELD DRIVEWAYS Scan ahead to identify driveways. sand or gravel on the road makes traction a problem. 1. UNMARKED SHOULDERS A road with an unpaved or “soft” shoulder or no shoulder at all is inherently dangerous because there is no escape route to the right. regardless of the posted speed limit. if you have a collision with a tractor you may have more than you bargained for! 2. Reduce your speed! The author loves his shoulders massaged. Be prepared to reduce your own speed.HIGHWAY Although the open highway is free from certain urban restrictions. Scan the road ahead. LIVESTOCK CROSSING AREAS Signs should alert you to livestock crossing areas but you might also encounter a stray wandering around.
. Transporting passengers in this way is extremely unsafe since. A motor truck is defined under the California Vehicle Code (CVC) as a vehicle that is designed and used primarily to haul property. Clearance Communicate your intention to pass before you initiate the maneuver by tapping your horn or flashing your lights. these unsecured. Any approaching vehicle needs to be twice that distance away. heavily laden trucks. even if the area covered by a canopy or shell. Remember. You should be especially careful around large. SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES Be ready for horse-drawn vehicles. unless: the space is enclosed or has side and tail racks to a height of at least 46 inches extending vertically from the floor. You can legally do so as long as the truck is following the speed limit. However. Drivers may not transport any animals within the cargo area of a motortruck. Make certain you pass with ample clearance to avoid a possible collision should the other vehicle move unexpectedly. For this very reason. some attempt should be made to restrain or confine them. the CVC says nothing about restraining pets. if the truck is at the speed limit YOU MAY NOT PASS! But here is the secret: Trucks have to go 55 by law on most freeways. 2. Speed Trucks climb hills much more slowly than smaller vehicles. Restraining pets in the vehicle can be difficult.They take longer to accelerate or stop. If you are being passed by a truck. Estimate the distance needed to pass. But when going downhill they run the risk of going too fast and perhaps losing their brakes. Speed Scan the road ahead and reduce your speed well in advance of any slow-moving vehicle. or even bike riders. farm machinery. or the animal is cross tethered to the vehicle. Take care to avoid the draft of the truck when you pass. But remember. Many companies provide car carriers for pets. keep to the right of your lane and reduce speed slightly. If you are in a 65 mph zone. That’s why you may see signs along different routes that tell the truckers to test their brakes or “brake testing area ahead”. This refers to both flatbed trucks and pickup trucks. or secured in a container or cage. though. all you need is a 10 mph speed advantage over them. When passing a truck follow the procedures discussed earlier but with these added warnings: • • • • The pass will take longer. and you need to go 10 mph faster than the vehicle you are passing. in the case of a collision or quick stop. and even well trained pets become restless. Passing Nobody likes to be stuck behind a big truck on a two-lane highway. The CVC prohibits drivers from transporting passengers in the rear cargo area of a pickup under any conditions. Do not come up too fast and try to swerve dangerously around the other vehicle. unprotected passengers can be thrown from the vehicle. since the driving environment can excite them. It is difficult to scan the road ahead when following a truck. the vehicle has installed means of preventing an animal from being discharged. The CVC is very adamant and detailed in its requirements about restraining children in a passenger vehicle.
Exercise caution on winding roads. There may be a stalled car or a slow-moving truck within the radius of the curve. Animals often travel in groups and a fence is no guarantee they won’t cross the road. slow down as you approach and enter. change them to low beams. roads are designed to adapt to the geography. Continually scan the road ahead. you will damage your vehicle and perhaps injure yourself and your passengers. A gradual curve requires much less speed adjustment than a sharp one. . 1. Be careful of dirt or gravel on a curving road that might cause you to lose traction if you are driving too fast. When driving at night with your high-beams and you see them reflected in the eyes of a deer on the shoulder. maintain the reduced speed as you round the curve and accelerate back to normal speed as you come out of the curve. it’s time to shift to a lower gear. They have a habit of darting out. Speed and Braking Your need for braking depends on how sharp the curve is.3. CURVES When driving around a curve. Watch for signs indicating steep grades. You need as much time as possible to avoid a large animal in your path. shoulder-to-shoulder. ENVIRONMENT In the countryside. Braking distance is shortened when driving uphill and made much longer when driving downhill. Hazards The most dangerous hazard on a curve is low visibility. Shifting Gears Downshifting will give your vehicle more climbing power but reduce speed. HILLS Warning signs are usually posted only when the hill is steep. but every little helps on a hill. Steep grades and curves require special alertness and driving skill. Passing Pass large animals with extreme caution. Driving on hills is governed by the laws of gravity. C. Should you hit one. Downshifting when going downhill will slow your car a little. When you see these signs. 2. You would be amazed at how much damage is caused by hitting a larger animal such as a cow! Make sure you are not going too fast so you have time to avoid one. Unexpected Watch for deer crossing signs. Watch for deer grazing on the shoulder. ANIMALS If you swerve at high speed to avoid a small animal you could lose control.
not only for an oncoming vehicle but also for a slow-moving one heading downhill directly in front of you. Speed Larger vehicles. Brake Failure or Overheating If you don’t turn off your air conditioner when driving up a steep grade your engine might overheat. . Vehicle Condition Extremely hot or cold weather can cause stress on engine parts. 3. which could lead to vehicle breakdown. MOUNTAIN DRIVING Mountain driving is distinguished by winding curves and little level road. you won’t have to worry about braking as hard down it. uphill stretch of road and there are vehicles behind you. Slow down. buses and RVs moving at slower speeds can be an inconvenience at the very least and a road hazard at best. Passing a slower vehicle on an uphill grade will take more speed to accomplish. look for a turn-out area or a wide shoulder and allow the vehicles to pass. if you don’t drive too fast up the hill. cooling systems and the carburetor (it should be adjusted to compensate for higher altitudes). Don’t ride your brakes when driving down a steep grade. The law says 5 vehicles have to be behind you but I bet that the 4th guy isn’t that happy.Visibility and Speed As you approach the top of a hill you can’t see oncoming traffic. Allowing Other Vehicles to Pass If you are driving under the speed limit on a straight. And. Make the pass quickly and safely. like trucks. Downshifting will allow you to ease off the brakes and keep them cool. Passing Slower Vehicles Remember! You need a 10 mph speed advantage to pass safely on a level road. Make sure your vehicle is in top condition .brakes. Brakes can fail when a driver applies the foot brake continually on a downhill grade. Richard Gere has been in a lot of movies. Mountain roads sometimes have a series of sharp turns called switchbacks. So be considerate and move over to let them pass. Be prepared by driving slow so as to react to slower moving vehicles and by scanning ahead. keep to the right and be ready .
lift your hood and let the engine cool. be careful! There might be vehicles attempting to pass and pulling out into your lane. Overheating If your engine is running too hot. ROUGH ROADS .you may only pass one vehicle at a time. pull off the road. MEETING AT NIGHT High-beams are usually on at night on the open road. cutting off the flow of fuel to the engine. look off to the right. MEETING AT HILLTOPS Reduce your speed and don’t even think about passing another vehicle as you approach the crest of a hill. Be prepared to adjust to: 1. Vapor Lock If you hear chugging sounds or experience engine failure. MEETING OR APPROACHING OTHER VEHICLES ON OPEN ROADWAYS On the open highway we often spend long stretches of time alone on the road. 4. SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN HIGH ALTITUDES The thinner air in high altitudes places your vehicle and you under added stress. And when other vehicles are suddenly encountered. Follow all of the tips for passing we have mentioned. If you come up behind a long line of vehicles remember . 2. 1. There is usually a white line there that indicates the edge of the road. trouble may arise. This is tough to do in 90 degree heat but it helps the car. If this occurs. Vapor lock occurs when bubbles form in fuel lines. E.4. D. Instead. MEETING LINES OF CARS If you come upon a long line of vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. there is a good chance it is vapor lock. MEETING SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES Reduce your speed and wait for a safe and legal chance to pass. ROAD CONDITIONS Drivers will encounter a wide variety of road conditions on the open highway. Switch to low-beams when you come up behind another vehicle or when you see the headlights of an approaching vehicle. Follow that until you are clear of the other driver’s brights. Never stare into the headlights of an approaching vehicle. Turning on the heater will reduce engine temperature. pull over and stop in a safe place and let the engine cool down. 3. turn off your air conditioner (assuming it was on).
WIDTH OF ROAD A narrow road has little margin for error. LINE OF SIGHT On straight roads you can scan well ahead of your vehicle and anticipate trouble. 2.you could lose control. maintain your concentration. And when you are on narrow rural highways. FIELD OF VIEW On open roads your field of view may be panoramic. Reduce speed where traction is a problem. . Take care when approaching a bridge. Beware of rocks and boulders near the side of the road. Some people just can’t see the road for the trees. mud. should a hazard suddenly appear. Try to straddle pot-holes. 3. But. Never turn your wheel abruptly when passing over these areas . gravel or sand will increase your stopping distance and/or cause your vehicle to skid. don’t be distracted by farms. 4. broken pavement or loose gravel on the road require slower speeds. TRACTION Standing water. One small slip could send you smack into them! Some roads are bordered closely by large trees. for example. the road will usually decrease in width. ice. 5. fields and other sights. otherwise.Pot-holes. But when your line of sight is reduced (as it is. snow. around curves) you should reduce your speed so you have the time to take evasive action. you could damage your tires and suspension.
Windshields can experience a lot of water in the fog . Make sure they're in proper working condition. but not in substitution of them. Appropriate Use of Headlamps The use of high beam lights in the fog is not recommended because the light is reflected back into the driver’s eyes. Here are some specific steps to take to help insure your safety when driving in the fog. Use of Fog Lights and Mounting Fog lamps are mounted low on the vehicle and cast a light that cuts through the fog. BUT KEEP MOVING WHEN ENTERING FOG Reduce your speed but keep moving. Warmer air will defrost (or defog) a windshield faster than cooler air. Always use low-beams. WATCH FOR SLOW-MOVING VEHICLES AHEAD . So please be careful! 1. which could lead to a collision. 2. SPEED What is a safe speed in the fog? You can’t drive too fast and you can’t drive too slowly. DRIVING IN THE FOG How many times have you been in fog while driving and just wished for a lighthouse or something to guide you? Certain areas of California have excessive fog during the fall and spring. B.XII. Turn on your low-beams and fog lamps. REDUCE SPEED. nothing should be hanging from or stuck to the windows. 1. To achieve this. snow and fog create problems because visibility and traction are diminished. OBTAINING MAXIMUM VISIBILITY AND REDUCING GLARE Drivers must do whatever they can to maximize their view out the window. Mel Torme was known as the "Velvet Fog". HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS Rain. washers and defrosters are essential when driving through fog. They may be used with headlights.make sure your wipers are in top condition. Windshield Wipers and Defrosters Windshield wipers. And motor vehicles can suffer a variety of mechanical failures. A. Chances are. Fog has been known to cause massive chain-reaction collisions. the vehicle behind you is following your tail lights. If you drive regularly in areas prone to fog your vehicle should have fog lamps.
GENERAL TIPS: 1. An open trunk or hood will give the vehicle a higher profile. an alternator might fail causing a loss of power so: 1. They might ignite roadside brush or spilled fuel. Check your rear-view mirror frequently and be ready! Turn on your flashing hazard lights. 2. CONSIDER POSTPONING DRIVING UNTIL CONDITIONS CLEAR . RESTRICTED USE OF FLASHERS OR FLARES Make your stalled vehicle visible. With your emergency flashers on. This will warn vehicles approaching from the rear. LOOK IN REARVIEW MIRROR FOR VEHICLES APPROACHING FROM REAR Some drivers drive too fast in the fog. engines can suffer vapor-lock. AVOID PASSING A LINE OF CARS Never attempt to pass in any sort of bad weather. The lines at Disneyland can be a long distance. 4. MOVE AWAY FROM VEHICLE If you can’t move safely away from the vehicle then stay inside with your seat-belts fastened and wait for help. WHEN YOUR VEHICLE STALLS The greatest danger to a driver in a stalled vehicle is being struck from the rear. move onto the shoulder or to the side of the road as far away from traffic as possible. LISTEN FOR TRAFFIC YOU CANNOT SEE Since visibility is reduced you need to rely more on your hearing. And NEVER cross a fog-covered road on foot! 3. Stay in line and be sure to follow at a safe distance. Reflectors are safer. this is NOT the best time to make a cell phone call or look at a map! 3. 2. Remember. Open your windows and listen for approaching vehicles. Get ready to hit the brakes at a moment’s notice. including fog. Hazard lights should be flashing.Be prepared for slow-moving (or even stopped) vehicles ahead. 3. AVOID CROSSING ROADWAYS Crossing roadways in reduced visibility is dangerous. be sure to turn your radio off and your fan down to low. C. But use caution when deploying flares. D. Drivers run out of gas. MOVE OFF ROADWAY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE If your engine won’t restart you must get off the road as quickly as you can. When driving in fog.
dirty lights will make the problem worse. You could easily spin out driving too fast around a wet curve so slow down. Many people have changed from film to digital picture taking. or roads strewn with sand. Always activate your low beams in bad weather. DRIVING ON SLIPPERY SURFACES Wet or oily roads.you must reduce your speed. This helps if your windshield ices over. Always make sure you have enough washer fluid. 5. G. Drive With Headlamps On Many modern cars are equipped with daytime running lights (lights on the car that are on all the time). KEEP BELOW DRY ROAD SPEED The posted speed limit is for a clean. gravel and/or other debris can cause your vehicle to lose traction and start skidding. 1. too. In colder areas. 1. ALWAYS slow down in the rain or any time the road surface is adversely changed. you won’t be surprised by a change in road conditions.keep it clean. Conditions will eventually change for the better. take a cloth and give them a quick wipe. washer fluid mixed with antifreeze is available. KEEP HEADLIGHTS AND TAILLIGHTS CLEAN Visibility is already reduced in bad weather . E. Find an off-ramp and or pull off the road into a gas station or restaurant parking lot. STAY ON PAVED PORTION OF ROADWAY . If the road is wet and slippery . Drive With Headlamps On Use Windshield Washers to Remove Film and anything else that is on there. dry road. 2. STAYING ON THE ROADWAY When driving in slippery conditions you run the risk of losing control of your vehicle and skidding off the road or into another vehicle. F. DECREASE SPEED WHEN ENTERING A CURVE A curved road that is also wet is extremely hazardous. SPEED The Basic Speed Law says you may never drive faster than is safe for conditions. even if you think your vehicle can “handle it”. 1. Don’t forget the INSIDE of your windshield . Every time you stop.If you can leave the road safely then do so. OBTAINING MAXIMUM VISIBILITY If you scan ahead. You will be more visible to other drivers.
REGAINING CONTROL Take Foot of Gas You can regain control by releasing the accelerator and pushing in the clutch. 3. . AVOID SUDDEN MOVEMENTS A sharp turn of your steering wheel could cause a loss of control on a slippery. 2. Don’t change lanes abruptly. Your traction will be increased if you directly follow in those tracks. Reduce speed but keep the vehicle moving so you don’t lose momentum. this is especially important. 1. I. that means you must follow at least 6 to 9 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you! 4. Too much weight in the rear could hamper safe passage through deep water. GOING THROUGH DEEP WATER Always approach standing water with caution. 1. 2. ALLOW MORE OF A SPACE CUSHION It takes a motor vehicle 2 to 3 times longer to stop in the rain. DRIVE IN TRACKS OF THE CAR AHEAD When driving in the rain you will notice the vehicle directly in front of you may leave tracks in the water. always accelerate or brake gently and gradually. This will slow your vehicle and let the wheels turn freely. and sometimes even a dry road. In the rain. SHIFT TO A LOWER GEAR When moving through standing water. it is safer to follow a truck due to the larger tire tracks. speed or improper inflation. This occurs usually during heavy rain or when there is a large puddle on the road. In this case.Stay centered in your lane and do not allow your vehicle to drift toward the right. HYDROPLANING Hydroplaning occurs when your tires lose contact with the road because they are riding or floating on a thin layer of water. H. It might be safer to turn around and circumvent the water. If the recommended following distance on a dry road is 3 seconds. You don’t know how deep the water is. It can also occur because of low tire tread. On a narrow road with a drop-off to a soft shoulder. DO NOT OVERLOAD THE REAR If your vehicle is carrying a heavy load it should be distributed evenly in the vehicle. a lower gear can give you extra traction. which cuts their visibility. If you go through it. you also risk splashing water onto the oncoming car. There could be pot-holes or eroded roadway underneath.
DRIVING IN SNOW AND ICE If you drive in the mountains during winter you will probably encounter near-freezing temperatures and severe weather. Use only low-beams. One of the author's favorite sayings is "beam me up. either! Clean the whole windshield and even the top of the car. Scotty". the risk of hydroplaning will be puddle on the road. Not just a little space to see through. Scan ahead to anticipate your need to stop. 2. do not use the brakes to slow down. Wiper blades must be in top condition. Visibility in a snowstorm is worse than in rain because vision is also hampered to the rear and to the sides of your vehicle. K. J. In a heavy rain. Snow tends to fall from there and onto your windows. And even if the snow is not blowing. . slow down when there is a lot of water on the road. SPEED Driving on snow and ice requires you to almost be at a crawl. If the drive wheels start to skid. you would be in violation of the Basic Speed Law. 1. snow can cause a “white-out” effect. your tires can lose all contact with the road at about 50 mph. In order to avoid hydroplaning. KEEP SPEED BELOW DRY ROAD SPEED If you are driving in a snowstorm at 35 mph and the speed limit sign says 35 MPH.” Appropriate Use of Headlamps High-beams in a snowstorm would have the same blinding effect as using them in fog. push in the clutch to let them turn freely. 1. OBTAINING MAXIMUM VISIBILITY In blizzard conditions. Washer fluid is essential when driving in snow and slush. Windshield Wipers and Defrosters Clear your windshield of snow and ice. The driver and vehicle need to be prepared for driving in snow and ice.Do not Brake If the vehicle is hydroplaning. KEEP STEADY SPEED Avoid sudden braking or acceleration. Be especially careful driving through puddles. sunlight hitting snow can cause the driver to become “snowblind. Keep warm air blowing on the inside of your windshield to prevent fogging. If you follow in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. On cold icy days bridges and overpasses freeze first.
M.3. If you don’t have that space cushion we have mentioned.” If the sun is not directly shining upon it. it is very difficult to see this kind of ice. hills. HOW TO STOP SKIDDING 1. WATCH FOR AREAS WHERE ICE COLLECTS Bridges. GENERAL TIPS TO AVOID SKIDS: 1.PUMP BRAKES LIGHTLY BUT FAST . WHEN TO USE CHAINS Chains are required in many mountain regions of the state. AVOID BRAKING SUDDENLY . 4. keep as much open space around your vehicle as possible. tunnels. On overcast days or when approaching shady stretches of road. Watch for posted signs and be aware of local weather forecasts to determine if chains are needed. be especially careful. This phenomenon is called “black ice. REDUCE SPEED ON CURVES AND SHADY AREAS Water changes to ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. DO NOT DRIVE ON ROAD EDGE OR SHOULDER When a snowplow clears the road there are usually snow drifts piled high on the shoulder. When ice forms. DO NOT CHANGE TO A LOWER GEAR AT TOO FAST A SPEED Downshifting at high speed has the same effect as depressing the brake pedal. 2. And sometimes these snow piles can mask rocks and boulders. not to mention other debris. Remember to pump your brakes in the snow (unless you have ABS. 3. AVOID TURNING OR SWERVING SUDDENLY Sudden steering moves may cause a loss of control. They provide the best traction when driving through deep snow. MAINTAIN A LONGER SPACE CUSHION When driving in snow and ice. L. You don’t want to hit a patch of ice on a curve. so remember to reduce your speed and avoid abrupt steering maneuvers. 6. 5. Increase your following distance to 6 seconds and avoid tailgaters. Be especially cautious when there is no escape route to your right. you could lose traction and skid. it can be absolutely clear. AVOID APPLYING BRAKES TOO SUDDENLY OR TOO HARD Sudden braking or acceleration will cause a loss of traction and start you into a skid. you can’t take evasive action. curves and shady stretches of road are all places where ice can form and become a road hazard. Then you hold the pedal down) 4.
NEVER PUMP ANTI-LOCK BRAKES! On cars without ABS. this should be your automatic reflex action anyway. KEEP THE CLUTCH ENGAGED On vehicles with manual transmissions. START SLOWLY IN LOW GEAR Gently depress the accelerator with tires pointed forward.Remember. START IN HIGHER GEAR A lower gear will cause your tires to press down more firmly. STARTING WHEN TRACTION IS POOR Traction allows your tires to grip the road. O. 5. N.. . 1. HOW TO ROCK OUT Drivers will on occasion become stuck in deep mud or snow. as your front end skids left. keep the clutch pedal depressed and keep your foot off the accelerator while you counter-steer. AVOID OVER STEERING Turn the wheel back and forth in a controlled manner to counter the direction of your front end. A higher gear will give the tires less power and a more delicate touch that is likely to get you going again. causing them to spin. so don’t fight it trying to think. if your car is equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking system) you apply the brakes firmly and the system will pump the brakes automatically. If you have a shovel you might be able to dig yourself out. STEER IN THE DIRECTION THE REAR END IS SKIDDING As your front end skids right. A traction mat (available at most auto part stores) under the wheels could free your vehicle as well. AVOID LIFTING YOUR FOOT FROM THE ACCELERATOR SUDDENLY Release pressure on the accelerator gradually. steer right.tailing effect. “what was it that I was supposed to do in a skid?” 3. If you are stopped on a slick stretch of road that offers little or no traction here are some techniques to get you moving again: 1. If you over-correct by over steering your vehicle might spin completely around! 4. 2. Letting up on the accelerator abruptly will cause a change in traction and might trigger a fish. steer left. 2. Some officers view this as an exhibition of speed and may cite you. apply the brakes firmly but prepared to let up on the pedal and start pumping if you continue to skid.. ACCELERATE GRADUALLY If you depress the gas too quickly your tires will lose traction and start spinning. If all else fails there’s always the tried and true “rock-out” technique. Again.
. Take your foot off the accelerator and grip the steering wheel tightly. SHIFT RAPIDLY TO REVERSE Lift your foot off the accelerator and quickly shift to reverse. 4. Turn off the ignition (to accessory position) when you no longer need to change direction. SHIFT BACK TO LOW GEAR Release pressure on the accelerator and quickly shift back to low gear. 5. Unfortunately.BANG! Your tire blows. lift it up while keeping the button on top pressed down. chances are good that you will encounter one or more of the following mechanical failures over the course of your driving lifetime.2. When the Chicago Bears played the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Activate your flashers and sound the horn to warn other drivers. If it doesn’t release. You want to keep the vehicle under control.. 3. DO NOT STEP ON THE BRAKES.. 2. It might cause you to swerve dangerously. Pump the brake fast and hard 3 or 4 times. if you have a handheld emergency brake. P. Or. maneuver into a safe position and turn off your ignition (to accessory position) when you no longer need to change direction. downshift to a lower gear. It’s good to know what to do: 1. If there is still no braking power. ACCELERATOR STUCK You take the foot off the gas but the pedal stays down. If your brakes suddenly give out. REPEAT MOVEMENT IN RAPID SUCCESSION As you repeat these steps your vehicle will gradually build forward momentum and free itself form the mud or snow. don’t panic. Rub you tires against a curb or drive into something soft to slow you down. Slow to a stop off the road and wait to apply the brakes until the car is almost stopped. it was a blowout. activate your hazard lights. MECHANICAL FAILURE Keeping your vehicle in good working order is always the best way to avoid mechanical failure. start pumping the emergency (parking brake). So have your brakes serviced on a regular basis. Or perhaps your cruise control fails to cancel. It is not recommended that you reach down and try to pull the pedal up while still driving. 3. BLOWOUT If you are driving along and all of a sudden. Try to keep your vehicle in top condition by having it serviced regularly. BACK UNTIL WHEELS START TO SPIN Depress the accelerator once again and back up until the rear tires start spinning but be careful! Do not let them spin too long or you’ll dig yourself in deeper. Depress the pedal sharply. BRAKE FAILURE A brake failure is a frightening prospect. This builds up pressure in the brake line and could help. shift to neutral.
it will fail if your engine dies. Try activating the dimmer switch. NOTE: Your high beams may still be operational even if your low beams have failed. Unfortunately. . suffer a broken belt or a loss of fluid. if you turn off your ignition. Use them with caution. 5. If that fails. Be ready . try the headlight switch. most of us are used to the luxury of power steering. POWER STEERING FAILURE In this day and age.your steering wheel will require much more force to turn than usual. Pull off the road as quickly as possible. HEADLIGHT FAILURE This is usually caused by a bulb failure or blown fuse. Activate your turn signal or hazard lights and pull off the road as quickly as possible.4.