Good driving is based on practice and being alert at the wheel. When driving, you
must make sure that nothing interferes with your ability to see the road, react to
situations or operate your vehicle properly. You must look down the road, to the
sides and behind your vehicle and be alert for unexpected events. Be alert to what
is going on around you and do not take your eyes off the road for more than a few
seconds at the time. Do not have objects inside your vehicle that might
interfere with your ability to drive safely. This might include objects that obstruct
your view of the road or mirrors.
Bad Driving Habits: Good drivers develop habits that focus their full attention
on driving. Some drivers can develop bad habits that can be very dangerous when driving.
Some bad habits that take your attention away from driving are:
Driving ill, upset or angry.
Driving while eating or drinking.
Driving while adjusting the radio or changing CDs/tapes.
Driving while calling, answering or talking on a mobile phone.
Reading while driving.
Getting Ready to Drive
Before you start your engine:
Make sure all windows are clean.
Remove anything that blocks your view
of the road.
Adjust the seat so you
can reach all controls.
Adjust the inside and outside rearview mirrors. You
should not have
to lean forward or backward to use them.
Lock all car
Put on your safety belts. Ask all passengers to do the same.
Make sure your car is in park or neutral gear before starting the engine.
Never move your car until you have looked in front, behind
and to the
side for pedestrians and oncoming traffic. Then, signal and pull into
Defensive driving means doing all you can to prevent crashes. As a defensive
driver, you will "give" a little. You will change your driving
the weather conditions, the way you feel, and the actions of other
bicyclists and pedestrians.
Follow these steps to avoid crashes:
Look for possible danger. Think about what might happen. If there
children playing by the road, plan what you will do if one runs or
Understand what can be done to prevent a crash. See the
tips which follow as well as Handling Emergencies.
time. Once you have seen a dangerous situation, act right away
to prevent a
Use these defensive driving tips if you see that you are
about to be
involved in a crash:
It is better to swerve right
instead of toward oncoming traffic to
prevent a crash.
Hitting a row of
bushes is better than hitting a tree, post or solid
vehicle moving in the same direction as you are is better
than hitting a
It is better to drive off the road than skid off when
avoiding a crash.
It is better to hit something that is not moving instead
of a vehicle
moving toward you.
When You Back Up
Check behind your vehicle before you get in. Children or small objects cannot be
seen from the driver's seat. Place your right arm on the back of the seat and turn
around so that you can look directly through the rear window. Do not depend on
your rearview or side mirrors as you cannot see directly behind your vehicle.
Back slowly, your vehicle is much harder to steer while you are backing.
Whenever possible use a person outside the vehicle to help you back up.
Avoiding Rear-end Collisions
Many crashes happen because one
vehicle runs into the back of another
one. Here are some things you can do to
lower the risk of someone running
into the rear of your vehicle.
Check your brake lights often to make sure they are clean and working
Know what is going on behind you. Use your rearview mirrors.
Signal well in advance for turns, stops and lane changes.
gradually. Avoid any sudden actions.
Drive with the flow of traffic (within
the speed limit). Driving too
slowly can be as dangerous as driving too fast.
To avoid striking the vehicle in front of you, keep at least two seconds following distance. This is done by following the instructions found under the section, Minimum Safe Following Distances.
Basic Driver Improvement
Any driver can take a basic driver improvement course. The course teaches
ways of keeping crashes from happening. One driver can sign up, or a group
can ask for a class. Consult your yellow pages under, Driving Instruction,
for the location of the schools.
The driver and front seat passenger must wear seat belts. This seat belt law applies
to passenger cars manufactured beginning with the 1968 model year, and
trucks beginning with the 1972 model year.
It is unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle in this state unless every
passenger of the vehicle under the age of 18 is restrained by a
safety belt or by a child restraint device, regardless of seating position.
If the passenger is 18 years of age or older and fails to wear a seat belt when
required by law, the passenger will be charged with the violation.
The law exempts the following from the seat belt
Any person certified by a physician as
having a medical condition that
causes the seat belt use to be inappropriate or
Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering
on home delivery routes.
Buses used for
transportation of persons for compensation.
a net weight of more than 5,000 pounds.
Motorcycle, moped or bicycle.
In a crash, you are far more likely to be killed if you are not wearing
safety belt. Wearing shoulder belts and lap belts make your chances of
through a crash twice as good.
In a crash, safety belts:
you from being thrown from the vehicle. The risk of death is five
if you are thrown from a vehicle in a crash.
Keep you from being thrown
against parts of your vehicle, such as the
steering wheel or windshield.
Keep you from being thrown against others in the vehicle.
driver behind the wheel, where he or she can control the vehicle.
SAFETY BELTS SAVE LIVES!
Wear a lap belt around your hips, not your stomach. Fasten the belt snugly. Only wear
a shoulder belt with a lap belt. Don't just use your safety belt for long trips or
More than half of the crashes that cause injury or death happen:
at speeds less than 40 mph, and
within 25 miles of home.
ALL CHILDREN 5 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER MUST USE A RESTRAINT
DEVICE WHEN RIDING IN A
The number one killer of young children in the United States is traffic crashes in
which children were not restrained at all. Over 90 percent of the deaths and 80
percent of the injuries in car crashes could be prevented by using crash-tested
Children should be secure in the rear seat. Never secure a child in the front
passenger side, especially if your vehicle has an air bag.
The law requires every driver to properly secure children five years of age or
child restraint devices riding in a passenger car, van, or pick-up
regardless of whether the vehicle is registered in this state. Infant
children's car seats must be used for children three years old
and younger. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a
seat belt may be used. All infant carriers and car seats must be crash-tested and
approved by the U.S. Government.
Children being carried or riding bicycles should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets.
What is the Best Child Seat?
The one that fits your child.
The one that fits your vehicle.
The one that you will use correctly every time.
For more information on the best child seat, please visit:
http://www.fhp.state.fl.us/html/CPS and obtain information on occupant Protection
and Child Passenger Safety News.
Leaving Children Unattended or Unsupervised in Motor
Do not leave children unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle, and never
leave a child unattended for any
period of time if the motor of the vehicle is running or if the health of
child is in danger.
WARNING: WHEN IT'S HOT OUTSIDE, DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED!
On a hot summer day, the interior of a car can get dangerously
hot. One study found that with the windows up and the temperature outside
at 94 degrees, the inside of a car could be 122 degrees in just half an hour,
or 132 degrees after an hour.
causes many crashes. More drivers are convicted of speeding
than any other
offense. To avoid being fined or involved
in a crash, obey
the speed limits.
Speed is very important in a collision. If you double the
speed of a car,
you increase its force of impact four times. If you triple the
impact is nine times as great.
70 Does Not Always Mean 70
Remember that speed limits show the fastest speed you may drive under
conditions. You are responsible for adjusting your driving speed to
conditions. For example, if the weather is bad or there is a lot
of traffic, you
must drive more slowly than the posted speed. The safe speed
is the one that
allows you to have complete control of your vehicle.
Florida "Standard" Speed Limits
Municipal Speed Areas
Business or Residential Areas
Rural Interstate Limited
Limited Access Highways
All Other Roads and Highways
*The 55 MPH maximum speed limit is still in effect in Florida except where
otherwise posted. Speed limits are 70 MPH on some rural interstate highways.
Speed limits may be changed on other multi-lane highways. Drivers should
not assume because the area appears to be rural, the limit is 70 MPH. Observe and obey
the posted speed signs as there may be frequent changes from
area to area along the selected roads and highways.
Driving Too Slowly is also Against the Law
Drive with the flow of traffic
(within the speed limit). You should
not drive so slowly that you block other
vehicles moving at normal, safe
speeds. You can be issued a ticket for driving
Following Officer's and Fireman's Instructions
are stopped by a law enforcement officer, pull off immediately
to the extreme
right, clear of traffic when possible. Turn off your engine.
headlights to the parking light position at night. Sit calmly
and follow the
instructions of the officer. You must follow any lawful order
or direction of (1)
any police officer or (2) any fireman at the scene of
a fire who is directing
traffic. If a police officer is directing traffic
where there are signal lights,
obey the officer - not the signals.
More crashes happen at intersections than any other place. Be very careful
when approaching any intersection or driveway.
Look both ways and be ready to brake or stop.
Drive at the slowest speed just before entering the
Do not pass or change lanes.
Be aware of vehicles behind you. Will they be able to stop if necessary?
you are stopped, look for bicyclists and pedestrians who may be crossing the intersection from either
Who has the right-of-way in Florida? The answer is no one! The law only says who must yield (give up)
the right-of-way. Every driver,
motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist and
pedestrian must do everything possible
to avoid a crash.
You must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and pedestrians
signs. Move forward only when the road is clear. At four-way stops,
vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach
at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the
driver on the right.
An open intersection is one without traffic
control signs or signals.
When you enter one, you must yield the right-of-way
A vehicle is already in the intersection.
You enter or
cross a state highway from a secondary road.
You enter a paved road from an
You plan to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching
When two cars enter an open intersection at
the same time, the driver
on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
Roundabouts are a new type of intersection, which
improves traffic flow and reduces traffic crashes. Most roundabouts do not require stopping,
which allows vehicles to move continuously through intersections at the same low speed.
Roundabouts are designed to move all traffic through a counterclockwise direction. Vehicles
approaching the roundabout yield to circulating traffic; however, drivers must
obey all signs to determine the correct right-of-way in the roundabout.
Safety Rules for Pedestrians
Look to the left and the right
before stepping off any curb.
Cross only at intersections or designated
crosswalks. Drivers are always
more alert for pedestrians when they approach
Cross with the green light or "WALK" signal.
Make sure you
have enough time to cross. Although the motorist must yield, the motorist
see you in time.
While walking along a highway, always walk on
the shoulder on the left
side, facing traffic. Wear light colored clothing or
use a flashlight to
make you more visible to drivers at night.
It is the motorist's
responsibility to do everything possible to avoid
colliding with any pedestrians. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or
driveway are considered pedestrians. Turning motorists must yield
to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersections without traffic signals.
In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists using a public roadway are considered
operators of motor vehicles and are responsible for observing traffic laws. With few exceptions, there is only
one road and it is up to motorists and bicyclists to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the
law is the foundation of respect.
The primary traveling aids for a person who is blind are often either a white cane or a trained
guide dog. Independent travel involves some risk that can be greatly reduced
when you, the driver, are aware of the use and meaning of a white cane or
Drivers must always yield the right-of-way to persons who
When a pedestrian is crossing a street or highway guided by a dog or
a white cane (or a white cane with a red tip), vehicles must come to
On a two-way street or highway, all drivers moving in either
must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off
You must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway and
the bus signal has been withdrawn. Violation of this law is considered
a moving violation and is subject to a mandatory hearing.
If the highway is divided by a
raised barrier or an unpaved median at
least five feet wide, you do not have to
stop if you are moving in the opposite
direction of the bus. Painted lines or
pavement markings are not considered
to be barriers. If you are moving in the
same direction as the bus, you
must always stop - and not go forward until the
bus stop signal has been
BOTH CARS MUST
Crossing guards are posted in areas where it is unsafe for children to cross
alone. When you see a guard, reduce your speed as you near a school and
children are in the area. Watch for school zone posted speed and stop if necessary
at the marked stop lined but never in the cross walk. Obey signals from any
crossing guard. It is the driver's responsibility to do everything possible to
avoid colliding with pedestrians. Remember, children are unpredictable. Do
your part to make every crossing a safe crossing.
All drivers should yield the right-of-way to public transit bus traveling in the same direction
which has signaled and in reentering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout bay.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions.
When the first vehicle in the funeral procession lawfully enters an
other vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on as a
to other drivers not to drive between or interfere with the procession
it is in motion unless directed to do so by a police officer.
Driveways form an intersection with sidewalks. Motorists
to bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to
cars, fire engines and other emergency vehicles using sirens
lights. Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway right away
until the emergency vehicle has passed. Do not block intersections.
When driving on interstate highways or other highways with two or more lanes
traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, and except when otherwise
directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers approaching a law enforcement or
other authorized emergency vehicle parked on a roadway with their emergency
lights activated, will be required to leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicle,
as soon as it is safe to do so.
When approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked
on a two-lane roadway with their emergency lights activated, and except when
otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers will be required to slow to a
speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted
speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the
posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.
Turning a corner may seem to be a simple operation, but many
crashes are caused by drivers who do not turn correctly.
are nine steps in making a good turn:
Make up your mind about
your turn before you get to the turning point.
Never make "last
If you must change lanes, look behind and to both sides to see where other
vehicles are located before making your turn.
Move into the correct lane as you
near the intersection. The correct
lane for the right turn is the lane next to
the right edge of the roadway.
On a two-lane road with traffic in both
directions, an approach for a left
turn should be made in the part of the right
half of the roadway nearest
the center line.
Give a turn signal for at
least the last 100 feet before you make your
turn. Let other drivers know what
you are going to do.
Slow down to a safe turning speed.
are slowing to make a right turn, the bicyclist you passed
may be catching up
to you. Search over your shoulder before turning. Yield
to bicyclists and
Yield to pedestrians who may be crossing your path when turning left. Always scan for pedestrians before starting the turn.
the turn, staying in the proper lane. Yield the right-of-way to
vehicles (including bicycles) coming from the opposite direction.
Finish your turn in the proper lane.
A right turn should be from the
right lane into the right lane of the roadway
entered. A left turn may
be completed in any lane lawfully available, or safe,
for the desired direction
of travel. See diagrams for making left turns from or
into one-way streets.
If you reach an intersection where you wish
to make a right or left
turn and are not in the proper lane, you should drive to
the next intersection.
Then make the turn from the proper lane.
Study these diagrams showing lanes to use in making
one-way into 2-way
one-way into one-way roads
two-way onto two-ways roads
Left from two way onto one-way roads
Bike Lanes at Intersections
Slow down and look for
bicyclists. Signal your turn prior to crossing
through the bike lane at the
dashed striping. Yield to any bicyclist. Complete
the turn from the designated
right turn lane.
If there is no right turn lane, after checking to make sure that no bicyclists are present, you may enter the bike lane
at the intersection
Turnabout (Three-Point Turn)
Sometimes you will need to turn your car around in a very small space.
three-point turn only if the road is too narrow for a U-turn and you
around the block. To make a three-point turn:
Move as far right
as possible, check traffic, and signal a left turn.
Turn the steering
wheel sharply to the left and move forward slowly.
Stop at the curb, or edge of
Shift to reverse, turn your wheels sharply to the right, check
and back your vehicle to the right curb, or edge of roadway.
You can now move in the opposite
direction. Check traffic, and move forward. Never make a three-point turn or a
U-turn on a curve, a hill, or when a sign indicates
that making a u-turn is prohibited.
Turn Signals and Emergency Signals
You must use hand signals or directional signals to show
that you are
about to turn.
It is against the law to use your directional
signals to tell drivers
behind you that they can pass.
flashers should only be used while your vehicle is legally
stopped or disabled on
the highway or shoulder.
right turn left turn slow or stop
Always drive on the right side of a two-lane highway except when passing.
If the road has four or more lanes with two-way traffic, drive in the right
lanes except when overtaking and passing.
Left lanes on some interstate roads are reserved for car pool vehicles with two or more occupants in the car - watch for diamond
signs in the median. The center lane of a three-lane or five-lane highway is used only for turning left.
If you see red reflectors facing
you on the lane lines, you are on the
wrong side of the road. Get into the proper
lane immediately! If you see red reflectors on the lines on the edge of the road, you are on the wrong freeway ramp. Pull
over immediately! Red reflectors always mean you are facing traffic the wrong way and could have a head-on collision.
Blind spots are areas near the left and right rear corners
of your vehicle
that you cannot see in your rearview mirrors. Before you move
change lanes on an expressway or to pass on any road, turn your head
make sure these areas are clear.
Areas bordered by X's are blind spots for a car with an outside mirror
left side only.
On the roads with more than one lane in each direction, do
not drive in
someone else's blind spot. Speed up or drop back so the other driver
Stay a safe
distance behind the vehicle you want to pass. The closer
you get to the vehicle
you want to pass, the less you can see ahead. This
is especially true when
passing trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles.
Before you pull out to
pass, check your blind spots and make sure that
you have plenty of time and
room to pass.
On a two-lane road, tap your horn, or at night blink your
to let the other driver know you are passing.
Give your signal before you move
into the left lane.
Do not return to the right side of the road until you
can see the vehicle
you passed in your rearview mirror.
You must return to
the right side of the road before coming within
200 feet of any vehicle coming
from the opposite direction.
Passing on the right is only legal when there
are two or more lanes
of traffic moving in the same direction or the vehicle
you are passing
is making a left turn. Pulling off the pavement to pass on the
against the law.
The driver of the car behind passed must not increase speed until the pass
Help other drivers pass you safely. Move to the right side of your lane
give them more room and a better view of the road ahead.
When You May Not Pass
You may not pass on a two-lane road with traffic moving in opposite directions
under these conditions:
Where you see a "DO NOT PASS" or "NO
Where a solid yellow line is painted on your side
of the center line.
On hills or curves.
100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, tunnel, or railroad crossing.
Violators may be arrested or issued a ticket.
Minimum Safe Following Distances
Leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead. If it
you will need time to see the danger and stop.
Using the Two-Second Rule
At any speed, you can use the two-second rule
to see if you are far
enough behind the car in front of you:
the vehicle ahead pass some fixed point - an overpass, sign,
fence corner, or
Count off the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot in
("one thousand and one, one thousand and two...").
you reach the mark before you finish counting, you are following
Slow down and check your following distance again.
The two-second rule
applies to any speed in good weather and road conditions.
If road or weather
conditions are not good, double your following distance. You
should also double your following distance when driving a mobile home or towing
parking on a public road, move as far away from traffic as possible.
If there is
a roadside shoulder, pull as far onto it as you can. If there
is a curb, pull
close to it - you must not park more than one foot away.
Always park on the
right side of the roadway, unless it is a one-way
Make sure your vehicle
cannot move. Set the parking brake and shift
to park with an automatic
transmission or reverse with a manual transmission.
Turn off the engine and lock
the vehicle. Florida law requires that you
take the keys out of your vehicle
before leaving it. Always check traffic
behind you before getting out, or get out
on the curb side.
Before you leave any parked position, look over your
shoulder to the
rear to make sure the way is clear. Give the proper turn signal
from a curb and yield to other traffic.
Parking on Hills
When parking on hills:
Turn your wheels so that if your car
starts to move by itself it will
roll away from traffic or into the curb. Study
the diagram provided.
Set the parking brake.
Put automatic gear shift
in park. Shift manual gears to reverse (downhill)
or first (uphill).
rear markers represent the REAR corners of the parking space. The
represent the approximate CENTER of the parking space. When
properly parked, the
vehicle should be centered inside the space with no
part of the vehicle extending
out into the traffic lane.
Where Parking is not Allowed
On the roadway side of another parked vehicle (double parking).
In front of driveways.
By curbs painted
yellow or where "No Parking" signs are posted.
Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
Within 20 feet of an
Within 20 feet of the entrance to a fire, ambulance or rescue
Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing.
On the hard
surface of a highway where parking spaces are not marked.
On any bridge or
overpass or in any tunnel.
Within 30 feet of a rural mail box on a state
highway between 8 a.m.
and 6 p.m.
Within 30 feet of any flashing signal,
stop sign or traffic signal.
In such a way that you block or create a
hazard for other vehicles.
Parking lights must be
used at night on any vehicle parked on a roadway
or shoulder outside of cities
Driving with parking
lights only (in place of headlights) is against
Parking Privilege for Disabled
Disabled persons do not have to pay
parking fees on any public street,
highway, or metered space. Their vehicles must
display a valid parking placard
from the rearview mirror or on the front dash.
These may be obtained from
a tag agent or tax collector's office and must be
renewed every four years.
Disabled persons must park in spaces reserved for the
disabled when possible.
These spaces are marked by the wheelchair symbol and
"Parking by Disabled
Permit Only" signs. Vehicles illegally parked in
spaces reserved for
the handicapped will be ticketed and may be towed.
Proof of Eligibility: Statement
from a physician licensed
in the United States, the Division of Blind Services
of the Department
of Education, or the Veterans Administration to the effect
is a severely physically disabled individual with permanent
which substantially impair his or her ability to ambulate or
as legally blind. Procedure
Provide Proof of Eligibility - Doctor's Statement.
Pay $15.00 for temporary disabled person parking permit.
Present valid Florida driver license or identification card.
Expressways - also
called interstate highways, freeways, and turnpikes
- are multiple-lane roads
with no stop signs, traffic lights, or railroad
crossings. For these reasons,
expressways can give you a fast, safe way
to get where you need to go.
Pedestrians, hitchhikers, bicycles, animal-drawn vehicles or motor-driven
cycles and motor scooters with 150 cubic centimeter displacement or less
allowed on expressways.
Entering and Leaving Expressways
Vehicles can enter and leave expressways only at certain points. Because
expressway traffic is usually moving at or close to the maximum speed allowed,
you need to know how to enter and exit safely.
entrances have three basic parts: an entrance ramp, an
acceleration lane, and a
merging area. Follow these guidelines to enter
an expressway safely:
On the entrance ramp, begin checking for an opening in traffic. Signal
As the ramp straightens into the acceleration lane, speed up.
adjust your speed so that you can move into the traffic when you reach
the end of the acceleration lane.
Merge into traffic when you can do so
safely. You must yield right-of-way
to traffic on the expressway. You cannot
always count on other drivers
moving over to give you room to enter, but do not
stop on an acceleration
lane unless traffic is too heavy and there is no space
for you to enter
When leaving an expressway:
into the exit lane. Posted signs will tell you which one. Most expressway
are from the right lane.
Signal your intention to leave the
expressway by using your turn signals.
Slow down as soon as you are off the
expressway. Check the posted safe
speed for the exit ramp.
Do not make
last-minute turns into an exit. If you go past your exit,
you must go to the
Expressway Safety Reminders
Plan your trip. Know
just where you will get on and get off.
Drive in the right lane and pass on
the left. If there are three lanes,
use the right lane for lower speed driving,
the left for passing. If you
stay in the right lane, watch for cars entering
the expressway. Adjust
your speed or move into the center lane so they can
Never stop on the pavement, shoulder, or connecting ramp of
except in an emergency. If your vehicle breaks down, it may be
the side of the expressway (completely off the pavement) for no more
six hours. Raise your hood and tie a white cloth to your antenna or left
door handle to show you need help.
Never back up on an expressway entrance
ramp or exit ramp. The only
exception to this would be if you are trying to
enter an express way through
an exit. In this case, you would see a "WRONG
WAY" or "DO
NOT ENTER" sign. Then you must back up or turn
Do not cross, drive on or park on the median strip.
follow too closely. Rear end collisions are the greatest danger
Always leave room for emergency stops.
Stop driving when you feel tired. On
long trips the hum of the engine
and your lack of movement can make you feel
sleepy. Stop for a cup of coffee,
a short walk, or a nap. Do not risk failing
asleep at the wheel.
Stay out of other drivers' blind spots.
turnpike hypnosis. Continuous expressway driving can become
staring. Get into the habit of shifting your eyes left
and right and using
You will need to drive with extra care at night. You cannot
see as far
ahead or to the side, and glare from oncoming cars can reduce your
even more. Follow these guidelines for driving at night:
your headlights (low beam or high beam) between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
Low beam headlamps
are only effective for speeds up to 20-25 mph. You
must use special care when
driving faster than these speeds, since you
are unable to detect pedestrians,
bicyclists and others.
High beam headlights can reveal objects up to a distance of at least 450 feet and
are most effective for speeds faster than 25 mph.
Don't use high-beam headlights within 500 feet of
If you are behind other vehicles, use low beams when you
300 feet of the vehicle ahead.
When leaving a brightly lit
place, drive slowly until your eyes grow
used to darkness.
If a vehicle
comes toward you with high beams, flash your lights to
high beam and back to
low beam once.
Don't look directly at oncoming headlights. Instead, watch
edge of your lane. Look quickly to be sure of the other vehicle's
every few seconds.
Drive as far to the right as you can if a
vehicle with one light comes
Wild and domestic
animals may move unpredictably towards or across the
travel path of an
approaching motor vehicle. When an animal is seen in the
road or on the road
shoulder, you should slow down and, if necessary, yield
the right-of-way. Be
especially careful in rural areas at night. Often an
animal's eyes shining in the
headlight beams will be seen first.
Use reasonable care when
approaching a person who is riding or leading
an animal upon the roadway or
shoulder of the road. Horses have poor side
vision and are easily frightened by
loud noises or sudden movements.
Fog or Smoke
It is best not to drive in fog or smoke. If
you must, slow down, turn
on your low beam headlights, and be ready for a fast
stop. Use windshield
wipers in heavy fog. If the fog or smoke becomes so thick
that you cannot
see well enough to keep driving, pull all the way off the
pavement and stop.
Turn on your emergency flashers.
first few drops of rain mean danger. Roads are most slippery just
after the rain
begins, because oil dropped from cars has not been washed
away. Slow down and
plan for at least two times the normal stopping distance.
heavy rain, your tires can ride on a thin film of water, like skis.
called hydroplaning. When your tires are not touching the road,
you can easily
lose control and skid. Keep your tires on the road by slowing
down when it rains,
and by having tires with the right air pressure and
often become wet after driving through deep water or driving
in heavy rain. They
may pull to one side or the other, or they may not hold
at all. If this happens,
slow down and gently push on the brake pedal until
your brakes are working
You must turn on your low beam (dim) headlights when driving at any time between
sunset and sunrise including the twilight hours between sunset and sunrise
including the twilight hours between sunset and full night or between full
night and sunrise. You must also use these lights during any rain, smoke or
fog. Parking lights do not meet requirements of this law.
you are driving, things can happen very quickly. You may have only
a fraction of
a second to make the right move. Follow these guidelines for
If possible, park where the
disabled vehicle can be seen for 200 feet
in each direction.
vehicle so all four wheels are off the pavement.
Turn on your emergency
Get all passengers out on the side away from traffic.
white cloth on the left door handle or antenna.
Raise the hood.
Do not use brakes.
Concentrate on steering.
Slow down gradually.
Brake softly when the car is under control.
Pull completely off the pavement.
brakes lightly after driving through deep water.
Brakes may pull to one
side or may not hold at all.
Dry brakes by driving slowly in low gear and
Right Wheels off Pavement
Take your foot
off the gas pedal.
Hold the wheel firmly and steer in a straight line.
Wait until the road is clear.
Turn back on the
pavement sharply at slow speed.
Car or Motorcycle Approaching in your
Sound your horn.
Steer for the side
of the road or the ditch.
Jammed Gas Pedal
Keep your eyes
on the road.
Tap the gas pedal with your foot.
Try to pry the pedal up
with the toe of your shoe.
Shift into neutral.
Turn off the ignition.
(Do not turn the key to lock, or your steering
Pump the brake pedal hard and fast.
Shift to a lower gear.
Apply the parking brake slowly, so you do not
Rub your tires on the curb to slow your vehicle, or pull off the road
into an open space.
Take your foot off the gas
Do not use your brakes, if possible.
Pump the brakes gently if
you are about to hit something.
Steer the car into the direction of the
skid to straighten the vehicle
out. Then steer in the direction you wish to go.
If the fire is small and you have a portable
extinguisher, you should
attempt to extinguish the fire.
If you cannot
extinguish the fire and it continues to get larger, get
away from the vehicle,
due to the presence of toxic fumes and the possibility
apply water to a gasoline or diesel fire.
Sharing the Road with a Truck
Whether you are
sharing the road with a car, truck, bus, or other large
vehicle, it's important
for safety's sake to obey traffic laws, abide by
the rules of the road, and drive
Are there any special rules for sharing the road with a truck?
Yes! Here are some suggestions from professional truck drivers:
Side Blind Spots. Trucks and buses have much larger blind spots
on both sides than do
passenger cars. If a commercial driver needs to swerve
or change lanes for any
reason, contact with the car in such a spot can
Spots. Unlike passenger cars, trucks and buses have
deep blind spots
directly behind them. Tailgating greatly increases your
chances of a rear-end
collision with a commercial vehicle.
Unsafe Passing. Another No Zone is just in front
of trucks and buses. When passing a bus or
truck, be sure you can see the
cab in your rear view mirror before pulling in
Wide Right Turns. Truck and bus drivers sometimes need to
wide to the left in order to safely negotiate a right turn. They cannot
see cars directly behind or beside them. Cutting in between the commercial
vehicle and the curb or shoulder to the right increases the possibility
Backing Up. When a truck is backing up, it sometimes must
the street to maneuver its trailer accurately. Never cross behind a truck
that is preparing to back up or is in the process of doing so. Remember,
trailers are eight and a half feet wide and can completely hide objects
suddenly come between them and loading areas. Automobile drivers attempting
pass behind a truck enter a blind spot for both drivers.
When passing a truck, first check to your front and rear, and move
into the passing lane only if it is clear and you are in a legal passing
Let the truck driver know you are passing by blinking your headlights,
especially at night. The driver will make it easier for you by staying
far side of the lane.
On a level highway, it takes only three to five
seconds longer to pass
a truck than a car. On an upgrade, a truck often loses
speed, so it is
easier to pass than a car. On a downgrade, the truck's momentum
it to go faster, so you may need to increase your speed.
Complete your pass as quickly as possible, and don't stay alongside
If the driver blinks his lights after you pass, it's a
it is clear to pull back in. Be sure to move back only when you can
the front of the truck in your rearview mirror. After you pass a truck,
maintain your speed.
When a truck passes you, you can help the truck driver
by keeping to
the far side of your lane. You'll make it easier for the truck
you reduce speed slightly. In any event, do not speed up while the
is passing. After passing, the truck driver will signal to let you know
that the truck will be returning to your lane.
When you meet a truck coming
from the opposite direction, keep as far
as possible to the side to avoid a
sideswipe accident and to reduce the
wind turbulence between the two vehicles.
Remember that the turbulence
pushes the vehicles apart. It does not suck them
Following a Truck
In general, trucks take slightly
longer than cars to stop because of
their size. However, at highway speeds or on
wet roads, trucks may have
better traction and stability allowing them to stop
more quickly. A car
following too closely may not be able to stop quickly enough
to avoid rear-ending
If you are following a truck, stay out of its
to the rear. Avoid following too closely, and position
your vehicle so the
truck driver can see it in his side mirrors. Then you will
have a good view
of the road ahead, and the truck driver can give you plenty of
a stop or a turn. You will have more time - to react and make a safe
When you follow a truck at night, always dim your
lights from a vehicle behind will blind the truck driver when
off the truck's large side mirrors.
If you are stopped
behind a truck on an upgrade, leave space in case
the truck drifts back slightly
when it starts to move. Also, keep to the
left in your lane so the driver can see
that you're stopped behind the truck.
Sharing the Road with a Bicycle
Allow three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist. Reduce your speed if the roadway is narrow.
After parallel parking, check for cyclists before opening the driver's side
At night, avoid using high-beam headlights when a cyclist is approaching. The cyclist could be
Do not follow a cyclist closely. If you are too close and the cyclist must
lay down their bike down on the road in an emergency, you could run them over.
Sharing the Road with a Motorcycle
When you follow a motorcycle, remember that motorcycles have the
ability of stopping much more quickly than other vehicles in
emergencies. Following too closely endangers your life and that of
the motorcyclist. Do not follow a motorcyclist closely.
Watch for motorcycles before turning and yield right of way.
Include motorcycles in your visual search pattern.
Do not share the lane with a motorcycle. The motorcyclist needs the
room to maneuver safely and is entitled to the entire lane.
When your automobile is being passed by a motorcycle, you should
maintain your lane position and speed. Allow the motorcycle to
complete the maneuver and assume proper lane position as quickly as
Do not follow the motorcycle closely. Motorcycles can stop in a
shorter distance than a car.
In traffic, especially in inclement weather or under certain road
conditions, motorcycles operate differently than other vehicles:
gusts can move a motorcycle across an entire lane.
Wet or icy roads
impair a motorcyclist's ability to brake and maneuver.
railroad tracks, often require motorcyclists to change positions within
Gravel roads decrease traction and may cause a rider to slow
down or brake where a car would not.