Drivers Ed Full

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Collision Responsibility

Everyone is responsible for avoiding collisions. Even if a collision is caused by someone else doing something wrong, you can be found responsible if you could have done something to avoid the collision.

Defensive Driving

Finally, you must be able to see dangerous situations before they happen and respond quickly and effectively to prevent them. This is called "defensive driving." Disregarding defensive-driving techniques increases your risk of being involved in an accident.

Brakes: Parking on a Hill

If you have a manual transmission, always set your parking brake and leave the vehicle in gear. If you have an automatic transmission, always use the "Park" position.

Parking Downhill: Parking on a Hill

To prevent rolling when you park downhill, turn your front wheels into the curb or toward the side of the road. Set the parking brake.

Parking Uphill: Parking on a Hill

When you park uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb. Let your vehicle roll back a few inches until the rear of the front wheel gently touches the curb. Set the parking brake.

Parking on a Sloping Driveway

When parking on a sloping driveway, turn the wheels so the car will not roll into the street if the brakes should fail.

Don’t Park At:

In a location that blocks traffic. In an intersection. On a marked or unmarked crosswalk. On a sidewalk. On the wrong side of the street. Wherever you see the no parking symbol.

Parking on a Highway During an Emergency

If you must stop on a highway, park completely off the pavement, leaving enough space for other vehicles to pass freely. Your car should be visible 200 feet in each direction.

Yield Sign

A yield sign means the cross traffic has the right of way. If the traffic is heavy, you must come to a full stop and wait until you can turn or merge safely into the traffic.

Courtesy Guidelines

Large vehicles like trucks can’t speed up or slow down as easily as smaller vehicles like cars. Larger vehicles like trucks have many blind spots; that means some drivers can’t see you as easily as you can see them. Motorcycles might occupy less space on the road than cars, but they’re entitled to use the road just like everyone else. Cyclists and pedestrians have rights, too. Some drivers on the road may be older, new to the area, or simply lost. Let the other driver have the right of way. If someone is tailgating you, move to the next lane. You can show courtesy by letting drivers pull in front of you when they want to merge into heavy traffic or your lane. You can also show courtesy by using your indicator lights when turning and your horn or emergency flashers to make other drivers aware of an upcoming hazard or your presence.


German engineers Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler developed the first gasoline-fueled internal-combustion engine, modeled after earlier experiments with steam-powered vehicles.


The popularity of Japanese and German vehicles began to challenge the sale of US-manufactured cars

Sociological and Economic Changes Brought on by Cars

Increased mobility of the US population. Accelerated development of remote areas, which otherwise would not have been accessible. The ability to live farther from places of work (suburbia and beyond). Increased access to goods and services. Urban sprawl. Reduced extended-family and multi-generational households. Increased access to better education and health care.

Economic and Health Impact of Cars

The creation of an industry that employs a significant number of people. The creation of new technologies and industries. A significant monetary cost in injury and property damage. An increase in air and water pollution.

Ways to Reduce CO2 Emissions

AVOID RAPID STARTS AND STOPS: Rapid acceleration and braking consumes excess fuel. Avoid this whenever possible. KEEP ON ROLLING: It takes more energy to move a stopped vehicle than to keep a vehicle moving. Maintaining a constant speed in your everyday commute increases fuel economy. USE YOUR AIR-CONDITIONING AT HIGH SPEEDS: When driving at speeds lower than 40 miles per hour (mph), roll down your windows to cool off instead of cranking up the AC. However, at higher speeds, lowered windows cause aerodynamic drag, increasing fuel consumption. Therefore, you should roll up your windows and use air-conditioning when traveling faster than 40 mph. CRUISE CONTROL IS YOUR FRIEND: Cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed and can result in fuel savings of around 7 percent, average. DON’T IDLE: When your car is idling, it’s traveling at 0 mph – the worst possible! If you’re going nowhere and simply sitting and waiting, turn your car off. DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE TO WARM IT UP: Today’s cars don’t actually need to warm up before they’re driven. Unlike older models, today’s vehicles need only about 30 seconds for the oil to circulate through the engine – even on the coldest mornings! Your vehicle will warm up faster when you’re driving rather than when it’s idling. KEEP YOUR CAR COOL: The inside of the car heats up quickly in the summer. Instead of getting in and blasting your air-conditioning, let the hot air out by opening your door and windows. Park your car in the shade, and use a heat reflector or window shade to protect the car from the sun’s hot rays. OBEY YOUR "CHECK-ENGINE" LIGHT: Take your car in for service when the check-engine light comes on. The check-engine light generally means there’s a malfunction in the vehicle. This malfunction can increase your car’s fuel consumption. REMOVE EXCESS WEIGHT: Clean out your car. The more items adding weight to your car, the more you pay in fuel costs. Unless you need it, take it out! NAVIGATE: Plan your trip. If you know your route, you won’t waste gas by getting lost and going the wrong way.

Green Wave

Traffic Lights are often synchronized so that a motorist driving at a specific speed will pass through a series of green lights without stopping. Engineers optimize the traffic light timing to reduce congestion and improve traffic slowly. A steady speed often can help drivers avoid red lights, therefore keeping the car moving more efficiently.

Improving Fuel Economy with Oil

Your vehicle’s engine was designed to use a certain oil quality and viscosity. According to the US EPA, you can improve your fuel economy by 1-2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Make sure you change the oil regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, because degraded motor oil will degrade fuel economy.

Two types of vision

Central and Peripheral

Where should drivers focus their vision

On the intended path of travel

Peripheral vision is more sensitive to

light and movement

Good eye habits

Aim high and look ahead, not down. Keep your eyes moving. Search the whole scene, not just part of it. Check the rear view mirrors to see ahead and behind you.

How do eyes move

In rapid jerky movements, pause and then move to another part of the scene. Pauses are called fixations.

Visual Steps of Reacting to a Problem

Identifying: The transmission of a visual image is sent to your brain. Predicting: The image is compared to past scenarios or learned rules. Deciding: A decision to take an action is made. Executing: Your nervous system sends commands to your hands and feet to turn the steering wheel, apply brakes, accelerate or decelerate, use the horn, etc.

Poor Depth Perception Can Result In:

Stopping too far before limit lines or inside intersections. Taking turns too widely or too tightly. Inability to maintain a constant speed. Inability to follow other vehicles at a safe distance.

As a driver, you should know that children have a much narrower field of vision than adults.

Don’t assume children can see you approaching. Instead, slow down and be ready to stop.

Poor Peripheral Vision Can Result In:

A failure to react to a hazard coming from the left or right. A failure to see or obey a stop light suspended over an intersection. Weaving while negotiating a curve. Driving too close to parked cars.

Things that reduce your field of vision:



Field of Vision of 180 degrees or more

20 MPH

Field of Vision reduced to 2/3

40 MPH

Field of Vision reduced to 2/5

60 MPH

Field of Vision reduced to 1/5

When Changing Lanes

Check For Blind Spots

Cars With Blind Spots

Remember that large vehicles such as trucks have more extensive blind spots than smaller vehicles.

To drive well at night

You need to have good night vision and be able to see low contrast objects

Poor night vision can result in:

Being unable to react to hazards in front of your vehicle in a timely manner. Tailgating. Failing to steer in the proper direction when necessary to avoid low-contrast road features such as the edges of the roadway.

Poor glare resistance and recovery can result in being blinded by glare and

Missing curves in the road. Striking unobserved pedestrians. Crashing into the rear of a slow-moving, stalled, or stopped vehicle.

Compensation for Subnormal Vision

Bad eyesight: Wear glasses or contact lenses. Poor depth perception: Use extra caution in judging the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles and approaching objects. Poor peripheral vision: Frequently turn your head to increase your field of vision. Poor glare resistance and recovery: Use a sun visor, wear sunglasses, and avoid looking into the headlights of oncoming cars. Color blindness: Learn the general shapes and patterns of signs and rely on the position of signal lights rather than their color.

Ensuring Good Visibility

Keep your windows clean, clear away objects inside the vehicle, and make sure you don’t have anything hanging from your rear-view mirror

Things that can get in the way of your visual field

Stickers, signs, and other objects on your windows can get in the way of your visual field.

Tinted Windows

Tinted windows are allowed. However, they must meet standards as to the degree of tint. For example, it’s illegal to tint your windows black.

Windshield Wipers

You’re required to keep your windshield wipers in good operating condition and use them whenever necessary.

Adjustments before Driving

You should adjust the mirrors on your vehicle before driving. First, adjust the seat so that you have good visibility, and then adjust your mirrors.


Your hearing can warn you of danger such as the presence of vehicles in your blind spots. It allows you to respond to honking horns, emergency vehicle sirens, and railroad crossing bells. Your hearing can also alert you to issues in your vehicle, such as impending engine or other mechanical failure.

Partial Deafness

Partial deafness is the inability to hear softer sounds or sounds of particular frequencies.

Total Deafness

Total deafness is the inability to hear even the loudest of sounds.

To hear best when driving

Keep the volume of your vehicle’s audio system low. If you can’t hear the sirens from the ambulance coming your way, you have a problem. If possible, keep at least one window open so you can better hear outside noises. Don’t wear a headset or earplugs that cover both ears while driving. Only law-enforcement officials and drivers of certain special vehicles are allowed to do this.

Ways to keep from becoming fatigued while driving

Get a lot of rest before you start. Don’t take any drugs that may make you drowsy, even the night before you begin your trip. Don’t drive long hours. Set a common-sense limit of 300 to 400 miles a day. Try not to drive late at night. Take regular rest stops, even if you aren’t tired. Have another person drive every hour or so. Stop for coffee or a soft drink every 100 miles or every 2 hours. Continually shift your eyes from one part of the road to another. Chew gum or listen to the radio. Roll down your window to get some fresh air.

Older Drivers

Be understanding of the needs of older drivers. Do not cut them off, become angry, or otherwise try to get back at them for their driving behavior.

Disqualifying Conditions

Cerebral palsy. Epilepsy. Paralysis. Mental incapacity. Insanity. The inability of the heart and vascular system to supply adequate blood to muscles and organs. Other conditions, including dementia, lapses of consciousness, vision conditions, and any other condition reported by a physician when he or she believes you can’t drive safely due to the condition.

The attitudes essential to good driving include the following:

Courtesy. Consideration for others. Alertness. Using good judgment. Acting responsibly. Foresight.

Causes of Behavioral Variables

Emotional tension. Environmental conditions. Hereditary behaviors. Physical body conditions. The amount of training and practice you’ve had.

Don’t Drive When Under Emotional Tension

depressed, angry, or upset

Environmental Conditions

Conditions outside your vehicle, such as heavy traffic, bad weather, and road work can cause you to become stressed, especially if you’re in a hurry. Accept that there is usually very little you can do to alleviate these situations. If you find yourself in such a situation and notice that you’re becoming stressed, get off the road and make a phone call to inform someone that you’re going to be late.


Rubbernecking (slowing down to look at accidents or other situations). Tailgating (following too closely). Unnecessary lane changes (weaving in and out of traffic lanes). Inattention (e.g., eating, grooming, talking on cellular phone, reading, etc.).

What to do when another driver makes you angry

If another driver does something to make you angry, take a few deep breaths, and avoid reacting in an aggressive manner. Remember that people sometimes make mistakes (including you), then forget about it. Distracting passengers, loud music, and doing other things while driving can cause you to drive unsafely. Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention.

Some traits are very undesirable in drivers. Some dangerous traits while driving include the following:

Aggressiveness. Egotism. Emotional instability. Inattentiveness Exhibitionism. Irresponsibility.

How to deal with an angry driver

If you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive driver, avoid making eye contact. To some people, eye contact is the same as a challenge. If someone is determined to act out his or her frustrations, even a friendly smile can be misinterpreted. Give the angry driver plenty of space. If you make a driving error (even accidentally), it’s possible that the other driver may try to pick a fight with you. Put as much distance between your vehicle and the other car as you can, even by changing routes, if necessary.

If you’re being followed by an angry driver

Stay calm. As long as you think clearly, you’ll be in control of the situation. Flash your lights and sound your horn long enough to attract attention to you and the person following you. Drive to a safe spot such as a police station and sound your horn and flash your lights. Don’t leave this safe location until you’re sure your follower is gone.

Distractions that can lead to accidents include the following:

Boisterous or inappropriate behavior by your passengers. Peer pressure to drive too fast or show off. Animals in the car. Small children in the car. Grooming while driving. Reading while driving. Emotional instability. Radio, tape/CD players, pagers, and cell phones.

Safe driving requires the following:

Courtesy to others. An understanding of the laws and rules of the road. The ability to quickly apply good judgment to situations. The ability to recognize situations that could rapidly develop into hazards. Responsibility for your own actions.

Your physical condition is important for safe driving.

You need to be able to see and hear well enough to detect potential hazards and handle emergency situations. You can see things most clearly directly ahead, while things to each side (your peripheral vision) are less distinct. Frequent scanning and visual searching can compensate for the limited visibility of your peripheral vision. No matter how good your peripheral vision, there will still be areas to the sides and behind your vehicle that can’t be seen. Always check your blind spots! Keep your windows clean, and clear away any objects that may obstruct your vision. You greatly increase your chances of being in a collision if you’re tired or fatigued. You can do simple things to avoid fatigue, such as getting lots of rest before a long trip, avoiding medications that make you drowsy, taking frequent breaks even if you aren’t sleepy, chewing gum, listening to the radio, or rolling down your window to get some fresh air. Vision, hearing, and reaction time deteriorate as a natural part of the aging process. Be understanding of the needs of older drivers; don’t cut them off or become angry with them for their driving behavior.


Don’t be aggressive toward other drivers when you’re on the road. Be patient when other drivers make mistakes and avoid getting frustrated by giving yourself extra time to get to your destination.

Natural forces that act on your vehicle include the following:

Gravity. Inertia. Momentum. Kinetic energy. Potential energy. Friction. Centrifugal force.

Misjudging Natural Forces

By misjudging natural forces, you might lose control while making a turn or lose traction on wet pavement and be unable to stop.


Gravity is the force that pulls all objects toward the center of the earth. Gravity affects your speed when you drive uphill and downhill. Traction relates to gravity in that it is the result of friction between the road and your tires caused by the weight of the car (the pull of gravity). Traction is a vital component of driving because you need traction to steer.

Driving Uphill

When you’re driving uphill, the force of gravity is working against you to slow you down, and you may need to accelerate or shift to a lower gear to maintain your speed.

Driving Downhill

When you drive downhill, the reverse is true. Gravity will cause you to go faster and increase your stopping distance. You may need to shift to a lower gear or smoothly apply your brakes to slow to a safe speed and control your vehicle.

Parking on an Incline

When you leave a vehicle parked on an incline, gravity pulls your vehicle downhill. To keep your vehicle from rolling away, leave your vehicle in a low gear or in "Park" if it has an automatic transmission. You should always engage your parking brake and may need to block your wheels by placing an object in front of or behind the tires. In case your parking brake fails, always turn the front wheels of your vehicle so that the vehicle won’t roll into the traffic lane.

Parking Downhill

If you’re parking facing downhill, turn your front wheels toward the curb or side of the road.

Parking Uphill

If you’re parking facing uphill next to a curb, turn your front wheels toward the middle of the road and allow the vehicle to roll back against the curb. If you’re parking facing uphill and there is no curb, turn your wheels toward the side of the road.


Objects that are moving tend to continue moving, while objects that aren’t moving tend to remain at rest unless they’re acted upon by some other force. This is called the law of inertia and it applies to driving. For example, when you’re waiting for a green light on flat pavement at an intersection, your vehicle won’t move unless you engage the engine or are otherwise pushed.

Effect of Inertia on Driving

While driving, inertia keeps your vehicle moving unless the vehicle is acted upon by something, such as your brakes, the road surface, a fixed object (such as a tree), or another vehicle. Inertia also causes your body and loose objects in the car to keep moving forward if your vehicle comes to a sudden stop.

Inertia in Crashes

You may be injured because of the inertia and momentum of loose objects in your car which can fly through the air during a sudden stop. When you’re stopped and hit from behind, your head tends to stay in place due to inertia while the rest of your body is pushed forward by the seat. This causes whiplash. Properly adjusting your headrest can reduce injury due to whiplash.

Potential Energy

Potential energy is the energy that an object possesses because of its position or form. A book on a table has the "potential" energy to fall to the floor, whereas a book that is already on the floor doesn’t have this potential energy.

Effect of Potential Energy on Driving

When you’re parked on a hill, gravity causes your car to have potential energy. This energy can be converted to kinetic energy (motion) if the vehicle breaks loose and rolls down the hill. There is also potential energy built up in the components of your car’s suspension system that can cause you to swerve when coming out of a turn.

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is the energy a body possesses because it’s in motion. For example, the potential energy of a book on a table is converted to kinetic energy (motion) when it falls. A book lying flat on the floor doesn’t have this same potential or kinetic energy.

As you increase your driving speed, both your body and your vehicle acquire kinetic energy that eventually must be

Absorbed by your brakes, engine-compression forces, or other friction in a controlled stop. Absorbed by your body, your vehicle’s body, and the objects you hit if you’re involved in a crash.

The kinetic energy of your body when it is in motion, of loose objects in the car, and of the car itself all increase with weight and the square of your speed so that

If you increase your speed from 10 mph to 20 mph, you’re dealing with 4 times the amount of kinetic energy. If you increase you speed from 10 mph to 50 mph, you’re dealing with 25 times the amount of kinetic energy.

kinetic energy of your moving vehicle determines

your ability to stop the car

The amount of stopping distance required will

increase with an increase of your kinetic energy.

Gravity and Kinetic Energy

Gravity decreases your kinetic energy when driving uphill and increases it when driving downhill. Therefore, the force of gravity will make it easier to stop your car if you’re going uphill but more difficult to stop your car if you’re going downhill.

Braking and Energy

Braking to a stop converts kinetic energy into heat energy in your brakes through friction. If you and your vehicle are involved in a collision, the kinetic energy is still converted into heat through friction, but not in your brakes.


Friction is a force caused by the contact of one surface on another. It results in the resistance of an object moving over a surface. For example, it’s easier to move your hand over fine sandpaper than rough sandpaper because less friction is produced by the surface of the fine sandpaper

Friction is

Increased by the weight of your vehicle. Decreased if tires are overinflated or worn smooth. Increased if tires are underinflated. Affected by materials used to construct the road. Affected by road-surface conditions, including factors due to weather.

Stopping Power

Because friction is increased by the weight of your vehicle, a fully loaded truck has more stopping power than an empty one, as it’s heavier. The additional weight helps to stop the vehicle by producing more friction between the tires and the road surface.

Effect of Roads and Tires

Worn or overinflated tires will decrease the friction between your tires and the road surface, reducing the traction needed to Start smoothly. Stop quickly. Pull out of a turn or curve without losing control. Road surface changes due to ice, rain, snow, oil and diesel fuel buildup, or sand and dirt will reduce the friction and traction of your tires and could result in you losing control of your vehicle.


Skidding happens when the friction of your brakes is stronger than the friction between your tires and the road; this causes you to lose traction. The kinetic energy of your vehicle can’t be converted into friction in your brakes (heat energy) when your brakes are locked, because they’re in a locked-wheel skid. If the components of your brakes become too hot, they can’t release any additional heat and will fail to absorb any more kinetic energy (such as when traveling down a steep hill and using your brakes often).

Anti-Lock Brakes

The purpose of anti-lock brakes is to prevent your wheels from locking during a quick stop so that your brakes can continue to absorb energy and you can maintain traction.

Loss of Traction Can be Avoided By

driving more slowly and using your brakes properly.

The friction that the clutch creates when released can:

Cause a loss of traction if released improperly (peeling out). Slow your vehicle by engaging a lower gear. Allow the vehicle to move regularly.

Friction wears out your brakes and clutch. If used improperly, excessive wear to the brake pads and clutch can occur. To avoid this:

Don’t "ride" your brakes. Don’t drive with your clutch partially engaged (depressed). Use lower gears to slow your vehicle on downhill grades (downshift).


Friction can be reduced through lubrication. Improper lubrication of your engine and transmission will cause excessive friction that can result in mechanical failure. You could be left stranded or lose control of your vehicle as a result.

Centrifugal Force

Centrifugal force is the tendency of objects to be pulled outward when rotating around a center.

Centripetal Force

Centripetal force is always directed toward the center of the circle. Without this force, an object will simply continue moving in straight-line motion.

Turning and Centrifugal Force

When you turn, your car is subject to centrifugal force that pulls it away from the direction you want to turn and into a straight line. Traction is necessary to keep from you from losing control of your car during a turn.

Banked Roadways

Banked roadways help in overcoming the centrifugal force that pulls your car away from the direction in which you want to turn

To keep a vehicle in a turn without allowing centrifugal force to pull the car out, you should do the following:

Decelerate before the curve. Brake gently and gradually while turning. Downshift (if your car has manual transmission).

Factors that Determine the Force of Impact

Kinetic energy, or the speed and weight of the vehicle and its occupants. The characteristics of a vehicle, including its body rigidity and crush zones.

Kinetic Energy and Impact

The greater a vehicle’s kinetic energy, the greater the force of impact.

Crush Zones

I-beam construction in the vehicle’s frame and doors provides greater rigidity and more protection against the force of impact. Crush zones are areas of the vehicle designed to absorb the force of impact by collapsing to protect passengers.

During a Crash

The kinetic energy of your vehicle and body must be dissipated. The force needed to dissipate this energy is lower if the time period over which your vehicle moves during the crash is longer. If the vehicle stops suddenly, the force will be very high.

Force and Collisions

The force that stops your car during a crash will be greatest if you have a head-on collision with another vehicle or a large immovable object, such as a bridge abutment, wall, or tree. This is true because the momentum and kinetic energy of your car must be absorbed almost instantaneously.

Weight and Collision

If two vehicles moving at the same speed are involved in a collision, the vehicle that weighs less will take the greater impact. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the greater the energy and momentum. The smaller and lighter vehicle will have greater deceleration and may even be pushed in the reverse direction of travel.

In the following instances, the smaller and lighter vehicle may be crushed:

A semi-truck against a sedan. A train against a semi-truck.

You can reduce the force on you and your car during an unavoidable crash if you can redirect your path toward objects that will cause your car to stop over a greater distance, such as

Bushes rather than trees. Snow. Soft dirt. Sand barrels placed in front of freeway abutments.

Modern vehicles have features that reduce the forces on your body during a crash by absorbing energy and increasing the distance over which the impact occurs. These include:

Crush zones, or areas of the vehicle designed to absorb impact by collapsing without harming the passenger area of the vehicle. I-beam construction in the frame and doors to give the vehicle more rigidity. Air bags, which allow the momentum of your body to be absorbed over a slightly greater distance than would occur if your body hit the steering wheel or windshield. Energy-absorbing bumpers that reduce the effect of kinetic energy during a front or rear-end collision. Padded dashboards. Safety-glass windows and windshields designed to crumble into small, dull-edged pieces to reduce lacerations.


Gravity affects the speed of travel when you’re heading uphill and downhill.

Inertia and Whiplash

If your vehicle is hit from behind while stopped, your head tends to stay in place due to inertia, while the rest of your body is pushed forward by the seat. This causes whiplash. Properly adjusting your headrestreduces injuries due to whiplash.

Seat belts

Wearing a seat belt while driving will stop the forward momentum of your body if you have a collision. It will prevent you from hitting the windshield, steering wheel, and other parts of the interior of your vehicle.


Worn or overinflated tires will decrease the friction between your tires and the road surface, reducing the traction needed to start smoothly, stop quickly, and pull out of a turn or curve without losing control.

Road Surface Changes

Road-surface changes due to ice, rain, snow, oil and diesel fuel buildup, or sand and dirt will reduce the friction and traction of the tires and can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

Crash Safety Features

Modern vehicles have features that reduce the forces on your body during a crash by absorbing energy and increasing the distance over which the impact occurs. However, if the force of impact is excessive enough, these safety features may still not be enough to prevent serious injury or death. So, it is important to always be a safe, cautious, and prepared driver.

Traffic signs are used for four different purposes, as follows:

To regulate traffic, movement, or parking. To warn of potential dangers or changes in road conditions. To provide information. To provide guidance.

Seat belts

Low across hips, not rubbing against neck

Seat Position

As far back as possible to prevent injury from airbag, head restraint/rest should be as close to the head as is possible and comfortable, never put kids or car seats in the front passenger seat of the car

Intersection Safety

Scan for traffic controls and prohibitive signs. Signs may prohibit entry into the intersection, turns, or U-turns. Also, scan for hazards such as pedestrians, bicycles, and other traffic.

Intersection Timing

Quickly calculate the time you’ll need to cross or turn into an intersection. The time necessary may depend upon other vehicles with the right of way, the number of lanes, the distance to cross the intersection, etc. Allow ample time to cross the intersection before entering it. You don’t want to be in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red and cross traffic starts entering the intersection.

Intersections and Yellow Traffic Lights

Avoid entering an intersection on a yellow traffic light. However, if you can’t safely stop, proceed through the intersection with caution. Keep your foot over the brake so that you can stop immediately, if necessary.

Controlled Intersections

intersections where the driver’s movement is controlled by traffic lights or stop or yield signs

Right Turn Against a Red Light

Make a full stop for a red traffic light at the limit line (if there is one) or before entering the intersection. If there is no sign that prohibits a right turn on the red light, you may turn right. Be careful that you don’t interfere with pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles moving on their green light.

Stop Sign

A stop sign means that you must make a complete stop before entering a crosswalk, passing a limit line, or entering an intersection. If no crosswalk or limit line is marked, you must stop at the corner. You must give the right of way to all vehicles and pedestrians currently in the intersection. On divided highways, a stop sign for crossing or turning vehicles is often placed on the island or dividing strip. You must also stop for these signs. Stop signs are sometimes accompanied by small, red multi-way supplemental plates (e.g., all-way and 4-way) that indicate whether other traffic also has a stop sign.

Yield Sign

A yield sign means that you must slow down, be ready to stop, and let other traffic (including pedestrians and bicycles) have the right of way before you continue driving.

Do Not Enter and Wrong Way Signs

A do not enter sign tells you that there is danger ahead because vehicles will be coming toward you. A wrong way sign tells you that you’re traveling in the opposite direction of traffic in the lane. These signs are often placed together on freeway off-ramps.

How to Escape If You’re Going the Wrong Way

If you see either of these signs, drive to the side of the road and stop because you’re driving against traffic. When safe, back out or turn around and go back to the road you were originally on.

One-Way Sign

A one-way sign means that traffic on the road travels only in the direction that the arrow is pointing.

Parking Signs

Most parking-related signs are also regulatory, meaning that they also must be obeyed.

Warning Signs

Warning signs alert you to potential dangers ahead and changes in the road conditions. All warning signs must be obeyed.

Pedestrian Crossing Signs

This warning sign indicates that there may be pedestrians crossing the roadway ahead. You should slow down, look carefully for pedestrians crossing or about to cross the road, and yield the right of way to pedestrians who are crossing.

School Zone Signs

You should slow down and carefully watch for children who might enter or cross the road. Speed signs are often posted along with these signs. These signs must be obeyed.

Construction Signs

A number of orange warning signs are related to roadway construction and maintenance. You should expect construction equipment or workers ahead.

Guide and Information Signs

Guide and information signs inform you of services, recreation areas, and destination information.

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights are devices placed along, beside, or above highways, roadways, or other routes to regulate traffic flow, including motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Positioning Of Traffic Lights

The position of the three colored lenses on most traffic lights is red on top, yellow in the middle, and green on the bottom. The sequence in which they’re lighted is green to yellow, yellow to red, and red to green.

Solid Red Traffic Lights

A solid red light means to stop completely behind the limit line, or crosswalk. You must wait for a green light to proceed, except as noted below. Traffic signal lights that are malfunctioning will sometimes flash red.

Right Turns on a Solid Red

A right turn may be made on a solid red light unless prohibited by a no turn on red sign. You must yield to all traffic and pedestrians before turning.

Left Turns on a Solid Red

If there are no signs prohibiting it, you may turn left on a red light if you’re turning from a one-way street into a one-way street. Of course, you must first yield the right of way to pedestrians within the adjacent crosswalk and traffic using the intersection.

Solid Yellow Traffic Lights

A solid yellow traffic light means that the light will soon change to red. When you see a yellow light, you should slow down and stop before entering the intersection, if you can do so safely. You shouldn’t enter an intersection when the light has changed to yellow, unless you can’t stop safely before doing so. If you must enter an intersection on a yellow light, it’s important to watch for cross traffic and vehicles starting right or left turns that might enter the intersection when the light changes.

Solid Green Traffic Lights

A green light means that you may proceed straight through or make a turn as noted below after the intersection is cleared of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. You may make a right, left turn, or U-turn on a green light, unless doing so is prohibited by a sign. However, you must yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians crossing the street who are close enough to pose a hazard.


Don’t enter an intersection, even when the light is green, unless there is enough space to completely cross the intersection before the light turns red. If heavy traffic causes you to block cross traffic, you can be cited for causing gridlock.

What is Gridlock

Gridlock means that traffic at an intersection is so heavy that vehicles are unable to pass through or complete turns. These vehicles become stranded in the middle of the intersection, thereby prevent other drivers traveling in the opposite direction from passing through. If you block an intersection, you can be cited.

Preventing Gridlock

To prevent gridlock, regardless of whether you have the right of way, you must not enter an intersection unless traffic conditions allow you to exit the intersection before the light changes to red.q

Horizontal Arrow

Horizontal arrows are used to control traffic in left- or right-turn lanes

Vertical Arrow

Vertical arrows are used to control a specific lane of straight-through traffic.

Red Arrow

A red arrow prohibits a turn in the direction of the arrow. You must stop behind the limit line, crosswalk, or intersection until the green arrow or green signal appears. A turn (including a right turn) or other movement can’t be made in the direction of the red arrow, even after stopping first.

Yellow Arrow

A yellow arrow means that you should be prepared to obey the next signal that appears, which could be a solid green light, a red light, or a red arrow. If the yellow arrow is horizontal, it means that your protected turning period (during which all oncoming traffic is stopped by red lights) is about to end. Horizontal yellow arrows are used to control traffic in left- or right-turn lanes. Vertical yellow arrows are used to control straight-through traffic for a specific lane.

Proceeding or Stopping at a Yellow Arrow

If you can’t stop safely before entering the intersection on a yellow arrow, it’s important to watch for cross traffic and drivers starting right or left turns, as they might enter the intersection when the light changes.

Green Arrow

A green arrow means that you may proceed in the direction that the arrow points (i.e., left, right, or straight) after you yield the right of way to any vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian still in the intersection. Horizontal green arrows are used to control traffic in left- or right-turn lanes. Vertical green arrows are used to control straight-through traffic in a specific lane.

U-Turn Only Arrow

Arrows in the shape of an upside-down U are sometimes used to control lanes of traffic that may make U-turns only. You should obey red, yellow, and green U-turn only arrows in the same way that you would obey horizontal arrows of the same color, except that you may only make a U-turn.

Flashing Red

A flashing red signal light has the same meaning as a stop sign. You must stop completely behind the limit line, crosswalk, or intersection and yield the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians in the intersection before you proceed.

Flashing Yellow

A flashing yellow light is a warning to slow down and be especially alert. You don’t necessarily have to stop, but you should check traffic both ways at the intersection before proceeding through.

Other Flashing Red Lights

Flashing red lights that aren’t traffic signals are sometimes used to warn drivers of an upcoming stop sign or of a railroad crossing.

Other Flashing Yellow Lights

Flashing yellow lights that aren’t traffic signals are sometimes used to warn drivers of an upcoming signal light, pedestrian crossing, school zone, or construction zone.

Non-Functioning Traffic Lights

If all traffic signal lights at an intersection aren’t working because of an electrical power failure, you must stop at the intersection behind the limit line or crosswalk or at the corner. A blacked-out traffic signal should be treated the same as a stop sign. You should only proceed when you know that all other turning and approaching vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians will also be stopping.

Automated Enforcement of Traffic Lights

Traffic-signal automated enforcement devices (red-light cameras) may legally be placed at limit lines, intersections, or other places where you’re required to stop (including railroad crossings), if the presence of the camera is clearly identified by signs in all directions or if the signs are posted at major entrances to a city. You have the right to see photographic evidence of the violation.

Lane Control Signals and Freeway Traffic Control

To help freeway traffic flow, some on-ramps and freeway interchanges are regulated by lane controls that only allow a certain number of cars to enter the freeway at varying time intervals. This is called "staggering." The lights on these signals change very quickly.

Many intersections have designated lanes signs to indicate that

Cars in the left lane must turn left. Cars in the right lane may go straight or turn right. Cars in the left lane may turn left or go straight. Cars in the right lane must turn right.

Yellow Center Line Markings

Yellow lines parallel to the roadway mark the center of a roadway on which there is two-way traffic. Yellow lines are used in different configurations that have different meanings.

Broken Yellow Line Markings

If there is a single yellow line dividing lanes of traffic and the line is broken (not continuous), you may pass over the line to pass other vehicles, or to make left turns into other streets, driveways, and alleys, if it can be done safely.

Solid Yellow Line Markings

If there is a single solid yellow line dividing lanes of traffic, you may not drive over this line to pass other vehicles. You may cross over a solid yellow line to make a left turn at an intersection, to enter or exit a road or a driveway, or to make a U-turn, if it can be made safely and isn’t otherwise prohibited. On divided highways and some other roadways, a single solid yellow line will usually be used to indicate the left-most boundary of the drivable roadway. You shouldn’t drive to the left of this line. Sets of solid yellow lines are frequently used to divide oncoming lanes of traffic before an upcoming hazard such as a road obstruction caused by the pillar of an over-crossing.

Solid Line Next to a Broken Yellow Line Markings

If there are two yellow lines dividing lanes of traffic, and the line closest to your lane is broken, you may cross over it to pass vehicles ahead, if it is safe to do so. If the line closest to your lane is solid, you may not cross over it except to turn left into a driveway or alley.

Double Solid Yellow Lines on Two-Lane Roadways

If there are two solid yellow lines dividing lanes of traffic, you may not cross over them to pass another vehicle. You should never drive to the left of these lines. You may cross over a double solid yellow line to make a left turn at an intersection, to enter or exit a road or a driveway, or to make a U-turn, if it can be made safely and isn’t otherwise prohibited. If the road has only two lanes, one lane in each direction, a slow-moving vehicle must pull into a turnout lane if five or more vehicles are trailing.

Double Solid Yellow Lines on Four-Way Roadways

If there are four lanes with two lanes in each direction, drive on the first lane (the most right lane). Use the left lane for passing only. Don’t cross over the solid yellow lines to pass another vehicle. Two sets of solid double yellow lines that are spaced two or more feet apart represent a wall or center divider. You may not drive on or over these lines for any reason. You may only make a U-turn or left turn on a street divided with these lines at an opening provided for turns. In some cases, one or more sets of parallel solid yellow lines are also used to separate carpool lanes from normal traffic lanes. Don’t cross over these lines to enter or exit the carpool lane. Wait until the lines are broken or for some other designated place to enter or exit the lane.

Uses of Yellow Line Markings- Center Left-Turn Lanes

A center traffic lane enclosed by double yellow lines on each side with the inner lines broken may be used to start and complete left-hand turns and start U-turns from either direction of traffic, but can’t be used for passing. The rules for proper use of center left-turn lanes are often misunderstood by drivers.

Rules and Cautions of Yellow Line Markings- Center Left-Turn Lanes

You must use the center left-turn lane to make a left turn or U-turn if one exists on the street on which you’re driving. You must signal and completely enter the lane before making your left-hand turn. Don’t stop part-way into the lane with your vehicle blocking traffic. You may only drive in this lane for a distance up to 200 feet, which is about the length of five or six vehicles. The limit on driving in a center left-turn lane is to help prevent drivers from using this lane as a regular traffic lane or passing lane. You may not use a center left-turn lane for either of these purposes. Be careful to look for vehicles from the opposite direction pulling into the center left-turn lane. When turning left from a side street or driveway, you have the option to use this lane before completing your turn. If you want to first turn into the center left-turn lane, you should signal, wait until it is safe, and then drive completely into the center left-turn lane. Wait in the lane with your right-turn signal on for traffic to clear before pulling into traffic. If traffic is clear in both directions, you can make your left turn directly from the side street or driveway without first stopping in the center left- turn lane.

Overview White Line Markings

White lines parallel to the roadway separate lanes of traffic going in the same direction. They’re also used to separate bicycle lanes from car lanes. White lines that cross the roadway delineate crosswalks or limit lines. Messages such as "stop ahead" or arrows directing traffic in a particular lane are often painted on the pavement in white. White lines of different configurations have different meanings.

Broken White Line Markings

If a single broken white line divides lanes of traffic, you may cross over the line to enter the lane next to you. If the lane you’re driving in has a thicker broken white line, that means the lane is to be used for exiting the roadway or merging into other lanes, or it means the lane is ending. The broken line will soon become a single solid white line or a set of double solid white lines that can’t be crossed.

Solid White Line Markings

A single or double solid white line dividing traffic lanes going in the same direction can’t be crossed for any reason.On divided highways, a single solid white line is generally used to indicate the right- most boundary of the drivable roadway. You shouldn’t drive to the right of this line. Sets of solid white lines are often used to divide the lanes before an upcoming hazard such as a road obstruction caused by the pillar of an over-crossing, or the median between a freeway off-ramp and normal traffic lanes. Again, these lines shouldn’t be crossed. Thicker solid white lines are used to separate parts of left- and right-turn lanes close to the intersection. If you pass the part of the turn lane that has a broken white line or no line, you may not turn over the solid line to enter the turn lane.

Lines With Arrows

White arrows are sometimes painted onto the roadway to indicate whether the lane proceeds ahead, merges, turns, or exits. These lines are intended to guide your choice of lane.

White Curb Markings

You may stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail.

Green Curb Markings

You may park for a limited time. The time is usually shown on a sign next to the green zone, or painted on the curb.

Yellow Curb Markings

You may stop here only long enough to load or unload things or people—for a period of time designated by local laws. Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are usually required to stay with their vehicle.

Red Curb Markings

No stopping, standing, or parking. (A bus may stop at a red zone marked for buses.)

Blue Curb Markings

This indicates parking for the disabled only. You must have a placard (window sign) or your license plates must be specially marked to park here.

Edge of Pavement Markings

A single solid white line is usually used to indicate the edge of pavement. You shouldn’t drive to the right of this line. Single solid yellow lines are used on the left edge of divided streets or roadways.

Crosshatch Lines

Upcoming road obstructions may be marked by crosshatch white or yellow lines painted on the pavement. Crosshatch lines define an area over which vehicular traffic shouldn’t travel. Crosshatch lines are sloped in the direction of the major flow of traffic.

Stop Lines

Thick solid white lines that cross the roadway are used to mark the stop line at intersections and the clearance line at railroad crossings. You must stop behind these lines when you stop at an intersection or railroad crossing.


You must follow special rules when dealing with pedestrians crossing the roadway. When you must stop at an intersection, always stop behind the crosswalk. Crosswalks are delineated with sets of broad white lines that cross the road. However, crosswalks exist at most intersections where the roadways meet at approximately 90-degree angles and there are one or more sidewalks that would continue over the roadway. Sometimes crosswalks don’t include white painted lines. These are called unmarked crosswalks. Crosswalks are often preceded by white words painted on the road indicating "SLOW PED XING."

Railroad Crossing

Railroad crossings are often marked with solid white lines across the roadway. You must stop behind these lines when you stop at a railroad crossing. These stop lines are often preceded by white painted letters on the pavement such as "RXR." You must never stop in the vehicle clearance area marked by solid white lines and a white "X" symbol.

School Warnings

Broad yellow lines crossing the road are sometimes used to indicate a school crossing. Yellow markings on the pavement that say "SCHOOL XING" will usually also be painted near school crossings. You should carefully scan for children who are about to cross or crossing the road when you see these markings.

Bike Lanes

A bicycle lane is marked with a solid white line along either side of the street, placed at least 4 feet from the curb. This line is usually a broken line near the corners of intersections. The words "BIKE LANE" or a picture of a bicycle are usually painted in white on the pavement at various locations in this lane. Bicyclists are required to use bicycle lanes when on a roadway. However, they may exit these lanes to pass, make turns, or avoid a collision.

Diamond Lanes

Diamonds painted in a lane indicate that the lane is for use by buses and carpools only. In order to use a carpool lane, you must have a minimum of two or three people in your vehicle (depending on what is indicated on the accompanying signs), including the driver. Carpooling and bus riding are useful ways to save fuel and reduce the number of vehicles using highways in heavy traffic. Some freeways have special lanes and on-ramps for carpools. Signs at the on-ramp or along the freeway tell you the size of the carpool (number of people required) to be eligible for the lane as well as the days/hours during which the requirement applies. The pavement of these lanes is marked with the diamond symbol and the words "CARPOOL LANE." Do not cross over the double parallel solid lines to enter or exit any carpool lane except at designated entry or exit places.

Railroad Crossing Risks

In any given year, about 500 people die and 1,500 are seriously injured in car-train collisions. More than 500 people are killed each year while trespassing on railroad tracks and property. Motorists are 30 times more likely to be killed in a crash involving a train than in one involving another motor vehicle. More people die each year in highway-rail collisions than in commercial airline crashes. It takes the average train more than a mile to stop. The majority of vehicle-train crashes occur when the train is traveling less than 30 miles per hour.

Railroad Crossing Safety

There are signs that warn you when you’re approaching railroad tracks. Know these signs! Look and listen for trains in both directions. Be ready to stop, if necessary. You should expect a train on a track at any time, day or night. Flashing red lights at a railroad crossing mean STOP! Stop at least 15 feet from the railroad tracks when: A person or signal warns that a train is coming. You see a train coming. If you hear the horn or bell of a train close by, don’t try to cross the tracks. Also, you should never attempt to cross railroad tracks if there isn’t enough room for your vehicle on the other side of the tracks. Don’t go across until you can see clearly in both directions because a second train may be approaching from either direction. Never stop on railroad tracks. When traffic is heavy, wait off the tracks until you’re sure you can drive over the tracks without stopping. Watch for vehicles that must stop before crossing the tracks, such as buses, school buses, and large trucks transporting hazardous loads. Never walk on railroad tracks. When crossing multiple tracks, wait a few seconds after a train has passed to be sure there isn’t one traveling the other way. Never race a train to the crossing–EVER! If your vehicle stalls on a railroad crossing, get everyone out of the vehicle and off the tracks immediately. If there is no train in sight, post lookouts and try to start the vehicle from outside or push it off the tracks. Don’t misjudge a train’s speed and distance. Because of the large size of trains and the viewing angle at which you see them, trains sometimes appear to be moving more slowly than they actually are. If you have any doubts, stop and wait for the train to pass.

Railroad Crossing Fines

Don’t go around or under any closed railroad gate. Cross only when it is safe. A first railroad-gate crossing offense will cost you a fine of $100 (or your LIFE if you lose the "beat-the-train" game). The fines increase to $200 and $250 for second and third offenses, respectively. The court may also require you to attend a traffic school.

School Bus Laws

You may come upon a school bus that is stopped with flashing yellow lights. This is a warning for you to prepare to stop because children are preparing to get off the bus. When you come upon a school bus stopped on either side of the road with flashing red lights, you must stop. The flashing red lights are located at the top front and top back of the bus. School children will be crowding the road to or from the school bus. Remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing. Failure to do so is a violation of VC §22454. You may be fined up to $1,000, and your driving privileges could be suspended for one year. However, note that you don’t need to stop if the bus is on the other side of a divided highway.

School Bus Crossing Rules

School buses are now required to activate red lights at all stops. Always obey the hand signals and other instructions of school bus drivers. Be as courteous as possible to school buses, and give them the right of way whenever possible. Don’t pull out in front of school buses or otherwise cause them to maneuver abruptly. Be very cautious around stopped school buses, even if the red lights aren’t flashing. Assume that a child might dart out in front of you. Treat school-bus stops as school zones; drive 25 mph or slower if children are present.

Red and White

Red is used exclusively for stop and yield signs, multi-way supplemental plates (e.g., 4-way stop), do not enter and wrong way signs, for legends or symbols on certain regulatory signs, and as part of interstate and certain state route markers.

Circle with a Line Through It

A red circle with a red line through it is also used to denote that something isn’t permitted. The picture inside the circle shows what you can’t do (e.g., no parking).


Black is used as background for one-way signs, night speed limit signs (in other states), and inspection station signs. It is also used as a message color on signs with white, yellow, or orange backgrounds.


Green is used as the background color for guide signs, mileposts, and street- name signs, and as a message color on permissive-regulation and parking signs.


Yellow is used as the background color for warning signs (except construction and maintenance signs), and some school signs.


Orange is used as the background color for warning, construction, and maintenance signs.


Blue is used as the background color for traveler-services information signs, civil-defense evacuation route markers, and some street-name signs.


Brown is used as the background color for guide and information signs related to points of recreational or cultural interest and on some street-name signs.

Fluorescent Yellow Green

Fluorescent yellow-green is also used as the background for pedestrian, bicycle, and school-crossing warning signs.

Purple, Light Blue, and Coral

Purple, light blue, and coral have been reserved for future use on road signs.


This shape is used exclusively for stop signs.You should immediately recognize that an octagon-shaped sign means you must stop.

Equilateral Triangle Pointing Downwards

This shape is used exclusively for yield signs. You should immediately recognize that an equilateral triangle-shaped sign pointed down means that you must yield to other vehicles and pedestrians.


This shape is used exclusively for railroad advance warnings and civil-defense evacuation route markers. The most common use in California is for railroad advance warnings.You should immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a circle means that a railroad crossing is ahead.


This shape is used exclusively to warn of a railroad crossing. You should immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a cross-buck means a railroad crossing is ahead.

Vertical Rectangle

This shape is used for regulatory (e.g., speed limit, no parking, carpool, and keep right) and sometimes warning (e.g., slow–children at play) signs. You should immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a vertical rectangle indicates a regulatory or warning action you must obey.


This shape is used exclusively to indicate a school zone or a school crossing.You should immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a pentagon means that you should watch for children in or around the roadway.


This shape is used exclusively to indicate a no-passing zone. This type of sign is rare in California but is used in other states. You should immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a pennant means that passing isn’t allowed.


This sign is used exclusively for warning signs (e.g., cross-road ahead, end/begin divided road, merging traffic, curves, and construction warning signs). A driver should be able to immediately recognize that a sign in the shape of a diamond indicates that a potentially dangerous situation exists ahead or that some change in roadway conditions is coming up.


This shape is used for regulatory (e.g., do not enter, no U-turn, no parking, no pedestrian crossing), warning (e.g., advisory speed limit and construction), and guide (camping, and airport) signs.

Horizontal Rectangle

This shape is used for information and guide (e.g., rest-area ahead) signs. Also, it is used for regulatory (e.g., road closed and carpool).


In some states, this shape is used for recreational-area guide signs (e.g., rest area and tourist information ahead).

Other Shapes

Various shapes are used for road-marker signs (e.g., interstate highway routes and state highway routes).

it is very important to look to the sides when you’re near any of the following:

Shopping centers and parking lots. Construction areas. Busy sidewalks. Playgrounds and school yards, etc.

Pedestrians have the right of way in:



Don’t drive on a sidewalk except to cross it at a driveway or alley. When crossing, yield to any pedestrian.

Blind Pedestrians

Pedestrians using dog guides or white canes with or without a red tip must be given the right of way at all times. These pedestrians are partially or totally blind, so be especially careful when turning corners or backing up.

Pedestrians Using a Tunnel or Overhead Crossing

Whenever you cross a roadway other than by a tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing, you must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the highway.

Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks

Every pedestrian on a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.


If there is a crosswalk at the nearest intersection, you may not cross the roadway at any place except at the crosswalk.

Walking on the Roadway

If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic. You may walk on the right side of the road if there is no crosswalk or other means of safely crossing the road or if traffic or other conditions make it unsafe to cross.

Intoxicated Pedestrian

You may not loiter or appear in public while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As a driver, be very careful when you see intoxicated pedestrians. Slow down and cover the brake if you see an intoxicated pedestrian nearby.

Walking on the Freeway

Pedestrians may not walk on the freeway. However, if your vehicle is disabled on a freeway, you may walk to the nearest exit, in either direction, to use a telephone or to seek motor vehicle repair services. You must remain on the same side of the freeway where the vehicle is disabled.

Maximum Speed Limits

The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. However, for two-lane undivided highways, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph, unless posted for a higher speed. On some highways the maximum speed limit is 70 mph, but only if there are signs posted showing 70 mph.

Reasons for Speed Limits

Other speed limits are set for the type of roads and traffic in each area. All speed limits are based on ideal driving conditions. Driving faster than either the posted speed limit or as warranted by current conditions on any road is dangerous and illegal. High speeds increase your stopping distance. The faster you go, the less time you have to avoid a hazard or collision. The force of a 60 mph crash isn’t just twice as great as at 30 mph – it’s FOUR times as great!

Driving Slowly

Driving too slowly can also be dangerous and illegal. If you block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic by driving too slowly, you may receive a ticket. Sometimes you may have to go slowly. If you’re moving more slowly than other traffic, don’t drive in the fast (left) lane. If you’re in this lane, move to the right when another driver is close behind you and wishes to pass you.

Speed Law

The basic speed law says that you must never driver faster than is safe for the current conditions. No matter what the speed limit sign may say your speed should depend upon the following: The number and speed of other cars on the road. Whether the road surface is smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow. Bicyclists or pedestrians walking on the edge of the road. The amount of rain, fog, snow, ice, wind, or dust. If you’re driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you could be cited by a police officer for driving too fast for conditions. It is illegal to drive at speeds above the posted speed limit!

Speed Limit: 15 MPH

The speed limit is 15 mph in the following areas: When going over railroad tracks, if during the last 100 feet of the approach to the crossing you don’t 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 going over any intersection of highway that is not protected by a stop sign, yield sign, or official traffic signal, and during the last 100 feet of approaching the intersection you don’t have a clear view of the intersection or any possible traffic in the intersection. In any alley.

Speed Limit: 25 MPH

The speed limit is 25 mph in the following areas: Any business or residential district, unless a different speed determined by local authority is posted. When approaching or passing a school building or grounds, contiguous to a highway and posted with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign, while children are going to or leaving the school either during school hours or during the noon recess period. Also when approaching or passing any school grounds that aren’t separated from the highway by a fence, gate, or other physical barrier while the grounds are in use by children and the highway is posted with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign."SCHOOL" warning signs may be placed at any distance up to 500 feet away from school grounds. When passing a senior center or other facility primarily used by senior citizens, contiguous to a street other than a state highway and posted with a standard "SENIOR" warning sign.

Speed Limit: 35 MPH

The speed limit is 35 mph in the following areas: On any highway, other than a state highway. In any moderately dense residential district. When posted with a sign giving notice of that speed limit, unless a different speed is posted.

Speed Limits for Designated Vehicles

The following vehicles on a highway can’t go in excess of 55 miles per hour: Motor truck or truck tractor having three or more axles or any motor truck or truck tractor drawing any other vehicle. Passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle. School bus transporting any school pupil. Labor vehicle when transporting passengers. Vehicle transporting explosives. Trailer bus.

Right Lane is the

Slow Lane

Left Lane is the

Fast Lane

Minimum Speed Limit Law

It is illegal to drive on a highway at such a slow speed that you impede or block the normal and reasonable flow of traffic, unless the reduced speed is necessary for safe operation.

Cell Phones

You aren’t allowed to use your cell phone while driving, unless you’re operating the phone in a hands-free manner. This law doesn’t apply to individuals using cell phones for emergency purposes.

Speed and Control

The faster the speed, the less control you have of your car. Rather than just following the legal posted speed limit, consider other factors that can affect the safe operation of your car. Should you drive 35 mph (the posted speed limit) on a curve down an icy mountain road? Many new drivers don’t slow to safe speeds for each road. That is one reason why new drivers have more "out- of-control" collision than experienced drivers.

Outward Pull on Curves

On curves, there is a strong outward pull on your vehicle. Watch out for it, especially when the road may be slippery. Rain, mud, snow, and gravel can all make the roads slippery. Sometimes a speed limit isn’t posted before a curve on the highway. Judge the sharpness of the curve and adjust your speed if necessary. Slow down before you enter the curve. Braking on a curve may cause you to skid.


Be careful on freeways. Curves on ramps make it hard to see ahead. Orange flags, signs, etc., may tell you that workers and equipment are ahead. Slow down and watch out.

Circular Red/Arrow Red/Turning Right on Red

If you’re driving and facing a steady circular red signal alone, you must stop at a marked limit line. If there is no marked limit line, you must stop on the near side of the intersection. You may turn right on red except when there are signs prohibiting it. The oncoming traffic has the right of way. When attempting to make a right turn, yield to the oncoming traffic.

Right of Way

left vehicle entering an intersection from a different highway must yield to vehicle to the immediate right. Vehicles on terminating highway must yield when intersecting on a continuing highway. If there are inoperative official traffic-control signals all vehicles must stop and only proceed when it is safe to do so. Does not apply to intersections controlled by signs or traffic signals, intersections controlled by stop signs from fewer than all directions and when an approaching vehicle is attempting to make a left turn.

left turns or u-turns

yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. At a controlled intersection with a green light, you may turn left or make a u-turn if it is not otherwise prohibited and the opposing traffic must yield.

stop signs: intersections

at two-way stop signs yield the right of way to vehicles crossing the intersection

yield signs: intersections

yield the right of way to any vehicles entering or approaching the intersection until you can proceed with reasonable safety

entry onto highway

yield the right of way to all traffic approaching on the highway until it is safe to merge

equestrian (horse) crossings

yield to horseback rider but riders should not leave curve or suddenly create a hazard

authorized emergency vehicles

yield the right of way and immediately drive to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection, and remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed. If you’re in an exclusive or preferential lane exit that lane immediately if you can do so safely. If you’re on foot, go to the nearest curb and stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed

unsafe lane changes

roadways divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic in one direction: remain in your lane until it is safe to change lanes, obey traffic signs and devices about traffic speed and direction.

following too closely

have regard for the speed of traffic, weather, and road conditions

slow-moving vehicles

drive on the right if you’re slow unless you’re passing someone


illegal to stop or decrease speed or make a turn without giving a signal at least 100 feet before. Use hand and arm or electronic turn signals

Left turn hand signal

Hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the vehicle.

Right turn hand signal

Hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the vehicle, except that a bicyclist may extend the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

Stop or speed decrease signal

Hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the vehicle.

overtake and pass to the left

pass to left at a safe distance

passing without sufficient clearance

may not pass another vehicle unless the left side is free of traffic

don’t drive on the left when

approaching a curve, hill, tunnel, bridge, viaduct, railroad, grade, crossing, or intersection.

being overtaken

move for the vehicle and don’t speed up, you don’t have to drive on the shoulder

passing on the right

when the vehicle is making a left turn, on a highway with wide lanes marked for two or more lanes of traffic in one direction, on a one way street, on a highway divided into two roadways where traffic is restricted to one direction upon each of such roadways. Do not drive off the paved portion of the roadway

right turns upon a highway

get close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except for on highways with three marked lanes for traffic in one direction, if a right hand turn is made from a one-way highway at an intersection, on a highway with lanes marked or a right turn

left turns upon a highway

make the turn from the left most lane

u-turn at controlled intersection

only in the far left lane and if not prohibited

u-turns in a business district

only make u-turns in an intersection or on a divided highway at the farthest left lane

u-turn in a residential district

no u-turns unless any other vehicle is more than 200 feet away or you are at a controlled intersection

turning near fire stations

do not make a u-turn at a fire station

unobstructed view necessary for u-turn

must have 200 feet of unobstructed view in both directions to make a legal u-turn

do not stop, park, or leave your vehicle in these areas except for if an officer tells you to or to avoid conflict

an intersection, a cross walk, between a safety zone and the adjacent right-hand curb, 15 feet within the entrance to a fire station, in front of a driveway, on any portion of the sidewalk, alongside or opposite any street or highway excavation or obstruction, on the roadway side of another stopped vehicle, along side the curb space for areas designated for loading and unloading passengers, in a tube or tunnel, on a bridge, in front of a part of the curb made wheel-chair accessible

curb parking

wheels that are closest to the curb must be within 18 inches of the curb

unincorporated area parking

do not stop or park in unincorporated area parking. except for disabled vehicles or school buses

flashing red

come to a complete stop

flashing yellow

slow down

two-way, left-turn lanes

center of the highway, left turns for both directions, parallel double yellow lines with a dashed interior, do not drive in the lane for more than 200 feet

stopping or passing buses

don’t go if they are loading or unloading passengers. stop until they are done, unless you are going less than 10 miles per hour

railroad or rail transit crossings

stop 15 feet from the nearest rail unless there is a mechanical flagman or the approaching train is visible

if an accident happens

you must stop or you can be imprisoned for a year and will be fined between 1,000 and 10,000 dollars

if an accident involves death or injury

imprisonment in state prison for two to four years, imprisonment in county jail for 90 days to a year, fine between 1,000 and 10,000 dollars, a fine and imprisonment. If you flee you can get five extra years in prison

if an accident involves damage to someone’s property

locate and notify the owner of the property and give your name, address, and license and vehicle registration number to the other driver. leave a written note and notify the police department or CHP. If you don’t comply you will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and imprisoned for up to six months and fined 1,000 dollars

duty upon accident where injury or death occurs

notify the nearest police department, give the other driver your name & address & the names of the other occupants in the car. help those injured

driving without your license

immediately provide another form of valid identification

duty to report accidents

report within 24 hours

bicyclists’ rights

same rights as motorists, police officers are exempt. must not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs

bicyclists’ operation of the roadway

ride as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road except for when passing, turning left, avoiding poor conditions, or approaching a location where right turns are authorized

bicycle lanes

solid white line labeled BIKE LANE, only drive in one if you are preparing for a turn within 200 feet from the intersection

Use headlights when

it’s cloudy, rainy, snowy, or foggy, you’re on a country road, can’t see at least 1000 feet, later than 30 minutes after sunset, before 30 minutes before sunrise Do not use high-beam headlights when it’s rainy, foggy, snowy, or may blind other drivers. Turn off high beams when someone is 500 fit in front of you or 300 feet behind you

Flash your headlights when

you are trying to avoid an accident

Parking and Hazard Lights

do not drive only with your parking lights, use hazard lights when car breaks down or tap your brake pedal

visibility requirements

never drive a vehicle loaded in a way that you can’t see in front or to the side of you that extend beyond the left fender line or more than 6 inches beyond the fender line on the right or more than 4 feet from the rear unless you have a 12" red or orange fluorescent flag attached


must have at least two headlamps on each side of the front of the vehicle and be turned on when it is dark

Tail lamps

at least two on left and right sight, red and visible from 1,000 ft, no lower than 15 or higher than 75 inches

License plate lamp

must be clearly legible from 50 ft

Fog Tail lamps

two red for lamps on rear

stop lamps (brake lights)

no lower than 15 or higher than 72 inches

turn signal

use 100 feet before turn or if on a freeway, 5 seconds before changing lanes

visibility requirement on signals

visible from at least 300 feet from rear

motor vehicle safety act

all passengers must be wearing seat belts in working condition or you will be fined a maximum of 50 dollars

Financial responsibility

30 days to satisfy a judge’s order or license will be suspended

Proof of ability to respond in the case of damages

valid proof of insurance with a policy number, if you cancel a policy you have to notify the DMV within 10 days

failure to report an accident

if no one reports the accident within a year the DMV isn’t required to file a report

driverless runaway vehicles

if the vehicle was parked with the permission of the registered owner, the registered owner is held financially responsible

mandatory suspension of license

suspended if you fail, refuse, or neglect to report an accident

evidence of financial responsibility

any of the following: a form issued by an insurance company or a charitable risk pool, certificate of self-insurance, deposit letter issued by department, insurance covering note or binder, a showing that the vehicle is owned or leased by the United States or any public entity

minor liability

you and the person who signs your application are liable

parking break system

must be able to hold your vehicle in adverse circumstances


must have one to reduce noise

fenders and mudguards

if you have three or more wheels you must instal a flap or splash apron

rear-view mirror

must be able to see at least 200 feet to the rear

violation points

In determining the violation point count, two points will be given if: You fail to stop in the event of an accident. You’re convicted of a DUI violation. You’re convicted of reckless driving. Any other traffic conviction will be given the value of one point. You may be considered a negligent operator when your driving record shows any of the following point count totals, regardless of your license class: 4* points in 12 months. 6 points in 24 months. 8 points in 36 months. *3 points in cases of provisional driver’s license of a minor under 18 years of age.

reckless driving

Between 5 and 90 days in jail. Fines of $145 to $1,000.

drunk driving

It’s illegal for adults to operate any recreational vessel, aquaplane, water ski, or similar devices with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, or a commercial vessel with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. You may lose your driver’s license for this type of violation. Convictions for driving vessels under the influence will show on your driver’s license record and be counted as a prior DUI conviction. It’s illegal for minors to operate any recreational vessel, aquaplane, water ski, or similar device with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.01% or higher. You’ll be subject to a fine and may be required to participate in an alcohol education or community service program.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

If you’re convicted of speeding or reckless driving, your license may be suspended up to 30 days for your first conviction, up to 60 days for your second conviction, and up to six months for any third or subsequent convictions.

speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour

driving privileges will immediately be suspended for up to 30 days. You may be restricted to driving to and from work only; you won’t be allowed to drive for any other purpose for up to six months.


Your driver’s license application must be signed by the person who has custody of you. If both your father and mother are living and share custody of you, they must both sign the application. If you’re a dependent or ward of the court, the application can be signed by a grandparent, a sibling over the age of 18, an aunt or uncle, or a foster parent with whom you live. If you’re a married minor, the application can be signed by your adult spouse, by your parents, or by your spouse’s parents. If the person or persons responsible for signing your application are not California residents, the application must be signed and verified by resident of the state who has custody of you. Otherwise, the department may accept an application signed and verified by you and accompanied by proof of financial responsibility. If the person required to sign and verify your application gives written consent, or if you’re emancipated by means other than marriage, the department may accept an application signed and verified by you and accompanied by proof of financial responsibility. If a person consents to your license application but doesn’t sign that application, that person can’t be held liable for any damages you may cause while driving. It’s against the law to make false statements or use false names on documents filed with the DMV.

Driving slower for reduced stopping distance and covering the brake pedal to improve reaction time is recommended in the following situations:

When you are passing parked cars, as they may pull out in front of you or open their door. When we see brake lights ahead, which means that traffic is coming to a stop. When you are approaching signal lights – look for traffic buildup at the intersection and for flashing crosswalk lights; these indicate that the light is about to change.

crossing an intersection

As a rule of thumb, for vehicles traveling 30 mph, a time gap of six seconds equals about a 1/2-block distance. If it takes you four seconds to cross a street that is 24 to 30 feet wide, you must allow a six-second gap in traffic from both directions to safely cross the intersection.

making a left turn at an uncontrolled intersection

you must yield to oncoming traffic. Be aware of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. Move your vehicle forward, approximately halfway to the center of the intersection, stop and wait for oncoming traffic to pass, and then quickly make your turn. You’re allowed to complete your turn in either lane of the cross street if it is safe to do so.

When making a right turn against red light, keep these rules in mind. Be aware that at some intersections a right turn against red light is not allowed.

A right turn may be made on a red light after you have yielded to all traffic and pedestrians and if a "no turn on red" sign is not posted. You must make a complete stop before making a right turn against red light. If your view is obstructed, proceed with caution; inch forward until you can see around the obstruction, yield to oncoming traffic, and complete your turn quickly.


In a business district, U-turns are illegal except at intersections or through openings in a concrete divider. In residential districts, U-turns are legal if no vehicle approaching you is closer than 200 feet.


Never make a U-turn on a highway by crossing a curb, a strip of land, or two sets of double lines. You may not make a U-turn in these instances: Where you cannot clearly see 200 feet in each direction because of a curve, a hill, rain, fog, or other reason. Where a "no U-turn" sign is posted. When vehicles may hit you. On a one-way street. In front of a fire station. Never use a fire-station driveway to turn around.

One-way streets

identified by a black sign with a white arrow. In the center of the arrow, it says "one-way." If the direction of travel is going to the right, enter the right lane; if it is going to the left, enter the left lane. After turning, go with the flow of traffic. When exiting from a one-way street, get in the right lane to turn right; get in the left lane to turn left.

freeway stopping zones

zone 1: following, 2 secs; zone 2: stopping, 4 secs; zone 3: visual lead distance, 20-30 secs

merging onto a free way

travel same speed as other cars on freeway, leave a four second gap to merge

Let’s go over some characteristics of freeway carpool lanes:

They are reserved for cars with two or more occupants. They are marked with signs and a diamond symbol on the roadway. At on-ramps, they are marked with the number of occupants required and times of day during which carpooling is required. They may require that once you are in a carpool lane, you cannot cross over double lines to exit the carpool lane but must wait until you have a broken line. They include lanes reserved for buses on freeways that are also marked with a diamond symbol.


Signal your intention to exit for approximately five seconds.

freeway driving

space cushion of 6 seconds

If your car breaks down on the highway, your first consideration should be to get it off the pavement safely. If you lose power or have an equipment failure on a freeway,

Do not stop in traffic. Pull to the shoulder and completely off the pavement, if it can be done safely. Do not use the shoulder next to the center divider, if at all possible. Warn others that you are having difficulties by using your brake lights and turn indicators. Safely position your vehicle on the right shoulder as far away from traffic as possible, making sure that your vehicle is visible for at least 200 feet in either direction, and vehicles have enough space to pass. Use your hazard lights, flares, and reflectors when parked on the shoulder to warn approaching traffic. Have your vehicle towed off the freeway before attempting repairs. If your vehicle is parked, stopped, or left standing on a freeway for more than four hours, it may be removed by law enforcement, or you may be issued a citation.

You might encounter hazards in these areas:

Unmarked field and farm driveways and entrances. Livestock-crossing areas. Roads that suddenly become rough or change surface. Soft and unmarked shoulders. Roadside stands and gas stations. Farm vehicles on the roadway. Stay alert for sudden changes in road conditions in these areas.

Follow these guidelines when traveling down hills:

Slow down or maintain your speed by shifting to a lower gear. Do not ride your brakes on downhill roadways; it can lead to complete failure of your brakes. Avoid overheating and a breakdown on extended uphill roadways by pulling off if your engine temperature is in the danger zone and reducing stress on your engine by turning off air-conditioning and driving more slowly.

You should stay to the far right side of the road when approaching hilltops and on curves. Reduce your speed when:

Encountering an oncoming line of cars. At hilltops where you cannot see oncoming vehicles and obstructions that are over the crest of the hill. On curves and under other conditions that reduce your visibility. Meeting cars at night. Meeting slow-moving vehicles.

Some road conditions may also require you to reduce speed. Reduce your speed when:

You are traveling on rough roads. Your traction is likely to be reduced by slippery conditions. The road is narrow. The field of view is obstructed. The line of sight is limited.

left passing

Never pass on the left or drive off the road to the left when a car ahead is signaling a left-hand turn.

do not pass on

a no passing zone, a curve, a hill, a railroad, bridge, tunnel, or a viaduct

driving in fog

If you must drive in the fog, slow down and turn on your low beams (and fog lights, if you have them). The light from high beams will reflect back and cause serious glare, so don’t use them in fog. Never drive with just your fog or parking lights on, whether or not there is fog. Fog lights have a narrow vertical beam; that is, they illuminate the roadbed in front of the vehicle. A wider vertical beam would just reflect glare off the fog, rain, or snow back into the eyes of the driver. Fog lights should be mounted as low on the bumper as is practical. Use your windshield wipers and defroster to clear your windshield for the best vision. You should increase the space cushion (following distance) in front of your vehicle and be prepared to stop within the space you can see in front of your vehicle. Avoid crossing or passing long lanes of traffic unless absolutely necessary. Keep headlights and taillights clean. When dirty, they are less bright and less visible to other drivers and pedestrians. If visibility is poor, roll down your window and turn off your radio, so you can listen for vehicles you cannot see.

driving in the rain

Use low-beam headlights and windshield wipers for maximum visibility. Reduce your speed below that for dry conditions. Decrease your speed when entering a curve. Stay on the paved portion of the highway. Drive in the tracks of the car ahead. Allow a greater distance between you and the car ahead. Avoid sudden stops or turns.

If you encounter deep water on the roadway

drive around it or take another route, if possible. Never drive through water that is deep enough to reach the bottom of your vehicle. If you’re not sure, don’t try it. If you must drive through water on the roadway, avoid letting water splash into the engine compartment by driving slowly. Water may stop your engine completely and leave you stranded in the middle of the water. Do not pass through strong currents are that are high enough to reach the bottom of your vehicle because they can carry away the vehicle.


product of vehicle weight, speed, tire width, and tread depth. Hydroplaning is when your tires lose contact with the road and are riding on a thin sheet of water. You have no traction while hydroplaning. It can occur at 50 mph or less in heavy rain and is more likely to happen if your speed is high, your tires lack tread depth, and your vehicle is light. A slight gust of wind could throw your vehicle into a skid. To regain control, take your foot off the accelerator, but do not brake. You should slow down whenever there is a lot of water on the road to avoid hydroplaning. Look for signs of hydroplaning such as standing water, raindrops that bubble on the road, or a sloshing sound from your tires. This is your opportunity to slow down and avoid hard braking or turning sharply. Drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you and increase the distance between you and the forward vehicle.


Sometimes a road that is normally safe becomes dangerous when slippery. Ice and packed snow on the road can cause your vehicle to skid, especially if you are driving fast or traveling downhill. You should always use your low beams on frosty mornings when other drivers’ windows may be icy or foggy. Do not use your high beams in a snow storm because they will reflect off the falling snow and blind you. To drive safely in snow or ice, you should do the following: Carry special tires or chains, and know how to install them. Obtain maximum visibility of the details ahead by using low-beam headlights, windshield wipers, and defrosters. Maintain a slow, steady speed and reduce your speed before turns, curves, and shady areas. Maintain a longer space cushion; allow a greater distance in front of your vehicle for stopping. Watch for signs warning of potential icy conditions. Watch for areas in which ice is likely to collect, such as on bridges. Avoid stopping or turning suddenly; avoid unnecessary stops. Exercise caution in downshifting; do not downshift at too fast a speed. If you will be driving in an area where it has snowed or may snow, carry chains in case you find yourself in conditions where you can’t drive without them. Make sure you carry the correct number of chains and that they will fit your drive wheels. (These are your front wheels in a front-wheel drive vehicle, your rear wheels in a rear-wheel drive vehicle, and all wheels in an all-wheel drive vehicle.) Learn how to put the chains on your vehicle before you need to use them. Check the weather before you leave. When driving on roads where snow chains are required, temporary special speed limits may be posted, which you must obey. These speed limits range from 25 to 40 mph. When driving on packed snow, drive at least 50 percent slower than you normally would. If there is ice on the road, slow to a crawl.


To stop skidding, avoid using brakes. Also avoid over-steering; keep front tires in line with your intended path. Keep looking in your intended direction, keep your clutch engaged, and lift your foot from the accelerator gradually. If you go into a skid, ease off the gas pedal, stop braking, and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the vehicle to go. If you can’t control your vehicle on a slippery surface, try to find something to stop you. Try to get a wheel on dry pavement or on the shoulder of the road. You may have to slowly edge into a snow bank or some bushes to stop. To help avoid skidding on slippery surfaces, you should Drive more slowly and stay farther behind the vehicle ahead. Slow down as you approach curves and intersections. Avoid quick stops and use threshold braking as outlined earlier (unless you have antilock brakes). Shift to a low gear before going down steep hills.


If you encounter muddy or slushy conditions, you need steady pulling and moderate power when traction is poor. The best remedy when wheels are stuck in snow, mud, or a soft shoulder is to apply power slowly. Keep your front wheels pointed straight ahead, so the vehicle can move in a straight line. If you can’t go forward, try backing out and steering in the vehicle’s tracks. If one of the drive wheels becomes stuck, the centrifugal forces created by rapidly spinning your tires can cause an explosion by literally tearing the tire apart. Never exceed the 35 mph indicated speedometer speed or stand near the spinning tire.

To recover when you are stuck in mud or snow, you need to know how to rock out

hift to a lower gear, and keep the front wheels straight. Gently step on the gas pedal. Avoid spinning the wheels while driving forward as far as possible. Shift to reverse and slowly back up as far as possible again without spinning the wheels. Shift to a low gear again and drive forward. Repeat this forward-backward rocking motion until the car rolls free. In deep mud or snow, put boards or tree branches under the tires to provide traction. Never do this while wheels are spinning.


If your gas pedal is stuck down, follow these steps: Shift to neutral. Apply brakes. Keep your eyes on the road, so you can look for a way out. Warn other drivers by blinking and flashing your emergency lights. Try to drive the car safely off the road. Turn off your ignition when you no longer need to change direction and are stopped. Turn on your emergency flashers. Turning the ignition switch completely off while moving is never the correct response to an emergency situation. It may lock the steering wheel, and you will be unable to steer the vehicle. Never turn off your ignition while your vehicle is still moving, no matter what sort of emergency situation you are experiencing.


If you have a tire blowout or lose a wheel while driving, follow these steps: Hold the steering wheel tightly and steer straight ahead. Slow down gradually, taking your foot off the gas pedal slowly but without applying the brakes. Slow to a stop off the road, applying the brakes only when the car is almost stopped. Turn on your emergency flashers.


Downshift to a lower gear or lower range (automatic transmissions) to help slow your vehicle. Pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake-fluid pressure; you will know in three to four pumps if the brakes will work – but do not pump antilock brakes. Use your parking or emergency brake to gently slow your vehicle, but release it before the vehicle starts to skid. Steer and swerve to avoid a collision or steer into something soft like bushes. Sound your horn and flash your lights to alert other drivers. When you are stopped, turn off the ignition, and turn on your emergency flashers. If your brakes get wet and do not work (like when you go through a big puddle), dry them by lightly pressing the gas pedal and brake pedal at the same time so that the vehicle drives against the pressure of the brakes. Do this only until the brakes begin working.


Turn off the air-conditioner. If you are in stop-and-go traffic, change your route so that you can get air moving over the radiator. Pull to the side of the road if you see steam. Shut off the engine, turn on your emergency flashers, open the hood, and wait 20 minutes before inspecting the radiator. After 20 minutes, refill the radiator by pouring water or coolant into the overflow tank, and with the hood still up, inspect for leaks and call a tow truck if you cannot fix them. Driving up hills or mountains while using your air-conditioning puts extra strain on your engine and may cause your vehicle to overheat. Use your air- conditioning sparingly when driving up steep roads.


Wiggle the dimmer switch, which will often put the lights back on. Wiggle the headlight switch a few times. If the lights do not come on, put on your parking lights, turn indicators, or emergency flashers to warn other drivers. Pull off the road as quickly as possible and leave the emergency flashers on.


Turn the steering wheel hard with both hands on the wheel to get to the side of the road. Stop the car. You may have to push the brake pedal hard if your car has power brakes. Restart the engine and proceed with caution.


Slow down. Try to look between the small space between your dashboard and the hood to see where you are going; if you cannot, put your head out the window to look around the hood and use the lane line markings as a guide. Pull off the road as soon as you can safely do so, and put on your emergency flashers.


Turn on your emergency flashers immediately. Pull over as quickly and safely as possible, realizing that the steering wheel may take more force to turn because the power steering won’t work. Stop your vehicle, realizing that you may need more force on the brakes because power brakes will not work. Turn on your emergency flashers. Try to restart the engine. If the engine won’t start, call for help. Do not try to restart your engine while you are still moving.

If you have a blowout or lose a wheel while driving, you should

Hold the steering wheel tightly and steer straight ahead. Slow down gradually, taking your foot off the gas pedal slowly but without applying the brakes. Slow to a stop off the road, applying the brakes only when the car is almost stopped. Turn on your emergency flashers.

If your brakes suddenly give out while driving, you should:

Downshift to a lower gear or range (automatic transmissions) to slow your vehicle. Pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid pressure – you will know in three to four pumps if the brakes will work – but do not pump antilock brakes. Use your parking or emergency brake to gently slow your vehicle, but release it before the vehicle starts to skid. Steer and swerve to avoid a collision or steer into something soft like bushes. Sound your horn and flash your lights to alert other drivers. When you are stopped, turn off the ignition and turn on your emergency flashers. If your brakes get wet and do not work (like when you go through a big puddle), dry them by lightly pressing the gas pedal and brake pedal at the same time so that the vehicle drives against the pressure of the brakes. Do this only until the brakes begin working.

If both of your headlights go out while driving at night, you should

Wiggle the dimmer switch, which will often put the lights back on. Wiggle the headlight switch a few times. If the lights do not come on, turn on your parking lights, turn indicators, or emergency flashers to warn other drivers. Pull off the road as quickly as possible and leave the emergency flashers on.

Steering failure caused by leaking power-steering fluid is a common problem. You should:

Turn the steering wheel hard, with both hands on the wheel, to get to the side of the road. Stop the car. You may have to push the brake pedal hard if your car has power brakes. Restart the engine and proceed with caution.


At a "T" intersection, vehicles on the through-road have the right of way.

When driving in bad weather, carry the following emergency equipment:

Blankets or sleeping bags Non-perishable food Water Flares Extra clothing


Wet road: Go 5 to 10 miles slower. Packed snow: Cut speed in half. Ice: Slow to a crawl.

spot slippery roads

On cold, wet days, shade from trees or buildings can hide spots of ice. These areas freeze first and dry last. Bridges and overpasses can also hide icy spots. They tend to freeze before the rest of the road does. If it starts to rain on a hot day, the pavement can be very slippery for the first few minutes. Heat causes oil in the asphalt to come to the surface. It makes the road slippery until the oil is washed off. Close to the freezing point, the road is icy and may be more slippery than at colder temperatures.

Skidding is caused by

Over-braking: braking too hard and locking up your wheels. Over-steering: tightening of the turning radius, which causes the back end to spin around, lose traction, and rotate. Over-acceleration: supplying too much power to the drive wheels, which causes them to spin. Driving too fast for road conditions: driving too fast results in the need to over-brake and over-steer.

Types of Skids

An acceleration skid occurs when your drive wheels lose traction with the road while accelerating. Acceleration skids usually occur on ice or snow, but also on asphalt, sand, dirt, or wet pavement. To recover from an acceleration skid, do not apply brakes. Ease off the gas pedal. If the road is very slippery, you may need to push in the clutch. Otherwise, the engine can keep the wheels from rolling freely and help regain traction. A locked-wheel skid occurs when your brakes have stopped your wheels from turning, but the vehicle is still moving. Locked-wheel skids are frequently caused by applying the brakes too heavily when on slippery roads or trying to avoid an accident. To recover from a locked-wheel skid, first release a slight amount of brake pressure until the wheels start rolling, and then progressively reapply more pressure while avoiding another lock up. Next, quickly straighten the front wheels as the vehicle starts to straighten, and then slow the vehicle gradually with your brakes while avoiding locking the wheels again. If you lose traction while going around a corner, take your foot off the gas pedal and do not brake, and turn your front wheels in the direction of the skid until you regain control. Avoid counter-steering by realigning your front wheels with the rear when they come around. If you lose traction while going around a corner or turn in a front-wheel drive vehicle, apply some gas – NOT THE BRAKE – steer in the direction you want the vehicle to travel, and drive through it.

recovering from a skid:

Do not brake. Keep your eyes pointed in the direction you want to go, and you will automatically steer there. Keep the front tires aligned with your intended path. To avoid skids, smoothly apply your brakes and accelerator, and turn slowly and smoothly. Reduce your speed before approaching turns and when driving in hazardous conditions such as wet, icy, or snow-covered roads or on roads with loose gravel.

Most rear-end collisions are caused by following too closely. To avoid this,

use the "three-second rule." When the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point, such as a sign, count "one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one- thousand-three." This takes about three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely. At faster speeds, the distance should be greater.

If another driver cuts in front of you, take your foot off the gas.

This will give you space between your car and the other vehicle without having to swerve into another lane or risking a skid. Don’t overreact if you are cut off. Plan your emergency escape route before an emergency happens. This will help you avoid being rear-ended.

To avoid last-minute moves, look down the road 10 to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. You need to look that far ahead to see hazards early. Only staring at the road just in front of your car is dangerous.

If you look ahead, you will be able to see possible hazards that you can’t see later on, such as someone getting into a parked car. In the city, 10 to 15 seconds is about one block. When you drive in city traffic, you should look at least one block ahead. On the highway, 10 to 15 seconds is about a quarter of a mile.

Avoid encountering a situation that involves multiple hazards by

Identifying hazards early. Predicting potential hazards. Adjusting your speed and position. Anticipating and planning escape routes.

reporting accidents to the DMV

If you are involved in an accident in which someone is killed or injured (no matter how slightly) or if there is more than $750 in property damage, you must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days on a Traffic Accident Report form SR 1, which is available from any DMV or CHP office.

There are four forms of financial responsibility:

Coverage by a motor vehicle or automobile liability insurance policy. Deposit of $35,000 with the DMV. Surety bond for $35,000 obtained from a company licensed to do business in California. A DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.

There are at least four different types of insurance:

Collision insurance deals with damage to your vehicle in the event of a collision. This type of insurance is normally subject to a deductible, meaning that you have to pay a certain amount for damage to your vehicle before your insurance company will pay. Collision-insurance policies are limited by various terms indicated in the policy. Comprehensive insurance deals with the theft of your vehicle or damage to your vehicle caused by factors other than a collision such as a rock hitting your windshield. Comprehensive policies are also normally subject to a deductible and are limited by various terms in the policy. Liability insurance addresses your responsibility to others for injury, death, and property damage. This is the type of insurance that you are required to have by law. Liability policies are also limited by the terms of the policy. Uninsured motorist insurance addresses medical expenses that you or your passengers may incur when in an accident that is not your fault and is caused by another driver who does not have insurance. Your license will be suspended for failing to pay for property damage in excess of $750 or for damages resulting from injury or death that resulted from a motor vehicle, if a certified copy of a judgment is received from a small claims court. As the owner of a vehicle, you are responsible for damages in the event of an accident in which someone else is driving if this person has your express or implied permission to drive the vehicle. The person signing a minor’s license application assumes liability for damages caused by the minor regardless of whose vehicle he or she is driving. Many lawsuits resulting from accidents settle for much more money than the minimum amounts set by the financial-responsibility law. You may have to pay the extra money if your insurance does not pay it all.

The evidence of financial responsibility that you present to the DMV to register your vehicle or in the event of an accident or other traffic stop is reviewed.

The DMV may ask the insurance company or other entity to verify that you do indeed have coverage, particularly at the time of an accident. If you did not actually have the proper insurance coverage, your driving privilege will be suspended for one year. To get your license back, you will need to provide evidence of financial responsibility and maintain it for the next three years.


When you start your vehicle, power from the battery triggers a small electric motor called the starter motor. The starter motor turns the flywheel and crank shaft of the engine so that the engine can attain sufficient momentum and speed to start and run on its own. The crankshaft is inside the engine and supplies power to the remainder of the power train. The crankshaft is connected by connecting rods to pistons inside cylinders. Exploding gas inside the cylinders drives the pistons up and down and turns the crankshaft through the connecting rods. Inside the cylinders, a mixture of gas and air is compressed. The spark plug ignites this mixture, causing it to explode. The mixture of air and gas is delivered to the cylinders by either a carburetor and intake manifold, or a fuel injection system. The moving parts of your engine must be lubricated. The oil that accumulates in the engine’s oil pan is pumped by the oil pump through an oil filter and tubes to reach the moving parts that need lubrication.


A vehicle’s steering wheel is attached to a steering column or shaft that terminates in the steering box. Inside the steering box, the column’s turning motion is translated into a lateral motion and passed to the wheels through a series of components that include the ball joints, steering arm, and steering knuckle. In power steering systems, turning the steering wheel triggers a hydraulic system that amplifies the forces necessary to rotate and move the linkages leading to the wheels. When you turn the steering wheel in a power steering system, hydraulic fluid is compressed inside a hydraulic cylinder and transmitted to a piston. This amplifies the force, making it easier to turn the wheels. For the hydraulic system to operate, the engine must be running.


The suspension system keeps the movement of the wheels from being transmitted fully to the body, allowing the driver to maintain control of the car during turns, through potholes, and over rough roads. It also makes riding in the car more comfortable. The up and down movement of the wheels is absorbed by the springs in the suspension system. The shock absorbers keep the springs from continuing to bounce. Suspension systems come in different designs involving a variety of linkages, struts, joints, torsion bars, etc.


The battery is the vehicle’s primary source of electrical power. When you turn the ignition to start the car, electricity closes another switch called a solenoid. The solenoid transmits the large amount of current needed to turn the starter motor. Once the engine is running, power is generated by the alternator, keeping the battery charged. The voltage regulator controls the amount of electricity generated. The distributor and coil generate and deliver the electricity needed by the spark plugs. Electricity is distributed throughout the vehicle by various electrical circuits used for the lighting system; operating the electrical motors, computers, and the radio; and for interior cooling, heating, and ventilation systems. Fuses disable circuits that are drawing too much current, preventing fires and protecting the components that the circuit serves.

fuel system

Fuel and air are delivered to the engine through several components. The fuel pump acts to pump gas from the tank through a fuel line and filter to a carburetor or fuel injection system. The carburetor or fuel injection system delivers the proper mix of air and gas to the cylinders in the engine. Air is delivered by an intake manifold after it passes through an air cleaner.

power train

The engine generates force. The transmission gears adjust the engine’s RPM to control the force being transmitted. The clutch (automatic or manual) disengages the transmission from the engine and allows you to change gears. The drive shaft transmits forces from the transmission to the components at the rear of the vehicle. The differential allows the back wheels to turn at different speeds to maintain traction. The axle transmits the force from the differential to the rear wheels.


After gas is exploded in the cylinders of the engine, it’s released into one or more exhaust manifolds. The manifolds collect spent gases from all the cylinders into one stream. The gases are passed through a catalytic converter that chemically reduces the quantity of harmful pollutants. The exhaust pipes then pass the gases through a muffler and resonator, which reduce the noise from the explosion of gas in the engine. From here, the tailpipe vents the hot gases away from the vehicle so they don’t collect underneath it.


Your vehicle’s cooling system is composed of a radiator, fan, water pump, thermostat, an overflow tank, water, and coolant, as well as a series of belts, clamps, and hoses that connect it all together and make it run.The system directs fluid past the hottest parts of the engine (the cylinder heads and valves), then redirects the fluid to the radiator, where the heat collected from the cylinder heads gets dissipated into the cooler atmosphere. Then the whole process begins again. The fluid within your car’s cooling system contains both water and coolant. The coolant consists of a green fluid containing ethylene glycol, also known as antifreeze. This chemical extends the freezing and boiling points of water, making it ideal for use in automotive radiators. It also inhibits rust, an added bonus. For most climates, a minimum 50-50 mix of coolant to water is recommended. If the cooling system holds two gallons of fluid, for example, it should include at least one gallon of coolant. For more severe climates, you can increase this percentage to about 70 percent, at which point the benefit stops. Heat is absorbed by coolant flowing through passages inside the engine. The coolant is stored in the radiator, which transfers the heat from the coolant to the outside environment (air) while it is being circulated by the water pump. The radiator is cooled by air flowing through it as you drive as well as by the radiator fan. Most radiators have a recovery tank that captures coolant as it expands due to being heated and returns it to the radiator once it cools. This allows the engine to quickly heat up to proper running temperature. The flow of coolant is controlled by heat-sensing valve called a thermostat.


Vehicles have two independent braking systems: the service brakes and the parking brake (also referred to as the emergency brake). The service brakes are used to slow the vehicle while you’re driving. The parking brake can also be used to slow a vehicle in an emergency, but is mainly used to hold a vehicle in place when the vehicle is parked. When you press the brake pedal of your vehicle, a piston in the master cylinder forces the brake fluid through the hydraulic lines. The fluid is forced to pistons in the wheel cylinders at the wheels, where additional pistons provide the force to apply your brakes. Hydraulic fluid is stored in a brake fluid reservoir normally located in the engine compartment. There are two types of service brakes: drum brakes and disk brakes. Drum brakes slow your car down by the friction created when the brake shoe pushes against the drum that is rotating with the wheel. Disc brakes (below) slow your car down by the friction of the caliper being pressed against a disc that is rotating with the wheel. Both drum and disk brakes convert friction force to heat. If the brakes get too hot, they stop working because they can’t dissipate enough heat. For both types of brakes, stopping distance time is roughly proportional to the square of your speed. Therefore, if you double your speed, you quadruple the distance required to stop your car. When you’re stopped and apply your brakes, they lock. It is the friction force between the tires and the road that keeps you from moving. Your parking brake uses a cable rather than a hydraulic system to engage your brakes or clamp down on your drive shaft and will therefore function even if your service brakes have failed. Brakes only slow the car down while there is friction between the moving parts of the brakes. If the wheels are locked, as in a skid, the drums or discs don’t move and there will be no friction. The purpose of antilock brake systems is to prevent the brakes from becoming locked by sensing if they are locked and then automatically releasing them and applying pressure. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you can avoid your brakes locking up by manually and rapidly releasing and reapplying pressure to your brake pedal ("pumping the brakes").


Certain gauges and lights are more important than others. An easy way to remember the most important gauges and lights is "boil, oil, coil." The most important is the temperature, or "boil." When this warning light is on or the gauge moves into the red, it means the temperature of the engine coolant is too high and the engine will soon overheat. The proper response to this situation is to pull over and turn the engine off, allowing it to cool down. "Oil" refers to the oil gauge or warning light that signifies when the oil level in the crank case is low. Oil is a lubricant that reduces friction between the metal parts inside the engine. Without it, the metal parts would create so much friction that eventually the parts would expand and be unable to move freely. This would cause permanent damage to the engine. "Coil" relates to the battery or alternator light or voltage gauge. If trouble is indicated, it means that the battery isn’t charging. This is the least urgent of the three warnings. The problem will eventually bring things to a stop, but it doesn’t require immediate or emergency attention.


Tires should be frequently inspected for proper inflation pressure, tread depth, uneven wear, and cracks. They should be replaced when tread depth is low or they are cracked. If your tires show uneven wear, you should check inflation pressure and/or wheel balance and alignment. Correct any problems or you may be forced to purchase new tires.


If the electrolyte in your battery can be refilled, it should be checked and refilled with distilled water as part of regular maintenance on your vehicle to keep the battery functioning. Electrolyte fluid is corrosive and can severely injure your eyes. Batteries generate hydrogen gas, which can explode when the battery caps are removed. If your alternator belt is slipping or breaks, the battery will discharge, lights and other accessories may not work, and the vehicle will eventually stall. The belt tension should be maintained according to manufacturer specifications for the alternator to perform correctly and to prolong the life of the belt. Cracked belts should be replaced. Exterior lights should be regularly checked for burned-out bulbs that may not be obvious from inside the vehicle. Interior lights are necessary to see displays both at night and during the day, are essential in case of an emergency at night, and must be maintained in proper working order. It’s illegal to drive with headlights that aren’t properly adjusted. Be sure that your windshield wiper motor is working and that the linkages to the wipers are functioning. Don’t wait until you’re in a storm to discover that your wipers don’t work. You should change wipers blades annually.


Leaks in the fuel system can cause fires and expose vehicle occupants to toxic gases. The leaks can occur in the fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel pump, carburetor, fuel injector lines, and gas cap (if it isn’t secure). Make sure the fuel tank is secure and the cap is always in place and in good condition. If you smell gas, immediately stop the car, turn off the engine, and determine the problem. The fuel system should be checked for leaks as part of regular maintenance.


The speedometer, high-beam indicator, turn signal indicator, gear shift position indicator, oil pressure gauge, ammeter, fuel gauge, and engine temperature indicator must all be in good working condition. If a gauge isn’t working or doesn’t appear to be providing correct information, it should be immediately repaired or replaced.

It’s important to keep the following in your vehicle:

Flares. First-aid kit. Fire extinguisher. Basic tools. Flashlight. Tire chains. When driving in desolate areas, be prepared to deal with being stranded by having water, food, and warm clothing available to you.


Periodic lubrication and oil changes according to manufacturer’s recommendations extend the life of your vehicle, allow you to avoid costly repairs, and prevent breakdowns. The weight of oil that you choose for your engine (e.g., 10w-30 or 20w-50) depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, the outside temperature, and the age of your vehicle. Make sure to choose the right weight of oil for your vehicle. Your vehicle uses oil in more than just the engine. Your transmission, differential, and power steering (if equipped) also use fluids that need to be periodically checked and changed. Make sure to use the right type of fluid for each.


Failure or degraded performance of your brakes can lead to accidents. Your brakes should be inspected and maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications. Maintain a full level of brake fluid. Regularly check the level. Periodically change the brake fluid according to the recommendations of your vehicle’s manufacturer. Only use the recommended weight of brake fluid. The level of brake fluid in the master brake cylinder should be checked every time the engine is serviced. Brake linings should be checked twice a year and replaced as indicated by inspection. Also, inspection must be done on rubber hoses, lines, fittings, and hydraulic cylinders for leaks. If the brakes squeak, fade, or pull unevenly, they should be checked right away.


Periodic tune-ups and transmission servicing according to manufacturer’s specifications extend the life of your vehicle, prevent the need for costly repairs, and prevent dangerous breakdowns. During a tune-up, you should have your spark plugs, spark distributor, distributor cap, and air filter changed. The timing of your vehicle should be check and adjusted, and your points should be changed (if your vehicle has them).


Shocks absorbers and strut assemblies are important components of the vehicle’s steering and suspension system. They help keep the tires in contact with the road for a smooth, safe ride. Shock absorbers limit the rebounding effect of the springs in the suspension. Struts are components that combine a spring and shock absorber into a single unit. Check for fluid leaks around the shock. Some shocks are filled with oil and a visible fluid leak can be detected. Excessive bumpy ride, leaning, or swaying in one direction more than normal on brake application or around turns can also indicate worn or damaged shocks.


Breakdowns and costly repairs can be avoided by keeping the exhaust system in good working order. Changes in noise level, smelling an abnormal amount of fumes, and rattling underneath your vehicle indicate problems with the exhaust system. The exhaust system should be inspected for leaks and secure attachment along with other regular maintenance. It is illegal to modify your exhaust system so as to increase the noise level of your vehicle or install a bypass device that allows it to increase. Your exhaust system should not have leaks that increase the noise level. Leaks in the exhaust system are dangerous because they expose occupants to carbon monoxide and other toxic gases.


Keep your cooling system in good working order. This means maintaining the right level of coolant and changing it according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Check for coolant leaks, cracks, and deterioration in hoses and belts*, and for noises and leaks from your water pump bearing. Replace the hoses and belts periodically (recommended once every three years). Be aware of abrupt changes or trends in your engine temperature as indicated by the temperature gauge. These signal developing problems. *Check the condition of the fan belt before taking longer trips and keep a spare fan belt in your vehicle.


Vibrations, unusual noises from the wheels, and pulling or swerving when you stop or turn all indicate possible problems in the suspension system, steering system, brake system, and/or wheels and tires. These problems can be avoided through regular inspections and repairs.


A wheel alignment involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they’re perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is to maximize tire life through a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving along a straight, level road. Proper wheel alignment reduces tire wear, improves fuel economy and handling, and increases driving enjoyment and safety. Have your car’s alignment checked once a year. Normal wear and road conditions can take their toll on the car’s steering and suspension system, possibly throwing the alignment settings out of specifications. Some common symptoms indicating the need for an alignment include uneven tire tread wear, pulling to one side, wandering, and an off-center steering wheel.


The law requires (in most cases) that you have an emission test every two years, at the time of registration, or at time of sale. It is a good idea to have your smog control components checked at the time of a tune-up. Make sure that smog control devices are intact and connected properly.

The second thing you can do to save money

drive slower. Faster driving requires more fuel to get you the same distance. Obey speed limits and you’ll save fuel and reduce the risk to others.


Any person who drives a motor vehicle is considered to have given his or her consent to be tested for alcohol or drugs any time he or she is stopped for suspicion of DUI. Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked if you refuse to take a test of your BAC after being requested to do so by a police officer. Also, you can still be convicted of DUI even if you refuse to take the test.

"Administrative Per Se"

The term "Administrative Per Se" (Admin Per Se or APS) refers to the law that requires the DMV to suspend or revoke the driving privileges of persons 21 years of age or older who are driving with a BAC of 0.08% or greater, and persons under the age of 21 who are driving with a BAC of 0.01% or greater. If you refuse to take a test for your BAC, Admin Per Se allows your driver’s license to be confiscated and suspended or revoked for the refusal. These are administrative, non-criminal procedures that are separate from any criminal charges that may also be brought against you in court. In many cases, the Admin Per Se action can still take effect even without a DUI conviction. The immediate suspension or revocation is served by the officer at the time of the arrest. The suspension for a first offense will be 90 days in length. If you have prior alcohol related offenses on your record, you may be suspended for one year.


Any drug that "may cause drowsiness or dizziness" is one that you should not take before driving.

Intoxicated drivers may do any of the following:

Drive at unreasonably fast or slow speeds. Make frequent and unnecessary lane changes. Pass and change lanes erratically. Follow too closely. Overshoot or ignore stop signs and signals, including stopping at green lights. Weave in and out of traffic. Fail to turn on or dim headlights. Have difficulty negotiating curves. It’s important to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and that of a suspected intoxicated driver. You may need to pull over for a minute or two to let them pass. It is safer to have an impaired driver in front of you rather than behind you. If possible, you should notify law enforcement of a suspected drunk driver. Many communities have drunk driver hotlines. You should become familiar with the number in your area.

Specific actions you should take to safely share the road with motorcyclists include:

Visually check for motorcycles when changing lanes. Allow a four-second following distance when following a motorcycle. Understand that motorcycles can legally share (split) lanes with other vehicles. Visually check for motorcycles when making a turn and don’t misjudge their speed. Realize that minor road condition annoyances for drivers can be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists


avoid passing heavy trucks to the right, 4 second following distance to be visible to a truck driver, when following a truck in the rain turn on windshield wipers before splash hits you

The costs you could pay for a DUI include these:

DUI fine $480 Assessment for the court system $816 Car insurance increase $2,700 DUI classes $550 Vehicle towing and storage $187 Community service fee $100 Other fees $430 *TOTAL fees, fines, and assessments $5,263 If you use an attorney, add $2,000.

Skids are caused by the following four behaviors:

Overbraking: Braking too hard and locking up your wheels. Oversteering: Tightening the turning radius; the back end starts to spin around, loses traction, and starts to rotate. Over-acceleration: Supplying too much power to the drive wheels, which causes them to spin. Speed: Driving too fast for road conditions results in the need to overbrake and oversteer.

Two general points to remember for recovering from a skid are:

DO NOT BRAKE. Keep your eyes pointed in the direction you want to go. You’ll automatically steer there


Slow down at the first sign of rain on the road; this is when many roads are the most slippery because oil and dust haven’t yet been washed away. If the road is slippery, your tires won’t have the grip they need. On wet roads, drive 5 to 10 miles per hour slower. In a heavy rain, your tires can lose all contact with the road at about 50 mph. Your car will be riding on water; this is called "hydroplaning." A slight change of direction or a gust of wind could throw your car into a skid. If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, slow down gradually; don’t apply the brakes.


Ice and packed snow on the road can cause the car to skid, especially if you’re driving fast or heading downhill. If you go into a skid, ease off the gas pedal, stop braking, and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. If you can’t control your car on a slippery surface, try to find something to stop you. Try to get a wheel on dry pavement or on the shoulder of the road. You may have to slowly edge into a snowbank or some bushes to stop. When driving on packed snow, reduce your speed by half.


It’s never easy to drive in fog. Your chances of joining the vehicle pileup ahead of you increase tremendously as visibility can be significantly reduced to only a few feet. While driving in fog, use your low beams; high beams reflect off the dense fog and cause glare for you and other drivers. You can also use fog lamps in conjunction with headlights; they should be mounted on the front at a height no less than 12 inches or more than 30. Keep your windshield wipers and defrosters in good working order; you’ll need them if fog descends when you’re behind the wheel. If you enter a fog bank, the last thing you want to do is stop suddenly; you should maintain a steady speed. Your visibility is drastically reduced, but in all but extreme circumstances you should be able to see the road for several yards; drive as cautiously as visibility allows. Watch for slow-moving or stopped vehicles ahead of you, and be prepared to stop suddenly or take swerving action. Similarly, look in the rear-view mirror for vehicles coming up from behind; you may need to speed up to avoid getting hit by a vehicle from behind.

To avoid last-minute moves

ook down the road 10 to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle

Nationally, AAA has found about 75 percent of the fatal crashes involving 15- to 20-year-old drivers were caused by driver error or other factors related to the driver’s behavior, such as

failure to keep in the proper lane, running off the road, and driving too fast for conditions.

Practice checking all mirrors

every five to seven seconds

A good way to know when you’re being tailgated

the ability to see the headlights of the vehicle following you.

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