Massachusetts drivers education

Traffic Laws & Rules of The Road

Rules of The Road

Traffic laws and Rules of the Road
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Rules of The Road

The evolution of the automobile has led to the rapid development of traffic laws and road rules over the past century, many of which are continually being adapted and fine-tuned to suit our nation’s ever-growing transportation system. Private vehicles like cars, light trucks, vans and motorcycles now account for 91 percent of all personal travel. Without rules of the road, the entire country would descend into chaos in a matter of hours.

Importance of Road Rules & Traffic Laws
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The Importance of Traffic Laws

Traffic laws dictate the speed you must travel at, the maneuvers you can make, where you can and cannot drive and how you must drive in certain situations. Many laws are constant, though there are others which apply only at certain times of day or times of the year.

Basic Driving Rules and Traffic Laws
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Basic Driving Rules

All drivers must be well-versed in basic traffic laws, as failure to abide by them will create dangerous driving situations and may result in a fine, penalty or suspension of your driver’s license. Traffic laws are not open to interpretation; the law is the law and must be followed to the letter.

Is driving on the should always illegal?
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Driving on The Shoulder

Road shoulders are intended for emergency use only. In general, motorists should not drive on the shoulder unless it is necessary to avoid a collision or to remove a disabled vehicle from the roadway. The rules governing when and how drivers may use the shoulder of the roadway may vary from state to state.

Coordinating Traffic

Coordinating Traffic Flow
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Coordinating Traffic Flow

The term “traffic flow” describes the movement of traffic and interactions between individual travelers using the highway transportation system. In an ideal situation, traffic would flow in a continuous and orderly manner, to allow the maximum number of road users to move through a stretch of roadway in the shortest possible time.

Communicating with Other Drivers
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Communicating With Other Drivers

All drivers must learn to communicate with other motorists effectively, in order to keep the flow of traffic moving in a smooth and orderly fashion. You cannot control another driver’s actions but if they communicate their intentions, you can adjust your driving behavior to avoid conflicts and disruptions.

Right of Way Rules

Right of Way Rules for Everyone
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Right-of-Way Rules

When a driver has right-of-way, it means they currently have permission to pass over a section of roadway. Whenever two motorists wish to occupy the same section of roadway at the same time, right-of-way rules will determine who goes first. Understanding and respecting right-of-way is essential, as it allows road users to avoid conflicts which could impede traffic flow or cause a collision.

Right of Way At Intersections
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Right-of-Way at Intersections

Drivers using an intersection must rely on right-of-way laws to determine who goes first. To choose a safe path through an intersection, motorists must understand right-of-way rules and learn to accurately judge the speed and location of other vehicles.

Right of Way Rules for Pedestrians
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Right-of-Way for Pedestrians

Conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians must be avoided at all costs. Remember that you must always yield to pedestrians on the roadway, even if you believe the lawful right-of-way is yours.

Right of Way Rules at Pedestrians Crosswalks
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Right-of-Way at Crosswalks

Pedestrian safety at crosswalks depends on motorists respecting their right-of-way, but that’s not where your responsibility as a driver ends. Remember that many pedestrians do not have the same knowledge of right-of-way laws as drivers. You must always stop for pedestrians crossing the road. This applies to unmarked crosswalks, marked crosswalks, crosswalks at uncontrolled intersections, mid-block crosswalks and crosswalks at intersections which are controlled by traffic lights.

Roundabout right of way rules
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Right-of-Way at Roundabouts

Right-of-way conflicts are less common on roundabouts than they are at other intersections, as all traffic is moving in a counterclockwise direction and there are no left turns. The golden rule when it comes to roundabouts is that traffic approaching the intersection must yield the right-of-way to traffic already circling the center island.

Right-of-Way Rules on Mountain Roads
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Right-of-Way on Mountain Roads

Right-of-way rules help drivers to avoid conflict on all our nation’s roadways, even lesser-traveled mountain roads. Mountain driving can be treacherous and does require some extra consideration. As a result, there are a couple of additional right-of-way rules to learn which relate specifically to mountain and hill driving.

Right-of-Way Rules for Emergency Vehicles
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Right-of-Way for Emergency Vehicles

The law states that emergency response vehicles should have right-of-way over all other road users, when sounding a siren or displaying flashing lights. In most cases, police cars, ambulances and fire engines will use both these devices to warn other motorists that they must yield.

Right of Way Rules for School Buses
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Right-of-Way for School Buses

Motorists have a responsibility to drive cautiously around school buses, whether the school bus has stopped by the roadside or is moving. The law in most states requires drivers to stop for stopped school buses which are displaying a “STOP” arm or flashing lights.

Right of Way Rules at Railroad Crossings
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Right-of-Way at Railroad Crossings

Failure to observe proper right-of-way rules around railroad crossings can result in devastating collisions and loss of life. Trains always have right-of-way over road vehicles at railway crossings – there are no exceptions. As a motorist, you must yield the right-of-way or risk paying for the violation with your life.

Passing & Being Passed

Rules for Safely Passing Other Vehicles
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Passing Others Safely

Passing another vehicle will always temporarily increase the risk you are exposed to at any given time on a stretch of roadway. Remember that most situations require passing on the left-hand side of the vehicle in front. Passing on the right is permitted only in certain rare circumstances.

Situations when passing other vehicles is allowed
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When Passing is Legal

While on a two-way road with one lane of traffic moving in each direction, motorists may only pass another vehicle by merging left into the opposing lane of traffic. In most states, passing another vehicle on the right is prohibited except under certain conditions.

Allowing Others to Pass You Safely
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Allowing Others to Pass

In situations when another driver is seeking to pass you, consider what you can do to make the execution of that pass as easy as possible. Taking any steps to stop the driver from passing you is extremely dangerous and could cause a collision.

Stopping & Parking Responsibly

Picking the right parking spot
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Choosing a Safe Parking Spot

Illegal or irresponsible parking can be just as disruptive and hazardous as bad driving! If you do not park properly, your vehicle may roll into moving traffic or pose a hazard to other drivers by obstructing important parts of the roadway.

Parking restrictions and prohibitions
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Parking Prohibitions

Illegal parking can incur significant fines for the registered owner of the vehicle. If injury or property damage occur as a result of your improperly parked car, you can expect to be held financially responsible.

Speed Regulations

Speed Laws, Rules & Regulations
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Speed Regulations

Speed limit laws and regulations apply to every inch of public roadway in the United States. Driving is an inherently risky activity, both for the driver and every other person on or near the roadway. Speed limits are established to minimize this risk, with the aim of keeping all road users safe.

Choosing Safe Speed for Driving
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Choosing a Safe Speed

Motorists must choose a safe speed based on the posted speed limit, the speed of other vehicles around them and current driving conditions. Traveling faster gives you less time to see and react to hazards, makes maneuvering more difficult and means it will take longer for your vehicle to stop once the brakes have been applied.

Speed Limits Across the US
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Speed Limits Across the US

Different states establish their own maximum and minimum speed limits based on these factors. The maximum speed limit on a rural expressway varies from 65 mph to 80 mph around America, with higher speed limits more commonly found in western states. Currently, the 85 mph is the highest speed limit in the country, which can be found in rural Texas on a limited stretch of tolled highway.

Driving Below the Posted Speed Limit
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Driving at Reduced Speeds

Adhering to a posted speed limit does not guarantee that you are traveling at a safe speed, nor does it always protect you from being cited for “driving at excessive speeds”. If any unfavorable driving conditions increase the likelihood of a crash occurring, or the probable severity of a crash, you must drive at a reduced speed.

Seat Belt Laws & Regulations

Seat Belt Laws & Regulations in the US
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Seat Belt Laws & Regulations

Like all traffic laws, the laws concerning seat belts and child restraints have been put in place for your safety. When used correctly, safety features such as seat belts, air bags and child seats can dramatically reduce the chances of being seriously injured or killed in a car crash. These restraints have been designed to keep you inside the vehicle in the event of a collision, while limiting the damage caused by upon impact by preventing your body from stopping too abruptly.

Child seat and restraint laws & regulations
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Seat Belt Laws for Children

Children and infants must be restrained in an age-appropriate, federally approved car seat when traveling in any passenger vehicle. Standard seat belts are designed to protect adults; children may be insufficiently secured or injured by an ordinary seat belt in a car accident.

Other Traffic Laws

Cell Phone Traffic Rules in the US
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Cell Phone Laws & Restrictions

Operating your cell phone or any other electronic device while driving is dangerous, as it will take your attention away from the road and may limit your control of the vehicle. Rules concerning the use of cell phones and similar devices have now been written into traffic law in the interest of public safety.

Traffic Law Enforcement - What to Do If You Are Stopped by Police
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Traffic Stops

Nearly all motorists are stopped by a law enforcement officer sooner or later. If this happens to you, it is most likely because you have committed a moving traffic violation. You may not believe you have done anything wrong but keep in mind that most traffic violations are committed unknowingly. Whatever the reason, you must comply with the law enforcement officer and pull over when they indicate that you must stop.

Essential Rules for Dangerous Driving Situations
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Rules for Dangerous Traffic Situations

During your time as a driver, you will frequently encounter situations where you are exposed to a greater-than-usual level of risk. Whether the increased in risk is minor or significant, you will need to adjust your driving behavior to keep yourself and other road users safe.

Overlooked driving laws & traffic rules
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Other Important Driving Laws

In this section, we cover various miscellaneous traffic laws which every driver must be aware of, even though may not be relevant so frequently as speed laws, right-of-way rules and other regulations you must adhere to on a day-to-day basis. Unless you are well informed of the rules in your state regarding leaving children unattended in a vehicle, transporting passengers in trailers or how much cargo you can carry, you could inadvertently break a traffic law without even knowing it existed.

Intersections

Driving Through Intersections

Driving Through Intersections
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Intersections

An intersection is a point where two or more roads join together. An intersection is an especially dangerous part of the road due to the fact that vehicle trajectories may intersect, which would automatically result in a crash. According to statistics, crashes at intersections, driveways and highway entrance ramps are the second most common type of traffic accidents, it comes right after hitting a stationary object.

Controlled Intersections
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Controlled Intersections

An intersection is said to be “controlled” when access to the intersection is regulated by traffic signals or road signs, while access to an uncontrolled intersection is regulated only by the right-of-way rules. You must remember that traffic signals do not completely resolve traffic conflicts and you must learn to combine traffic signals and the right-of-way rules to avoid hazardous situations.

Uncontrolled Intersections
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Uncontrolled Intersection

An uncontrolled intersection is one of the most common types of intersections out there. An uncontrolled intersection is a road intersection with no traffic light or road signs to indicate the right-of-way.

Roundabout Rules
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Roundabouts

A roundabout is an uncontrolled intersection or an intersection controlled by road signs where traffic moves counterclockwise around a central island. Access to the roundabout is usually controlled by YIELD signs that may be duplicated with additional yield line pavement markings.

Article preview
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Turn Lanes

Turn lanes are traffic lanes that allow you to make a right or left turn at an intersection or to a side-road. Turn lanes are controlled by road signs and pavement markings that show you the direction of travel from the lane.

Article preview
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T Intersections

T-intersection is a three-way junction where three roads come together. Just like with any other intersection, you must exercise caution when approaching it and you should slow down and watch out for other traffic and pedestrians even if you are traveling on the through road and have the right-of-way.

Highway Interchanges
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Highway Interchanges

An interchange is the intersection of two highways at different levels with separate connecting roads for the transfer of traffic from one highway to the other through a series of ramps. The connecting ramps allow drivers to leave on road and enter another safely, without impeding the flow of traffic.

Driving Maneuvers

Before You Start Driving

Essential Driving Maneuvers
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Driving Maneuvers

When it comes to positioning your car, steering, backing up and communicating with other road users, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. It is important to learn the correct maneuvering rules and methods from the start of your learning journey, otherwise you may develop bad habits which are hard to fix later.

Choosing a lane position
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Lane Positioning

It may surprise you to find out that lane positioning is not just a concern for motorcyclists and cyclists. Car drivers must also learn how to position themselves within a lane appropriately. It is not simply a matter of remaining centered in your lane or as many drivers assume, keeping to the right. Different driving situations demand different lane positions.

Vehicle's Operating Space
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Vehicle's Operating Space

Learning to manage the space around your vehicle effectively will help to improve safety and limit the chances of a collision occurring. The area immediately around your vehicle is referred to as the “vehicle operating space”. This space consists of seven “zones”, each of which is as wide as a lane and extends as far as the driver can see in that direction.

Standard Curb Parking Reference Points for Driving
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Car Reference Points

One of your biggest challenges as a new driver will be learning to identify where your vehicle sits in relation to the roadway. Reference points are the key to positioning and maneuvering your car accurately. Master these visual guides and challenging maneuvers like parallel parking will soon be a walk in the park.

Pre-drive checklist
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Pre-Drive Checklist

Drivers should never underestimate the importance of the pre-drive checklist. Looking behind the vehicle to make sure there are no children and animals there, making sure your seat belt is on, adjusting your seat and mirrors, making sure the windshield is clean - you have to go through all these things every time before you start driving.

Hand-to hand vs Hand over Hand Steering Techniques
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Steering Techniques

Getting to grips with the various possible steering techniques begins with learning to position your hands on the steering wheel appropriately for the immediate driving situation and learning and practicing several different steering methods. These include the “hand to hand” technique (pull-push steering) and the “hand over hand” technique.

Backing up and Driving in Reverse
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Backing Up a Car

Alongside parallel parking, backing up is one of the most dreaded maneuvers in the practical driving exam. Drivers must operate the steering wheel and pedals situated in front of them, while looking back to position the vehicle and check for obstacles. With enough practice it will become just as effortless as driving forward.

Acceleration Techniques for Smooth Driving
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Acceleration Techniques

When you press the gas pedal, more fuel is fed into the engine and the vehicle’s speed increases. New drivers must learn to control their speed with effective acceleration techniques and utilize these skills appropriately on the roads.

Braking Techniques
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Braking Techniques

There a variety of complex techniques involved in slowing down or stopping your vehicle; slamming on the brakes is rarely the best course of action. Remember that you may be able to achieve the desired speed reduction simply by removing your foot from the accelerator; applying the brakes is not always necessary. If you do need to reapply the brakes, do so with a smooth, building pressure.

Signaling

Signaling Your Intentions to Other Road Users
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Signaling

Drivers must communicate with other motorists by all available means, using headlights, stop signals, turn signals, hazard lights, the car’s horn and hand signals. Your situation will determine which communication devices should be used. Hand signals should only be used if other signaling tools – such as turn indicators and brake lights – are malfunctioning. Your knowledge of hand signals will also be assessed during the driving test, so it is essential to master them.

Hand Signals for Driving a Car
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Hand Signals for Driving

Most drivers assume that remembering hand signals will only be necessary in the unlikely event that their turn indicators fail, but this is not the case. You will need to recognize other road user’s hand signals far more often than you will need to use them yourself. It is possible that other drivers will use hand signals if their indicators are broken, though you are more likely to encounter cyclists using them.

Flashing Headlight at Other Drivers
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Headlight Flashing

Drivers commonly flash their headlights to attract the attention of other motorists for a variety of reasons. However, most official state driving manuals recommend flashing your headlights only to notify other drivers that their high-beams are on as they approach you from the opposite direction. Leaving your high-beams on can temporarily blind other drivers and cause a collision.

Using Your Car Horn
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Using Your Car Horn

Sounding your car horn is the most effective way to get another road user’s attention. However, it is also the most aggressive means of communication and as such, must be used sparingly. Some drivers use the car horn to express anger and frustration when things on the road do not go their way. Of the all the incorrect reasons to sound your horn, being angry at another road user takes the prize for worst offense.

Using Driving Lanes

Using Driving Lanes
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Using Driving Lanes

There is far more to using driving lanes than simply keeping yourself within the road markings that separate one row of traffic from another. Which lane you should occupy and how you should drive within that lane depend on your speed, direction of travel, whether you intend to turn and a whole host of other factors.

Choosing the Right Lane
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Choosing a Lane

Learning how to use lanes appropriately is essential for any driver who will be using large roads and freeways where there are multiple lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Incorrect lane usage can endanger all road users, hold up traffic and incur a traffic fine.

Changin Lanes on the Road
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Changing Lanes

New drivers must learn how to change lanes safely and practice the maneuver as often as possible – there is more to it than you think. Changing lanes unsafely endangers you and everybody with whom you are sharing the road! Getting marked down for an unsafe lane change during the driving test will probably cost you your license.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Entering a Highway
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Merging onto A Highway

No matter how thoroughly you mentally prepare yourself for the challenge of driving on the highway, your very first time is going to be stressful. Knowing what you are doing on paper is not the same as being able to execute the advanced maneuvers needed during highway driving. Being around other motorists traveling at speed is intimidating but you will quickly adapt, with regular practice and guidance from your instructor. Let’s find out what you need to know about entering a highway and merging with other traffic safely.

Making Turns

Making Turns Safely
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Making Turns

The art of making turns correctly is a skill often neglected by learner drivers. There are more techniques involved in turning than simply moving the steering wheel in the direction you wish to go. When turning to completely reverse your direction of travel – perhaps because you have missed your destination or are going the wrong way – you have three main options. These are U-turns, two-point turns and three-point turns.

Protected Turn
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Protected Turns

Protected turns are made at signal-controlled intersections when a green arrow light is present. When a turn is protected, all other streams of traffic, cyclists and pedestrians are halted by red traffic signals. This makes protected turns safer and easier to negotiate than unprotected turns, as the chances of colliding with another road user are minimized.

Unprotected Turns
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Unprotected Turns

Any and all turns made at intersections without the aid of a green arrow signal qualify as unprotected turns. When the turn is unprotected, you must yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before turning.

Making Right Turns
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Making a Right Turn

While all course changes require knowledge and skill, making a right turn is easier, safer and more straight-forward than making a left turn. When turning right you do not need to worry about traffic traveling in the opposite direction from the road you are entering, which makes things a whole lot simpler. In some areas you can even turn right against a red traffic signal

Making Left Turns
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Making a Left Turn

Turning left is riskier and demands more caution than turning right, because the turn will take you across the path of traffic which is traveling toward you, from the opposite direction. Be sure to signal your intention to turn left as early as possible, while observing any right-of-way laws that are relevant to your situation. Drivers must also take particular care when turning left onto a street from an alley or driveway and learn how to use a center left turn lane.

Center Turn Lane
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Center Turn Lane

Center left turn lanes are also referred to as two-way left turn lanes. These lanes are designed to improve the flow of traffic at busy intersections, by allowing drivers to safely turn left without interfering with motorists traveling straight on. You may use the two-way left turn lane when turning left onto the roadway from an alley or driveway.

Making a Two-Point Turn
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Two Point Turns

When the roadway is not wide enough to make a U-turn, drivers can use a two-point turn to change direction. This will usually only be possible on quiet suburban streets, when there is an available driveway on the left or right side of the road to facilitate the turn. Two-point turns using driveways on the left are more dangerous, as the driver must reverse the vehicle into a traffic lane.

Three Point Turn
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Three Point Turn

Three-point turns are more complex than two-point turns and U-turns. You must know how to execute a safe three-point turn, as they are a standard point of assessment on practical driving tests state-wide. If you need to reverse your direction of travel on a street that is too narrow for a U-turn and has no driveways to allow a two-point turn, making a three-point turn will be your only option.

Making a U-Turn
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U-Turns

Making a U-turn is the quickest and easiest way to turn your vehicle around should you need to reverse your direction of travel. This may happen if you find you are traveling in the wrong direction or if you accidentally over-shoot your destination.

Passing

Passing Basics
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Passing Basics

Passing another vehicle immediately puts you and every road user around you at risk, no matter how safely you execute the maneuver. Passing-related collisions are often high-speed and head-on, which sadly means they are usually fatal. All drivers must learn how and where they should pass other vehicles, in addition to situations in which passing is forbidden.

Step by Step Instructions to Passing
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Passing: Step-by-Step

When learning to pass another vehicle, the most important skill that new drivers must develop is accurately judging whether there is enough space to pass safely. Overestimating how much room you have could cause a serious collision. When passing at highway speeds, drivers need a 10 to 12 second gap in opposing traffic to execute the maneuver safely. During this gap, you will travel approximately 800 feet, or one third of a mile.

Situations When Passing Is Illegal
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Illegal Passing

Qualified drivers must keep up-to-date with passing rules and restrictions, as making an illegal pass could earn you a ticket and create a dangerous driving situation. Do not pass another vehicle when your view is limited by a hill, a curve or unfavorable weather conditions. Passing close to intersections, bridges, railroad crossings or school zones is also illegal.

Parking

Parking Your Car Like A Pro
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Parking

When learning to drive, you must learn how to angle park, perpendicular park and parallel park. The latter of these three techniques – along with parking on a hill – is almost guaranteed to come up during your practical driving exam. Attempting to park becomes dangerous if you fail to think ahead or allow yourself to get stressed-out by other drivers.

Parking Restrictions
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Parking Restrictions

Parking is illegal or restricted in many areas. Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on colored curb markings or a “NO PARKING” sign being present in places where parking is prohibited. As a driver, it is your responsibility to learn about parking rules, restrictions and prohibitions and abide by this information at all times.

Angle Parking
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Angle Parking

Angled parking spaces are designed to make parking easy. This maneuver is far less challenging than parallel parking or perpendicular parking but will still take a little practice to get right. Angled parking spaces are painted with the same dimensions pretty much across the whole of America: once you’ve mastered angle parking, you should be able to repeat the maneuver with ease anywhere.

Perpendicular Parking
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Perpendicular Parking

Also known as 90-degree parking, perpendicular parking uses spaces that are arranged at a 90-degree angle in relation to the parking lot lanes. Drivers may enter a perpendicular parking space head-on or in reverse – there is a great deal of debate among highway and traffic safety experts as to which method is better. As reversing is always more challenging, you should begin by mastering the head-on perpendicular parking method and progress to backing-up later.

Parallel Parking
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Parallel Parking

There is no denying that parallel parking is harder than both angle parking and perpendicular parking, though like all things, it can be mastered with practice. ALWAYS practice parallel parking in an empty parking lot before attempting it on the road between real vehicles.

Parking on Hills
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Parking on Hills

New drivers must learn how to park on a hill safely. Parking on a hill is more dangerous than parking on a flat surface, as you will need to contend with gravity and secure your vehicle in such a way that it does not roll. You will be legally responsible if your car causes damage to another person’s property or injures somebody, if you have not properly secured it.

Choosing a Parking Space
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Choosing a Parking Space

The parking space you choose will depend heavily on your experience level as a driver. Very new learners would be foolish to opt for a tight parking spot when bigger spaces are available nearby. Whereas the size of the parking spot may have little relevance for more experienced drivers, who are more concerned with location or the security of their vehicle.

Exiting the Vehicle
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Leaving the Vehicle

Every driver must ensure their vehicle is safely parked and shut down before leaving it. It is all too easy to neglect proper protocol at the end of a journey. Leaving your vehicle requires just as much thought and attention as the pre-drive checklist you worked through before commencing your trip.

Sharing The Road

Sharing The Road With Other Road Users

Sharing the Road with Other Road Users
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Sharing the Road

You will share the road with many different types of road user – we are not just talking about other motorists. Vehicles and pedestrians are the two primary categories of road user which make up the Highway Transportation System (HTS). Bicycles, passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, slow-moving vehicles and light rail vehicles are among the many types of vehicle included in the HTS.

Road Rules for Pedestrians
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Pedestrian Traffic Rules

You must learn how to protect yourself from harm while walking on or near public roadways. Having the right-of-way at marked and unmarked pedestrian crossings does not mean you are safe. Irresponsible and distracted drivers may not always yield to pedestrians when they should. As a pedestrian, if you are involved in a collision with a car, right-of-way laws will not protect you from death or injury.

Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
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Sharing the Road with Pedestrians

Keeping pedestrians safe is a shared responsibility. Drivers and pedestrians must all abide by certain rules to avoid pedestrian injury. As pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, drivers will usually be held responsible when an auto-pedestrian accident occurs. Remember that in a car accident involving a pedestrian, the pedestrian always loses.

Safety Rules for Cyclists
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Bicycle Safety Rules

As bicycles are legally defined as vehicles, bicyclists are subject to precisely the same rights and responsibility as car drivers. When riding a bicycle on roads you must obey all traffic laws, signs and signals, yield the right-of-way where appropriate and follow the same rules for indicating and making turns.

Driving Around Motorcyclists Safely
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Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

Motorcyclists using public roadways have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers. As a car driver, you must be on the lookout for motorcyclists. Despite being subject to the same traffic laws, motorcycle riders are at far greater risk of injury while using a roadway than a person operating a car.

Driving Safety for Motorcyclists
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Motorcycle Safety Rules

Motorcyclists must practice defensive driving, ensure their motorcycle meets safety standards and wear appropriate riding clothes to minimize their risk of injury on the roads. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motorcyclist deaths occurred 28 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, in 2016.

Driving Safely Around Large Trucks
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Sharing the Road with Trucks

To share the road safely with large trucks, you must keep in mind that these vehicles are heavy, have a wider turning circle, longer stopping distances and bigger blind spots. Remember that large trucks are designed primarily to transport cargo. They are not as maneuverable as smaller passenger vehicles.

Driving Around School Buses: When to Stop
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Sharing the Road with Buses

The precise definition of a bus varies a little from state to state, though it is safe to assume that any vehicle used for passenger transportation which is designed to carry more than ten people qualifies. We will discuss the challenges you face when sharing the road with ordinary passenger buses and school buses.

Sharing the Road with Emergency Response Vehicles
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Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles

Motorists must exercise caution around emergency vehicle operators, as they are exempt from adhering to standard road rules when their sirens and lights are activated. This makes them incredibly unpredictable.

Slow Moving Vehicles: How to Drive Around Them Safely
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Sharing the Road with Slow Moving Vehicles

Slow-moving vehicles are those designed to operate at a speed of 25 mph or less, such as farm vehicles, animal-drawn vehicles, road maintenance vehicles motorized construction equipment. By law, slow-moving vehicles must display an orange triangular emblem at their rear to warn road users approaching from behind of their low speed.

Sharing the Road with Trains
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Sharing the Road with Trains

Vehicle-train collisions are often catastrophic. Drivers must know the tremendous risk they subject themselves to when trying to beat a train to a crossing or drive around protective gates. Understand the risks and avoid injury at railway crossings.

Railroad Crossing Safety Rules
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Railroad Crossing Safety Rules

Crossing railway lines is incredibly dangerous, as the sheer size and weight of trains means that motorists will always come off worse in a vehicle-train collision. Do not take chances or engage in risky behavior around railway-highway intersections. In these situations, impatience or poor concentration could cost you your life – not to mention the lives of your passengers.

Safety Rules for Driving When Animals Are on The Road
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Animals on the Road

Drivers must keep a lookout for wild, domestic or farm animals crossing the roadway, particularly in rural areas. When a yellow, diamond-shaped animal warning sign is present, remain alert and drive with caution. Should you encounter a herd of animals crossing the road, stop your vehicle and allow them to cross. Only when the animals have completely cleared the highway should you proceed.

Complex Driving Environments

Driving In Different Environments

Complex Driving Environments
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Driving in Different Environments

Mastering vehicle control is not the only battle you will face while learning to drive. Student drivers must learn to adjust their driving behavior and new-found vehicle control skills to suit different driving environments and mitigate the risks which accompany them. The type and level of danger you are exposed to while driving can change dozens of times over in a single, short journey.

Risk In Driving Environments
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Risk in Driving Environments

The challenges you face when driving depend heavily on the type of road you are using and whether that road is in an urban or rural environment. As part of your driver's training, you must learn to identify the risks linked to each driving environment and act preemptively to avoid danger. Different driving environments fall into one of four graded risk classifications: controlled, low, moderate and complex.

Urban Driving

Driving in The City
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Driving in The City

New drivers often do not realize what a challenge city driving can pose. You may not be traveling at high speeds when driving around a busy, metropolitan area, but you will none-the-less be afforded very little time to spot and react to hazardous situations. It is very easy to become distracted and make dangerous mistakes while driving alongside so many other motorists, pedestrians, buses, delivery vans and cyclists, in such close quarters.

City Driving Hazards
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City Driving Hazards

There are few driving environments more challenging than busy, urban areas. When driving in the city, you must safely share the road with all kinds of traffic and pedestrians. In addition, you will be dealing with a wide variety of obstacles and traffic control devices. There is so much information to process while driving in the city, hazards are often overlooked.

Urban Driving Strategies
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City Driving Strategies

With so many other road users and hazards to contend with, driving in the city can be stressful and dangerous. Safe city driving relies on your ability to spot hazards and react to them appropriately. With appropriate training, you can make sure you always have time to avoid an accident.

Dealing with Traffic Jams
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Dealing with Congested Traffic

City traffic is at its worst during early morning and late afternoon rush hours. Maintaining a safe space around your vehicle is practically impossible during these high-congestion periods. In this situation, you can expect traffic to be moving extremely slowly and stopping often. Vigilance is the key to preventing gridlock.

Driving Through Construction & Work Zones
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Driving Through Construction Zones

While driving in the city, you may encounter construction zones or detours marked out with warning signs and signaling devices. These are in place to guide road users and pedestrians safely around the work zone. Always reduce your speed when approaching a construction or maintenance area on the road, as there may be workers moving around on foot.

Residential Driving

Driving in Residential Areas
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Driving in Residential Neighborhoods

Motorists are generally exposed to far less danger when driving in residential neighborhoods, than they are when driving in a city or on a major highway. Nevertheless, the risk of being involved in an accident or collision in a residential neighborhood is high – particularly when traveling close to home.

Special Use Driving Lanes
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Special Use Lanes

One of the first things you must learn when driving in residential, suburban and urban neighborhoods is that not all traffic lanes are designed to be used in the same way. To increase public safety and minimize congestion, “special use” lanes and road features, such as one-way streets, center left turn lanes, reversible lanes and roundabouts are present in some areas.

Residential Parking Risks
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Parking Risks

Searching for a parking spot amid crowded road conditions can lead drivers to behave less courteously and safely than they would usually. It is easy to overlook road rules and become frustrated with other drivers, when competing with many other motorists for just a handful of parking spaces.

Driving on Rural Roads

Driving on Rural Roads
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Driving on Rural Roads

Driving on rural roadways can be every bit as dangerous as driving on high-speed freeways or crowded city roads. The dangers themselves are fewer on rural roads, though the overall risk is greater. Limited visibility, lack of road signs, careless driving and changeable roadways conditions make rural traffic fatalities tragically common.

Dangers of Driving on Rural Roads
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Dangers on Rural Roads

Despite the slow pace of life, low traffic volume and quiet countryside which typify most rural communities in America, drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident on a rural road than they are anywhere else. In 2016, the NHTSA recorded 37,461 traffic deaths overall. Of these fatalities, 18,590 (50 percent) occurred in rural areas.

Rural Driving Safety Tips
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Approaches to Rural Driving

Staying safe on rural roads depends on remaining alert, giving yourself the best possible view of the road ahead and making sure you have enough time to stop or maneuver to avoid a collision. Do not take any chances if your feel yourself tiring on a rural road. Find the next safe place to pull over and consider taking a short nap before proceeding on your journey.

Driving on Curves & Hills

Driving Through Curves & Hills
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Curves and Hills

When driving through a stretch of road that is not flat, or straight, a motorist must contend with additional forces acting on their vehicle. Adjustments in speed and lane position must be made to counteract these forces and maintain control. Furthermore, line of sight may be impeded by the mid-point of a curve or the crest of a hill.

Driving on Curves
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Driving Through Curves

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to navigate curves in the road safely, though you will need to understand the forces acting on your vehicle and learn how to maintain control. When driving through any curve in the road, the circular pathway of your vehicle will create a centrifugal force which pulls it toward the outside edge of the curve. Always be on the lookout for curves in the road ahead of you and make any necessary speed and position changes as soon as possible.

Driving on Hills
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Driving on Hills

Driving on hills presents many of the same challenges as driving on a curved road. Your ability to see opposing traffic may be impeded by the crest of the hill and additional forces will be acting on your vehicle. Whereas centripetal and centrifugal forces will affect your car while driving through a curve, hill driving means you must contend with gravity. The steeper the hill, the greater this effect will be.

Driving in Heavy Traffic

Driving in Heavy Traffic
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Driving in Heavy Traffic

Heavy traffic is a major contributing factor to many complex risk environments, such as limited access highways, urban areas, complex intersections and multi-lane roads. When sharing the roadway with a large volume of other motorists, drivers must be able to multitask. While monitoring the area around your vehicle, you will also need to scan the road ahead, position your vehicle appropriately, maintain a safe speed and ensure you are in the correct lane.

Dealing with Heavy Traffic At Intersections
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Heavy Traffic at Intersections

The risk of being involved in a collision is considerable at intersections – particularly during rush hour and other times when traffic is heavy. Recent collision data indicates that around 47 percent of all crashes occur at intersections – including roughly half of all crashes which result in injury.

Dealing with Heavy Traffic on Highways
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Heavy Traffic on Multi-lane Roads

Driving on busy, multi-lane roads requires constant vigilance. With traffic and potential hazards in-front, behind and on both sides of your vehicle, the risk of an accident or collision occurring is high. At a moment’s notice, you must be ready to alter your speed or lane position to avoid danger.

Making Turns At Multi-Lane Intersections
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Turns on Multi-lane Roads

Making turns at intersections on multi-lane roads is a little more complicated than it is at dual-lane intersections. Multi-lane intersections often have additional lanes or dedicated “turn lanes” for motorists wishing to turn. The risk of conflict with other motorists when turning from one multi-lane road onto another multi-lane road is high. You can mitigate this risk by yielding to all other traffic crossing the intersection before executing the turn.

Driving on Highways

Driving on Highways
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Driving on Highways

Highways are the backbone of the United States transportation system. Together, they connect every major population in the country. These high-speed, limited-access roads make it possible to travel long distances conveniently and safely - providing you abide by the rules and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Understanding Highways
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Understanding Highways

Highways are usually the best roads to use when traveling long distance. These roads are also known as expressways, limited access highways, interstate highways, turn pikes, toll roads and freeways. Freeways are only our country’s safest roads when you know how to drive on them correctly. When traveling at high speed, amidst large volumes of traffic, enormous trucks and ever-changing conditions, motorists must be at the top of their driving game.

Approaches to Safe HIghway Driving
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Highway Driving Approaches

Despite occurring far less frequently, collisions on highways are usually more severe than collisions on other roads. When high speeds are involved, the chances of a collision resulting in fatalities are much greater. Making a mistake on a highway could cost you your life.

Highway Safety Features
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Highway Safety Features

Many highly effective safety features have been implemented on interstate highways around the country over the past few decades. These features are designed to cut back on collisions, reduce off-the-road crashes and minimize annual highway fatalities by making the crashes that do occur less severe. Thanks to the improvements made under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), United States highways are now among the safest roads in the world.

Entering a Highway
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Entering a Highway

It is important to learn the proper procedure for entering a highway - especially where acceleration and merging are concerned. Merging with high-speed traffic can be dangerous and presents a real challenge for less-experienced drivers. The secrets to safe and successful freeway entry are being vigilant, signaling and matching the speed of existing traffic.

Choosing a Driving Lane on a Highway
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Choosing A Lane on A Highway

The speed at which you are traveling will also somewhat determine which lane you should choose to occupy. While avoiding all unnecessary lane changes, motorists must be prepared to change lanes whenever doing so creates a safer driving situation. The distance remaining until your intended exit will also influence your choice of lanes.

Driving Maneuvers on Highways
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Highway Driving Maneuvers

Making any maneuver on a highway will put you at risk, as the high density of traffic and high speeds involved leave little room for error and a small window of time in which to act in response to a threat. The key to maneuvering safely on an expressway is maintaining enough space around your vehicle, keeping up with the flow of traffic and scanning ahead for potential dangers.

HOV Carpool Lanes
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Special Highway Areas

While using highways, you may encounter areas which require different driving behaviors, or where a different set of rules apply. Understanding how areas like HOV lanes and toll booths must be used will help you to stay out of danger and avoid getting a ticket.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Exiting a Highway
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Exiting a Highway

While exiting a highway is nowhere near as difficult or intimidating as entering one, there is still a lot that can go wrong. Learning how to exit a highway safely is a skill like any other you will learn in preparation for your driver’s exam. It will not require you to merge with traffic as you do when entering the highway, though it still deserves considerable attention.

Highway Construction Zones
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Highway Construction Zones

Highway construction zones present additional risks to drivers and the construction workers themselves. You may encounter signs, signal devices, cones and traffic control personnel, all in place to warn motorists and guide them around the work zone safely. Slow down is the number one rule. Keep an eye out for speed limit signs and workers occupying the road.

Highway Driving Safety

Highway Driving Safety
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Highway Driving Safety

There are additional rules, safety tips and considerations which all drivers must keep in mind when using limited access highways. A great deal can be done to minimize the risk of being involved in a highway accident – though we cannot eliminate that risk altogether. This vital conclusion to our highway driving section reiterates the safe highway driving practices you must adhere to, discusses the importance of planning for your trip and teaches you how to handle an emergency on the highway.

Preparing for The Trip on A Highway
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Preparing for The Trip

If your journey involves using unfamiliar limited access highways, planning your route ahead of time is essential. Mapping out your trip in advance will minimize stress and ensure you do not miss vital exits on the freeway.

Important Highway Driving Practices
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Important Driving Practices

This section summarizes those must-know highway driving techniques and safety practices. Organized into an easy-to-follow checklist, this information can be printed off and revisited as often as needed; you may wish to read through it again before taking your car onto a freeway.

Dealing with Highway Emergencies
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Avoiding Highway Emergencies

Practicing defensive driving techniques can help you avoid accidents and emergencies on the highway. You may still encounter crashes irrespective of how careful you are, as you cannot rely on other drivers to make safe decisions all the time. The nature of expressway driving means that a single accident or collision can end up disrupting many different vehicles.

Driving in Work Zones

Driving in Work Zones
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Driving in Work Zones

The term “work zone” refers to any area on a public road where utility, construction or maintenance work is being conducted. There may be barriers, cones, heavy equipment, temporary signs, signal lights and workers in the roadway, prior to, during and beyond work sites. Nearly all states have chosen to discourage dangerous driving around high-risk work zones by increasing or doubling the fines incurred by traffic violations.

Work Zone Signs & Signals
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Work Zone Signs & Signals

Drivers moving through a roadway work zone will come across unexpected road signs, signals and traffic control measures. Traffic control personnel – often known as flaggers or flagmen – may be positioned around a work zone to manage the flow of traffic through the site. The increased risk around work zones means that obeying the signs, signals and traffic control devices established in these areas is every bit as important as obeying them elsewhere.

Hazardous Driving Conditions

Minimizing Driving Risks

Driving in Hazardous Road Conditions
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Driving in Hazardous Conditions

Unfavorable weather and road conditions can create hazards that make driving difficult, and more dangerous. You must learn how to identify and compensate for these hazards, to protect yourself and other road users from harm. hoosing not to drive in rain, snow or fog, at night or during any other hazardous conditions is always the smartest decision.

Driving with Sun Glare
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Driving with Sun Glare

Drivers are most susceptible to sun glare in mornings and late afternoons, when the sun is lowest in the sky. Sun glare is incredibly dangerous as it can impair vision and in extreme cases, cause momentary blindness. Less severe sun glare can distort road signs and traffic signals, leading drivers to make potentially devastating mistakes.

Driving in Foggy Conditions
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Driving Through Fog & Smoke

Of all the adverse weather conditions you may have to deal with while driving, fog is the most dangerous. Turn on your headlights, activate fog lights, activate your windscreen wipers and reduce speed. Do not start a journey if the fog is so thick that the way ahead is completely obscured a few feet in front of your vehicle.

Driving in Heavy Rain
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Driving in The Rain

Driving in the rain can be every bit as dangerous as driving in icy or snowy conditions. Water on the road’s surface can seriously impede your vehicle control, while the rain itself impacts visibility. You must understand how to manage theses challenges and drive safely during wet and rainy conditions. Every risk you face during wet and rainy weather can be diminished by reducing your speed; this should be the first action you take.

Hydroplaning Prevention & Recovery
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Hydroplaning

Hydroplaning is a phenomenon which occurs on wet roads, when a vehicle hits a film of water at a speed great enough to glide on top of it, rather than maintaining contact with the road’s surface. Increasing speed makes the water-channeling action less effective and can separate your tires from the asphalt, so they ride over the water like a set of water skis. When hydroplaning occurs, it results in partial or complete loss of control and steering ability. It is something that every driver wants to avoid.

Driving on Mountain Roads
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Mountain Driving

Mountain driving can be challenging, due to the frequently changing weather conditions and elevated concentration required of the driver on mountain roads. On the other hand, driving in the mountains can be an immensely joyous experience, with a great scenery surrounding the driver every mile of the way.

Driving on Steep and Icy Hills
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Driving on Steep and Icy Hills

Starting and parking on hills may be challenging to inexperienced drivers due to the fact that the vehicle does not remain stationary when the parking brake is disengaged. Learning a few simple techniques and practicing them diligently whenever you have to drive or park your vehicle on a hill will ensure your safety and allow you to tackle even the steepest of ascents.

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