Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chapter 1The Common Sense of Driving
Operating a motor vehicle is a serious responsibility. It is vital that you maintain the three "R's" to be safe on the roads of California.
Responsibility - Have responsibility for yourself, for your actions while driving, for others, and for proper vehicle maintenance.
Respect - Have respect for yourself, for others, for the road, for weather conditions, for other vehicles, and for the law.
NOTE: Do you vote? The vehicle code is a direct result of our voting.
Reason - When reason is used while driving, it helps to prevent problems and assists in dealing with one should it become unavoidable. Remember: "Act...do not react."
Motor vehicles weigh thousands of pounds. It is interesting, however, to see the casual way people treat driving. It is unlikely that we would pick up a gun without at least minimal precautions. Let's reflect on the power and danger inherent in such a weapon, and think about the grave responsibility we have to use it safely in a manner that will not endanger ourselves or others. Each year, there are about 15,000 more deaths caused by motor vehicles than by all categories of firearms. Would you leave a loaded gun out in the open? NO!!! Apply this concept as you operate your motor vehicle.
Proper vehicle maintenance is mandatory to ensure the safe operation of a motor vehicle. Here are a few simple steps to follow:
1. Check tire pressure and tread wear regularly. Rotate tires as specified in your owner's manual.
2. Check fluids periodically. This includes brake, steering, transmission, windshield wiper, and oil. Your oil should be changed every 3000 to 5000 miles. Remember to always check your gasoline levels when you start your car.
3. Make sure your wiper blades are clean and in working condition.
4. Have your car tuned up as recommended by the owner's manual.
In addition, proper operation is vital to obey the rules of the road. Parking safely so your car will not roll away and possibly injure or kill innocent bystanders is one example. When parking uphill, make sure to turn your wheels away from the curb so that the back of the front tires stop against the curb, and set the parking brake. When parking downhill, turn your wheels toward the curb so that the front tires stop against the curb from the front. Don’t forget to set the parking brake. If there is no curb, turn your wheels toward the shoulder so that your vehicle will not roll onto the road should the brakes fail. Again set the parking brake
A sign saying "STOP" obviously indicates that you must stop, which means come to a COMPLETE STOP. It does not mean you can make a partial or rolling stop. Stopping incompletely is like saying, "I'm a little pregnant." You either are or not, no exceptions.
Yield signs appear where two roads converge. To yield means to wait until it is safe and clear to proceed while allowing another vehicle the right-of-way. You can usually edge into traffic if space allows. However, there will be times when you will have to stop first. Simply put, obey the signs.
It is common for drivers to think of the roadways as "their own" roads. However, we all have to share the road. Without rules and order, there would be total chaos on the road. Common courtesy is the key to safe driving. In other words, treat others on the road the way you would want to be treated.
The defensive driver should always behave in a way that is safe on the road. The following elements are vital to help drivers create safer roadways:
Time Management - You should provide yourself with sufficient time for road trips and unforeseen problems. After potential trouble or road hazards are identified, allocate additional driving time, if needed. Being rushed and stressed due to poor time management contributes to traffic collisions. Speeding causes drivers to take unnecessary chances and to ignore their driving environment, thus turning them into road hazards.
Anticipation - In all aspects of driving, you must anticipate sudden changes during the route, possible emergencies, and high risk areas. Make adjustments to the way you drive without becoming careless. Also anticipate road hazards and avoid driving in congested areas.
General Knowledge - Be aware of traffic safety laws as well as the consequences or penalties for negligent driving. For example, it is illegal to pass a school bus flashing its red lights and/or stop signal arm, and the penalty for passing that bus is a fine of at least $400.
Personal Goals - Your two main objectives while driving should be to prevent collisions and to drive as safely as possible. A concern for others and a general road awareness go hand-in-hand with these goals.
Preparation - Be prepared for unexpected crashes or breakdowns at any time, even if just going out for short drives. Make sure you have road flares, a flashlight, paper and pen, change for a telephone call, a spare tire, some extra oil, and a disposable camera in the vehicle just in case.
Awareness of Traffic Conditions - Be aware of traffic conditions on chosen roadways and make intelligent choices about where you choose to drive. Decisions to drive on side streets versus through streets, one-way versus two-way streets, or certain unsafe roads in general can lead to or prevent traffic accidents. A safe driver will have a general awareness of which roadways are the safest to travel upon, so you should always make decisions with that knowledge in mind.
Body and Head Positioning While Steering - You need to be properly positioned in the driver seat (sitting up straight with both hands on the steering wheel), with clear visibility over the steering wheel. The roadway must be visible without obstruction, and this relies on the position of your head and body in the vehicle. You must be buckled in the driver's seat, with your eyes able to focus on all aspects of the road ahead.
AttitudeStress, emotions and fatigue will always affect your ability to drive. You need to possess an attitude suited for the safe operation of the motor vehicle when behind the wheel, and you should not let other circumstances distract you from the driving task. Be aware that environmental factors, in addition to attitude, change your driving habits. To be a conscientious driver, you need to be a defensive driver, and you also need to have a positive attitude toward law enforcement, as it can only benefit you. Anticipate potential traffic hazards, select prudent traffic routes, and be aware of the dangers of night driving versus day driving (driving during daytime hours is typically much safer and less dangerous than driving at night). Your attitude and behavior can also be adversely affected by a lack of knowledge regarding when to merge or yield to other drivers. You must be aware that driving is a privilege that has been extended to you and other motorists by the State upon meeting prescribed criteria. There must be an understanding that there is no right to drive, and that license holders are merely exercising a privilege granted to them. As a conscientious driver, you should make every attempt to keep up-to-date on new construction, potential road hazards, changes to California driving laws, etc., and always try to keep a positive attitude when behind the wheel. To be a defensive driver, your attitude and behavior should at all times be consistent with actions necessary to be safe on the road.

Chapter 2Safety Equipment Required
This section reviews various occupant restraints and protective equipment in the vehicle.
Door Locks - Always keep the car doors locked. When locked, the doors are less likely to open in a crash and will prevent you from being thrown out of the vehicle. Locked doors also help prevent strangers from entering your car when stopped at a light or when in traffic. Structurally, locked doors add roof support and structural strength to the roof in case of a flip or roll-over wreck.
Head Restraints - Head restraints are standard equipment on front-seat backs and are designed to protect the neck. These padded restraints protect against whiplash, especially when your car is hit from behind. To get the maximum benefit from head restraints, they should be properly adjusted to fit the round part of the back of the head and not on the base of your skull.
Air Bags - Air bags are considered passive restraints because they are totally automatic. More and more cars are equipped with air bags which inflate automatically in a frontal crash and then deflate again in a fraction of a second, but they will not activate from rear-end or side collisions. Air bags only complement properly worn seat belts. There is often a false impression that seat belts are not required when air bags are used. In fact, both systems used together create the optimal safety mechanism for injury prevention. Some facts about air bags include:
• They inflate and start to deflate three times faster than the average person can blink his or her eyes.• They can inflate at speeds of up to 200 mph.• They can only be used one time if ever activated and then must be replaced.• They are extremely reliable, and the possibility of accidental inflation is very unlikely.• Inflation will not block your vision as it starts to deflate instantly.• Crash sensors measure the severity of the crash. If the crash is severe enough, they send a signal to the air bag, which inflates in a fraction of a second.
Side Airbags - Side airbags provide additional chest protection by inflating instantly during many side collisions, and some even provide head protection. Side airbags are not required by law, yet most manufacturers are still padding or improving door and body structures to meet federal side-impact requirements. On-off switches are also available for airbags. An on-off switch can deactivate driver or passenger airbags. Vehicles without rear seats or with small rear seats, such as pickup trucks and sports cars, may have a passenger side on-off switch as standard equipment. You can get authorization from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to have an on-off switch installed by a dealer or repair shop if you:
Cannot avoid placing a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat.
Have been advised by a physician that you have a medical condition that places you at specific risk.
Cannot adjust your driver's position to keep your breastbone back approximately 10 inches from the center of the steering wheel.
Cannot avoid situations, such as carpools, that require a child 12 or under to ride in the front seat.
Seat Belts - The effectiveness and need for seat belts is extreme. To increase the chance of survival in a collision, it is important that all occupants remain inside the vehicle. The seat belt prevents the driver from being thrown through the windshield and into traffic during a collision. The number of passengers you are allowed to transport is in direct ratio to the number of seat belts in the vehicle. For example, if you have six passengers but only five seat belts, you may only transport five of them.
· Seat belts reduce your chance of being killed or injured by at least 50%.· The lap belt is designed to keep you in the driver’s seat, and the shoulder strap is designed to protect the head and upper body.· Shoulder straps are very effective at speeds below 35 mph. Above 35 mph, you could still hit the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. However, when the seat belt and shoulder strap are worn together, the force of impact is reduced, and the resulting injury is therefore reduced. Without the seat belt or shoulder strap, you could be ejected from the car, which increases deaths and injuries.· Seat belts are known as active restraints because they require the users to buckle them up.· The driver and all passengers are required to buckle up.
NOTE: An infant's child safety seat should always be facing the rear, as an infant's neck muscles are still weak and not strong enough to stop its neck from snapping. By facing the seat towards the rear, the design of the safety seat will support the neck of an infant during a collision. Children ages 6-15 can be in a safety seat or regular seat belt.
- Child Safety Seats: California law requires children less than 6 years old or weighing less than 60 pounds to be secured in an appropriate child safety or booster seat. The reality is, anyone not adequately securing their children in federally approved safety seats is in violation of the law and lacks proper parenting skills. Take every precaution at your disposal to protect your children in the vehicle and in life!
An amendment to the Child Safety Restraints Law mandates that a child who is required to be secured in a child safety seat (under 6 years or under 60 pounds), be secured in the rear seat of the vehicle, effective January 1, 2005. A child is allowed to be secured in the front seat of the vehicle if:
· There is no rear seat
· The rear seats are side facing jump seats
· The rear seats are rear-facing seats
· The restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat
· All rear seats are occupied by children under the age of 12 years
· Medical reasons necessitate that the child not ride in the rear
A child may not ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle with an active passenger air bag if he or she is under one year of age, weighs less than 20 pounds, or rides in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.
- Unattended Children (Kaitlyn’s Law): A truly sad story of child neglect has led to the passing of SB 255, better known as Kaitlyn’s law. A parent or guardian is prohibited from leaving a child 6 years old or younger in a vehicle unattended when the vehicle’s engine is running, the keys are left in the ignition, or there is significant risk to the child. Again, the law states what parents should already know. Leaving a child under 6 alone in a vehicle is an accident or worse waiting to happen!
Drivers should buckle up every time they get into the car. If transporting children 12 and under, restrain them properly in the back seat, which is the safest place to be in the car. A rear facing child seat should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side air bag. If this is done and a collision occurs, the child will be crushed into the seat when the air bag deploys.
A crash at only 20 mph without seat belts will literally slam a driver or passenger's face into the dashboard or windshield with the same force as falling off of a two story building!
Helmets - In 2004 in California, there were 432 motorcycle fatalities (operators and passengers). This figure is a 12.8% increase over the 383 killed in 2003. 14% of all fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing helmets at the time of the wreck. Motorcycles are involved in a high number of traffic collisions due to their lack of visibility on the road. Head injuries can be greatly reduced by wearing a helmet when driving a motorcycle. A helmet should:
NOTE: Bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by 85%. Bicycle helmets are required to be worn by anyone under the age of 18 in California.
Windshields - The purpose of the windshield is to help the driver see ahead and to protect the driver from the environment. It stops the wind from flowing into the driver’s face and eyes and also protects the driver from rain, snow, hail, flying objects and bugs. The windshield comes equipped with wipers to remove rain water or snow for clearer vision. Defrosters and defoggers also assist in clear vision through the windshield. Windshield obstructions such as sticker or objects hanging from the rear-view mirror are dangerous as they may block the driver’s view of other cars or pedestrians in their path. You may be cited if your windshield or rear window is in such a defective condition that your view is obstructed.
All motor vehicles with a windshield, excluding motorcycles, must have properly working windshield wipers. Vehicles may be equipped with either two wipers, one to clear the right side of the windshield and one to clear the left side, or a single wiper that is capable of clearing both sides. Under ordinary weather conditions, wipers should be able to clear fog, snow, or rain.
Stickers, signs, or any other materials may not be placed on a windshield in any place that may obstruct a driver's view. You may display such objects in a five-inch square on the driver's side, or a seven-inch square on the passenger's side. On the rear window, an object may only be placed in a seven-inch square on a corner furthest from the driver. No sun screening devices shall be placed on the front side windows unless the driver has a letter from a physician, surgeon, or optometrist. Sun screening devices used on the rear window shall not have a reflective quality exceeding 35% on either the inside or the outside.
Mirrors - All vehicles registered in California must have a minimum of two mirrors. The mirrors should give the driver a view of at least 200 feet behind them.
Lights - Lights are a required safety feature on all cars. Their purpose is to increase your visibility, help you see when you drive, and to increase your car's visibility to others. Your car should be equipped with head lights (high beams and low beams), tail lights, turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, and emergency hazard lights. These lights should be kept clean and in good working condition.
1. Head Lights are used to increase your visibility so you can see other vehicles and objects while also helping other vehicles see you as well. California law states that you must turn on your head lights 30 minutes after sunset and leave them on until 30 minutes before sunrise, or when driving in conditions that require windshield wipers to be in continuous use, such as when it rains. Head lights are mainly used at night, but are also used during the daytime in certain situations:
- Fog, rain, snow or any other weather condition which decreases your visibility. (Use only low beams in fog and snow as high beams will reflect off and cause glare, making visibility even more difficult.)
- On mountain roads or small country roads.
- Driving through canyons or extended tunnels.
- Anytime you have difficulty seeing.
NOTE: Remember, if you have difficulty seeing other vehicles, they probably have the same difficulty seeing you.
Vehicles sold after September 19, 1940 are equipped with multiple beam headlights; a low beam and high beam. High beams may not be used when an oncoming vehicle is within 500 feet. When the driver is approaching another vehicle from the rear, the high beams must be turned off at 300 feet before the vehicle you are approaching.
2. Brake Lights are located on the back of the vehicle. There is one located on each rear side, with most newer vehicles also having a center brake light located on the back window. The purpose of brake lights is to give other vehicles advance warning that you will be slowing down or stopping.
3. Tail Lights are located in the same area as the brake lights at the rear of the vehicle. Tail lights turn on when you turn on your head lights. The purpose of tail lights are to indicate to cars behind you of your presence at night or any time when visibility is low.
4. Turn Signals are located in the front of the vehicle next to the head lights and to the rear of the vehicle next to the brake lights. Some larger vehicles and trucks have turn signals that are located on the hood or off of the side view mirrors. Turn signals allow cars around you to see your intention to turn. Vehicles have a lever connected to the steering wheel. Moving this lever up turns on the right signal, and pulling it down turns on the left signal.
5. Backup or Reverse Lights are located on the back of the vehicle next to the brake lights. These lights are white and usually smaller than the brake and turn signal lights. They go on automatically when you put the car into reverse. Most trucks and some vehicles have a warning or beeping noise that sounds as the light illuminates to give extra notice that the vehicle is backing up.
6. Emergency Hazards are the same lights that are used as brake lights. There is a switch or button inside the vehicle that will activate your hazard lights. These lights, when activated, will flash at a regular interval until turned off. Emergency hazard lights should be turned on whenever you are stranded on the side of the road or when stuck in the middle of traffic with a vehicle problem or emergency. These flashing red lights warn other vehicles that you have a problem and imply they should use extra caution around you.
7. Fog Lamps are to be used in conjunction with headlights, not in their place. A vehicle may be equipped with not more than two fog lamps and not more than two red fog taillights that operate in conjunction with these fog lamps. Fog lamps must be mounted on the front of the vehicle no lower than 12 inches and not more than 30 inches in height. Fog taillights must be mounted on the back of the vehicle no lower than 12 inches and no higher than 60 inches.

Tires - Your tires are the only things that connect you to the road while driving. It is extremely important to keep all four tires in proper condition. California law requires a minimum tread depth of one thirty-second (1/32) of an inch in any two adjacent groves at any location on a pneumatic tire. (A pneumatic tire is a tire capable of being inflated by compressed air.) On the side of all tires is the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. These numbers should be followed and checked regularly. Tires should be rotated regularly as recommended in your vehicle handbook. This will allow your tires to wear evenly. Tire traction allows your car to stick to the road, brake, and corner better on roads covered with ice or snow. As the commercial says, "There's a lot riding on your tires." So make sure to replace them whenever necessary.
Horns - All vehicles that operate on California highways must be equipped with a horn that can be heard at a minimum of 200 feet. The horn shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound. The horn shall only be used to warn other vehicles, motorcycles, or pedestrians of possible hazards or dangers. The only other time a horn may be used is for a theft detection system.
Chapter 3Defensive Driving
What is defensive driving?
The main goals of defensive driving are to prevent collisions and to promote safe driving skills and habits for yourself while operating a motor vehicle. Our focus will be to develop techniques and basic skills necessary to deal with unexpected changes in the driving environment. You must:
1. SEE THE HAZARD - Think about what is going to happen or what might happen as far ahead as possible.
2. UNDERSTAND THE DEFENSE - Learn the specific ways to handle specific situations.
3. ACT IN TIME - Once you see the hazard and decide on the defensive against it - ACT.
Never take a "wait and see" attitude. Almost without exception, collisions result from DRIVER ERROR.
I. Common Courtesy and Attitude
Remember the saying, "Treat others as you would have them treat you"? Well, why would this be different on the road? It's not!!
Being polite on the road, even when others are not, is as equally important as it is in social situations. A good example is when you allow another motorist to merge in front of you and the driver waves a little "thank you." How does it feel when the individual does not wave? BAD! Take pride in your driving skills and always ask yourself, "How will my driving affect others?"
Maintaining a mature and responsible attitude is essential in order to be aware of emotions, and this helps with concentration while driving. Emotions are always changing, and although you may not be able to control how you feel, you can control how you react. This is a behavior trait that separates us from the "nuts" on the road. Individuals experiencing certain emotions may exhibit the following:
ANGER/STRESS - The person tends to be rude and may initiate a road rage incident. He or she may tailgate, speed, or honk his or her horn.
DEPRESSION - The person tends to go slow and may not go at a green signal because he or she is preoccupied.
EUPHORIA/HAPPY - The person has an invulnerability complex (i.e., superman or superwoman) and disobeys rules. This driver tends to speed.These emotions also lead to a decrease in alertness and judgment.
What is road rage?
In simple terms, you as a driver have become "the last straw" for the other driver. The aggressive behavior exhibited by a motorist experiencing road rage can include impolite gestures, mean language, intentional collisions, damage to property, or even death. This is a new phenomenon due to an increase of frustration as a result of traffic congestion, more cars, road construction, and more. These individuals explode emotionally over trivial things. Here are a few tips to deal with an irate driver:
1. Get out of the way - let them pass by.
2. Avoid eye contact or making faces.
3. Don't take it personally.
4. Never try to teach someone a lesson.
5. Go somewhere safe if followed. DO NOT GO HOME. Go to a police station, if necessary.
6. Report aggressive drivers to the police.
If you are the person experiencing road rage, ask yourself, "Am I really angry at something or someone else?" Chances are you probably need to take a deep breath and relax.
Aggressive driving behavior, particularly “Road Rage,” is a rapidly increasing problem affecting America’s drivers. This behavior is sometimes provoked by the action of drivers when they tailgate, cut off others on the road, or use rude hand gestures. In most cases, however, road rage stems from the pre-existing attitude or mood of the drivers prior to getting behind the wheel. People often get into a vehicle when they are stressed or angry, and then take out their problems on others with aggressive driving behavior. Drivers ignore the law, become discourteous, and have a basic disregard for others, often causing accidents or even fatalities. The preferred and suggested option for those dealing with a situation of road rage is to avoid the problem situation altogether and leave the scene as quickly as possible. Do not allow another’s anger and ignorance affect you. The safest thing is to use your own good sense and protect your life. Many road rage killings result from a vehicle being used as a weapon or drivers using guns against others on the road!
Hints to Avoid a Dangerous Situation
Maintain good, safe roadside manners...no matter how others act around you.
Always use your blinker (directional signal) to indicate when you are going to change lanes.
Don't drive alone.
Avoid unnecessary use of high beam headlights.
Don't block the passing lane.
Don't drive when you are angry.
Listen to traffic and weather reports to learn of potential delays and hazards.
Eliminate excessive cellular phone usage while driving.
Do not change lanes if your turn will impede the car in that lane - cutting off another driver is not only rude and unsafe, but it will irritate and provoke that driver as well.
If you become involved in an incident of road rage with another driver, you should first calm yourself down and remember that your safety is the primary concern. Simply leave the scene if an aggressive driver is threatening you before anyone gets hurt. If the other person follows you or persists in antagonizing you on the road, drive to a public area or police station and request help. Never go to your home!
How to Handle an Aggressive Driver
Get out of the way and let them pass.
Avoid direct eye contact.
Never try to teach a lesson to another driver.
Do not react to provocation.
If you are followed, go to a safe, public place.
The 5 Types of Aggressive Drivers
1. The Speeder - this person wants to get from one point to another as quickly as possible and will become enraged if forced to slow down.
2. The Competitor - this person sees the speeder coming and decides to race them.
3. The Passive Aggressor - this driver blocks other drivers and does not let them pass or merge in.
4. The Narcissist - this person takes a dislike to another driver because of race, sex or type of car.
5. The Vigilante - this person is going to make a violator of the rules pay.
Some Significant Facts Regarding Road Rage
The number of drivers on the road has grown faster than road capacity. There are too many drivers crowded on the roads!
A study by the American Driver and Traffic Safety Association found that only about 35% of drivers have taken a driver’s education course, compared to approximately 90% in the 1970's. Carelessness caused by ignorance often provokes others.
The consumer coalition found that 64% of driving adults are driving much less courteously and safely than five years ago.
Article from the San Diego State University Daily Aztec
Learn to drive, prevent ‘road rage’
After careful consideration, I think I can empathize with those who show early signs of “road-rage.” I get very angry with the other drivers I see out there. It seems to me the courtesy and conventional order of the road have completely broken down. I used to find driving to be leisurely, occasionally even relaxing. However, I think that this has changed.Does this mean that I’ve become psycho? I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t think I’m going to run over some old lady with a maniacal look on my face — only to be taken away babbling, “the pedestrians, they’re all out to get me, you don’t understand …” I hope that I won’t run my car into a tree chasing down some squirrel that cut me off at the stop sign when I clearly had the right of way. The biggest problem is that doubt exists in my mind.“Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about to do is too big for him.” This quote from Lord Chesterfield to his son in 1749 sounds like a good maxim. But because of my constant tardiness, I must either be completely irrelevant, or doubt its veracity. Regardless of the cause, I am always late, always in a hurry, and most often frustrated in my attempt to get to where I am going in a timely, reasonable fashion.I suppose it is as the American essayist and editor Frank Moore Colby said, “I know of no more disagreeable situation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at.” I haven’t been able to figure out if it’s complete selfishness, stupidity or a generous mixture of both. Perhaps I have grown older and less tolerant, but thinking that the problem is just in my head would probably be damaging to my self-image — we can’t have that. On the other hand, it could be that the population of San Diego has increased without a reasonable addition to the infrastructure to allow the new people, as I have pointed out so many times in the past. Or maybe it’s the narcissistic egoism of the immature products of the self-esteem movement. Regardless of the cause, the fact of the matter is that a growing number of people just don’t know how to drive! More and more, motorists are falling into one of these annoying categories:
1. The “Clueless Enforcer Patrol.” These are the people who drive 55 mph in the fast lane on the freeway. They don’t care if two cars per second are passing them on the right. All they know is that at least they are not breaking the law. (Subconsciously, I believe they are happy when they create a log jam, because it prevents others from breaking the law. Those noble martyrs!)2. The “Slalom Team.” These are the young adrenaline junkies who still think that driving is a video game. Weaving in and out of traffic makes the commute less boring after all; using a turn signal is for wimps, and those horrible fatal crashes wouldn’t happen if the slugs in the other cars would just keep their course and speed. Only problem, guys: You don’t get three lives here!3. The “Avengers.” These morons take it upon themselves to compound any traffic violation performed by all other members of the general public. When cut off, they will dart in front of you, shout obscenities, flip you the bird, even follow you as you exit as if to wait until you stop so they can physically assault you. Well, that would sure teach you a lesson, wouldn’t it?4. The “Rubber-neckers.” J.G. Ballard said in Penthouse magazine, “A car crash harnesses elements of eroticism, aggression, desire, speed, drama, kinesthetic factors, the stylizing of motion, consumer goods, status — all these in one event. I myself see the car crash as a tremendous sexual event really: a liberation of human and machine libido (if there is such a thing).” Two problems here folks: You won’t ever really see anything cool, and you are making me late. Go home and watch a Fox-TV reality-based show. Rent “Faces of Death.” At least they’ve got close-ups.
If you fall into one of these categories, you have a problem. Your problem is that by being an idiot, you’re making the rest of us crazy! The fact of the matter is that most of us don’t strictly obey the maximum speed limit. (Which brings up the topic of who runs this country and sets the rules anyway? Isn’t it “We the People”? Doesn’t “majority rule”? But that’s another article.) If we choose to speed, that is our business. We’ll even make you a deal. If you will stay to the right, we’ll stay to the left. How ’bout that? Let me make it simple: If people are passing you on the right, then that’s where you should be. Also, most of us know how to take turns. Try letting somebody go in front of you for a change. How many milliseconds will that delay you? When you don’t let that person in, you’re holding up all of the people behind them. Show some selflessness. Speaking of selflessness, learn some patience. Learn to wait in line — it’s a skill that most kindergartners have already mastered. By speeding up and trying to cut in line, you are eroding our faith in the general goodness of humankind. And, as Don Quixote said, “I have always heard, Sancho, that doing good to base fellows is like throwing water into the sea.”Finally, because you stop to gawk at all of the inevitable carnage and detritus caused by the modern commuting, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Drive on. Watch the 11 o’clock news.It’s a commute, people, not a performance art piece. Try to drive safely and reasonably. Try to think of others. Be a part of society. Who knows? I may even stop and help you change a flat tire.Evan Donaldson is a molecular biology graduate student and a columnist for The Daily Aztec.
Common Motorist Irritants
- Tailgating to pressure a driver to go faster or get out of the way.
- Flashing lights in order to signal persons to move to another lane.
- Obscene gesturing.
- Changing lanes without signaling.
- Blasting the horn.
- Frequently changing lanes by weaving back and forth.
- Racing to beat a yellow light that's about to turn red.
- Traveling in the passing or left lane at a slower speed, making it impossible for others to pass.
- Driving with the high beams on behind another vehicle or toward oncoming traffic.
- Cutting people off.
- Slowing down after passing someone.
- Not making a right turn in the right-hand turn lane.
- Not reacting quickly after the red light turns green.
Stress Management - Being calm and relaxed promotes safety.
1. Plan Ahead - Plan ahead and budget your time. Do not do errands during peak rush hours. Don't wait until the last minute to do things.
2. Exercise - Exercise regularly to help relieve stress.
3. Relaxation Techniques - Practice deep breathing or meditation.
4. Music - Listening to soothing music can calm you down.
5. Talk - Talking to someone who cares and will listen to you can help sort out any problems and reduce internal stress.
You should avoid driving when experiencing severe emotional distress. Abstain from self- medicating with drugs or alcohol. If you are already driving, pull over to a safe spot. Listen to a local radio station or weather station so you can avoid delays or hazards.
Fatigue - When you are thinking, "I can barely keep my eyes open. What should I do?" ask yourself how important it is for you to drive at that time. Is it worth a wreck or even death? Most people realize the dangers of drinking and driving, but too few recognize that driving drowsy can be just as fatal. Police often pull over motorists who appear to be intoxicated, but simply turn out to be sleepy. In California, you are only allowed to sleep at designated rest areas. Rolling down the windows, turning on the radio, or drinking coffee may help, but is still risky. Some things to remember include:
Get sufficient rest.
Avoid heavy foods before driving.
Never drink and drive.
Don't drive for long periods of time without resting.
II. Adjusting to the Driving Environment
Night Driving - It is mandatory that you use your headlights at night. That should seem obvious. Without lights, how can others see you? California law requires that they be turned on half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise, but it is recommended that you do so half an hour BEFORE sunset until half an hour AFTER sunrise. During severe weather conditions (daytime), turn your headlights on to increase your visibility to others.
High beams are to be used prudently. Do not use high beams when approaching oncoming traffic. When behind another vehicle, dim the lights once you are within 300 feet. You cannot see as far at night, and common sense says to slow down. You should also plan ahead when driving at night and use a map when necessary. Familiarize yourself with alternate routes as needed. Give yourself extra time for night driving. Getting lost is never fun, especially at night. It can cause stress, delays, or collisions. You should also know that it is ILLEGAL to drive with just your parking lights on except when they are being used as turn signals or in conjunction with headlights.
For night driving, you should:
Make sure your windows are clean.
Turn your headlights on from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise.
Turn your headlights on in bad weather or when you cannot see 1000 feet in front of you without them
Turn your headlights on when driving in conditions that require windshield wipers to be in continuous use, such as when it rains.
Make sure your headlights are clean and working well. Have them checked from time to time for correct aim.
Use your high beams when there are no oncoming vehicles.
Do not overdrive your headlights. Your headlights only let you see about 350 feet ahead. Be sure you are driving slow enough to stop or turn if you need to.
Use your low beams when you come within 500 feet (about one block) of an oncoming vehicle. Also use your low beams when following another vehicle within 300 feet.
Slow down when nearing a curve if you are driving the maximum posted speed limit.
Use the edge line as a guide. If there is no edge line, use the center line to guide you.
Stay awake and alert. Do not drive if you feel tired.
Watch carefully for highway signs as they are harder to see at night.
Watch carefully for people and vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
Safe Driving in Extreme Heat Conditions
In sunny California, summer temperatures can sometimes reach into the triple digits. It is important for drivers to double check their vehicles during these conditions to prevent heat-related breakdowns. Auto Club members have reported an increase in vehicle breakdowns by 50% during the days where temperatures reached the 90's and 100's. A check-up of your vehicle's key equipment including batteries, air conditioning, and cooling systems is recommended as well is the following tasks:
Check the antifreeze and coolant level and ensure appropriate mixture with water.
Check and replace worn, blistered, or cracked belts and hoses.
Check for uneven or worn tires and properly inflate all of them (including the spare).
Check the level of motor oil and use heavier motor oil when driving under extreme weather conditions.
Check and replace old or weak batteries.
Check the transmission fluid level and make sure it is clean, not dirty or having a burnt odor.
Use a higher octane fuel when temperatures are high.
Keep your car equipped with emergency items and a lot of drinking water, especially if traveling for an extended period of time.
Keep a windshield shade to block out the hot sun if you become stranded.
Remember, when driving in hot temperatures, it is never safe to leave children or pets inside the vehicle, even with the windows open. Temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside when it is 100 degrees outside. If the vehicle gets too hot while driving, always turn off your air conditioner and turn on your heater. This will help to "draw" heat away from the engine and cool it down. When going up a steep hill or grade, turn off your air conditioner to lessen the strain on the engine and limit the chances of a breakdown.
Does the winter season bring snow to your area? Are you prepared to be stuck in your car for a period of time? Before leaving home, pack a snow storm survival kit and store it in your car at all times. The kit should contain:
Extra-warm clothing
Warm winter gloves
A flashlight
Extra batteries for the flashlight
Highway flares
Booster cables
A length of rope
Tow cable or chain
Ice and snow scrapers
A pocket knife
Matches (water proof)
Non-perishable food
Drinking water (lots)
A camping or backpacking stove can also be handy
Add a brightly colored cloth so that you can mark your location if you have to leave your car.
Leave your car only if it is safe to do so. You will be much safer in your car than out in the elements or exposed to other out-of-control vehicles.
Bad Weather - Some safety tips for driving in bad weather include:
Listen for traffic you cannot see.
Avoid crossing roads whenever possible.
Avoid passing a line of cars.
Postpone driving until conditions clear.
Keep headlights and tail lights clean.
Don't forget to maintain your windshield wipers.
Weather and Braking Distance - Under ideal conditions and with good reflexes (i.e., weather, perfect tires, brakes, etc.), it would take a driver the following distance/time to stop or react:
25 mph - 61.7 feet - 1.7 seconds45 mph - 161.5 feet - 2.4 seconds65 mph - 305.7 feet - 3.2 seconds
As you can see, surprisingly, at 25 miles per hour, it would take approximately 1.7 seconds to react and 61.7 feet to stop.
Now what about in snow or icy roads? It will be a lot more difficult to maintain control. Slow down! At 70 miles per hour, it could take up to half a mile to stop. During fog, rain, or snow, visibility is limited, and hazards are inevitable. Keep a greater distance between your car and the one in front of you. Do not attempt any sudden stops or turns.
"Hydroplaning" occurs when the road is wet or slippery due to weather or wet roads. When this occurs, your tires lose traction, and there is a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. This decreases braking power and lessens vehicle control.
It is also a good idea to turn your headlights on during the day in the event of poor weather. This allows other drivers to see your vehicle a little better. Don't use the high beams since they reflect backwards towards you during rain, snow, and fog.
Road Conditions - Below are some conditions in the roads that you may encounter.
1. Bad Pavement - Cracks in the road, potholes, gravel, and even wet leaves are a few examples. These conditions normally occur after a storm. Avoid driving over or through bad pavement when possible. Only drive as fast as safety allows. Even if the posted speed limit is 35 mph, you may go at a slower speed of 20 mph if that is safer. Driving over a pothole will not only startle you, but it also may cause damage to your vehicle's suspension.
2. Drop-offs - Drop-offs occur due to construction, severe weather or mountain roads. The land just "drops off." A drop-off can be a ditch, hillside, or a sink hole. They are very dangerous!!! If for any reason your tires do drop off the side of the roadway, DO NOT APPLY THE BRAKES! The uneven traction may cause a loss of control. Take your foot off the accelerator while maintaining a firm grip on the steering wheel, and turn your steering wheel to get your tires back on the road.
3. Seasonal Hazards - These hazards include fog, hail, ice, sand storms, sleet, snow and tornadoes. As always, decrease your speed. Pay extra special attention to the driving environment. If visibility or conditions are too poor to drive, pull over to a safe area and wait out the storm. Pay attention to other drivers so you can react.
4. Earthquakes - Earthquakes are rare, and most of the time you will not even be aware an earthquake is in progress, as the vehicle's suspension compensates as you drive. If you are driving during an earthquake, do not stop underneath or above freeway overpasses. Stay clear of utility poles. If the road "drops off," stop as safety allows.
Safe Driving While in an Earthquake
Drivers in California travel in the car approximately 63 million times a day, and earthquakes are quite common in this State. The experience of driving during an earthquake has been compared to driving on flat tires. To be better prepared if an earthquake hits while you are driving, you should adhere to the following safety tips:
· Gradually decrease speed.
· Pull to the side of the road when it is safe; however, do not stop on bridges or overpasses.
· Avoid parking near trees, downed power lines, and buildings.
· Stop the car and stay inside with your seatbelt fastened and remain there until the shaking stops.
· Aftershocks may follow, so be prepared to repeat the tips above.
· Turn on your car radio and listen for any updates and emergency information.
· Only begin to drive again when it is safe to do so.
· If on the freeway, exit when it is safe to do so.
· Always cooperate with police officers or other public safety officers.
In case of an earthquake, you should always keep the following items in your car:
· Fully equipped first aid kit and manual.
· Bottled water and non-perishable foods.
· Blanket.
· Flashlight and extra batteries.
· Fire extinguisher.
· Pocket radio and extra batteries.
· Tissues and/or moistened wipes.
· Sturdy shoes such as tennis shoes and a set of clothing.
· Maps and matches.
· Gloves and personal toiletries.
· Any necessary prescription medication.
The above list is a suggestion to help you be well-prepared in the event of an emergency. Add to it whatever items you believe you will need in case your car becomes inoperable. If equipped and aware when you become stuck in an earthquake situation, you will decrease your stress and danger potential.
5. Soft Shoulders - Shoulders of the roadway that are not paved are called soft shoulders. They can be dirt, loose gravel, or soft sand. Be aware that if you pull over onto a soft shoulder, you may lose control. Traction is decreased, and the wheels may shift to one side. Decrease your speed significantly and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel.
III. Intersections
An intersection is any place where one line of traffic meets another. It includes:
Cross streets and side streets.
Freeway entrances.
Driveway and shopping center entrances.
Follow these rules when approaching an intersection:
1. Look both ways and straight ahead.
2. Look to the left first as cars on the left are closer.
3. Look right.
4. Take another look to the left before you pull out, just in case there is someone there who you did not see before.
5. Do NOT rely only on traffic signals.
One-third of all traffic collisions happen at intersections, and about 40% of urban collisions occur there as well. Unless prohibited, the only four maneuvers that a driver may do at an intersection are:
Turn right
Turn left
Continue straight through.
The four general rules about intersection safety include:
1. Know your route and plan ahead.
2. Slow for intersections and expect the unexpected.
3. Show your intention by vehicle position and signaling.
4. Proceed with care.
There are two types of intersections. Marked intersections are regulated by signs, traffic signals or traffic authorities. Unmarked intersections are not regulated. The beginning of the intersection is the outermost part of the pedestrian crosswalk.
Crosswalks - Every intersection where streets with sidewalks meet has a crosswalk for pedestrians to cross the street, even though there may be no painted lines. The crosswalk is the part of the pavement where the sidewalk lines would extend across the street and are areas set aside for people to cross the street. They are normally marked with white lines. Yellow lines may be used at school zones.
Pedestrians - Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks. If your vehicle stops in a crosswalk, it is dangerous for pedestrians as they will be required to walk around your vehicle into traffic lanes. For safety, always yield to pedestrians (even if they are in the wrong or jaywalking). Extra caution should also be observed if a car is stopped in the right lane of traffic at an intersection. Do not pass that vehicle on the left without scanning ahead, as there may be a pedestrian walking in front of the stopped car, barely visible.
Children and Dangerous Intersections - Always practice safe driving habits and use extra caution whenever transporting children near schools, parks or busy intersections. In 1997, there were over 4000 traffic injuries or deaths in California involving children between the ages of five and 15. To help make drivers aware of the dangers of children in intersections, the "National Stop on Red Week" was created for the first week in September, coinciding with the beginning of the school year. After the long summer, drivers need to become familiar again with children who go to and from school during commuting hours.
SPECIAL NOTE: The speed limit in a school zone is 25 mph.
Here are some helpful driving tips that should make our streets safer for children:
Always make a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. Be extra careful at intersections around schools.
Obey the signs, and follow the school's rules on loading and unloading students in front of school.
Drive with your head lights on (even during the day) to be more visible to children.
When driving in rain, snow, ice, or general bad weather, allow more space and following distance, and use extra caution. It becomes more difficult to see children and to stop safely in bad weather.
When transporting children, make sure everyone is buckled up each time they get into the vehicle. Children 12 and under should be properly restrained in the back seat. Remember to never place a rear-facing child safety seat in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with passenger front air bags or side air bags ( the air bags could suffocate the child).
Use extra caution around school buses, as they make many stops with children getting off and on each time. A driver may not pass a school bus when it is stopped and has either its lights flashing or a stop sign extended from the side of the bus.
While driving, scan between parked vehicles and other objects for children that might dart out into the street.
Look for clues that indicate children are around the area, such as school safety patrols, adult crossing guards, bicycles, school buses, parks and playgrounds.
Each year, more than 50,000 children are injured as pedestrians in the United States. Children are at the greatest risk at the beginning and end of the school day, as there are more children on the streets during these times. Most of the injuries are a result of children running out into the street from in between parked cars. Younger children are at the greatest risk. Some of the reasons include:
They cannot judge the speed of moving cars or the distance between themselves and the cars.
They act on impulse without thinking and do not always recognize an unsafe situation.
Their field of vision is not as good as an adult.
Parents should practice safety rules with their children and act as role models. Some tips to follow:
Walk on sidewalks, and walk across the street only at designated crosswalks.
Do not run into the street and never from in between parked cars.
If walking at night, do not walk alone and wear bright clothing or something reflective.
Look left, right, and then left again before crossing the street, and always stop at the curb first before crossing.
Teach your kids to know about the traffic signs and signals and help them to develop their safety skills.
Drivers should be extra cautious and drive slowly in all residential and school areas. Your children should not rely on drivers to follow the law...they must learn how to be safe pedestrians.
The Safest Way to Get to School: It's the Big Yellow Bus
June 18, 2002
WASHINGTON – When Heather Smith began driving a school bus 27 years ago, bus drivers learned on the job as they built up their biceps turning huge steering wheels. "When I first started, we had little training," said Smith, who drives a bus in Berlin, Conn.
Now everyone gets training before they take charge of an easy-to-drive bus with power steering and a wide windshield. And riding the bus has become the safest way to get to school, even safer than walking, a new study says.
Researchers looked at the ways children get to school and found that school buses account for one-fourth of all trips but only 2 percent of children's deaths in school-related traffic accidents, making them the safest of all forms of school transportation.
By contrast, the most dangerous way to school is in a car driven by a teenager – teenage drivers account for only 14 percent of trips, but 55 percent of traffic deaths.
Accidents with adults driving accounted for 20 percent of students' deaths on the way to or from school; children walking accounted for 16 percent, biking 6 percent.
Researchers found that any time children are in control – whether walking, biking or driving – they're less safe.
What about when youngsters misbehave on the school bus?
"We're taught just to pull the bus over until they calm down," said Smith. She also said children are better educated about school bus safety than they were years ago. "When you're picking them up at the bus stops, they're not running around. ... It makes it easier to drive," she said.
Each year about 800 children are killed in motor vehicle crashes during school commutes. Of those, on average, five are riding in a school bus. Fifteen are killed when they're struck by a bus or another vehicle while getting on or off a bus, generally a car that doesn't stop for flashing bus signals.
By contrast, about 450 students are killed in car accidents with a teenage driver.
A lot of effort has gone into making bus travel safe for children, but more attention should be given to making walking and biking safer, said Doug Robertson, a transportation engineer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chairman of the National Research Council committee that wrote the report.
There's no single solution, he said. Different cities may need better sidewalks, walkways, bike paths, protection at crosswalks or more signs and crossing guards, he said.
Several cities now offer "walking school buses," in which adult volunteers walk with a group of children from a meeting point to school.
Robertson said states also should examine more restrictive drivers' licenses for teens, including the number of passengers a teenager can drive. "I think it makes some sense," he said.
As for buses, lawmakers and activists in several states have pushed to have seat belts installed on school buses, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says school buses are so safe, because of their large size and design improvements over the past 25 years, that seat belts could harm more children than they save.
Only New York and New Jersey require seat belts on larger school buses, according to the National School Transportation Association. California and Florida are considering them.
Smith said her bus is easier to drive than a car – it's got power steering and automatic transmission, and it's loaded with mirrors.
"You can see everything," she said.
Asked how she keeps the big bus under control, even in bad weather and heavy traffic, she said, "You just take your time."
The ways children get to school and how risky they are. Fatalities and injuries are based on 1991-1999 statistics; trip percentages are based on a 1995 study:
School bus
Other bus
Passenger vehicleadult driver
Passenger vehicleteen driver
per 100 million student tripsSource: National Research Council
IV. Driver Distractions
Distractions appear in several forms while driving and can be inside or outside of your vehicle. Anything or anyone that distracts your undivided attention is a distraction and must be kept to a minimum. Here are a few common distractions:
Inside the vehicle - Other passengers, children, pets, application of make-up, shaving, reading, eating or drinking, cell phones, etc.
Outside the vehicle - Other drivers and vehicles, wrecks, advertisements, billboards, scenery, pedestrians, etc.
Manage your time and plan ahead. Your focus should be on the road and on driving only.
Driver distractions are dangerous for all drivers, but when it comes to new teen-age drivers the problem becomes especially dangerous. Teen-age drivers are more likely to die in a car crash when they have young passengers in the car, recent research shows. And the risk of death increases with the number of riders.
A study conducted at John Hopkins University indicated that the death risk is greatest for teen male drivers overall, but it was the presence of passengers -- more than the driver's gender or the time of day -- that boosted the likelihood of a teen-age driver dying if an accident occurred. Researchers found that death rates for 16-year-old drivers almost tripled when there were three or more riders.
On January 10th, 2001, Ford Motor Corporation opened a $10 million driving simulator called VIRTTEX, or VIRtual Test Track EXperiment, which allowed their researchers to test new product features and study driver behaviors safely in a controlled environment. This was the first automotive lab to feature a full-scale driving simulator that tracks drivers’ eye movements while they engaged in various driving behaviors, such as using onboard gadgets and trying to maneuver curves on simulated highways. Ford released results from their first test the following year that supported the findings of previous studies regarding cellular telephones.
According to reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 25% of 6.3 million reported crashes each year involve some form of driver distraction, such as cellular phone use.

An article in the Los Angeles Times (February 13, 1997) cites a report by Canadian scientists which claims that talking on a cellular phone while driving quadruples the risk of having an accident, making it as dangerous as driving while drunk. The safest option is to avoid using your cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle. However, if you still choose to use your phone, please follow the safety tips below:
Install and use the hands-free or speakerphone option to allow you to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
Keep the phone close to you so you won't have to reach or look for it while driving.
Dial only when at a stoplight or sign, or pull off the road to dial.
Never use your phone in distracting traffic situations or in stop and go traffic. Pull over and use the phone while off the road.
Disconnect your cellular phone while using jumper cables as the power surge could burn out your phone battery.
If you have a phone in your car, use it to report emergencies on the road by dialing 911. Always be ready to provide the closest major cross streets or off-ramps in the area. NOTE: Cellular phone users in the United States make nearly 50,000 calls each day to report highway and neighborhood emergencies.
Between January 1 st, 2002 and June 30, 2002, all traffic collision reports prepared by the CHP and allied agencies were required to include information as to whether a cellular telephone or other driver distraction or inattention was an associated factor to the cause of the collision. The data collected showed that, of the 491,083 reported drivers involved in collisions, 5,677 were determined to have contributed to the cause of these collisions by being inattentive. Moreover, 611 of these drivers were found to be responsible for the collisions in which they were involved. However, because of the importance of wireless communication, especially for emergency personnel, the CHP recommended that wireless technology be developed to be as compatible to safe driving as possible. They also recommended that they continue to collect the data. Several agencies still collect the data voluntarily.
The Back PageNorth County TimesCommittee decides to study whether driving while talking dangerous
SACRAMENTO ---- An Assembly committee, reluctant to make it a crime to drive while talking on a cellular phone, decided Monday to study whether the increasingly common practice causes accidents. The Transportation Committee, by an 11-3 vote, approved a bill that would require the Highway Patrol to include in its reports whether use of a cell phone was a factor in an accident or traffic ticket. Another bill that would have made it a crime to drive while using a cell phone, unless that phone was a hands-free model, fell one vote short of passage in the same committee. That bill would have made the penalty a $20 fine for a first offense and $50 for a subsequent ticket. The author of that bill, Assemblyman Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said studies show that cellular phones cause 12,000 traffic accidents a year nationwide. "You can't control the vehicle if you don't have both hands on the wheel," he said. Opponents said studies were inconclusive and cell phones are only one of the many distractions that keep drivers from paying attention to the road. John Valencia of AT&T Wireless Services said his cell phone company might support a bill that would make "inattentive driving" a crime and not "single out one mode of inactivity." "I don't know how many people have crashed their car because they've dropped their soda," said Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy, R-Monrovia. He called Simitian's bill "another example of Big Brother wanting to get in the cab and limiting what I can do." Adam Quevas of the California Highway Patrol, which does not have a position on either bill, said data collected by officers in January showed that of 16,114 accidents, six were caused by using a cell phone, five by eating, 10 by using a radio, two by being distracted by a child and one by smoking. The author of the study bill, Assemblyman George Nakano, D-Torrance, said it was needed because "we think that using a cellular phone while driving may increase the likelihood of an accident, but we don't know whether it does or not." Nakano's bill moves to the Appropriations Committee. On the Net: Read the bills, AB770 by Nakano and AB911 by Simitian, at http://www.sen.ca.gov
V. Collisions
There are several factors involved when a collision occurs. American employers pay an estimated 43.1 billion dollars per year for motor vehicle crash injuries on and off the job. Nearly 50% of today's drivers can expect to be involved in a serious collision.
CARNAGE ON THE ROAD - In 2004, 42,636 people died on our roads. 78% of those were vehicle occupants, 9% were motorcycle riders, and the remaining 13% were pedestrians, cyclists and other non-occupants. On average, 117 people are being killed each day of the year on our roads, with that number including the weekend hours and holidays. One person will die every 12 minutes in the United States resulting from a car wreck. That means that in the time it takes you to read this course, up to 30 people will have died on the roads in the United States.
The number of injuries that occurred on the roadways in 2004 is a total that should baffle the mind - 2,788,000 injuries in the United States alone! This averages out to 7,638 injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions per day, 318 per hour, five per minute, and one every ten seconds. That means that in the time it takes you to finish this program, anywhere from 1500 to 2500 people will have been injured on our roadways.
The largest number of collisions occur on very short trips traveled at slow speeds. Almost 75% of all automobile collisions occur within 25 miles of home. 40% of all fatal automobile collisions occur on roadways where the speed limit is 45 mph or less.
Not surprisingly, most collisions are due to driver error. Some factors include:
Mental status - Emotions may impair judgment, decrease alertness, or even cause preoccupation. Avoid driving when upset or in a state of excitement. Try to calm yourself prior to getting out on the road.
Physical - You should be rested and relaxed, and you should not drive if fatigued. Pull over to rest as needed. Do not drive if using medications that make you drowsy or excitable. Avoid driving when physically ill, as alertness is decreased when you are not well.
Environment - Decrease your speed as weather conditions worsen. Your driving environment is the weather and the road conditions.
Visual Habits - Drivers often do not look before they act while on the roads. It is common to encounter drivers who try to merge into the lane you are using without looking. It is important to develop the habit of constant scanning of the road around you. You should keep you eyes moving at all times and also use your mirrors. Turn your head as warranted due to blind spots. Other drivers are not always predictable, so you should NEVER ASSUME! Sometimes drivers are oblivious to those around them, while others simply have very bad driving habits. Some drivers may be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, while others may have mental or physical problems that could be an issue leading to a wreck.
Collision Types (at intersections) - Blind intersections are not regulated by signs or traffic signals. Be extra cautious when approaching a blind intersection, decrease speed, and continue to scan ahead. When two or more vehicles approach simultaneously at an intersection, the driver on the right has the right-of-way. However, never insist on the right-of-way, even if you know you are in the right. It is never worth getting into a collision.

Right-of-Way - The unprotected LEFT TURN is the most dangerous turn for all drivers. To avoid a collision, follow these rules:
1. You must have (at a minimum) a one block view of the outside lanes you are going to cross. If you cannot see, DO NOT GO!
2. Do not turn your wheels left as cross traffic passes by. If you are hit from behind, you could be pushed directly into oncoming traffic.
3. Remember that all pedestrians and traffic MUST YIELD to a vehicle that was stuck in the intersection on a green light but could not make the turn. If you are stuck at an intersection when the light turns red, by LAW, you do have the right-of-way even though the light turned red.
Right Turns - Right turns are simple. Always scan ahead, indicate your signal to turn, and maneuver your vehicle to the furthest right when safe. Turn when clear, and always watch for traffic and pedestrians to avoid a collision.
Commercial Vehicles - These vehicles are also known as "Big Rigs" and may include buses as well. They pose a different problem due to their length, as they require additional space in order to navigate a turn. NEVER attempt to pass a truck on the right as it turns. You probably will not be seen by the driver. Be cautious when behind big trucks, and do not follow too closely as you would be unable to see around them. Obviously, these vehicles are much slower when turning.
Pedestrians - Pedestrians always have the right-of-way at crosswalks. Always yield, even if the pedestrian is jaywalking or not following the signals.
Freeways (merging) - Collisions can also occur as traffic merges onto the freeway. The most common mistake is ABRUPTLY PULLING OUT in front of drivers at a significantly slower speed. This may cause a rear-end collision.
Freeways (exiting) - Exiting the freeway is another situation where collisions are common. The realization that an exit is coming up faster than anticipated can cause an inexperienced driver to cut across several lanes of traffic to exit. Some drivers will slow down or even stop inappropriately until they can merge into the designated exit lane. This causes delays and disrupts the flow of traffic.
Safety Bubble (a.k.a. Space Cushion) - With all the different possibilities that may cause a wreck, it is highly recommended that you always keep a "safety bubble" around yourself and your vehicle. Always scan ahead (12-15 seconds or 1/4 mile down the road) and be attentive to traffic patterns and road conditions. Use mirrors and turn signals prior to any turns or merges and plan on a way out or an escape if you run into problems on the road. Do not forget to constantly check behind your vehicle. Finally, try to avoid being "boxed in" by other vehicles with no " out."
Lane Changing/Passing - You can only change from one lane to another if the dividing lane is broken. Solid white means extra caution. Solid yellow lines indicate no passing is allowed. If solid on one side and broken on the other, the driver on the broken side may pass, but the driver on the solid side may not. Common mistakes made by motorists when changing lanes include:
Not signaling
Driving in another motorist's blind spot
Not turning you head to check your blind spot
Failure to yield
Head-On Collisions - These collisions occur when two vehicles crash face to face. These are the most fatal types of collisions. The cars involved may stop instantly, while the passengers will be thrown forward into the dashboard or windshield. It is also common for one or both cars to go into an uncontrolled spin, which could cause the occupants to be thrown out of the vehicle. This could result in the occupants being run over by another vehicle, thrown into a curb or fixed object, or having the vehicle run them over. Always avoid a head-on collision whenever possible, even if you need to sideswipe another vehicle or object.
SCARY FACT: 74 % of the occupants thrown from a vehicle end up dying.
Rear-End Collisions - These are the most common types of collisions. Forewarning may include screeching tires, horn blowing, or actually seeing a vehicle in your rear-view mirror coming towards you. If possible, apply your brake, brace yourself for impact, and prepare to steer through to avoid traffic once hit. THE LAW HOLDS THE DRIVER IN THE REAR RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY REAR-END COLLISION WITH THE CAR AHEAD, DO NOT TAILGATE!
Fixed Object Collisions - These are less common types of collisions but are still very dangerous. Fixed objects include trees, utility poles, and fire hydrants. Houses can also be considered fixed objects.
Vehicle Failure - This is one of the least probable collisions to occur. Brakes should be serviced and checked regularly. Anti-lock brakes do not need to be pumped. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a week. Check tread for even wear and rotate tires as recommended. If you experience vehicle problems, do not panic. Signal or use hazard lights to alert other drivers, and pull off the roadway when safe to do so. Do not jump out of your car in the middle of traffic and use flares, if necessary.
Slippery Surface Skids - Light rain, snow, ice, oil, or water can cause the pavement to become slippery. Hydroplaning causes a loss of traction, which may result in a skid. Use extra caution, slow down, and take extra time.
VI. Collision Avoidance - Handling Emergencies
Prevention and avoidance are the best ways to deal with a potential collision. Here are a few tips to practice:
Be alert and well-rested.
Always expect the unexpected. Never assume drivers will follow through on what they appear to be doing.
Keep eyes moving (12-15 seconds or 1/4 mile ahead.)
Maintain 3-4 second following rule as needed.*
Look for potential hazards, poor road conditions, wrecks, etc.
Seek out an escape route, if available.
Check the vehicles behind you every 5-7 seconds.
Adjust speed to suit conditions.
Plan ahead.
Honk your horn when appropriate (you are only allowed to use your horn to avoid or warn others of a potential collision.)
Watch out for trucks and buses.
Watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Signal and announce your intentions.
*In an ideal situation, the safest following distance would be one second or one car length for every 10 miles per hour that is traveled. However, due to congestion, traffic incidents and an increase in drivers, this is oftentimes not feasible. To measure distance in seconds, pick a car in front of you and then find a fixed object. As the car passes the object, begin counting. Stop counting when you reach the object. You should be able to count to at least three to ensure you are following at a safe three-second following distance.
Avoiding a Front-End Collision - If a car stops abruptly in front of you, you have two choices: You can either stop or change lanes. You should always be scanning ahead to determine whether it is safe to go into the space to your left or right. If a lane or shoulder is available, turn your vehicle into that direction. Apply your brakes firmly while keeping a good grip on the steering wheel. If no escape is available, utilize the following steps:
1. Stop instantly - Depress your brake pedal firmly. Be aware that this may cause a rear-end collision if other vehicles are following closely behind you.
2. Brace for impact - Sometimes there are little or no options. Be prepared for collision safety features to become enabled (i.e., seat belts, air bags, etc.)

Avoiding a Rear-End Collision - Even though you might practice good driving skills, others may not. Hopefully, you will be a more informed driver after these tips.
1. Three-second rule - Allow more space between yourself and the car ahead.
2. Give notice - Let other drivers know what your plan is by signaling to turn or tapping your brake lights to stop.
3. Brakes - Use your brakes smoothly by applying gradual pressure. If you ride your brakes, other drivers behind you will also slow down and eventually may not pay attention to your actual intent. It is similar to the concept of the "boy who cried wolf." When you really do stop, you may be rear-ended.
4. Keep pace - Keep up the pace with traffic around you.
5. Check your rear-view mirror - Check behind your vehicle constantly, about every 5 to 7 seconds. Be aware of the proximity of the vehicle behind you. .
6. Changing lanes - Before changing lanes, make sure the lane you are moving into is clear. Also, make sure your speed is sufficient so that pulling in front of another car does not cause that vehicle to brake to avoid hitting you.
7. Keep foot on brake pedal - After stopping, continue to keep your foot pressed on the brake pedal to alert others that you have stopped.
8. Keep rear lights clean and in working order - Maintain the working order of your brake lights and keep them clean.
When to Increase Following Distance - Listed below are a few situations where you will need to increase your following distance from three seconds to four.
When being tailgated - If you are being tailgated, do not panic. Do not allow the driver behind you to intimidate you into speeding up. It will still be your ticket or your wreck if you are speeding. Avoid direct confrontation. Scan ahead to search for available lanes that you may change into. When space is available, change lanes smoothly and safely. If possible, pull to the side to allow the tailgating driver to pass.
When vision is blocked or visibility is poor - It is nearly impossible to see around an 18-wheel truck or other large vehicle. Similarly, bad weather conditions can make visibility extremely difficult.
When adverse roadway or weather conditions exist - Obviously, you do not want to run over a pot hole at 55 mph. Wet surface conditions due to rain, ice, or snow can make driving dangerous.
How to Choose An Alternate Path of Travel as an Escape Route
1. Scan ahead - Look for problem indicators or spots. Brake lights or cars slowing down indicate a potential hazard. A motorist going significantly faster or slower than the flow of traffic could indicate a problem. Be aware of cars swerving ahead of you - there could be a collision, pedestrian or debris ahead.
2. Predict potential - Try to assess what possibilities may occur in direct relation to what is going on in front of you.
3. Adjust speed - Select speeds that will keep your vehicle between clusters of cars.
4. Lane position - Select a lane within traffic clusters that will allow the best maneuverability.
5. Anticipate - Anticipate what plan may work to get you out of a dangerous situation. Should you stop? Can you change lanes? Can you drive through?
6. Compromise to prevent hazards - If a long line of cars is approaching from the opposite direction, you should slow down, be prepared to brake, and pull over to the right. If an approaching vehicle drifts into your lane of travel, slow down. Sound your horn and flash your lights. If this fails, pull over to the right. On curves, you should slow down and will naturally be pulled towards the right of the lane.
VII. Protecting Yourself When a Collision Cannot be Avoided
1. Being hit from the rear
Attempt to warn the driver behind you by tapping your brakes.
If no other options are available, press your brake pedal and prepare for impact.
Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. Chances are you may be pushed forward or even sideways and will still need to maintain control.
Your seat belt will prevent your face and upper torso from hitting the steering wheel or windshield. Most cars today have headrests. This will help minimize the whiplash factor.
2. Being hit from the side
If possible, avoid head-on collisions and the inevitable impact. Attempt to maneuver so the approaching vehicle hits your car from the side.
Be careful when protecting your face. For example, air bag devices deploy in front-end impacts at approximately 35 mph. Use caution when placing your hands in front of your face as the air bag could push your hands into your face ( the shoulder strap of your seat belt will prevent your face from hitting the dashboard.)
VIII. Emergency Situations
Danger zones include intersections, parking lots, railroad crossings, schools, playgrounds where children are at play, poorly engineered roads, and blind curves.
Use extra caution when driving through these areas.
Observe decreased speed limits.
Avoid driving near auto wrecks.
Do not stop or slow down just to look at an auto wreck scene. Drive by carefully, avoiding debris on the road.
Never drive over an unprotected fire hose.
Obey directions from a police or fire official.
If you run over an animal, notify the police or Animal Control. As in the case with humans, it is not recommended to move an injured animal.

Chapter 4California Speed Laws
The "Basic Speed Law" states that no person shall drive upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent. Weather, visibility, traffic, surface and width of the highway shall be considered, and in no event should he or she travel at a speed which endangers the safety of people or property. This law exists not to allow drivers to exceed the speed limit, but rather to slow them down in adverse conditions. Obstructing the normal flow of traffic by driving too slow may result in a ticket. When driving on a highway with two or more lanes, slower vehicles should always be driven in the right hand lane. If you are driving the posted speed limit, yet the flow of traffic is faster than you are going, you should move to the right hand lane.
Speed Control - Minimum speed limits are posted on many roadways. These limits are designed to keep the high volume of vehicles in movement with each other and to reduce the chance of a collision between two vehicles. Cars traveling with the pattern of traffic were found to be involved in the least number of collisions. Drivers traveling faster or slower than the flow were involved in more collisions. Faster drivers change lanes often and pass other vehicles, and the slower drivers force others going with the flow of traffic to pass them and change lanes more frequently. In both instances, there is a higher amount of weaving, lane changing, and cutting off of other drivers.
Drivers who suddenly stop or slow down (without making the move gradually) are at risk of being hit from behind, especially on a fast-moving freeway. Entering a freeway, as well as keeping up with the flow of traffic, requires vehicle acceleration in a negotiated time and distance in addition to speed maintenance. When a vehicle slows suddenly, the maintained speed is lost and the needed space runs out to accelerate in sufficient time to return to the flow.
Large trucks, buses, towing vehicles, and slow cars will normally travel at a slower pace than other vehicles. Certain highways have designated lanes for slow-moving vehicles or truck lanes. If a highway does not have designated lanes for slower vehicles, drivers of slow-moving vehicles should use the right hand lanes.
Any driver on a California highway who exceeds 100 mph shall be guilty of an excessive speed infraction. The first infraction of this law can result in a $500 fine and a license suspension of up to 30 days. A second and third conviction will result in similar fines with longer suspensions.
Excessive speeding or driving seen as reckless by the officer can result in a driver’s license being suspended for a period not exceeding 30 days on first conviction, and a period not exceeding six months on third or additional convictions (Vehicle Code 13200). Drivers who are caught participating in speed contests, reckless driving, or an exhibition of speed, including burning rubber or making turns at a high speed, will have their cars seized by law enforcement for 30 days. In addition, those caught in speed contests will be required to perform 40 hours of community service. If their driver's license is suspended as a result, they will have to provide proof of financial responsibility in order to reinstate their driving privileges. Racing may seem fun, but it is dangerous and illegal.
If participation in a speed contest results in injury to someone other than the driver, jail time of 30 days to 6 months in jail is possible. A second offense brings jail time of up to one year. Racing may seem fun, but it is dangerous and illegal.
Posted Speed Limits - There are posted speed limits, and there are recognized speed limits that do not need to be posted. Freeways and highways normally have posted speed limits of 55 mph, 65 mph, or 70 mph. But there are also places such as school zones, residential zones, and business zones where speed limits may not be posted but are known to be 25 mph. Although most drivers may believe it is alright to go up to five miles per hour over the posted speed limit, by law you may not exceed the posted limit by even one mile per hour!
Blind Railroad Crossings, Intersections, and Alleys
An uncontrolled railroad crossing is one that is not controlled by either gates, a warning signal, or a flag man. When approaching a railroad crossing, if you cannot see the tracks for 400 feet in both directions, the speed limit is 15 mph.
An intersection is considered a blind intersection if you cannot see for 100 feet in both directions when you are 100 feet from that intersection. Many things can obstruct your view when coming to an intersection: parked cars, trees, signs, buildings, or even pedestrians. You should never exceed 15 mph when coming to an uncontrolled blind intersection. A vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist may pull out suddenly, so you must travel slow enough to stop when necessary
The speed limit in all alleys is 15 mph.
Some Important Facts:
Speed is a factor in 30% of all traffic fatalities nationwide.
The chance of death or serious injury doubles for every 10 mph over 50 mph that a car travels.
Young males are most often associated with speeding. Men between the ages of 15-20 make up 39% of speeding fatalities.
In 2004, there were 1,333 people killed due to speeding in California alone.
2004 Statistics on Speeding and Vehicle Collisions
13,192 people were killed in speeding-related crashes, making speeding a factor in 30% of all fatal crashes.
Of the 13,192 people killed in speeding-related crashes, 5,769 deaths occurred on roads with posted speed limits between 55 and 65 M.P.H., and 938 occurred on roads with a posted speed limit above 65 m.p.h.
Speeding-related crashes each year cost society about $40.4 billion, or $76,865 per minute, or $1,281 per second.
Of those injured in speeding-related crashes, approximately 40,000 suffered serious to critical injuries, 73,000 suffered moderate injuries, and 606,000 sustained minor injuries.
Young males are most likely to be speeding and the likelihood of being involved in a speeding-related crash decreases as a driver's age increases.
38% of male drivers aged 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
26% of speeding drivers under 21 who were involved in fatal crashes were also intoxicated (had a BAC of at least 0.08), as opposed to 12% of nonspeeding drivers in the same age group.
49% of speeding drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 who were involved in fatal crashes were intoxicated, compared with 25% of nonspeeding drivers in the same age group.
40% of all intoxicated drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were also speeding, compared with only 15%of sober drivers involved in fatal crashes.
77% of speeding drivers who were involved in fatal crashes between midnight and 3:00 a.m. had been drinking.
36% of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding.
The percentage of speeding involvement in fatal crashes was approximately twice as high for motorcyclists as for drivers of passenger cars or light trucks, and the percentage of alcohol involvement was approximately 31% greater for motorcyclists.
40% of speeding passenger vehicle drivers under 21 who were involved in fatal crashes were wearing safety belts, compared with 67% of nonspeeding drivers in the same age group.
44% of speeding passenger vehicle drivers age 21 and over who were involved in fatal crashes were restrained, compared with 72% of nonspeeding drivers in the same age group.
21% of speeding drivers involved in fatal accidents had an invalid license at the time of the crash, compared with 10% of nonspeeding drivers.
Speeding was a factor in 29% of fatal crashes that occurred on dry roads and 34% of those that occurred on wet roads.
Speeding was a factor in 50% of fatal crashes that occurred when there was snow or slush on the road and 59% of those that occurred on icy roads.
Speeding was involved in 31% of fatal crashes that occurred in construction/maintenance zones.
86% of speeding-related deaths occurred on roads that were non-interstate highways.
Stopping Distance - A vehicle's total stopping distance depends on three factors: perception, reaction time, and braking.
Perception time is the time it takes to see and identify a potential danger.
Perception distance is the distance you travel while identifying the danger.
Reaction time is the time it takes to apply the brakes after the danger has been identified.
Reaction distance is the distance traveled between the time you identify the danger and apply the brake.
Braking time is the time it takes to stop the car after you first apply the brake.
The following list of vehicles shall not drive at a speed which exceeds 55 mph on any California highway:
A truck or tractor having three or more axles.
Any vehicle towing another vehicle.
A school bus transporting any students.
A farm labor vehicle transporting any workers.
A vehicle transporting any type of explosives.
A trailer bus.

Chapter 5Lanes and Lines - Proper Use
Designated Lanes of Travel
1. A divided highway - These may include one, two, or more lanes of travel in either or both directions
2. Lanes on roadways - These are marked with either yellow or white lines commonly seen except in residential districts.
3. Three lane highways - These include three lanes of travel in the same direction. The middle lane is normally the least congested for travel. The far left lane (a.k.a., the "fast lane" or "passing lane") is supposed to be used for faster traffic, but still within the speed limit. This lane is also used to pass slower moving vehicles. The far right lane is used for slower traffic, such as large trucks, cars, or vehicles towing something else.
4. Turning lanes - These lanes can be either for a left hand or right hand turn. A left turn lane is usually the lane closest to the center divider. There can be more than one designated lane for turning. A left turn, unlike a right turn, can never be made against a red light. When preparing for a left turn, make sure to slow down and signal at least 100 feet from the corner. When making your turn, do not turn too soon and cut the corner of the lane facing oncoming traffic. Remember, a left turn can be made into any lane that is safe, unless otherwise marked. However, the closest available is usually the safest. A right turn should be made from the furthest right lane closest to the sidewalk. When preparing to make a right turn, slow down and signal at least 100 feet before the corner. When moving over into the right lane, make sure to look for bicyclists in the lane, as well as parked cars or pedestrians. A right turn must be completed into the furthest most right hand lane. A wide right turn into the middle or left lanes is often dangerous and should not be attempted.
Lines on the Road
White lines - White lines painted on the pavement indicate traffic flowing in the same direction as your vehicle (i.e., one-way streets).
Yellow lines - Yellow lines painted on the center of a two-way roadway divide traffic going in opposing directions. Two solid yellow lines next to each other indicate passing is not permitted at any time. A broken yellow line indicates passing is legal when it is safe and not posted otherwise. When a broken yellow line and a solid yellow line are next to each other, you may only pass if the broken line is closest to your vehicle.
Never drive to the left of yellow lines except:
When the right side of the road is blocked or closed. If this occurs, you must then watch for oncoming traffic as they will have the right-of-way. You must also signal when crossing over the yellow line.
When turning left at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
When driving in car pool lanes. Some car pool lanes have designated entrance and exit areas and require driving to the left of the yellow lines.
Two sets of double yellow lines indicate "no passing or turning" and function as a barrier. These double sets of lines should never be crossed or entered under any circumstances. You must wait for the divided road to end before making any type of turn.
Passing can be done over a broken yellow or white line. You must always signal before passing and look to make sure there are no other vehicles in your way that may have the right-of-way. A solid white line will indicate extra caution is required, and a solid yellow line means "NO PASSING" is allowed.
Bicycle Lanes
Bicycle lanes are solid white lines four feet from the curb and can be on either side of the street. The words "BICYCLE LANE" are always painted on the pavement at regular intervals to let people know that it is intended for bicycle use. You may not drive in this lane unless you are preparing to make a right turn at a corner or at an entrance to a driveway. The only exception for driving in the bicycle lane is if you are parking, assuming there are no "NO PARKING" signs around. When preparing to make a right turn, you may not drive in the bicycle lane for more than 200 feet. NOTE: Pedestrians are only allowed to use bicycle lanes when there are no sidewalks.
Car Pool Lanes
Car pool lanes are designated a specific usage lane type. These lanes are normally found on freeways or large highways. Using a car pool lane requires a minimum of two or three people in a vehicle as noted on the signs, or a special decal from the DMV on the vehicle identifying it as a low emission or hybrid vehicle rated at 45 mpg or higher. These lanes normally have faster traffic flow during rush hours and during peak traffic times. Car pool lanes benefit people who ride share while reducing the amount of cars on the road, saving fuel, protecting the environment, and making for a more enjoyable commute. These lanes are usually marked by a white diamond as well as the words "CAR POOL LANE" painted on the pavement. You will also see signs that indicate car pool lanes or signs and an indication whether two or three people are required (including the driver). Car pool lanes are separated from the rest of the road by double solid yellow lines which should not be crossed to enter or exit the lane. You may only enter and exit at the designated areas on the road. SPECIAL NOTE: A diamond may also represent a lane designated especially for buses. Signs will indicate if the lane is only for buses.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES - During certain times, lanes that are designated for a specific use may be switched. Circumstances resulting in such changes include construction, a collision, heavy traffic, a sporting event, or a large gathering. These changes are normally marked clearly with cones and/or signs. Always follow the cones or signs until it instructs you differently. These instances may even allow you to drive for long distances on the opposite side of the road.
Things to know about carpool lanes:
Posted speed limits do apply to the carpool lane.
Check posted signs for the required number of riders. Most carpool lanes require only two passengers, but a few require three. If you have a low emission or hybrid vehicle and have the special decal displayed on your vehicle, this does not apply.
A child does count as a carpooler.
Only enter or exit carpool lanes at designated points. These areas are indicated by a white line in place of the double yellow line. Signs are normally posted indicating what freeway off-ramps are served by a carpool lane exit. It's unlawful and extremely dangerous to cross the double yellow line of a carpool lane.
The fine for a first carpool lane violation is $271.
On the average freeway, the carpool lane carries 16% of the vehicles and 27% of the people. Each regular lane carries 21% of the vehicles, but only 18% of the people on the entire freeway.
More than 500,000 people a day use carpool lanes in Los Angeles County.
Caltrans plans to more than double the number of carpool lane miles in Southern California in the next 20 years.
People who use them report an average time savings of 40 minutes a day, or more than a third of their total commute time.
There are now 970 lane miles of carpool lanes in Southern California.
Southern California leads the nation in carpool lanes--and also in carpooling. While every metropolitan area in the nation showed a drop in ridesharing, it held steady here.
Turn-Out Lanes
Turn-out lanes are special, designated lanes used by large or slow-moving vehicles. These lanes allow vehicles to pull over and allow other, faster moving traffic to pass. These lanes are normally very short, and they are very common on mountain roads, hills, one-lane highways, and other places where it is hard to pass. These lanes are indicated by signs that will also tell the distance until the lane begins. A slow-moving vehicle is one which is proceeding slower than the present flow of traffic. If a slow-moving vehicle has five or more vehicles behind it, it must pull over at the first turn-out and let the traffic pass.
Narrow Roadways and Mountain Driving
When driving on a narrow roadway which has a grade and where there is not enough room for two vehicles to pass, the driver going uphill has the right-of-way. The driver going downhill must back up until he is able to move over to let the other vehicle pass. When driving through canyons or mountain roads, if there is no center line, the driver should stay as far to the right as possible. When going into curves, if the road is narrow, you should use your horn to let other drivers know you are there.
Position of Vehicle in Lane of Travel
1. Keep your vehicle within your lane, as close to the center as possible.2. Use caution and reduce speed as indicated on narrow roads.3. If another vehicle is approaching in your lane, reduce speed, flash your lights, honk your horn, pull over, and stop when necessary. If possible, change lanes and do whatever is necessary to avoid a head-on collision.4. Never pass on the right.5. Do not pass slow-moving vehicles by crossing a solid line. Only pass when broken lines are present and safety allows.
Chapter 6Proper Up Techniques

Backing up is not always a safe maneuver, and it should be avoided when possible. How many times have you had close calls with other vehicles while backing out of a parking place in a parking lot? Probably countless times. You must be looking out for oncoming cars as well as other cars backing out of parking spaces. Below are suggested steps you should take to make backing up as safe as possible.
1. The first thing you should do before you get into your vehicle is to look around your vehicle, particularly the rear. Make sure there are no children or animals sitting or playing around or behind the vehicle. Also, look around and under all the tires, making sure there are no small objects such as rocks, glass, bottles, nails, or any objects that may cause a flat tire or blow-out. Simply checking your mirrors and looking behind you after you get into the vehicle will not tell you if there is something on the ground behind you. You need to be more alert!
2. When you are in your car, face your body forward and turn your head over your right shoulder. Turning in this direction will give you the best view of what is going on behind you. Looking over your left shoulder is not proper technique and will give you a very limited view. Continue to look over your right shoulder while backing up. Release your foot from the brake pedal slowly and gently accelerate.
3. Periodically check your backup lights, making sure they are in good working order. These lights let other vehicles and pedestrians know of your intention to back up.
4. Always signal when you must back up to parallel park. This will stop other vehicles from getting too close and blocking your parking space or possibly hitting you. If for any reason your view is blocked, use your mirrors in addition to your passengers to help you navigate while backing up. Whenever possible, avoid parking spaces where you must back up. Look for spaces that do not require backing.
5. It is unwise and unsafe to back around a corner or a sharp turn. You cannot see what is around the corner, and any oncoming vehicles cannot see you either. The law states that you may not back a vehicle unless such movement can be made with reasonable safety. Backing around a corner where you cannot see would not be reasonably safe, so you should not attempt this maneuver.
Be sure other traffic can see you! This is most important when reversing out of a parking space. The two white lights at the rear should light up when the reverse gear is engaged. More basic reversing rules:
Never drive fast or over long distances in reverse.
Give way to all traffic when driving in reverse.
Don't focus on the curb or other obstacles.
Look and aim for an object in the distance.
Use side mirrors only when there is no view.
Look through the rear-view mirror if you can’t physically turn around.
Don’t over-correct. In reverse, the car changes direction rapidly with just a slight move on the wheel.

Reversing a trailer (or caravan): Place your right hand at the six o’clock position of the steering wheel. Reverse slowly and, while looking into the side mirrors, turn the steering wheel into the direction where you would like the trailer to go. As mentioned before, don’t over-correct, because a slight turn of the wheel will change the direction considerably. The shorter the trailer, the harder it is to reverse.
Chapter 7Turns and Intersections
An intersection is any place on a roadway where two or more streets come together. There are two different types of intersections; they are either "controlled" or "uncontrolled."
Controlled Intersection - A controlled intersection is one that is governed by either traffic signals or stop signs. At a controlled intersection, a driver must observe and follow what the signal or sign says. When you come to an intersection controlled by a traffic signal, you will have three different options dictated by three distinctly colored lights. The green light tells you that you have the right-of-way and may proceed through the intersection with presumed safety.
The red light tells you to stop. If you come to an intersection, and the light facing you is red, you must come to a complete stop behind the crosswalk line. You must wait behind the line until the light turns green and the intersection is clear.
The yellow light means caution. It warns you that the light will soon turn red. The time that a light stays yellow varies at all intersections, so you should never try to beat the light before it turns red. When you come up to an intersection just as the light turns yellow, if your tires are across the crosswalk line, you should proceed. If you have not yet come to the crosswalk, you should stop. In all intersections, you want to be sure it is safe and clear before you try to cross. If you get stuck in the middle of an intersection when a light turns red, you can get a gridlock ticket for impeding or blocking the flow of traffic.
The second type of controlled intersections are ones regulated by stop signs, which can either be four-way or two-way stops. At an intersection controlled by an all-way stop sign, the driver that comes to the intersection first has the right-of-way. If two drivers arrive at the same time, the driver to the right will have the right-of-way.
Uncontrolled Intersection - An uncontrolled intersection is not controlled by a signal or a sign. These types of intersections should be crossed very carefully. Drivers should always slow down when coming close to an uncontrolled intersection so they can yield to any traffic already in that intersection. At an uncontrolled intersection, if two vehicles arrive at the same time, it should be treated the same as a controlled intersection with a stop sign. The vehicle to the right will have the right-of-way. At an uncontrolled "T" intersection, the vehicles driving on the through road have the right-of-way. The vehicle on the street that is ending must yield to other vehicles.
Whenever you approach an intersection, whether it be controlled or uncontrolled, you must scan the road for hazards. Always check for other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, animals, or any other obstructions that may impede your flow through the intersection. Use extra caution and slow down whenever going through intersections near a church, school, park, or hospital.
There are eight steps to making a good turn.
1. Make up your mind before you get to the turning point. Never make a “last-minute” turn—it is too dangerous.2. Scan the road for hazards and be cautious of other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals.3. Look behind and to both sides to see where other vehicles may be before you change lanes.4. Move into the proper lane as soon as possible. The faster the traffic is moving, the sooner you should move into the proper lane. If you cannot get into the proper lane within at least a half block before your turn, you should not attempt to make the turn. Simply continue straight ahead.5. Give the proper turn signal at least 100 ft. before you make your turn. If using a hand signal, hold it until you are close enough to the intersection for others to know what your intention is. Do not hold the signal while making the turn—you need both hands on the steering wheel.6. Slow down to a reasonable turning speed. Do not use the brake or clutch while actually turning.7. Make the turn correctly. This will be easy if you are in the proper lane and proceed slowly enough at the time you begin to turn.8. Finish the turn in the proper lane.
When making a turn, you must be able to judge three very important things:
1. The total time it will take to complete the maneuver.2. The speed of any oncoming vehicles.3. The distance of any oncoming vehicles.
After judging these three things, you should be able to choose a traffic gap before crossing traffic safely.
The following are a few safety tips for when you are approaching an intersection:
Maintain a safe distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Rear-end collisions are very common in and near intersections.
Watch for other vehicles changing lanes quickly. Sideswipe collisions are common around intersections. Stay out of other drivers’ "blind spots," the areas where other drivers can't see you in the rear- and side-view mirrors.
Look for caution signs warning you of special circumstances at intersections such as turn restrictions, pedestrian crossings, or construction. Signs get knocked down, so beware of the drivers in front of you.
Enter the correct lane for your intended action well in advance of reaching the intersection. Be sure to signal before changing lanes.
Be aware of brake lights or turn signals beyond the vehicle ahead of you. Anticipate when others will slow down.
Look for pedestrians in every direction before making a turn at an intersection. Also, keep an eye out for cyclists going straight through the intersection, either on your right or on the sidewalk.
Try to avoid all distractions when approaching an intersection, such as tuning the radio, dialing on your cell phone, or adjusting the vehicle’s controls. Not paying attention to the road is a common cause of intersection collisions.
Do not tailgate. You never know when the person ahead of you may turn or stop without warning when approaching an intersection. Tailgating behind large trucks is especially dangerous. You cannot see around them, nor can you see traffic signals ahead. You may end up entering an intersection during a red light.
The following are a few safety tips to consider as you go through an intersection:
Never change lanes while driving through an intersection. If you are not in the correct lane before entering the intersection, change lanes after you have cleared the intersection.
Never enter an intersection if traffic is stopped on the other side. You may get stuck in the middle of the intersection if the traffic doesn't move.
When stopping before an intersection, be sure to do so behind the marked stop line or crosswalk. Keep your foot firmly on the brake until you are ready to cross the intersection.
Watch for cross-traffic. Running a red light is the leading cause of intersection crashes.
If you come to a broken traffic signal, treat the intersection as an “all-way stop.”
Be alert to traffic from the opposite direction turning across your lane in an intersection. Even though you may have the right-of-way, some intersections allow left turns without a green arrow
Running Red Lights:
In 2000, 106,000 crashes, 89,000 injuries, and about 1,036 deaths were attributed to red light running.
Between 1992 and 1998, 956 Californians died as a result of red light running collisions.
More than half of these deaths were pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who were hit by the red light runners.Between 1992 and 1998, there were over 1.5 million injuries caused by red light running collisions nationwide.
Turning Into The Proper Lane
When making a left turn from a two-way street, you must turn from the lane closest to the center dividing lines. You may complete the turn into either of the lanes onto which you are turning, as long as it is safe (as shown in the diagram above, the red and yellow vehicles labeled #1).When making a right turn from a two-way street onto another two-way street, you must start your turn in the lane closest to the right-hand curb. The turn must then be completed into the lane closest to the right-hand curb (as shown in the diagram above, the blue vehicle labeled #2).
How to make a right turn:
1. Signal for a lane change well ahead of the turning point (approximately 200-300 feet), and check the road prior to turning. When it is safe, move your vehicle to the far right lane, flashing your brake lights to warn other drivers of your plan to change lanes and turn.
2. Check all signals and road signs, and start slowing down at least 100 ft. from the corner of the intersection.
3. Look both ways before starting to turn.
4. Keep as close as possible to the right edge of the road (within 3-5 feet from the curb). Turn using both hands on the wheel using the hand-over-hand method while checking the traffic flow.
5. If you are at a stop sign or red signal, stop prior to the crosswalk before continuing with your turn.
How to make a left turn:
1. Signal for a lane change well ahead of the turning point, and when it is safe, move close to the center dividing lane line(s).
2. Start slowing down at least 100 ft. from the corner of the intersection.
3. Look right and left before starting to turn, and be aware of all signals and signs. Stay to the right of the center lane line(s) as you enter the intersection. Yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
4. Complete the turn to the right of the center line of the road into which you are turning by entering the lane which will interfere the least with other traffic.
When you are turning left from a one-way street, turn from the left lane. If you are turning left into a one-way street, enter that street in the lane where you will not interfere with traffic already on the street.
Making a Left Turn Into and Out of a Center Lane
The center left turn lane is a two-way lane that can be used by traffic in either direction to make or prepare for a left turn or U-turn from or into a roadway only. Vehicles coming out of a driveway may drive across this lane as well. A center left turn lane is marked by double parallel yellow lines, with broken interior lines and solid exterior lines. You may travel in this lane for up to 200 feet, but it is not for passing. When turning left from a side street, driveway, or signal, wait until it is safe, then drive into the center left turn lane. You do not want to block any traffic, so be sure the center lane is open and that you will not obstruct oncoming traffic. You must first pull into the center lane; when you are safely in the center lane, put your right turn signal on and proceed into the correct lane (as shown by the dotted line above).U-turns
A U-turn is legal in the middle of a block only in a residential district, and there must not be any vehicles approaching within 200 feet from either direction. In a business district, including areas with apartments, churches, and schools, or an area where more than 50% of the dwellings are businesses, the U-turn would be illegal. It is also illegal to make a U-turn in front of a fire station. A U-turn is legal at all times in an intersection unless a “NO U-TURN” sign is posted. Remember, a U-turn is dangerous, and special attention must be given to vehicle positioning, turning radius, oncoming vehicles, and the width of the roadway.
Chapter 8
Proper Techniques in Passing
Passing another vehicle is a common maneuver on our roads today, but it is an extremely dangerous one. Passing safely requires good judgment, quick decision-making skills and excellent visibility. You must know not only the surrounding conditions, but also your own car's abilities to pass and recover safely.Good judgment of all the factors that influence and affect passing is required. These include the speed of the cars being passed, the speed and distance of any oncoming vehicles, and the conditions of the roads. Rapid decision-making is crucial. In addition, you must know if it is legal to pass on that road.
The law prohibits passing in these situations:
1. In a "no passing" zone.
2. On a hill, curve, or any place where vision is limited.
3. Within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad crossing.
4. Within 100 feet of or on a bridge, viaduct, or going through a tunnel.
5. When a school bus has its red flashing lights on. You may not pass the bus until the lights are turned off.
6. When the car ahead of you is driving the speed limit.
7. When there is a long line of cars ahead of you. You may not pass more than one vehicle at a time.
8. If any oncoming vehicle is too close.
9. When you know the car in front of you intends to stop or make a turn.
You should always stay to the right half of the road except:
1. When passing another vehicle on a two or three lane street.
2. When driving on a one-way street.
3. When the right half of the street is blocked.
Never drive on the left half of the road when there are two or more lanes of traffic in each direction. You may also never cross over a double yellow line or a solid yellow line on your side of the roadway to make a pass.
There are many steps necessary to successfully pass another vehicle, which include:
1. Scan the road for hazards, and make sure there are no oncoming cars or vehicles approaching from the rear. You must also look out for other vehicles merging from freeway on-ramps, other lanes, or driveways and alleys.
2. If you have poor traction due to rain, snow, ice or bad pavement, you will need extra space in order to pass safely.
3. Look over your shoulder, and check any blind spots that you may have in the rear corners of your car.
4. Turn your signal on to warn other drivers of your intention to change lanes.
5. Tap your horn lightly, when necessary, to avoid surprising the driver ahead of you.
6. Accelerate to obtain a speed advantage over the car you are about to pass.
7. Re-check the road conditions ahead and make sure there are no oncoming vehicles.
8. Create return space. You should leave at least a two-second gap between yourself and the vehicle behind you.
9. Signal your intent to return to the initial traffic lane.
10. Look over your shoulder to check your blind spot.
11. Return to your lane and create space for the vehicle you passed.
The law requires a driver to yield when being passed by another vehicle. Never get angry that you are being passed. Maintain your current speed and do not accelerate. You may need to brake gently to allow the passing vehicle more room to return. If a passing driver decides there is not enough room to pass and tries to re-enter, speed up to allow more room for that vehicle to return. If you see another driver attempting to pass you, look for an out and check if there is room for you to veer to the right in an emergency, if needed.
California Vehicle Code, Section 22454, School Bus: Meeting and Passing
(a) The driver of any vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any school bus equipped with signs as required in this code, that is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading any school children and displays a flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 25257, if equipped with a stop signal arm, visible from front or rear, shall bring the vehicle to a stop immediately before passing the school bus and shall not proceed past the school bus until the flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, if equipped with a stop signal arm, cease operation.
(b) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways or a multiple-lane highway need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is upon the other roadway.
The fine for passing a school bus, if it is your first conviction, will be $150 to $250. However, if you do it a second time, you will have to pay a fine from $500 to $1,000. A third conviction will result in the suspension of your driver’s license for one year.
Safely Passing Trucks
Remember that trucks have large blind spots; pass from where the driver can see you, not from directly behind the truck. This is particularly important at night and in bad weather. Never pass on the right, because the blind spot is even larger on that side.
Make sure it's safe to pass. If you're not sure, don't pass. Remember, the longer the truck is, the more distance you need to pass. Depending on trailer length - from 40 to 53 feet - the entire truck may be more than 70 feet long. You may not be able to tell how long the truck is from behind. Don't pass unless you're absolutely sure there is enough room.
When you're sure it's safe, signal, move into the passing lane, and pass promptly (but safely). Stay as far to the left as is safe. This helps reduce the effect of air turbulence on your vehicle, and gives you a margin of safety if the truck moves outside of its lane while you pass.
Don't linger in the passing lane beside the truck. When you can see the entire front of the truck in your rear-view mirror, move back into the right-hand lane without slowing down. That lets you know that you're a safe distance from the truck.
Bad weather is a bad time to pass large trucks. The combination of splash and spray, air turbulence, slick road surfaces, and poor visibility increases the chance of a collision.

When passing a cyclist, wait until its safe, allow adequate clearance (usually about three feet), and return to your lane when you can clearly see the cyclist in your rearview mirror. Do not use you horn. Do not attempt to share the lane with the cyclist. Reduce your speed, follow the bicycle, and wait for a safe opportunity to pass.
Safe passing of bicycles requires special consideration:
Aerodynamic effects from winds off large vehicles can cause a bicycle to be suddenly pulled toward the larger vehicle by two or three feet, depending on the relative speed between the two vehicles.
Always allow at least three feet to the left of the bicycle when you are passing.
DO NOT attempt to share the lane with the bicycle when passing. Reduce your speed and move into the next or oncoming lane to pass. If there is oncoming traffic, continue to slow down and follow the bicycle until oncoming traffic clears.
NOTE: Passing another vehicle is a dangerous maneuver and should be avoided whenever possible.
Chapter 9Driving in the City
When you drive in the city, you are exposed to more sights, sounds and stimulation. There are pedestrians, pets, driveways, and lots of city noise. Below are a few pointers that will help you adapt to city driving.
Reduce Speed - Reducing speed will allow you the extra time necessary to check out the details of the road conditions ahead and to identify their meanings. You have more time to analyze what is ahead and to predict what might happen. It allows for more reaction time and gives time to execute decisions or take action to avoid dangerous circumstances.
Look Ahead of Traffic - Looking ahead for traffic hazards or conditions will help you to assess the best way to handle a situation. Leave enough distance between yourself and the car ahead so you can maneuver away from any sudden stops or swerves. Keep a lookout for traffic signals and anticipate signal changes. Be cautious of "stale green lights" or those that have been green for a while. Chances are these lights will turn red soon, so don't be caught off-guard.
Covering the Brake - Not Riding It! - Cover your brakes by keeping or pivoting your right foot over the brake pedal. Especially sensitive areas include when driving next to parked cars. Also, be prepared to stop when you see brake lights in front of you or when approaching intersections or traffic signals. Riding the brakes, not covering the brakes, is never recommended...EVER! When other drivers witness your brake lights, they will also hit their brakes. If your lights are on continuously, no one will ever be sure of your intentions.
City Passing - You may not cross the lane dividing lines separating you from opposing traffic. It is not advisable to pass another vehicle near or in an intersection. You may pass only when in the proper lane of travel and only when safe to do so.
Which Lane to Choose - Unless you plan to turn, choose the least congested lane in which to travel. Always use the appropriate lane for turns (i.e., left turn lane). If you are going straight, try to choose the center lane, if multiple lanes are available.
Positioning your Vehicle - In order to keep up with the flow of traffic, you must observe the posted speed limit. Going too fast or slow may be hazardous, and try to never travel in other drivers’ BLIND SPOTS. You should also avoid driving next to drivers who may not be able to see you (in their blind spots). In other words, avoid side-by-side driving, and try to avoid driving in packs of cars.
Choose a Safe Route - Most people are aware that during certain times of the day traffic is worse than at other times (i.e., rush hour). If you have options, plan on driving into the city when traffic is less congested. Main streets are usually the most congested, so familiarize yourself with additional side streets or alternative roads. Cities also have many one-way streets, so be sure to follow the signs which indicate traffic direction.

Special Problems - Parked cars that block cross traffic and pedestrians require extra attention. Pedestrians are supposed to use crosswalks, but they don't always do so. Be prepared for the occasional "jaywalker," and never proceed until the pedestrian has crossed the street. Remember, anything can happen, and you do not want to risk hitting a pedestrian. Many roadways in city driving have two-way left turn center lanes. They are indicated by double yellow lines, one solid and one broken, on both sides of the road. The area between these two sets of double yellows is used to make left turns. You may only enter the center lane 200 feet before your turn. This lane is not to be used to drive in or pass other vehicles.

One-Way Streets - One-way streets are most commonly found in the city. These streets are designed to move traffic faster with less conflicts. Here are a few ways to identify a one-way street:
Look for signs near intersections. These may say "ONE WAY," "DO NOT ENTER," "LEFT TURN PROHIBITED," or "RIGHT TURN PROHIBITED."
You may see parked cars on both sides of the road facing the same direction.
Stop signs, signals, and information signs on both sides of the road are facing the same direction.
All lane marking lines are white.
When entering a one-way street from a left turn, you should always turn sharply into the left lane. When turning right onto a one-way street, turn into the right lane. After making the turn, you should choose the most appropriate lane of travel. If you plan on turning soon, get into the appropriate left or right lane. If you plan on traveling straight for some distance, choose the center lane if one is available, as it normally is the safest. The center lane is away from parked cars that may pull out, as well as away from cars entering and exiting the street.
While driving on one-way streets, be sure to observe posted speed limit signs as well as signs that tell you to merge. One-way streets commonly become two-way streets, and you will be required to merge to the right. Another thing to be aware of on one-way streets is wrong way drivers. If you notice a vehicle heading towards you in the wrong direction on a one-way street, reduce speed, move to the far right, and use your horn and flash your lights to let that driver know he or she is going the wrong way.
Detours - Detours are common due to construction or maintenance work on the roads. Follow signs as indicated and observe reduced speed limit signs. Be aware that traffic fines can be doubled in these areas, and that delays often occur. Be patient!
Tips for driving in work zones - Follow the instructions on the road work zone warning signs and those given by flaggers!
- Watch the traffic around you and be prepared to react to what others do. Check the taillights/brake lights of vehicles ahead of you for indications of what they are doing.
- Be prepared to slow down or stop.
- Merge into the proper lane well before you reach the work zone.
- Follow other vehicles at a safe distance.
- Avoid road work zones altogether by using alternative routes when you can. If you know you can't avoid them, there are a few things you can do to make your travels through the work zones safer.
1. Allow extra time for your trip.
2. Travel during non-peak traffic hours.
3. Share a ride or car pool to reduce congestion in the work zones.
Article from the Oakland TribuneJune 8th, 2002Doing a Very Dangerous JobTHINK about Jim Bridges today. Think about him when you pull alongside the orange construction cones and crank up the car radio and flip open your cell phone. Think about him when you're just starting to fume and you know you'll be late and the only thing standing between you and the rest of your day is this work crew in bright orange vests. It's a good week to think about James Thomas Bridges Jr., a funny, 32-year-old Carmichael man with a wife and five boys who called him Dad. Bridges was buried Wednesday after being struck May 14 in a Sacramento "cone zone" by a suspected drunken driver -- another casualty among the ranks of roadside construction workers. The carnage -- for motorists, for workers -- is appalling. And it's only getting worse. A record 1,093 people died in crashes in highway work zones nationwide in 2000, up from 872 the previous year. The upward trend persists in California, where highway work zone deaths hit a record 121 in 2000, the most recent year available from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. With freeway and other road work booming in the state, the California Department of Transportation recently launched a $3.5 million ad campaign warning motorists to use care in the "cone zone." On May 3, 11 days before Bridges was hit in Sacramento, a night-shift construction worker gathering cones along Interstate 680 near Dublin was struck by two vehicles and killed. He was 31. Bridges was working a night shift, too, as a foreman for Cal Sierra Construction of Carmichael -- a company he had joined four years earlier, working his way up. Sometime around 11 p.m., Bridges phoned his wife, Stephanie, who was home watching a television movie. He told her he loved her, then chatted with his beloved 3-year-old, J.T., a little boy he affectionately called "Buddy." A half-hour later, as Bridges picked up cones around the site, he was struck by a car whose 23-year-old driver is suspected of driving drunk. When she appears in court June 18, Tanzania J. Jackson faces possible felony vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving with injury charges, and up to four years in state prison. Jim Bridges lived for 12 more days at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, where family, friends and co-workers kept constant vigil. With severe head injuries, he never regained consciousness. It was at the hospital that Bridges' only sister, Donna Patterson of Paradise, began to hear of the daily perils these workers face: motorists swerving at cones, intentionally knocking them over. Workers pelted with eggs and beer bottles -- sped by, flipped off, cussed at and cursed. Recently, a Cal Sierra crew working in the Bay Area was caught in gunfire. "Nobody puts a face to these guys and women on the side of the road," said Patterson, who grew up with her brother in Roseville and always called him "Broby." "They just see them as those people with a vest." Never mind that "those people" are making our lives easier. We're too busy fuming. "It's very crazy out there at night -- and day, too. I don't want to call it a war zone, but I guess you could," said Bridges' boss, Dave Garten, a close family friend devastated by the loss. Jim Bridges was memorialized Wednesday, his ashes buried. He leaves five children, including three older boys at home by Stephanie's previous marriage. Bridges' other son, 7, lives in Oregon with his mother. And now 3-year-old J.T. grapples with a very large concept. The night after his father's death, his mother took the little boy outside, pointed to the sky and told him to pick a star.THAT, she explained, was Daddy. "He goes out there every night now and yells to him, as long as he can, "I love you Daddy!" So think about Jim Bridges today. Think about all men and women in the orange vests who aren't so faceless after all.Marjie Lundstrom writes for the Sacramento Bee.
Update: According to NHTSA, 1,068 people were killed in work zones in 2004, up from the 1,028 who died in 2003. 109 people in California were killed in work zones, which is unchanged from 109 the previous year. Help reduce this figure by keeping an eye out for construction workers.
Emergency Vehicles - Police, fire, and ambulances have the right-of-way whenever their lights or sirens are active. Locate the source, and as you reduce speed, pull to the right and stop until the emergency vehicle has completely passed. If stopped at a red light, and an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind, do not move unless specifically instructed to do so. The emergency vehicles will go around you.
Chapter 10Driving on the Freeways
The freeway and highway systems require certain driving skills. Increased speed, sudden slowing or stopping, and frequent lane changes (including merging) are inherent risks when driving on a freeway. Perception, reaction, and stopping distances are increased as a result. Below are a few simple things you can do to compensate for the demands of freeway driving.
Plan your Route in Advance - Give yourself a little extra time in order to deal with unexpected situations such as construction, wrecks or heavy traffic. Don't speed just to make up for lost time. Statistically, speeding over the length of a drive (about 20-30 miles) only gains two to four minutes versus traveling the speed limit. Is it worth receiving a ticket or being involved in a collision for just a few minutes saved?
Follow the Guide Signs - These signs indicate distances, route direction, and names of off-ramp exits. By paying attention to these signs, you will be able to safely maneuver into the appropriate lane with advance notice to others. Avoiding any surprises before your exit is vital, so remember to always use your turn signals.
Familiarize Yourself - Become familiar with alternate exits or side streets. Just in case the unexpected occurs, have a back-up plan or route ready.
Entering the Freeway - Upon entering the freeway, try to pick a space in traffic and increase your speed to match that of the traffic flow when possible. Use mirrors and visual checks to ensure safety. Though rare, this becomes more critical on left lane merge ramps. Remember to always yield when merging onto the freeway. Freeway drivers do HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY, but this does not give one the right to speed up when another driver is attempting to enter. The acceleration lane is an extra lane that permits a vehicle to reach freeway speeds. Some tips for safe freeway driving include:
· Be aware of entrance signs that warn of merging traffic, yield requirements, speed limits, or curves.
· Observe ramp speed limit.
· Check the current flow of traffic.
· Stay alert. Watch the vehicle in front for sudden stops (brake lights and no movement usually indicate there is a problem and to slow down or stop).
· Find a gap in traffic.
· Adjust your speed for merging smoothly onto freeway "through" lanes.
· Always signal until you have merged onto the freeway safely.
Some common mistakes when entering a freeway from the acceleration lane include sudden slowing or stopping and merging too slowly. These can cause collisions or more likely will irritate other drivers. Once you are in the acceleration lane, be prepared to match the speed of traffic.
Sometimes you may come across freeway on-ramps with no acceleration lane. Obey the yield or merge signs, and use your signal to notify others of your intent to merge. Wait for a longer gap in traffic, and accelerate quickly to gain the speed necessary to merge smoothly.
Special Situations for Freeway Driving - During certain times of the day, particularly peak or rush hour, there may be special situations you will encounter. For example:
Timed entrance lights are active at certain peak hours. Sometimes only one or two vehicles may proceed per green light.
Double merge lanes exist when two lanes converge into one acceleration lane. Normally, cars are staggered by a timed entrance light. If no light is active, drivers must merge when it is their turn. Diamond lanes may also be present for cars containing multiple occupants
Many people have a difficult time merging. The way to merge is actually an easy concept...the right side moves in first and then the left.
Diamond lanes are also known as carpool lanes or high occupancy vehicle lanes. Two or more human occupants must be in the vehicle. This lane may allow these vehicles to yield to freeway traffic without stopping.
Exiting the Freeway - Once you are traveling on the freeway, the proper way to get off is via an exit ramp. The upcoming ramp, the distance to it, and its direction are normally posted well in advance. For example, "TOPANGA CANYON BLVD. 1/2 MILE" indicates that Topanga Blvd. is approaching and the exit is 1/2 mile away. Most exits are on the right side of the freeway, but can sometimes be on the left as well. Scan ahead (12 seconds or 1/4 mile) for signs that indicate your desired exit. While checking your mirrors and turning your head as necessary, turn on the appropriate turn signal and merge into the exit lane when safe.
You may sometimes miss the desired exit. Heavy traffic, unfamiliar surroundings, and even distractions may contribute to this. Stay calm...don't panic. Just continue driving to the next available exit ramp and then exit. Go back onto the freeway, and exit on the off ramp you missed. Never back up on a freeway! The other drivers will be going by you at extremely high speeds. Also, never cut across one or more lanes just to make the exit. It is obviously illegal to cut through the grass or to drive over a dividing median or gore area just to make an off ramp.
Exit Lanes - An exit deceleration lane is a lane that allows you to decelerate in order to leave the freeway. These end with either a stop sign or light. Speed must be drastically reduced. This promotes safety, without endangering traffic to the rear. If a yield sign is present in this situation, merge into traffic only when safe. Don't forget that speed limits are reduced in this situation - PAY ATTENTION! Special care needs to be taken when using curved exit ramps, as these ramps are not designed for freeway speed. Observe the speed limit signs so you don't crash while on the curve.
Multiple Deceleration Lanes - Sometimes exit ramps end in multiple deceleration lanes which may be two, three, or even four lanes wide. The purpose is to stagger traffic and to allow drivers the choice to go straight, right, or left. Signs normally designate which lane a driver may turn into or proceed. For example, a sign with a right turn arrow means you may make a right turn when it is safe. You cannot make a left turn or go straight from this lane. Once you've safely maneuvered into the exit lane, you must reduce speed accordingly. Posted speed limit signs indicate the recommended safe exit speed. Gradually decelerate and gently use the brakes as needed.
Choosing Lanes of Travel - Freeways can have two or more lanes of travel. On a two-lane freeway, the right lane, or the #2 lane, is used by slower traffic and for entering or exiting the freeway. The left lane, or #1 lane, is supposed to be used for faster traffic and passing (it is never legal to exceed the speed limit in order to pass another vehicle - no exceptions!). On freeways with three or more lanes, the #2 lane is again for slower traffic and preparation for lane entering and exiting, while the left lane (the fast lane) is for faster traffic. The center lane is often safest because there is less activity and the speeds are not as high as the fast or #1 lane.Lane Changes when Approaching Interchanges - When two or more freeways converge, this becomes an interchange. There will be merging lanes available. Caution is a must! Use your resources such as mirrors and signals to change to another lane to avoid the interchange, unless of course that is where you intend to travel.
Speed Limits - Posted speed limits indicate the legal speed allowed during ideal conditions. A sign posting 55 mph on a sunny day normally allows for 55 mph, but in a less ideal situation (such as rain, snow, or ice), speed may have to be decreased to less than the posted limit.
Making a Safe Lane Change - Higher speeds on freeways make it more difficult to make safe lane changes. The first step is to check for ample space to make your lane change. Next, look ahead of you in both the lane you are traveling in and the lane you want to change into. Check for spacing, hazards, and the speed of the approaching cars. Then do the same procedure in the rear, checking for hazards, speed, and spacing in the lane you are in as well as the lane you will be changing into. To check behind you, use both your rear view mirrors and your side mirrors. After checking your mirrors, turn your head and look around your blind spots, and make sure there are no cars in the lane you are going into. Signal your intent to change lanes, and re-check ahead and behind, using all your mirrors to make sure nothing has changed. Then accelerate slightly and change lanes when there is a safe opening. Change lanes only one lane at a time. Try to avoid slowing down or stopping when making a lane change, as this could create a hazard for other drivers.
Spacing and Scanning - Extra space and scanning further ahead is important with the high volume of cars and the faster speeds on the freeway. The two-second minimum spacing cushion necessary on most roadways should be increased to three seconds when on a freeway. In addition, you should leave spaces on all sides of your vehicle. Do not drive in clusters or groups. You want to leave yourself an out in case of an emergency. When driving on freeways at 55 mph, you should scan the entire width of the roadway 12 to 15 seconds (1/4 mile) ahead.
Freeway Emergencies - Freeway emergencies are common occurrences. They range from the sudden appearance of an object in your lane to a ten car pile up and an unexpected traffic jam. When these emergencies arise, you normally have two options: to stop, or to steer around. If you are unable to drive over an object, you want to reduce speed quickly. Check your mirrors and your blind spots to see if there is an open lane, and steer around the object. If it becomes impossible to maneuver around the object, you will have to stop. The first thing you should do is tap your brakes, which will warn other drivers behind you. Then apply your brakes firmly, and try to leave a good amount of space between your vehicle and the object to decrease the possibility of the driver behind you rear-ending you. When you have come to a stop, turn your hazard lights on to let other drivers know of the hazard. If you stop, park or leave your vehicle on the freeway for any reason, be aware that it may be removed if it remains there for more than four hours.
Breakdowns - If a breakdown occurs on the freeway, the first thing you want to do is control your vehicle and take the safest path to the shoulder. While changing lanes, follow the same rules as before. Be sure to signal and move over just one lane at a time. When you get to the shoulder, be sure to pull as far off the freeway as possible, and park parallel to the freeway. When you are safely off the freeway, turn your hazard lights on. From this point on, you will have to make a decision based on the present circumstances. If you have flares or warning devices, and if you are certain it is safe to do so, place them behind the vehicle on the shoulder at distances of 300 feet and 500 feet. Otherwise stay inside with your seat belt on and wait for the police. Your safety must come first.
Special Freeway Problems - When driving on a freeway for an extended length of time, two problems could arise: velocitation and highway hypnosis. Unknowingly accelerating while driving is known as velocitation. When driving at faster speeds for any length of time, your body will adjust and incorrectly feel as if the car is going slower than it actually is. The best way to avoid this problem is to check the speedometer often. Make sure that when exiting the freeway, you look at the ramp speed limit signs and drive accordingly. After you get off the freeway, checking your speed becomes more important. It takes time for your body and your vehicle to adjust to the slower speeds.
The second problem that might occur while driving for extended periods on the freeway is highway hypnosis. This occurs when you drive at a steady speed with no stopping or slowing for a long period of time. In addition to this steady speed, most freeway driving is dull, with not much to look at. These factors create a more relaxed person, which after some time makes that person less attentive to his or her surroundings. In some situations, drivers have even been known to fall asleep at the wheel. Here are some ways to avoid this drowsiness:
Avoid eating large meals before or during the trip.
Take breaks - rest at regular intervals.
Make sure the vehicle is cool and that there is proper ventilation.
Talk with yourself or other passengers.
Listen to the radio, and change the station every once in a while.
Change your seating posture from time to time.
Scan the entire width of the road more often than usual.
Toll Booths - Toll booths are an added danger on freeways and expressways. These booths collect a fee to travel on publicly owned roads or expressways. When approaching a toll booth, scan the road for signs that show the distance and the speed limit. You will need to decelerate as you get closer to the booth. As you approach, you will see signs that indicate designated lanes for special vehicles. You may see lanes for exact change, autos only, trucks only, trucks o.k., or many other possibilities. Try to find your lane and have your payment ready as soon as possible. Be aware of the vehicles around you as they may stop or change lanes suddenly.
Chapter 11Demands of Driving on an Open Highway
Driving on an open highway involves hazards that require special skills and awareness that are often not within the knowledge of the typical city driver. Visibility may be limited by tall trees, crops, bushes or ditch banks. Below are some examples of some things you may encounter:
1. Unmarked farm and field driveways - Be aware of slow-moving vehicles. Sometimes they come upon you very quickly, so you should manage your speed and avoid driving above the posted speed limit.
2. Livestock crossing areas - These areas are usually marked with signs. Slow down to maintain control of your vehicle and to ensure the safe crossing of farm animals. It is a traffic offense to scare horses or cause livestock to stampede by blowing your horn or doing any other inappropriate action.
3. Rough road conditions - Some rough roads may be paved, while some have gravel or sand. Harsh weather conditions can cause unexpected potholes. Be aware of dips and curves in the road, and watch out for warning indicators. Always remember to control your speed.
4. Unmarked shoulders - The lack of shoulder lines may give drivers the impression that the road is wider than it actually is. Be cautious around soft shoulders where the pavement ends and drop-offs begin.
5. Roadway stands and gas stations - These areas contribute to unexpected traffic entering and exiting the roadway. Always scan ahead so you can see possible hazards. Slow down when approaching curves where you cannot see what is coming up.
6. Slow-moving trucks or farm vehicles - These vehicles may be going much slower than the flow of traffic. Do not pass unless you are in a passing zone. Only pass when you can safely see far enough ahead to complete the maneuver. Make sure you have enough space to get around the vehicles. BE AWARE: Horse-drawn vehicles and riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with you.
7. Driving in high altitude - Driving in higher altitudes may promote overheating or vapor lock in your vehicle. Vapor lock occurs when the fuel in your vehicle vaporizes, causing the vehicle to appear as if it is out of gas. Letting the car cool down should take care of this problem. You may have to shift to lower gears to avoid putting too much stress on the engine. You should also downshift and gently ease on the brakes while going downhill. Extra water should be kept in the trunk just in case of overheating.
8. Driving on mountain or country roads - When driving in the mountains or on country roads, you must pay close attention to your speed as well as the posted speed limits. Speed limits may change suddenly as you move from one turn to the next. Other dangers are railroad crossings. These crossings commonly lack gates, signals, or the usual signs. You should look in both directions, make sure no train is coming, and then cross as quickly as possible. Be sure to obey any signs, signals or gates if provided. NEVER TRY TO BEAT A TRAIN.
9. Trucks and passenger vehicles - There are many differences between large trucks and small passenger vehicles. Trucks are typically for transporting goods or products, while passenger vehicles are usually designed for transporting people. Trucks are larger than cars, so they obviously weigh a great deal more (loaded or unloaded). Because of this weight difference, they require longer stopping distances, longer starting distances, and a larger buffer space between vehicles. A truck’s blind spots are larger than those of passenger vehicles, so a good rule to follow is that if you cannot see the truck driver in his side view mirror, he probably cannot see you either. Try to spend as little time as possible along the side of a truck. Trucks also need extra room to make turns, and their turns tend to be wider than that of a passenger car. You should avoid turning right on the inside of a truck that is also making a right turn. The truck normally needs two lanes to make any turn.
Tailgating, or following too closely, is always dangerous to do, but tailgating a truck is even worse. If you follow too closely behind a truck, you lose your cushion of safety. In addition to being unable to see what is happening in front of the truck, the truck probably does not know that you are there. Trucks are powerful and heavy, often weighing four to five times that of a typical car when unloaded. Trucks are equipped with up to eight mirrors, but they still are involved in many traffic collisions. Motor vehicle operators lack a general respect for trucks, often tailgating them or becoming caught between the truck and the curb. A driver should also be aware of the truck’s blind spots. Studies have shown that a tractor-trailer truck traveling at 55 mph will typically need twice the stopping distance of an automobile traveling at the same speed. Special care must be given when driving near trucks on the freeway. Trucks should be given extra clearance whenever possible, with the automobile driver always leaving an escape option on the road. Drivers must be aware of a truck’s blind spots at all times, realizing a truck's rear-view and side mirrors are not always sufficient. Common blind spots for a truck driver exist near the right front wheel of the truck and within 30 ft. of the rear of the trailer. You should never tailgate a truck, pass to the right of a truck, or drive parallel to a truck for any length of time. Truck Safety Tips:
Oftentimes, a driver of a passenger vehicle does not realize when his or her vehicle legally becomes a "truck" on the road. Sometimes merely towing another vehicle changes the laws you must follow. Your vehicle becomes much heavier, and your stopping distance can multiply by two to three times. When you are towing a vehicle and following another vehicle being towed or a three-axle truck, you must stay at least 300 feet behind that vehicle. If you are in a business or residential district, on a highway with more than two lanes moving in the same direction, or when overtaking and passing the vehicle ahead, the same rules would apply.
A truck traveling at 55 mph will require more than 400 feet to stop, and that is without factoring in the reaction time of the driver. Truck drivers must travel at safe speeds in relation to traffic flow and the increased distance to stop. Drivers must keep clear of fast-moving trucks on open roadways.
Special Note: If you cannot clearly see the truck’s side view mirrors, the truck driver probably cannot see you! Some typical problems involving trucks include:A. Trucks making wide turns account for many collisions as cars are often sandwiched between the truck and curb. Drivers must respect the wide turns required by trucks. B. Trucks are rarely allowed to travel over 55 mph, and they usually stay in slower traffic lanes. The greater the truck’s weight and the higher the truck's speed, the longer the stopping distance.C. Slow trucks often carry full loads of cargo and thus lack the power to keep up with the flow of traffic. Never tailgate a truck, but simply change lanes when safe to do so.Blind Spots
Side Blind Spots:Trucks have much larger blind spots on both sides of their vehicles than passenger vehicles (cars). When you drive in these blind spots (No-Zones) for any length of time, you can't be seen by truck drivers. If a commercial driver needs to change lanes quickly for any reason, a serious crash could occur with the vehicle in the no-zone. Commercial motor vehicle operators need to constantly use their mirrors to check the sides of their vehicles. They should be aware of when vehicles move into their blind spots, and pay attention to when they come out of these no-zones.Rear Blind Spots:Unlike cars, trucks have deep blind spots directly behind them. Other vehicles need to avoid tailgating in this no-zone. Once you move into this area, the truck driver will not be able to see you, and there is a good chance you may rear-end the vehicle. The rear no-zone is usually from the end of a truck to about thirty feet behind.Front Blind Spot:The front of a commercial vehicle also has a blind spot. Commercial motor vehicles are often much higher than regular cars, and this makes it very difficult for these drivers to see smaller cars directly in front of them. This is one reason a truck should leave extra room for following distance. Oftentimes drivers are unaware of this blind spot and cut in right in front of a truck, causing a rear-end collision. When passing a commercial vehicle, be sure you can see both its headlights in your rear-view mirror before getting in front. If you drive a commercial vehicle and see a smaller vehicle trying to pass you, you should slow down to give that driver extra room to get in front of you.
Environment on an Open Highway
Driving on an open highway takes great skill and adaptability, because the environment changes constantly with curves, hills, and mountains. There are a few factors to consider when you approach a curve: the sharpness, the slope, and the condition of the road. You want to do the majority of your braking on the straight away before the curve starts. If necessary, go slow. You can always accelerate when leaving the curve. When you enter the curve, accelerate slowly to keep your speed and balance. After you leave the curve and return to a straight away, accelerate to the appropriate speed. There are a few hazards to look out for when driving on a curve. Try not to brake while in the curve, because it puts extra pressure on the front tires that could cause a flat or loss of vehicle control.
Hills are another area where special skill is needed, because speed and braking distances are different. When driving up a hill, your speed reduces and your braking distance shortens. When going downhill, your speed increases, as does your braking distance. While driving either up or downhill, you want to use a lower gear. The lower gear will control your speed when going downhill so you won't have to use your brakes as much. When going uphill, using a lower gear will give you more power to climb the hill. Visibility on hills is decreased; you are unable to see cars over the peak, and other drivers cannot see you either. When approaching the top of a hill, reduce your speed and stay to the right edge of your lane. Stay at lower speeds until you are able to see traffic on the other side of the hill.
Brake failure and overheating is a hazard that can occur while driving on hills. Before you reach the summit of a hill, you may want to test or tap your brakes; do that while still on the uphill grade. This test will give you the gravity to stop if the brakes don't work. Driving on hills puts extra pressure on your vehicle's engine, especially if you do not downshift. The extra pressure could cause your engine or transmission to overheat and break down.
Mountain driving is very similar to driving on hills. You will want to apply the same speed control techniques. Your vehicle's condition should be taken into consideration when driving on mountains. The higher altitudes may require you to adjust your carburetor and cooling system if you have an older vehicle. Newer vehicles have automatic computer-controlled systems. Check your tire tread to make sure it is in good condition. Added traction may be needed for hills and mountains. Also be sure to have water in case of overheating. Passing or allowing other vehicles to pass takes greater skill and patience on mountain roads. Be sure to check your rear-view mirror frequently to see if there is a line of cars behind you. Look for a turnout or a safe place to pull over and let the vehicles pass when the need arises. Be sure you have a full view of the area to ensure that you have enough space to complete the pass. Because of the altitudes on mountains, your car will react a little more slowly, and you will need the extra room to pass.
Chapter 12Hazardous Road Conditions
There are times when driving in hazardous conditions is unavoidable. Here are some tips to follow if you should ever find yourself in any of these conditions :
Driving in the fog - Visibility is the key factor when driving in fog. You should turn your headlights on low beam and avoid using high beams or bright lights. High beams will reflect the light back and are basically counterproductive.
Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two fog lamps, but these should not be used in substitution of headlights. Fog lamps should be mounted on the front of the vehicle at a height of not less than 12 inches or more than 30 inches. They should be positioned so that when the vehicle is not loaded, none of the high intensity portion of the light on the left side of the vehicle (driver's side) will be visible from a distance of 25 feet ahead of the vehicle at a height higher than four inches below the center of the lamp itself.
Condensation may occur while driving in fog, and it may be necessary to use your windshield wipers, defroster, or both. Don't forget to keep your wipers clean and properly maintained. If you are approaching or are already driving through fog, you should do the following :
Reduce speed, but do not stop your movement completely when entering the fog.
Watch out for other vehicles ahead of you that are moving slowly.
Always check your rear-view mirror for vehicles approaching from behind.
Alert drivers behind you by gently tapping on your brakes to warn of a reduction in speed.

When your vehicle stalls - If your vehicle stalls, you should move off the roadway as quickly and safely as possible. Turn on your emergency flashers right away. Shift the vehicle into the neutral position and attempt to steer to the nearest available shoulder. Once off the roadway, place flares approximately 200-300 feet behind your vehicle to alert others of the hazard. Never turn off the ignition until you are off the road, as this action will lock up the steering wheel and your brakes will have more difficulty functioning. When it is safe, all of the occupants should get out of the vehicle and move safely away from the vehicle. However, if this occurs on the freeway, you should consider the situation before making any decisions that affect your safety. If you are certain that it is safe, place the flares on the roadway; if you are not sure, just stay inside with all your passengers and keep on your seat belts. Call for assistance if you have your cell phone with you or wait for help to arrive. Be aware that in fog, flashers and flares will attract other vehicles and should not be used.
Safety tips for driving in bad weather
Listen for traffic you cannot see.
Avoid crossing roads whenever possible.
Avoid passing a line of cars.
Postpone driving until conditions clear.
Keep headlights and tail lights clean.
Don't forget to maintain your windshield wipers.
Driving on slippery surfaces - Maintaining maximum visibility is vital. In addition, also consider:
Drive with your headlights on.
Use windshield wipers.
Reduce speed.
Always be aware of your tires.
If you do skid, look where you want to go and turn your wheels in that direction. DO NOT accelerate or brake while in a skid.
Keep below the dry road speed limit.
Reduce speed upon entering intersections and curves.
Staying on the roadway - There may be times when visibility will be extremely limited due to fog, rain, or snow. Keep your vehicle on the paved portion of the roadway. Do not drive on the shoulder. When you cannot see more than a few feet, try to drive in the tracks of the car ahead. Maintain a greater distance away from the car ahead. Avoid any sudden movements, as this could cause a skid (i.e., do not turn, brake, accelerate, or decelerate suddenly).
Driving through deep water - Extreme rain can cause flash flooding, which often covers the surface of the road. If you see cars stalled in a body of water that you are planning to drive through, you should consider an alternate plan or route, if possible. Decrease your speed and shift to a lower gear. If the rear of your vehicle is overloaded, this increases your chances of stalling in water.
If you run into water and begin to sink, immediately try to escape through a window. If you go underwater in your vehicle, you will have to wait until the pressure equalizes before you can open a door or window. Get into the back seat where air pockets usually form and kick out the back window (it is designed to come off fairly easily).
Hydroplaning - Hydroplaning occurs on wet pavement when a thin layer of water gets between your tires and the pavement, which causes loss of traction. Do not brake! Gently ease your foot off the accelerator while maintaining a firm grip on the steering wheel. Once you have regained control, slowly ease back into traffic.
Driving in snow and ice - Visibility is important when driving in snow or ice. To be visible to other drivers, drive with your headlights on and tap your brakes gently to alert other drivers of the need to slow down or use extra caution. Maintain your windshield wipers and fluid. Use your defroster or de-icer as needed to keep your windshield clear. As always, keep your speed below the normal dry road speed limit. Avoid excessive acceleration or deceleration and keep your speed constant and steady. Use extra caution on curves, and be aware of possible ice patches in shaded areas. Always watch other motorists and check their proximity to your vehicle. REMEMBER: To ensure safety, maintain a larger space cushion between yourself and other vehicles.
General tips to avoid skids
Watch out for areas where ice collects. These include areas around bridges, dips, and anywhere water can collect and form ice.
Observe "slippery when wet" signs.
Avoid turning or swerving suddenly.
Avoid hard braking.
Do not drive on the edge or shoulder.
Do not change to a lower gear while driving at a high speed.
Use chains or snow tires in the areas you plan to drive through. Some areas will not allow traffic unless equipped with chains or snow tires.
How to stop skidding - As always, remain calm and follow the tips below:
Avoid braking suddenly while pumping the brakes lightly (with ABS brakes, maintain pressure on the brake pedal).
Steer in the direction that the rear end is skidding, and decide what direction is safe to proceed.
Avoid over-steering.
If you have a manual transmission, keep the clutch engaged.
Avoid lifting your foot off the accelerator suddenly.
When traction is poor - Engage in a higher gear and accelerate gradually and smoothly. Put sand or even cat litter underneath the drive wheel if needed (sticks or branches work also, but tree leaves do not). If your vehicle becomes stuck in the soft soil, mud, or snow, and traction cannot be easily established, you can "rock out" of the situation by following these steps:
1. Engage into a low gear and accelerate slowly.2. Shift rapidly into reverse.3. Back up until the wheels start to spin.4. Shift back to a low gear.5. Repeat the movement in rapid succession until you are able to drive away.
Mechanical failure
Stuck accelerator:
Try to lift the accelerator with your toe or shoe tip. Avoid reaching down with your hand because your eyes will be off the road.
Shift to neutral, and look for a way out.
Steer to the shoulder, if possible. Be aware of other broken down cars that may be stopped ahead.
Honk your horn, flash your lights, and engage the emergency flashers to warn other motorists.
Brake hard without locking up the wheels.
Turn the ignition off once you no longer have to change direction.
Tire blowout:
Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel and steer straight ahead.
Decrease speed gradually.
Take your foot off the accelerator.
Slow to a stop and head towards the nearest shoulder as safety allows.
Apply brakes gently while the car is slowing down.
Brake failure:
Immediately take your foot off the accelerator.
Downshift to a lower gear.
Rapidly pump the brake pedal three to four times to build up the brake pressure. It will take only three to four pumps for you to realize whether the brakes will work or not. It is not necessary to pump anti-lock brakes.
While depressing the emergency brake button or knob, slowly and gradually engage the parking brake. Be ready to release the emergency brake if you skid.
Sound the horn and flash the lights to warn others.
In a worst-case situation, sideswipe parked cars, run over bushes, run alongside rails, etc. Always avoid hitting a fixed object as this could prove to be fatal. Never attempt to jump out of a moving vehicle.
Once stopped, turn off the ignition.
Headlight failure:
Try turning the headlight switch on and off a few times.
If unsuccessful, turn on whatever lights are available (i.e., parking lights, emergency flashers, or turn signals).
Pull over to the side of the road and leave the emergency flashers on.
Go to the nearest service station for help if the area is well-lit. If you are in an area that is not well-lit, do your best to get your vehicle out of harm's way. Use flares to alert other drivers and then move away to summon help.
Power steering failure:
Turn your steering wheel towards the nearest shoulder. You will need both hands. Grip the wheel firmly. Even without power, you will still have braking and steering maneuverability, but it will take more muscle power. Stop your vehicle, re-start it, and then proceed to your destination.
Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Vehicle motors give off carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
Do not leave the motor running in a garage.
Do not leave the motor running with the windows closed when you park your car.
Do not use the heater or air conditioner in a parked vehicle with the windows closed.
Do not leave the vents open when following closely behind another vehicle.
Do not drive with a defective muffler or exhaust system.

Chapter 13 Alcohol and Other Drugs
California is among the strictest in the nation in its treatment of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders. DUI laws exist to punish drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
Alcohol and Traffic Safety
Three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related wreck at some point in their lives! Alcohol-related collisions account for approximately 40% of all traffic deaths. Knowing how to recognize a problem drinker can often help save lives. Awareness of penalties associated with drinking- and driving-related laws may deter drivers from drinking and driving. REMEMBER: Alcohol is the number one killer on our roads and the most abused substance in the United States.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. It affects judgment, reaction time, motor skills, coordination, vision, and hearing. The effects are in direct relation to the ratio and amount of alcohol in your blood. This relates to the quantity consumed, the time the drinking was started, time between drinks, body weight, food consumption, etc. Alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood stream, is not water soluble, and does not require digestion. Oxidation occurs at a slow and steady rate of about one drink per hour.
There is no way to speed up the process of becoming sober!!
Over 50% of adult fatalities and 60% among juveniles are DUI-related. Not surprisingly, the chances of being involved in a collision doubles with the consumption of just one drink. With a B.A.C. (Blood Alcohol Content) of .10%, the old legal limit, your chances of a wreck are eight times greater, while with a B.A.C. of .15%, your chances increase an amazing 25 times.
Article from the San Diego State University Daily Aztec Tijuana Alcohol Wars To Stop Drunk Drivers
Law enforcement agencies increase bulk at the border
By Nik Molitor Staff Writer
It was an October night last year. California Highway Patrol officer Shawn Nava was taking measurements from a DUI related collision in Carlsbad when he was struck and killed by a 20-year-old drunk driver. It was 5 a.m. and the driver had driven 30 miles up Interstate 5 from Tijuana before hitting Nava.
Examples like this are why law enforcement agencies have recently stepped up forces at the border on weekends.
"But this is quite obviously not just a border issue," said Mark Gregg, public affairs officer for CHP San Diego. "This is something where they can get into their car at the border and drive north on the freeway, maybe as far as Orange County before something happens."
The South Bay Regional Task Force, created about two years ago, is a collection of allied law enforcement agencies and community groups that are working to help counter the problem of cross-border drinking. On various weekend nights, the Task Force is down at the border checking I.D.s, handing out pamphlets and patrolling the area.
"We want to raise awareness and try to reduce the amount of individuals coming back (from Tijuana) intoxicated," Gregg said. "We want people to designate a driver and we want them to be aware of the dangers and costs involved, and getting arrested is the least of their concerns."
Friday night out
The scene at the border Friday was marked by large groups of young people going into Tijuana, and large groups of intoxicated young people coming out.
Pre-law freshman Kristina Kastanez, on her way into Tijuana, said she goes because she's under 21 and it's a place to drink.
"And the guys, and the party atmosphere, and the music," she added.
Heading out of Tijuana through the U.S. customs station was criminal justice freshman Edgar,* who said he goes to TJ almost every weekend to "party, meet girls and drink."
"I'm 18. (I) have fun. (The police) never stopped me before," he said.
The Task Force was not out at the border last week, but the Border Patrol was monitoring students.
The last South Bay Regional Task Force operation took place three weeks ago. Twenty-nine people were arrested for drunk driving and 30 for public intoxication.
"We very well may have saved several lives that night," Gregg said.
When the Task Force is out, people going into Tijuana can expect to have I.D. checks at the border, he said.
"Those same officers would be there when those individuals were coming out, and that's where the program is making the most bite," Gregg said.
Something that some students forget is that there are dangers to cross-border drinking, even before they hop into their cars, Gregg said.
"People need to keep in mind that it is a separate country," Gregg said. "It is relatively safe as long as you're staying with groups of people and sticking to well-traveled areas.
"What fuels a lot of the problems is that alcohol plays a large part in the celebrations down there, and when you are inebriated you make a better target for crime."
Kastanez said that's why she always brings a guy with her.
Getting home
"Most of the time I drive, even though I'm drunk," Edgar said.
He said police enforcement doesn't worry or stop him from driving home under the influence -- even when he is the 'designated driver.'
"Sometimes I take the trolley," he said.
But Gregg said the trolley doesn't solve the problem.
"A person could very well take the trolley to a different point and then get in a car and drive from there," Gregg said. "Part of the coordinated effort is to patrol the trolley stations and areas."
Statistics about drinking and driving show a marked decrease in alcohol related fatalities in San Diego.
Gregg said in the area they patrol, which extends from the border to Del Mar, there were a total of 29 DUI fatalities in 1999. But in 2000, there were only four fatalities, an 82 percent reduction.
One safe alternative to driving a car home from the trolley station is the Safe Ride Home program, operated through Associated Students.
The program sends shuttles around the county Friday and Saturday nights to students who call and request a ride. The vans are provided by Cloud 9 and run every Friday and Saturday from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. around Pacific Beach and downtown.
Though Safe Ride Home vans do not service the Tijuana area, trolley riders can call for a shuttle from downtown San Diego rather than drive from the station.
*Last name withheld
For more information about the South Bay Regional Task Force or to arrange an alcohol awareness safety talk, call the CHP at 220-5492. To register with the Safe Ride Home program, go to the Campus Photo ID office in lower Aztec Center.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Alcohol is absorbed directly into the blood stream. After the alcohol is absorbed, it affects and damages many bodily organs, including the heart, stomach, and liver. It can cause enlargement of the heart (leading to congestive heart failure), cancer of the digestive system, and possibly hepatitis and/or cirrhosis of the liver. Drinking too much at once can lead to an alcoholic coma, which in turn can lead to death. The higher learning centers of the brain are the first to be affected, followed by muscular control and then vital functions such as digestion, breathing, heartbeat and circulation. Alcohol also affects your vision. The small muscles that control your eye are not able to focus and move correctly. This is when double vision occurs.
The human body has two ways of disposing of alcohol: elimination and oxidation. Approximately 10% of the alcohol a body consumes leaves by elimination from the lungs and kidneys. The remaining 90% of the alcohol leaves by oxidation. The oxidation process takes place mostly in the liver. Alcohol enters the liver and is changed to a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetic acid is formed when the acetaldehyde chemical is combined with oxygen. When the acetic acid is further combined with oxygen, carbon dioxide and water are formed. The carbon dioxide and water are then expelled from your body. Oxidation occurs at a slow and steady rate of about one drink per hour. The oxidation of alcohol produces 163 calories per one ounce of pure alcohol. Alcohol contains no vitamins and has no physically beneficial nutrients. The effect of alcohol on a person depends on a variety of factors:
How one feels emotionally before drinking.
What the drinker expects the alcohol to do.
The amount of alcohol consumed.
The speed in which a person consumes the alcohol.
The size of the drinks.
If there is any food in the drinker’s stomach.
The experience in using alcoholic beverages.
B.A.C. Phases and Symptoms
0.01 - 0.05 B.A.C. / SUBCLINICAL PHASE - Behavior appears normal by ordinary observation.
0.03 - 0.12 B.A.C. / EUPHORIA - Slight euphoria, sociability, talkativeness. Increased self-confidence, inhibitions are decreased, beginning of sensory-motor impairment.
0.09 - 0.25 B.A.C. / EXCITEMENT - Loss of critical judgment, impairment of perception, memory, and comprehension. Increased reaction time, lack of sensory-motor coordination, drowsiness, and impaired balance.
0.18 - 0.30 B.A.C. / CONFUSION - Mental confusion, disorientation, dizziness. Increased pain threshold, slurred speech, decreased muscular coordination, perception of colors, forms, motion and dimensions are disturbed.
0.25 - 0.40 B.A.C. / STUPOR - Near loss of motor functions, markedly reduced muscular coordination, inability to stand or walk, vomiting, impaired consciousness, sleep, or stupor.
0.35 - 0.50 B.A.C. / COMA - Complete unconsciousness, below normal body temperature, depressed reflexes, impairment of respiratory and circulatory systems. Possibility of death.
0.45 + B.A.C. / DEATH - Death from respiratory arrest.
Percent of alcohol content in selected beverages:
Here are a few ways to spot a possible drunk driver on the road:
Driving too fast.
Driving too slow.
Weaving in and out of lanes.
Driving in the dark with no lights on.
Driving in traffic with bright lights on.
Windows open in cold weather.
Tailgating other drivers (following too closely to the vehicle ahead).
The vehicle exhibits jerky movements: starting or stopping.
Driving with his or her head partially or completely out of the window.
The vehicle is running red lights or stop signs.
The vehicle does not move at a green light.
Alternatives to drinking and driving - What can you do to eliminate or reduce the risk of driving under the influence?
Here are a few solutions:
Have friends make arrangements before attending a party at your home or business (i.e., stay over or rent a room at a nearby hotel, call a taxi, designate a non-drinking driver, etc.).
Confiscate all keys at the door of your home. Do not return keys to intoxicated drivers.
Be firm. Remember: "Friends don't let friends drive drunk."
Set an example. Show disapproval of people who insist they can drive even though they are intoxicated.
Call the police, if necessary.
Note on alcohol in the vehicle: It is legal to have a container of liquor, beer or wine in your car as long as:
It is full.
It is sealed.
It is unopened.
An open container of alcohol in the car is against the law, except when placed in the trunk.
Implied Consent
This simply states that anyone who drives on a highway or any public place is considered to have consented to tests for blood alcohol content when asked to take one by a law enforcement officer. There are four possible tests:
1. Field Sobriety Test - This test is conducted by a police officer at the scene when pulled over. This includes testing the ability to perform simple tasks and the ability to follow directions or orders. For example, walking a straight line, touching your nose with the tips of your fingers while tilting your head back with your eyes closed, reciting the alphabet, or counting backwards.
2. PAS (preliminary alcohol screening test) -This test is administered by the officer on the side of the road. It is a hand held breath test; it is not the same as the breathalyzer test. The PAS test is considered part of the FSTs (field sobriety tests), and the driver is admonished before he or she takes the PAS test. If arrested, the driver will not be required to submit to a blood or breath test.
3. Blood Test - This test is normally performed by hospital or laboratory personnel. Blood is taken from the suspect and tested in a laboratory for B.A.C.
4. Urinalysis (chemical) - Also normally performed by hospital or laboratory personnel. Primarily used to test for drugs.
Symptoms of intoxication that police officers are taught to look for:
1. Flushed face. 2. Bloodshot eyes (watery, red and/or glossy). 3. Scent of alcohol on breath. 4. Slurred speech. 5. Difficulty getting license out of wallet. 6. Unable to comprehend the officer's questions. 7. Wobbling or staggering when getting out of the vehicle. 8. Swaying or instability when standing. 9. Using the vehicle for support. 10. Inappropriate attitude towards the police officer. 11. Soiled or disorderly clothing. 12. Stumbling when walking. 13. Disorientation as to time and place. 14. Unable to follow directions.
If you are stopped by an officer who suspects you are under the influence, you must comply - NO EXCEPTIONS! If you refuse to take one of the four sobriety tests, you are found to be automatically "guilty." A DUI offense can be both a criminal and a civil matter. Drivers convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DUI can receive:
County jail or state prison time.
Fines, penalty assessment and restitution.
Drinking and driving treatment programs.
License restriction, suspension, or revocation.
Vehicle impoundment or forfeiture.
Ignition interlock device requirements.
California's per se blood alcohol content limit varies depending on age, whether the driver has a commercial license, or whether it is a civil or criminal case. If a driver is under 21 years old and his or her B.A.C. is .05% or higher, he or she is criminally DUI. If the driver's B.A.C. is .01% or higher, he or she is civilly DUI. Under the Zero Tolerance law (applicable to drivers under 21 years of age), this driver will automatically lose his or her license with a B.A.C. of just .01%. If a driver is 21 years of age or older and his or her B.A.C. is .08% or higher, that person is both criminally and civilly DUI. If a commercial driver's B.A.C. is .04% or higher, he or she is criminally DUI, and if the B.A.C. is .08% or higher, that driver is civilly DUI.
REMEMBER: A B.A.C. of .08% can be reached by a 160 pound man having just four drinks in one hour. Only one drink in one hour is needed to reach a B.A.C. of .01%.
Although it is your right to refuse a sobriety test, the consequences will be severe. You will receive license sanctions more harsh than those convicted of DUI. If you are found not guilty in a court of a DUI and refused a sobriety test, you will still have your license suspended for a minimum of six months. The second refusal can lead to a one-year suspension, and a third refusal within ten years can lead to a two-year license suspension. If you refuse to take a sobriety test and are later convicted of DUI, you will receive all standard DUI penalties, lose the possibility of probation as a substitute for jail time, and receive longer jail sentences. Under the Zero Tolerance law, license sanctions are even more harsh.
If you are under the age of 21, you are deemed to have given your consent to a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test when asked to do so. If you refuse or fail to complete this test, your license will be suspended or revoked for a period of one to three years.
A DUI conviction can result in a mandatory sentence of a jail term of 48 hours to a prison term of up to four years. The only exception is for a misdemeanor first offense, where a judge may give you a fine, require a treatment program, and levy a 90-day license restriction. A repeat DUI offender may obtain a restricted driver’s license after 12 months of the license revocation and 12 months of either an 18 or 30-month DUI program if an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed in the vehicle and if the offender shows proof of financial responsibility. If you are ordered to install an IID in your vehicle, and you drive without it, your vehicle may be impounded for 30 days.
Jail and prison terms may be extended for certain enhancing circumstances. Some of these circumstances include:
1. Driving at an excessive speed, such as 30 mph over the freeway speed limit, or 20 mph over the roadway speed limit.
2. Refusing to take a sobriety test.
3. Driving with a minor under the age of 14 in the car.
4. Multiple injured or fatally injured victims. (Sentences are lengthened by one year for each victim).
5. Hit and run.
6. A B.A.C. exceeding .20%.
Probation is sometimes granted upon a first DUI conviction. If you are convicted of DUI with a B.A.C. under .20%, you will receive a three-month probation period, and you will have to attend three months of an alcohol treatment program that includes at least 30 hours of required program activities including alcohol education and group therapy. You may still have to pay a fine and spend some time in jail as a condition of probation. However, if you had a B.A.C. of .20% or refused to be tested, you will have to attend nine months of the treatment program, which must include 60 hours of required activities.
Top 20 things police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers:
1. Wide radius turns.2. Straddling center of lane marker.3. "Appearing to be drunk."4. Coming close to hitting objects or vehicles.5. Weaving.6. Driving off the designated roadway.7. Swerving.8. Driving more than 10 mph under the speed limit.9. Sudden stopping, without cause.10. Following too closely.11. Drifting.12. Tires riding the lane dividers.13. Erratic braking.14. Driving into opposing or crossing traffic.15. Signaling one way, and turning the other.16. Responding slowly to traffic signals.17. Inappropriate stopping.18. Turning abruptly or illegally.19. Accelerating or decelerating quickly.20. Driving with headlights off.
*Above research was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Fines, Penalty Assessments and Restitution Fines:
Misdemeanor DUI offense fines range from $390 to $1,000 while felony offenses range from $390 to $5,000. Fines, like jail and prison time, increase with enhancing circumstances. Penalty assessments are 170% of the fine. That means that for every $10 of offense fines imposed, you must pay $17 extra for penalty assessments. Restitution fines are assessed when there is injury, loss or damage caused by the DUI driver. Fines may range from $100 to $10,000.
New DUI Sanctions
It's never a good idea to drink and drive. Not only do you endanger the lives of yourself and others on the road, but you also run the chance of making a mistake that will stick with you for the next 10 years! Arrests and/or convictions of DUI violations will remain on your record for 10 years.If you're a repeat offender (even if your prior conviction was over 10 years ago), you'll have to take a drug and alcohol problem assessment program, and most likely a repeat offender program as well. 10 years is a long time; don't make a mistake that can stick with you for that time. In addition, all persons convicted of DUI will receive a restriction, suspension, or revocation of the driving privilege, without exception.
Other costs associated with getting a DUI:
Vehicle Towing - $150Lawyer - $2000 - $4000Insurance Increase - as much as $1500Lost Wages - $1000 - ?Court Costs - $450Treatment - $400
As you can see, the cost of those few drinks can go from just $5.00 to an excess of $7,000. You can probably think of much better ways to spend $7,000. And don't forget, the cost for a second offense increases substantially.
Personal Effects of DUI
- The personal effects of DUI can be harsh and come in many forms. They can include civil suits and costs leading to loss of assets. You could lose your job, your self-respect, or the respect of family and friends. Think about how you would explain to your child that you could no longer pick him/her up from school because your license has been suspended. And don't forget the humiliation of being in jail! DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!
Other Drugs
Other Drugs
Drugs may be prescribed by a licensed physician or be found illegally on the streets. Drugs in any form should NEVER be used while driving, except by direction of a competent physician. A driver's use of drugs other than alcohol (cocaine, marijuana and some over-the-counter drugs to name a few) can also create significant problems on the road. Any two or more drugs taken at the same time may cause a reaction called synergism. This reaction sometimes causes the enhancement of the effects of one or more of the drugs. The most dangerous combination of synergism is alcohol and drugs. Drivers who combine any amount of alcohol and drugs that effect their driving abilities are not only breaking the law, but are an extreme danger to themselves and other drivers.
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Pot, Reefer, Grass, Weed, Dope, Ganja, Mary Jane, Sinsemilla.
Dried parsley, with stems and/or seeds; rolled into cigarettes.
Smoked or eaten.
Soft gelatin capsules.
Taken orally.
Brown or black cakes or balls.
Smoked or eaten.
Hashish Oil
Hash Oil.
Concentrated syrupy liquid varying in color from clear to black.
Smoked -- mixed with tobacco.
The use of cannabis may impair or reduce short-term memory and comprehension, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car. Marijuana can also produce paranoia and psychosis. The use of cannabis has both negative physical and mental effects. Physical effects of cannabis include a substantial increase in the heart rate, bloodshot eyes, a dry mouth and throat, and increased appetite. Because users often inhale the unfiltered smoke deeply and then hold it in their lungs as long as possible, marijuana is extremely damaging to the lungs.
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Coke, Snow, Nose candy, Flake, Blow, Big C, Lady, White, Snowbirds.
White crystalline powder.
Inhaled, injected.
Crank Cocaine
Crack, rock, freebase.
White to tan pellets or crystalline rocks that look like soap.
Cocaine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Immediate effects of cocaine use include dilated pupils and elevated blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. The use of crack or freebase is extremely addictive, and the effects are felt within ten seconds. The physical effects include dilated pupils, increased pulse rate, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and seizure. The use of cocaine or crack can cause death by cardiac arrest or respiratory failure after just one use.
Other Stimulants
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Speed, Uppers, Ups, Black beauties, Pep pills, Copilots, Bumblebees, Hearts, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, Footballs, Biphetamine.
Capsules, pills, tablets.
Taken orally, injected, inhaled.
Crank, Crystal meth, Crystal methedrine, Speed.
White powder, pills, rock that resembles a block of paraffin.
Taken orally, injected, inhaled.
Additional Stimulants
Ritalin, Cylert, Preludin, Didrex, Pre-State, Voranil, Sandrex, Plegine.
Pills or capsules
Taken orally, injected.
The use of stimulants can cause an increase in heart and respiratory rates, elevated blood pressure, a loss of appetite, and dilated pupils. Large doses of stimulants will cause irregular heartbeat, tremors, loss of coordination, and even physical collapse. Long-term use of stimulants can cause an amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Downers, Barbs, Blue devils, Red devils, Yellow jacket, Yellows, Nembutal, Tuinals, Seconal, Amytal.
Red, yellow, blue, or red and blue capsules.
Taken orally.
Quaaludes, Ludes, Sopors.
Taken orally.
Valium, Librium, Miltown, Serax, Equanil, Miltown, Tranxene.
Tablets or capsules.
Taken orally.
The effects of depressants are similar to the effects of alcohol. Large doses of depressants can cause respiratory depression, coma, and death. The combination of depressants and alcohol can multiply the effects of the drugs, increasing the risks. The regular use of depressants will cause a physical and psychological addiction. Babies born to mothers addicted to depressants can have birth defects and behavioral problems.
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
PCP, Hog, Angel dust, Loveboat, Lovely, Killer Weed.
Liquid, white crystalline powder, pills, capsules
Taken orally, injected, smoked (sprayed on joints or cigarettes).
Lysergic acid diethylamide
LSD, Acid, Microdot, White lightning, Blue heaven, Sugar cubes.
Colored tablets, blotter paper, clear liquid, thin squares of gelatin.
Taken orally, licked off paper, gelatin and liquid can be put in the eyes.
Mescaline and Peyote
Mesc, Buttons, Cactus.
Hard brown discs, tablets, capsules.
Discs-chewed, swallowed, or smoked.Tablets and capsules-taken orally.
Magic mushrooms, 'shrooms.
Fresh or dried mushrooms.
Chewed and swallowed.
Combining the use of hallucinogens and driving is an extremely dangerous practice. The use of most hallucinogens interrupts the functions of the neocortex, which is the part of the brain that controls the intellect and keeps instincts in check. Time and body movement are slowed down. Muscular coordination worsens and senses are dulled. The physical effects of LSD include dilated pupils, elevated body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and tremors.
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Smack, Horse, Mud, Brown sugar, Junk, Black tar, Big H.
White to dark-brown powder or tar like substance.
Injected, smoked or inhaled.
Empirin compound with codeine, Tylenol with codeine, Codeine in cough medicine.
Dark liquid varying in thickness, capsules, tablets.
Taken orally, injected.
Pectoral syrup.
White crystals, hypodermic tablets, or injectable solutions.
Taken orally, injected, or smoked.
Paregoric, Dover's powder, Parepectolin.
Dark brown chunks, powder.
Smoked, eaten, or injected.
Pethidine, Demerol, Mepergan.
White powder, solution, tablets.
Taken orally, injected.
Other narcotics
Percocet, Percodan, Tussionex, Fentanyl, Darvon, Talwin, Lomotil.
Tablets or capsules.
Taken orally, injected.
Narcotics cause an initial feeling of euphoria that is often followed by drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. An overdose may produce slow and shallow breathing, clammy skin, convulsions, coma, and possibly death. A tolerance to narcotics comes very quickly, and dependency is very likely. Addiction in pregnant women can lead to premature, stillborn, or addicted infants who experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Designer Drugs
What is it called?
What does it look like?
How is it used?
Analog of Fentanyl (Narcotic)
Synthetic heroin, China white.
White powder.
Inhaled, injected.
Analog of Meperidine (Narcotic)
MPTP (New heroin), MPPP, synthetic heroin.
White powder.
Inhaled, injected.
Analog of Amphetamines or Methamphetamines (Hallucinogens)
MDMA (Ecstasy, XTC, Adam, Essence), MDM, STP, PMA, 2, 5-DMA, TMA, DOM, DOB, EVE.
White powder, tablets, or capsules.
Taken orally, injected, or inhaled.
Analog of Phencyclidine (PCP)
White powder.
Taken orally, injected, or smoked.
The law defines illegal drugs by their chemical formulas. To get around these legal restrictions, chemists have modified the molecular structure of certain illegal drugs to produce similar drugs known as designer drugs. These drugs can be several hundred times stronger than the drugs they are designed to imitate. Use of designer drugs can cause uncontrollable tremors, drooling, impaired speech, paralysis, irreversible brain damage, nausea, blurred vision, chills or sweating, faintness, anxiety, depression, and paranoia.
NOTE: Never mix drugs with alcohol, whether they are prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal. The effects of mixing the two greatly impair your driving skills and can prove to be deadly!
Chapter 14Responsibility of the Driver
Responsibility is the first of the new three "R’s." The three "R's" include Responsibility, Respect and Reason. Most of the problems we encounter in life are the result of action or inaction on our part. As drivers, this is also applicable.
What is Personal Responsibility? - Personal responsibility means being accountable for your own actions. As a driver, some of those responsibilities to follow include:
Safety for yourself and others on the road.
To maintain your vehicle in a safe and responsible condition.
To drive in a manner consistent with safety at all times.
To obey the laws and rules of the road.
"Where am I going?" "What am I going to do when I get there?" "I'm going to be late!" Have you had these thoughts while driving? These are some things people usually think about when they are driving. If you speed and get a ticket, you are definitely going to be late. You may even arrive later or not get there at all. If we get into a collision, we must learn, as drivers and adults, to be responsible for our actions and decisions and accept the responsibility for them. Additionally, any penalties that might result are also our responsibility. The next time you get behind the wheel, before you turn on the ignition, think about the grave responsibility you are about to undertake and drive accordingly.
Traits of a Good Driver
Good drivers usually exhibit prudent and efficient behavior on the road and have the following traits:
A high level of attention.
Accurate observation skills.
Keeping the vehicle's speed appropriate for the situation and conditions.
Awareness of the inherent risks (road and traffic situations in particular).
Having the realization that auto wrecks, heavy traffic, and the actions of other drivers are often beyond our control.
Developing the ability to "let go" of the insults, hand gestures, etc. directed at you by other drivers. Don't let road rage get a grip on you!
Having the understanding that there is nothing out on the road worth dying for.
Pedestrian Safety
A pedestrian must be responsible and respect the rules of the road by obeying traffic signals (walk or don't walk), and using the appropriate crosswalks and intersections to cross the street. A pedestrian should never impede or block the flow of traffic in any way. If you are jaywalking, yield to approaching traffic. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road so you are facing traffic. The driver must also be aware of pedestrians and be responsible when around them. Drivers need to pay special attention to children, the elderly, the physically or visually impaired, runners, skateboarders, and people walking dogs. Be sure these pedestrians see you, and give them extra room. Tap your horn whenever it is necessary for their safety.
Bicycle Safety
A bicycle can legally ride in a traffic lane on the road, provided it can keep up with the flow of regular vehicular traffic. A vehicle, however, can only cross into a bicycle lane when making a right turn. A vehicle may not drive in the bicycle lane except within the last 200 feet before the intersection where the right turn will be made. Motor vehicles may not be in a bicycle lane unless entering or leaving the highway, preparing to turn, or parking where parking is permitted. Bicycles typically ride near the right curb of the road, but may move into the lane to the left to pass another bicycle or vehicle or to avoid hitting another object. Special care and extra space needs should be observed when driving near a bicycle.
As of January 2003, California law requires all persons under 18 years of age to wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet while operating a bicycle, non-motorized scooter or skateboard, wearing in-line or roller skates, or while riding upon a bicycle, non-motorized scooter or skateboard as a passenger.
Safety Tips For Bicyclists:
Learn and obey all the same rules of the road you would practice if driving a motor vehicle.
Be alert and always look out for obstacles and vehicles.
Whenever possible, avoid riding a bike at night.
Be aware of your position on the road and traffic around you.
Always check your brakes before riding, and keep your bicycle in proper working order.
Bike with the flow of traffic - not against it.
Always protect your head by wearing a helmet.
Have a presence on the road - ensure that you are seen by other drivers.
Important safety statistics:
Over 70% of crashes involving cars with bicycles occur in driveways or intersections.
Bicycle helmets can reduce head injuries by 85%.
Bicycle-related fatalities made up 2% of all fatal traffic collisions in 2004.
In 2004, 725 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 41,000 were injured in traffic crashes.
Nearly one-fifth of the pedalcyclists killed in traffic crashes in 2004 were between the ages of 5 and 15.
Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycles must obey the same rules of the road as other vehicles. Other vehicles should use extra caution when around motorcycles as they are smaller and less visible than automobiles. When following a motorcycle, leave them extra space and watch for them changing lanes. Motorcycle riders are required by law to wear a helmet at all times. It is recommended that they also wear gloves and boots. The California Highway Patrol gives motorcycle training programs to improve your driving skills.
Figures released on November 2, 2005 by the NHTSA indicate that 4,008 motorcyclists were killed on the nation's roads in 2004, up from 3,714 the previous year. The numbers represent an 8 percent increase over 2003. The NHTSA figures also indicate that motorcycling-related fatalities were up for the seventh straight year. The recent upward trend followed 17 consecutive years of declines. From 1990 through 1999 alone, motorcycling-related fatalities dropped by 48 percent. The American Motorcyclist Association noted that one significant reason for the increase in motorcycling-related fatalities is that motorcycling has seen an enormous increase in popularity, with sales of new street bikes up more than 100 percent over the past five years, from about 243,000 in 1997 to more than 500,000 in 2001. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales have increased in the last 12 years, with nearly 1,050,000 motorcycles sold in 2004.
REMEMBER...Motorcycles must be shown extra attention while on the road. Extra room must be left for the motorcycle when they are making turns and allowances should be given for their lane changing, positioning, and increases in speed.
A study conducted by Harry Hurt at the University of Southern California, entitled “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures,” found the following:
Approximately three-fourths of the motorcycle accidents involveda collision with another vehicle.
Approximately one-fourth of the motorcycle accidents involved a collision with the roadway or a fixed object in the environment.
Two percent of the accidents involvedsome sort of roadway defect (potholes, cracks, pavement ridges, etc.).
One percent of the accidents involvedan animal.
In two-thirds of the accidents that involved another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle was at fault by violating the motorcycles right-of-way.
Weather conditions were only a factor in about two percent of the motorcycle accidents.
92% of the motorcycle accidents involvedmotorcycle riders that were self-taught or learned from family or friends.
Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement, and motorcycle size.
Less than ten percent of the motorcycle riders in the studyhad insurance to cover medical care or to replace property.
Although this study was published in 1981, it is still valuable for the insights it offers on motorcycle accidents, and its safety tips are still relevant today. The following are some of those safety tips offered as a result of observations:
Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only 40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
Helmeted riders had fewer neck injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury
Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of pre-crash visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.
The use of a safety helmet while riding a motorcycle has proven to greatly reduce your risk of serious injury when involved in an accident.
Miscellaneous Notes
Emergency vehicles respond to emergencies, and therefore they need to move quickly without waiting for traffic. All drivers are required by law to yield the right-of-way to all emergency vehicles when its lights or sirens are on. After you recognize that an emergency vehicle is approaching, you should slow down and plot a safe path to move over to the far right. Once you are all the way to the right, stop your vehicle and let the emergency vehicle pass before you proceed. You may not follow an emergency vehicle any closer than 300 feet. If you are stopped at a red light when an emergency vehicle approaches, do not move unless instructed to do so by the approaching vehicle.
It is illegal to drive with stereo earphones over both of your ears. These devices make it very difficult to hear what is going on around you. They also make it nearly impossible to hear horns or sirens.
Chapter 15Traffic Signal, Signs and Controls Traffic controls can help you to become a better driver. They alert drivers to necessary upcoming driver actions or changes in the road. Traffic controls have four purposes:
1. They inform drivers of local regulations and practices.2. They warn of hazards ahead that would otherwise be difficult to see.3. They guide drivers to their destination by identifying the route.4. They regulate the speed and movement of traffic.
Traffic control signals have different meanings depending on the color and type of light. Below are a few examples:
RED LIGHT - A red light means you must stop before entering the crosswalk or intersection and calls for a complete stop. You may turn right after stopping unless prohibited by law (a sign will indicate this). You may also turn left if both streets are one-way, unless prohibited by law. You must yield to all pedestrians and other traffic lawfully using the intersection.
FLASHING RED LIGHT - A flashing red light should be treated the same as a stop sign. After coming to a complete stop behind the crosswalk, you may proceed when it is safe, making sure to follow the right-of-way rules.
RED ARROW - A red arrow means stop. Do not turn until a green signal or green arrow appears. Turning against a red arrow is prohibited by law.
YELLOW LIGHT - A yellow light means caution, a red light is coming soon. If a stop is prudent, you must stop before passing the crosswalk line at the intersection if you can do so safely. If you can't safely come to a stop, you may proceed cautiously through the intersection before the light turns red.
FLASHING YELLOW LIGHT - A flashing yellow light warns you to be cautious when approaching and driving through the intersection. You should slow down and pay extra attention.
GREEN LIGHT - A green light means it is safe to proceed. You may go straight ahead, or you may turn when it is clear and safe, unless prohibited by a sign or signal. Watch for vehicles or pedestrians in the intersection. Beware of careless drivers who may try to race across the intersection to beat a red light. When making a left turn on a green light, you must ensure there is enough time and space to complete the turn prior to any conflict with other vehicles.
GREEN ARROW - A green arrow means you may turn, but must first yield to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian already in the intersection. Cars coming in different directions will have a red light when you have a green arrow. They should yield the right-of-way to your vehicle.
YELLOW ARROW - A yellow arrow means caution, as the allocated time to make a safe turn is coming to an end. Be ready for the next signal, whether it is a green or red light, or a red arrow.
NOTE: A broken traffic signal which has no lights working should be treated as an all-way (two-, three- or four-way) stop sign.
Shapes of Signs
The shape of a sign often tells as much or more than its words. Do you know what the following signs mean?
Diamond - A diamond is used exclusively to warn of existing possible hazards on roadways or adjacent areas.
Horizontal Rectangle - A horizontal rectangle is generally used for guidance or information.
Equilateral Triangle - An equilateral triangle is used exclusively for yield signs
Octagon - An octagon is exclusively used for stop signs.
Vertical Rectangle - A vertical rectangle is generally used for regulatory signs.
Round - A round sign is used for railroad advanced warning signs.
Pentagon - A pentagon is used for advance school warning and school crossing signs.
Pennant - A pennant means a no passing zone.

Meanings of Sign Colors
The color of signs immediately should tell the driver their meaning. Do you know what these colors mean?
Red - Red indicates a stop is required or that something is prohibited.Yellow - Yellow indicates a warning or caution. Green - Green indicates movements permitted or directional guidance. Blue - Blue indicates motorist services and/or guidance as well as handicap accessible areas. Orange - Orange indicates construction or maintenance warning. Brown - Brown indicates public recreation, scenic guides, and historic sites. White - White indicates regulation or law.
Pavement Markings
A BROKEN YELLOW LINE down the middle of a road indicates two-way traffic. You may cross the broken yellow line when passing another vehicle or when the right half of the roadway is closed to traffic. Do not cross the line if it is not safe to do so.
On a one-way roadway, lanes are separated by a BROKEN WHITE LINE. You may drive in either lane. When turning from a one-way road, be sure to move into the far right or far left lane well in advance of your turn. Certain lanes are marked with white lines and arrows on the pavement. These arrows are in place to guide drivers in the direction that lane must proceed. White lines are also used to mark the edge of the pavement. These are especially helpful where there are soft shoulders, because they serve as a warning not to drive off the paved road.
On a multi-lane highway (four or more lanes, two each way), the right half of the road is separated from the left half of the road by a SOLID DOUBLE YELLOW LINE. Do not cross the double yellow line to pass. Stay in your lane as much as possible. If you are driving slower, keep in the right-hand lane.
A SOLID YELLOW LINE on your side of the road marks a “no passing zone.”
A SOLID YELLOW LINE NEXT TO A BROKEN YELLOW LINE has two meanings depending on which side of the line you are on. If you are on the solid side, you are in a "no passing zone." If you are on the broken side, you may pass when it is safe and not prohibited by law (signs).
Curb Markings
To avoid blocking traffic or emergency vehicles, awareness of curb markings is important.
Red: No parking, stopping, or standing. Yellow: A loading zone, designated for pick-up or unloading of passengers or freight. The time allowed to park varies from location to location. White: A short stop only is permitted. Green: Limited time parking. The time you are allowed to park is usually posted on a sign or painted on the curb. Blue: Parking reserved for disabled people only with the proper special plates or placard (sign placed in window).
White crosswalk lines are painted across a road to indicate pedestrian crossing areas. Pedestrians should use these areas when crossing the road. At intersections where stop lines are missing, drivers must stop before the crosswalk when required to stop by traffic signs, signals, or pedestrians. Crosswalks require extra caution and awareness by drivers because conflicts with pedestrians can lead to tragedy. At all times, a car must yield to a pedestrian either in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. REMEMBER: Pedestrians always have the right-of-way, even if the crossing is illegal.
Stop lines - White stop lines are painted across pavement lanes at traffic signs or signals. When these lines are present, you should stop behind the stop line.
Chapter 16Licensing and the Driving Privilege
California first began to issue licenses in 1915. Since then, driving has been viewed by the State to be a privilege, granted and revocable by the State at any time. It is a common misconception that driving in the state of California is your "right," yet in reality it is a privilege to drive in this state. The Department of Motor Vehicles (Office of Motor Vehicles) has been empowered by the state to oversee all licensing of motor vehicles. They control applications, suspensions, revocations, and probations of licenses. You must have a driver's license issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles to drive on any public road, street, highway, or property, and the license must be correct for the class of vehicle driven.
Are you required to have a valid California driver's license?
Yes, if you are a resident of California and drive on any public road.
No, if you are an out-of-state visitor and have a valid license from another state.
If you are an out-of-state visitor who is a minor, you may drive with a valid permit or license only for ten days. When those ten days expire, or if it is unknown if the driver will be in the state longer, then the driver must apply for a non-resident minor's certificate.
If you move to California and plan to make it your home, you must apply for a California driver's license within ten days.
If you are in the Armed Forces, you may drive on public roads and highways in a government-owned vehicle without a California driver's license. You must also only be on government business.
Farm vehicles may be driven on private property without a valid California driver's license.
You may also drive with a Diplomatic driver's license issued by the Office of Foreign Missions of the U.S. Department of State.
A person can be refused a license in the state of California for numerous reasons.
1. The first reason you might be refused a license would be your age. The legal age to drive in California is 16 years old. After you reach 16, you may go to the Office of Motor Vehicles to apply for a California driver's license. You will be required to take a written test as well as a driving test. You may be refused a license if you do not pass both exams.2. The Office of Motor Vehicles may refuse to issue you a license if they see there is a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Not only is it difficult to get a driver's license with a history of DUI's or drug abuse, but it is very difficult to get insured.3. You may also be refused a license if you have a medical disorder where you are prone to lapses of consciousness.4. If you illegally used a license in the past, if you are holding a revoked license from another state or U.S. territory, or if you have been caught driving without a license, you may be denied a license.5. You may be denied a license if you falsify or lie about any information on the application.6. If your record reflects a failure to appear or a failure to pay for a traffic citation, you may be refused a license.7. If you are unable to understand signals, signs, and shapes, you will be refused a license to drive. California uses colors, signs, and shapes to assist drivers. It is difficult to follow the rules of the road without comprehending what each of the signs mean.8. A poor driving record would cause the Office of Motor Vehicles to refuse you a driver's license.
NOTE: If you are caught unlicensed or driving with a suspended or revoked license, you may have your vehicle impounded and sold under the "Safe Streets Act of 1994."
The last two classifications of driver's licenses have to do with motorcycles. Class M1 allows you to drive any two wheeled motorcycle or motor-driven cycle. Authority to operate these vehicles may be granted by endorsement on a Class A, B, or C license upon completion of an appropriate exam. A Class M2 license allows you to drive any motorbike with an engine size of 149cc or less.
Classes of Licenses
There are many different classes of California State Driver's Licenses for regular passenger vehicles, motorcycles, or commercial vehicles. The first class of license is Class A. This class allows you to drive a combination of vehicles from either Class B or Class C. Class A does not allow you to operate a motorcycle. Class A includes towing more than one vehicle or towing a vehicle over 10,000 pounds. This class would also include the operation of any trailer bus.
A Class B driver's license includes operating any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds. This class also includes any single vehicle with three or more axles, except any three axle vehicle weighing less than 6,000 pounds. Any bus, except a trailer bus, may be operated with a Class B license. This classification is also for any farm labor vehicle. If you possess a Class B license, you may operate any vehicle that requires a Class C license.
With a Class C license, you may drive any two axle vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or less. This class allows you to drive any non-commercial car or a three axle vehicle weighing less than 6,000 pounds loaded, and any three axle recreational vehicle. This class does not allow you to drive a motorcycle. With a Class C license, you may tow one vehicle whose gross vehicle weight rating is 10,000 pounds or less, including when a tow dolly is used. You may tow any vehicle up to 4,000 pounds, as long as you do not receive compensation for that tow. If your vehicle weighs less than 4,000 pounds unloaded, you may tow a trailer coach or fifth wheel travel trailer not exceeding 10,000 pounds. If your vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds or more, you may tow a trailer coach or fifth wheel travel trailer not exceeding 15,000 pounds. A Class C license also allows you to tow a boat trailer with a boat, as long as the combined weight does not exceed 26,000 pounds, and the purpose of the tow is for either recreational use or repair purposes.
The last two classifications of driver's licenses have to do with motorcycles. Class M1 allows you to drive any two wheeled motorcycle or motor driven cycle. Authority to operate these vehicles may be granted by endorsement on a Class A, B, or C license upon completion of an appropriate exam. A Class M2 license allows you to drive any motorbike with an engine size of 149cc or less.
Instruction Permit
The minimum age for issuance of an instruction permit is 15 years, 6 months.
The Department, for good cause, may issue an instruction permit to any physically and mentally qualified person who applies to the Department for an instruction permit and meets the following requirements:
Is age 15 years and 6 months or over
Has successfully completed an approved course in automobile driver education
Is taking driver training or is enrolled and participating in an integrated driver education program
Applying For a California Driver's License
U.S. Birth Certificate
U.S. Certificate or Report of Birth Abroad
Proof of Indian Blood Degree
U.S. Passport
U.S. Armed Forces ID Card
Certificate of Naturalization
Certificate of Citizenship
Resident Alien Card
Foreign Passport
Mexican Border Passing Card with valid I-94
Your social security number will be checked and verified with the Social Security Administration. Your license will not be issued until your identity has been verified, you have paid all the applicable fees, passed a written test, driving test, vision screening, shown that your physical and mental capabilities allow you to operate a motor vehicle safely, and have no outstanding actions on your driving record. You can apply for a California Driver's License at most offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Provisional License Requirements
If you are under the age of 18, you must satisfy additional requirements before you can obtain a driver’s license. You must have proof that you have completed both driver education and driver training, hold an instruction permit for at least 6 months, and have a parent or guardian sign the permit stating that you have completed 50 hours of driving practice, with 10 hours at night.
After you obtain your provisional license, you are restricted for the first 12 months. During this period, you may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. or drive with passengers under the age of 20, unless you are accompanied by a parent or guardian, an instructor, or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older.
The Testing Process
In order to qualify for a California Driver's License, you will need to pass three tests: a vision screening, a traffic laws exam, and a driving test.
The vision screening is required to judge whether or not you have good enough vision to operate a motor vehicle safely. If you require corrective lenses to pass the screening, you must wear them. Your driver's license will reflect the fact that you need corrective lenses to drive. The DMV will not license applicants whose corrected vision is 20/200 or worse in the better eye. You may not use a bioptic telescopic or similar lens to meet the standards.
The written or audio traffic laws exam will test your knowledge of California traffic laws, road signs, defensive driving techniques, and driving safety rules. The test is available in many different languages; if your language is not available, you may take the exam with the help of an interpreter. This test will find out if you know how to legally drive a motor vehicle.
The final test you will be given is a driving test, which you may take only after you have passed the vision screening and knowledge test. The driving test is usually only given on an appointment only basis. You will need to bring the following items to your driving test:
Your instruction permit, or your old license if you are renewing it.
A licensed driver.
A properly licensed, registered, insured and safe vehicle.
The examiner will check to make sure the vehicle has properly working brake lights, horn, parking brake, and signals. He or she will also check to see that the tires are not bald. The vehicle driver's side window must roll down, there must be two rear view mirrors, and the windshield must be clean and unobstructed.
The examiner will then ask you to locate the following switches: headlights, windshield wipers, defroster, and emergency flashers.
You will need to wear your seat belt during the entire test.
If the vehicle does not meet the above criteria, the driving test will be postponed.
During the driving test itself, you and the examiner will be the only people in the vehicle; no animals will be allowed in the vehicle either. The examiner will ask you to do certain things; he or she will not ask you to do anything illegal or try to trick you. During the test, the examiner will be checking for the following things:
Starting your vehicle, signaling when leaving the curb, using your mirrors, and turning your head.
Control of your vehicle, using the gas and brake pedals, using two hands on the steering wheel.
Driving in traffic, using the proper lanes, proper signaling distance, proper following distance.
Obeying traffic signals and posted signs.
Yielding and taking the right-of-way.
Proper stopping, smooth stops, and emergency quick stops.
Proper backing procedures.
Interacting with other traffic, pedestrians, bicyclist, and other road users.
Paying full attention to the job of driving.
After the test has concluded, the examiner will give you a score sheet and discuss with you what you did wrong. If you pass, you will be issued an interim license valid for sixty days.
Losing Your Driving PrivilegeSuspension -
The license is taken for a defined time period, after which full driving privileges are restored.
You may be required to attend a driver improvement program prior to reinstatement.
You may be asked to show proof of insurance prior to reinstatement.
Revocation -
Your driver’s license is cancelled, and you may reapply only after the State deems you eligible.
You may request a hearing to argue for a restricted license rather than a revoked license.
Your license will be revoked if you do not appear in court for a hearing, have a warrant for your arrest, or have an outstanding unpaid citation.
Restricted License -
You are allowed to drive only to and from work.
You are allowed to drive only periodically.
No further violations during restriction period will lead to full reinstatement of full driving privileges.
The Negligent Operator's Treatment System (NOTS) is a program introduced by the Office of Motor Vehicles to keep track of infractions that go on a driver's record. NOTS is a point system that counts infractions such as minor moving violations or safety violations. Examples of these infractions may include illegal u-turns, speeding, running a red light, or tailgating. You may also receive one point on your record if you are found to be at fault in a collision. A misdemeanor conviction under NOTS would be counted as two points. Examples of a misdemeanor violation would be a first-time DUI, exhibition of speed, or reckless driving. A hit-and-run or a DUI involving death or injury would be considered a felony, which is a serious violation. In most felony cases, jail time and loss of the driver's license are normal.
If you reach three points in a 12-month period, the Office of Motor Vehicles will send you a "notice of intent to suspend" your license. You must respond to this letter promptly or you may have your license suspended. If at any time you have four points in a 12-month period, six points in a 24-month period, or eight points in a 36-month period, you will have your driver's license suspended for six months in addition to a one year probation period. You may request a hearing at a local Office of Motor Vehicles to have your driving record reviewed, and at this hearing, you may request that your suspension be shortened or dropped. If probation is violated, the suspension will be immediately reinstated.
Your driving record and your driver's license file are both open to the public. Hundreds of thousands of drivers’ records are checked each year by either law enforcement agencies, courts, insurance agencies, or anyone else interested. Mental and physical conditions of a driver are not open to the public, but almost all other information can be obtained by simply filling out a form and paying a small fee at the Office of Motor Vehicles. Records of minor traffic convictions are kept for 36 months, and more serious convictions such as hit-and-runs are kept for seven years. DUI convictions stay on your record for ten years. When you are cited for a moving violation, you have three options:
1. Pay the citation and plead guilty.2. Plead not guilty and go to court to plead your innocence.3. Request traffic school and attend a court-approved traffic violator school. Upon successful completion, the point will not appear on your driving record.
The more serious convictions also result in imprisonment. For example, a conviction for evading a police officer will result in incarceration in a county jail for six months to one year. If, while in the process of evading the police, you cause bodily injury to someone else, the sentence is enhanced to 3, 5 or 7 years in state prison. The penalty will be greater if the act results in a death - you will face imprisonment of 4, 6 or 10 years.
You are required by law to present proof of insurance in California when applying for a license, registering a vehicle, or after a collision in California. This act requires each driver to carry a minimum of $35,000 in liability coverage. This may be satisfied by a deposit, insurance, or a bond posted with the Office of Motor Vehicles. Insurance must provide for a minimum of $15,000 personal injury or death (per person); $30,000 for multiple injuries/deaths; and $5,000 for property damage.
If you are involved in a wreck that involves damages over $750, you must file an SR1 (Supplemental Report) with the Office of Motor Vehicles. Most insurance carriers take care of this automatically, but you should still confirm that this has been done. If anyone is injured or killed, the SR1 is to be filled out within 24 hours. Both parties must file the SR1 regardless of fault. After any collision on public or private property, you are required to stop, render aid, and identify yourself. If no one is present, you must leave a note with your name, address, license number, owner of the vehicle, and how the collision occurred. You must then notify the police as soon as possible. Failure to comply with all of these procedures is a misdemeanor, or could be a felony if death or injury occurs.
Non-compliance can result in a $250 fine, one-year license suspension, and the requirement to file proof of insurance with the Office of Motor Vehicles. Effective January 2006, the DMV will cancel the registration of any vehicle when it is determined that it is not covered by insurance. In addition, the driver may be charged a reinstatement fee to cover the cost of reinstating the registration after it has been cancelled. Falsification can result in up to $500 in fines and/or 30 days in jail.
Before you purchase insurance, you should know what you are getting yourself into. Keep in mind that the minimum liability coverage required by the State of California may not sufficiently protect you. You may have paid $500 less than your friend each year on liability insurance, but before you congratulate yourself for saving some money, consider that your friend may be adequately protected while you are not. Any damages that exceed the limits of your policy will come out of YOUR pocket. The savings you think you obtained by purchasing the minimum amount of coverage will be wiped out by the extra costs you will have to pay beyond what your insurance covers. If you have just the minimum, consider purchasing the highest level of liability coverage that you can comfortably afford to protect your property and assets.
Obtaining more coverage does not necessarily mean you can't save on insurance. One way to do this is to shop around. Insurance rates can vary from insurer to insurer for the same exact type of coverage. However, be sure to research an insurance company before purchasing a policy. Increasing your deductible is another good way to lower your rates. With a higher deductible, you'll save on your premium, though you'll have to pay more out of your pocket should you get into a crash. The savings in the long run will add up, however. Besides raising your deductible, examine what your insurance covers and see what you do not need. If you have an older car, you may not need collision or comprehensive coverage, especially since repair costs can easily exceed the value of your vehicle. You may not need towing coverage, particularly if you are a member of an automobile club. Also, if you already have good health insurance, you do not need medical coverage under your auto insurance.
You should know that you cannot receive a "Good Driver" insurance discount if you have been convicted of a DUI or manslaughter within 10 years to the date you apply, even if you are otherwise qualified. However, any convictions you received prior to January 1, 1999 will not count.

1. The three R’s of driving are: Reason, Respect, and ________. Regard #Responsibility Rage
2. Airbags can inflate at speeds of 200 mph.#true false
3. A properly worn seatbelt can reduce your risk of death or injury by 50%.#true false
4. Slower traffic should drive in the right hand lanes.#true false
5. Bicycle lanes are painted with solid_________lines.#white yellow blue
6. The speed limit in a school zone is ______ mph.20 30 #25 35
7. The first step before backing up is to check all mirrors.true #false
8. A freeway off-ramp is also called a passing lane. true #false
9. This color signal light means caution.red green orange #yellow
10. A dead end is where the pavement ends and a drop-off begins.true #false
11. You may pass a school bus with flashing red lights________.only on the left only on the right #never only before 8:00 am
12. Visibility when driving on an open highway may be limited by tall trees, crops, bushes or ditch banks.#true false
13. In fog, you should never use your high beams.#true false
14. Cat litter is mentioned as helpful when traction is poor.#true false
15. DUI stands for ___________.distant upper intersection #driving under the influence daylight utility intersection
16. The law prohibits passing__________.on a hill on a curve in a tunnel #all of the above
17. A DUI offense can be both a criminal and a civil matter.#true false
18. You may not drive in a bicycle lane except within the last 300 feet before an intersection to make a right turn.true #false
19. A diamond lane is also known as a _________ lane.fast slow carpool acceleration 20. An octagon is used only for stop signs.#true false
21. Red indicates stop or prohibited.#true false
22. A solid yellow line on your side of the road marks_________.two-way traffic #no passing one-way traffic none of above
23. Maintaining good grades is mentioned as a way to save money on insurance.#true false
24. If you receive two points in a 12-month, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months, and you will be on probation for one year. true #false
25. The legal age to drive in California is____________.14 #16 18 21