TIPS ON DRIVING

 1. Hydroplaning
 2. Bad-Weather Braking
 3. Guardrail
 4. Sharing the Road with Trucks
 5. Drunk Drivers
 6. Child Safety Seats
 7. Emergency Vehicles
8. Following Too Close
9. Railroad Crossing
10. Right-Hand Rule
11. Flash Flood
12. Motorcycles
13. Avoiding Collisions
14. Air Bags
15. School Bus Safety
16. Left-Hand Turns
17. Using Your Turn Signal
18. Drifting onto the Right Shoulder
19. Recognizing Risks
20. Head-On Collision
1. Hydroplaning
It’s been raining. As you drive through a patch of puddles, your steering wheel doesn’t respond. Your car is hydroplaning, a condition in which your tires begin to ride up on a film of water and lose contact with the road.

To avoid losing control of your car:

Ease your foot off the accelerator. This will slow down your vehicle and help you to maintain steering control.
Avoid turning sharply or sudden, hard braking, which may force your car into a skid.

Before you drive:
Remember that mixing high speeds, worn (or underinflated) tires, and lots of water is the perfect recipe for hydroplaning. Check your tires today. But even with good treads, hydroplaning may occur when water is deeper than the tread depth.

2. Bad-Weather Braking
You’re travelling down a road that is dotted with snow and patches of ice, on a blustery winter night. Suddenly the car in front of you begins to fishtail and lose control.

Drivers with anti-lock brakes should:

Apply brakes fully, maintain pressure, and attempt to steer around the car. By applying brakes fully you will activate the anti-lock braking system, which modulates the brakes for you. This will slow down your vehicle and allow you to maintain steering control. Don’t pump the brakes. Pumping anti-lock brakes reduces their effectiveness.

Drivers without anti-lock brakes should:

Apply brakes firmly but short of wheel lockup. Try to keep the heel of your foot on the floor, and use the upper part of your foot to apply a firm and steady pressure on the brake pedal to avoid wheel lockup.

Highway Hint
No matter what kind of brakes you have, always leave enough room between you and the car in front of you. And always reduce speed in adverse weather and poor road conditions.

3. Guardrail
You are travelling at highway speed in the left lane of the expressway. Traffic is heavy. There is no shoulder on the left, and the highway is separated merely by a guardrail. Suddenly the car to your right makes a lane change into your lane, striking your car and forcing you into the guardrail.

To minimize damage to your car and your risk of serious injury:

Do not slam on your brakes. Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel, and apply brakes firmly but not to a point of lockup. Then gradually steer away from the guardrail and come to a stop once traffic behind you has reacted to your predicament.

Highway Hint
Once you have regained control, bring the car to a stop next to the guardrail. Do not attempt to cross lanes of heavy traffic.

4. Sharing the Road with Trucks
No one wants to meet a truck by accident. But get closer than 200 feet behind a truck, and you may be saying hello to a trucker’s blind spot.

When following a truck:

Make sure you are far enough behind the truck so the driver can see you in the side mirrors. If you can’t see the truck’s mirrors, chances are the driver can’t see you. Following a truck too closely also impairs your own vision of the road ahead.

To pass a truck:

First check for a "no passing zone" marking or sign. Check your mirrors, and signal your intention to move when it is safe to do so.
Complete your pass as quickly as possible. Signal your intention to move back in front of the truck in your rearview mirror.

Highway Hint
On a level highway, it takes 3 to 5 seconds longer to pass a truck than a car.

5.  Drunk Drivers
You are travelling down a highway at 2:30 in the morning at the speed limit. In your rearview mirror you see a vehicle approaching. You notice the vehicle is swerving slightly and alternately speeding up and slowing down. You assume the driver is under the influence of alcohol. What is the best method to avoid the drunk driver?

To avoid the drunk driver:

Signal, then make a right turn onto another roadway or driveway. If you are on a long stretch of open highway, continue on until you can turn off and let the other car pull ahead. If you merely move onto the shoulder, you could risk being hit because drunk drivers have a tendency to focus on taillights.
As the car passes, try to get a license plate number and a description of the vehicle. Then notify the police.

Highway Hint
Remember: If you plan to drink alcoholic beverages, make arrangements in advance for a non-drinking "designated driver" or take a taxi.

6. Child Safety Seats
Child safety seats are required by law in all 50 states for good reason. Motor vehicle accidents are the number-one killer of children under the age of 5 in the United States.

To help ensure your child’s safety:

Choose -- and use -- the proper type of safety seat for your child. There are rear-facing seats for infants, convertible seats for infants and toddlers, and booster seats for older children who aren’t quite big enough to use a safety belt. A word of caution: For cars with a passenger-side air bag, a rear-facing safety seat must never be placed in the front seat. It should always be in the back seat. Check your owner’s manual for complete details on how to secure the child safety seat in your vehicle.

Before you drive:
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and that you’re using the child safety seat properly.

7. Emergency Vehicles
You’re travelling along in the left lane of a four-lane, undivided city street in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As you slowly creep along, you hear a siren. A check of your rearview mirror reveals a quickly approaching fire engine. Traffic has completely blocked the right-hand lane.

To help the emergency vehicle get to its destination:

Stay where you are if traffic is too blocked to move into the right lane. Do not move to your left and into oncoming traffic lanes. You risk a head-on collision and could also interfere with the path of the emergency vehicle.

Highway Hint
Emergency vehicles have the right to move into oncoming lanes to circumvent traffic. Remember: Emergency vehicles have sirens and lights to warn motorists out of their path: you do not!

8. Following Too Close
You’re travelling down a busy two-lane street. There is a car in front of you, and traffic is heavy in the oncoming lane. As you approach an intersection, an oncoming car suddenly makes an unsignaled left-hand turn in front of the car ahead of you. The car in front of you slams on the brakes. You hit your brakes hard, but it is too late. Your car rams into the back of the vehicle you were following. What could you have done to avoid this collision?

To avoid such a crash:

Allow plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one ahead. Space allows you time to stop safely if the other driver suddenly brakes. A good rule of thumb: With good visibility, dry pavement, and a safe alternate path of travel, allow at least a two-second interval between your car and the one ahead of you. Better yet, allow three seconds.

Highway Hints
You can measure your following distance in this manner:
A. Pick out something up ahead, such as a light post.
B. When the rear of the vehicle ahead of you passes that point, begin to count "One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three..."
C. If the front of your vehicle reaches the light post before "one thousand three," you’re following too closely.

9. Railroad Crossing
As you drive down a country road, you see a sign indicating there are railroad tracks ahead. There are no gates down or flashing red warning lights to indicate a train is coming.

To proceed safely:

Stop, look, listen -- and live. Less than one-third of all public highway rail grade crossings have flashing lights or gates to warn motorists a train is approaching. At all crossings, it’s your responsibility to slow down or stop if necessary. A train always has the right-of-way since it might take a train a mile and a half to stop.

Highway Hint
Never try to beat a train across tracks or go around lowered warning gates. It’s difficult to judge a train’s speed accurately.

10. Right-Hand Rule
Travelling down a busy street, you notice the traffic light at a mildly busy intersection isn’t working. You approach the intersection at the same time as a car on your right from the intersecting street.

To get through the intersection safely:

Treat the intersection as if it were a four-way stop. Yield the right-of-way to the car on the right on the intersecting street.

Highway Hint
When in doubt at an intersection, remember the right-hand rule, which says the car to your right has the right-of-way.

11. Flash Flood
You’re driving in a light rain, when the skies suddenly darken and the light rain turns into a torrential downpour. You notice the water on the roadway is getting deeper by the second. In an instant, you notice there is water rising around the car.

Your best course of action:

Pull over slowly and stop. Never try to drive through pools of water on the road. They may be deeper than they appear.

Highway Hint
If the water is rising, get out of the car and seek higher ground. Most cars will float for a short period, but they can quickly and easily be swept away by rising flood waters -- with you trapped inside.

12. Motorcycles
All too often motorists aren’t aware of the motorcycles on the highway. In fact, failure to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the main cause of motorcycle accidents with other vehicles.

If you ride a motorcycle:

Always keep your headlights on -- even during the day. It will help make you more visible. Twenty-two states require motorcyclists to operate their cycles with their headlights on during the day.

If you drive a car:

Remember to share the road. Keep a lookout for motorcycles. A motorcycle’s small size makes it more difficult to spot in traffic, so motorists must aggressively and consciously look for motorcycles in changing traffic conditions.

Highway Hint
If you’re behind a motorcycle, follow at the same interval that you would for a car -- at least two seconds, better yet, three seconds on dry pavement.

13. Avoiding Collisions
Bad weather, mechanical failure of a vehicle, and poorly maintained roadways -- all may contribute to collisions. But do you know the number-one cause of auto collisions?
More collisions can be attributed to driver error than any other factor. Driver error includes many factors, such as improper lookout, excessive speed, improper evasive action, internal distractions, and driver inattention or distraction. The tragedy is that nearly all collisions caused by driver error could have been prevented.

Highway Hints
To keep driver error at a minimum:

Avoid taking your eyes off the road to adjust your radio or air-conditioning/heating, or to talk to passengers.
Pull onto the shoulder if you need to check a road map.
Remain at a safe distance from the car in front of you, and allow plenty of room for changing lanes.
14. Air Bags
Air bags supplement safety belts and are designed to inflate in moderate and severe frontal or near frontal collisions. When used in combination with safety belts, air bags further reduce the risk of fatality in frontal or near frontal crashes.

Air bags do not deploy when:

You are rear-ended by another car, or hit in the side.
You misjudge your stopping distance and run into a stopped car at up to 10 to 15 mph.

Highway Hint
Remember that it’s crucial to always wear a safety belt, even if your car is equipped with an air bag. Safety belts provide the maximum protection in all types of crashes, not just head-on crashes. All states have laws requiring the use of child restraints. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws to "Buckle Up."

15. School Bus Safety
Travelling on a four-lane undivided road, you see a school bus approaching from the opposite direction. As you get a bit closer, you notice it is stopped and its red lights are flashing.

To obey the law and make sure that school children remain safe:

Come to a stop and wait to move until the lights stop flashing or the bus is moving. On an undivided highway this is true no matter what side of the road the bus is on. Remember: There may be children you can’t see getting off the bus and walking around the blind side of the bus.

Highway Hint
If you are on a divided road, you still must stop if the bus is on your side of the road. It’s not necessary to stop if the school bus is across the median in the opposite lanes. However, you should still be careful because there are children around.

16. Left-Hand Turns
You’re pulling out of a business driveway and want to make a left turn onto a busy street. The road has a special center lane designed for making turns.

To ensure center-lane safety:

After the traffic clears in the lanes nearest you, enter the center lane -- and wait for traffic to clear in the far lane. Once you are in the center lane, turn on your right -- hand turn signal.
Do not drive in the "shared left-turn lane." It is neither legal nor safe.

Highway Hint
As you merge, watch out for vehicles entering the special turning lane in front of you as well as behind you.

17. Using Your Turn Signal
Always use your turn signal when changing lanes -- even if you’re in the RIGHT TURN ONLY lane and you think it should be obvious that your intention is to turn.

When you use your signal every time you change lanes:

Your intentions will be clear to everyone. This includes pedestrians as well as motorists.
You’ll keep the law on your side. Failing to signal is a ticketable offense.

Highway Hint
Most states require the driver to signal at least 100 feet prior to any change in direction.

18. Drifting onto the Right Shoulder
As you travel down a two-lane highway in the country, your right wheels drop off onto the unpaved shoulder of the road.

To correct this situation:

If the level of the shoulder is only slightly below the pavement, recovery is fairly easy. Hold the steering wheel firmly and ease off the accelerator. If there is nothing in the way, steer so that your vehicle straddles the edge of the pavement.
Do not turn the steering wheel sharply. You can turn the steering wheel up to a one-quarter turn until the front tire is back on the pavement. Then continue straight down the road.

Highway Hint
If your tires scrub against the side of the pavement, do not steer more sharply. Instead, ease off the accelerator, holding the steering wheel firmly, and straddle the pavement once more. Then repeat the procedure as stated before.

19. Recognizing Risks
Children playing, cars pulling away from the curb, cross-street traffic, someone getting out of a parked car, animals at the side of the road -- each of these everyday events can spell disaster for the driver who fails to look well beyond the immediate field of vision.

To get the "big picture" on the roadway:

Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. Get the big picture. Search the road -- and roadside -- at least 12 seconds ahead. Think of this as your "visual lead time," which will allow you time and space to make decisions and control your vehicle.

Highway Hint
At higher speeds, it’s especially important to get the big picture. As speed increases, your eyes focus more on what’s directly in front of you and less on what is to your sides.

20. Head-On Collision
You’re driving down a two-lane highway at 55 mph. In the distance, you see a car approaching in your lane at a high rate of speed. You frantically honk your horn, but the car continues to move toward you in your lane. You think the driver might be asleep or drunk.

To avoid a head-on collision:

Move to the right. If you move to the left, the head-on collision you were hoping to avoid may still happen. If the oncoming driver recovers, he may instinctively swerve back into his proper lane.
Reduce your speed and wait as long as you can to pull out of your lane. Pull as far to the right as possible; if need be, drive completely off the road.

Highway Hint
Driving off the road isn’t without risk: There is a possibility you may be injured. However, it’s almost always better than a head-on collision. If you have to hit something, aim for something relatively soft, such as shrubbery.


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