Driving: Reducing Speed
congestion of city traffic is a challenge to most drivers.
In order to drive safely in the city, drivers must reduce
their speed and drive with the flow of the traffic.
Selecting the correct, reduced speed for city streets
will give you more time to:
details and identify their meaning.
information and predict the traffic situation.
and decide what to do next.
decisions or avoid dangerous situations.
Driving: Looking Ahead of Traffic
addition to making regular checks for hazards near your
vehicle, check the traffic scene at least one block
ahead (10-15 seconds) of you whenever city traffic allows
you to see that far.
city streets usually are not wide enough for you to
use the shoulders or to change lanes in case of an emergency,
you will have to leave ample distance between you and
other vehicles and choose the lane that offers the least
Driving: Signal Lights
order to plan safely in city traffic, you should look
well ahead of your vehicle for traffic signal changes.
If you look a block ahead of your car, you can check
the traffic signal at the next corner and you will have
more time to decide what to do before reaching the next
you are surveying the scene in front of you, try and
anticipate signal changes:
the light ahead is red, you need to slow down to prepare
for a smooth stop.
the light is green when you first notice it, you should
expect it to change soon and adjust your speed accordingly.
A traffic light that has been green and will momentarily
turn red is called a "stale green light."
you are able to identify a stale green light, you
have to decide whether to slow and stop or to continue
through the intersection. Never speed up to get through
a green light before it changes.
Driving: Covering your Brake
your brake" is an important safety technique that
involves taking your foot off of the accelerator and
holding it over the brake pedal, ready to brake. The
purpose of covering the brake is to be able to stop
quickly in an emergency situation.
should cover your brake:
driving next to parked cars. Drive at least one car
doors width away from parked cars when your
lane is wide enough, and be ready to stop if a car
door opens or something or someone emerges from between
the brake lights of parked or moving vehicles are
on. If cars around you are reacting to something by
braking, you should be prepared to react as well.
you approach any intersection, cover the brake, slow
down if necessary, evaluate the intersection and traffic
situation, and be prepared to stop if necessary.
should avoid driving with your foot actually on the
brake pedal, which will force your brake lights to remain
on. This is called "riding the brakes." The
driver following you will assume that you are planning
to stop or slowing down if your brake lights are on
for any length of the time. When you dont slow
or stop, they will become confused. Riding your brakes
will also wear them out over time.
Driving: City Passing
on a two-lane, two-way city street is especially hazardous,
because your passing lane is the lane for oncoming traffic.
You have to very carefully judge the distance of oncoming
traffic while simultaneously evaluating the street for
passing on a two-lane road, turn your left signal light
on 100 feet ahead in business or residential areas,
300 feet ahead in other areas.
not pass in or near an urban intersection. At intersections,
cars from the side streets may be turning directly into
your path if you are passing and make the situation
Driving: Lane Selection
your car accordingly for right and left turns. Parked
cars, bicyclists, and motorcyclists may obstruct right
lanes and will require special attention. As you prepare
yourself for a left turn, move into the very left lane
and adjust your speed and position accordingly.
you want to change lanes:
your rear and side view mirrors to check traffic.
100 feet (10 car lengths) on city streets, 300 feet
(30 car lengths) on highways or freeways, before changing
blind spot by looking over your shoulder and change
lanes when traffic is clear.
out for truck-trailer rigs, buses, motorcycles and
not change lanes in intersection.
you are planning to drive a long distance on a particular
road without turning, you may be better off choosing
a less traveled or congested lane, the "lane of
least resistance," one that is free of both turning
vehicles and hazardous traffic like bikes and motorcycles.
This would usually be the middle lane of three lanes,
Driving: Choosing a Safe Route
should avoid driving during rush hours if possible.
Some streets and highways will be heavily congested
and present substantially more danger than others. Choose
a route and a time of day that is less busy and where
traffic flows more smoothly.
Streets versus Side Streets
streets and "thru" streets are built to provide
better traffic flow than smaller streets. They have
central dividers, two or more lanes in one direction,
lanes for left turns, and traffic signals.
may have less traffic on side streets, but driving there
could be more dangerous. Intersections may be controlled
by stop or yield signs, or not controlled at all, and
drivers are likely to be less aware of other traffic
than on major streets.
Way versus Two Way Streets.
major US cities have added one-way streets and divided
two-way streets to allow for a greater volume of traffic
with less congestion and greater safety.
Driving: Special Problems
to your route may be used if the main route is under
construction, is unsafe for some reason, or unavailable.
As soon as you see a detour sign, change lanes so that
you can keep moving smoothly and help others to blend
into the new traffic flow smoothly as well. If there
is a worker or other official directing traffic, obey
their instructions promptly and precisely.
Left Turn Lanes
a street has a dedicated center left turn lane, you
must use it when you turn left. Since these lanes are
typically used for traffic from both directions, you
may only drive for 200 feet in a center, left-turn lane.
use this lane for regular driving lane or a passing
lane. To turn left from the street, drive completely
inside the center left-turn lane. Watch for vehicles
coming head-on toward you in the same lane as they start
to make their left turns. Make sure the lanes you will
be crossing are clear in both directions and then turn
only once it is safe. You may drive across a center
left-turn lane when necessary.
at City Intersections
make safe and legal turns you need to do the following:
sure you are in the correct lane well ahead of time.
ahead, behind, and to each side of your vehicle. Be
aware of other drivers and pedestrians.
your turn at least 100 feet ahead (about 10 car lengths)
on city streets and 300 feet (30 car lengths) on open
for and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement
markings that direct your movement.
time and space to make your turn safely. Slow down.
right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic.
through the turn and accelerate to the speed of traffic.
Be sure your turn signal is off.
can identify one-way streets several ways:
the intersections and on both sides of the street,
signs will indicate "one way."
the lanes and markings are white, rather than yellow.
vehicles are pointed in the same direction on both
sides of the street.
safely enter a one-way street, you should turn from
the lane closest to the new street at a speed that is
safe for the conditions:
into the right-most lane before making a right turn.
into a one-way street to your left requires a sharp
left turn into the very left-most lane.
a one-way street ends or changes somehow, signs will
drivers wait too long to change lanes before they
turn. Make your lane change a block or two before
the turn, if possible.
you are leaving a one-way street, make your left turns
from the far left lane. On some streets you can turn
left into another multi-lane street from more than
one lane, in which case pavement markings or overhead
signs will direct you.
right turns, turn from the far right lane.
a vehicle is headed the wrong way (towards you) down
a one-way street, try to avoid an accident by reducing
your speed, changing lanes to the right, and communicate
with the other driver using your headlights or horn.
Safely: Children and Small Objects
you have parked in such a manner that you will need
to back the vehicle, make sure you make a safety check
of the rear of the vehicle before you get inside. Check
behind your vehicle and in the vicinity for small objects
that may be damaged by backing over them, or may damage
your car. Also check for small children or animals,
both of whom might wander behind your vehicle and be
Safely: Speed Control
you back your vehicle, it is important to maintain good
control of your speed. Press and release the brake pedal
to adjust your speed, and make sure you proceed slowly
enough that you can safely control the car at all times
and be able to stop immediately if necessary -- approximately
3 to 5 mph.
Safely: Steering Through Turns and Around Corners
it is necessary for you to make a sharp turn or go around
a corner while backing, make sure to exercise special
care, drive extremely slowly, maintain control of the
steering wheel, and always look over your right shoulder
to see the street behind your vehicle. Do not be afraid
to ask a passenger to get out of the vehicle and help
you maneuver, if necessary.
Safely: Constricted Movement
a tight parking lot or other difficult backing situation,
you should certainly ask a passenger to get out and
help. Make sure you proceed with maximum caution and
use the control techniques discussed above. Use your
mirrors when necessary, but be careful, they are really
an option of last resort when backing.
can frequently avoid backing by carefully evaluating
the situation around you and planning accordingly. Try
and avoid backing whenever possible and find parking
spaces that do not require you to back up.
into a gap in traffic or crossing a stream of traffic
through a gap are two of the most dangerous maneuvers
in everyday driving. You will have to be able judge
the speed and the position of other vehicles and scan
the road far ahead of you to select the most efficient
path of travel:
major source of problems is the traffic in front of
to the rear of your vehicle for possible conflicts
any time anything in front of you indicates that you
may need to adjust speed or position.
a stopped position, it usually takes about 4 seconds
to cross a street 24 to 30 feet wide.
will need at least a 5 to 6 second gap (about half
a block) in both directions in order to cross safely.
Protected and Unprotected Left turns
"protected left turn" occurs when you are
a green arrow.
a separate green traffic signal specifically for left
a green light that is advanced or delayed from the
normal light, specifically for left turns.
a traffic control officer controls other traffic and
directs you to turn.
turning, you must still check for vehicles in the intersection,
pedestrians, and other hazards, and proceed only when
it is safe to do so.
will be making an unprotected left turn:
any uncontrolled intersection.
a controlled intersection without a special left turn
light or arrow.
a special turn light ends and you are still permitted
to make a left turn.
Vehicle Position Before and After A Turn
beginning your left turn:
your vehicle in the left-most lane you are permitted
to use, or in a designated left turn lane if
there are multiple lanes.
sure that your wheels are positioned straight ahead.
If you were to be struck in the rear while waiting,
you would otherwise be forced into oncoming traffic.
turning, drive in the closest left lane that is available.
Change lanes only after the turn is safely completed.
When your View is Blocked
you are forced to begin a turn while your view is blocked:
to a full stop, then inch slowly forward.
vehicles may honk to communicate with you make
sure you listen carefully.
to accelerate into your turn only once you can see
far enough into the cross-street to be sure that it
Nevada, U-turns are generally allowed on any road when
they can be made safely. They are specifically NOT allowed:
a traffic sign or signal prohibit them;
a business district, EXCEPT at intersection or an
appropriate opening on a divided highway;
a grade, where there is less than 500 feet visibility
in both directions
Proceeding Straight and Covering the Brake Pedal
you approach an intersection with the intention of proceeding
straight ahead, release the accelerator and cover the
brake pedal with your foot. Check that you can cross
safely before you enter the intersection. Once you have
entered the intersection, return your foot to the gas
pedal and continue through the intersection.
Signaling While Stopping
order to avoid rear-end collisions, it is essential
that you communicate your intention to either stop or
slow down to other drivers around you. When you make
the decision to begin either slowing down or stopping,
either tap your brakes to flash your brake lights, show
a hand signal, or use your turn signals to inform the
driver behind you to be cautious, that you are slowing
round Railroad Crossing sign warns of a railroad
crossing ahead. Look and listen for trains coming from
both directions. Be ready to stop if necessary.
stop on a railroad track.
lights at a railroad crossing mean STOP!
at least 15 feet from the track when a person or a
signal warns that a train is coming, or you see a
train coming, or you hear the horn or bell of a train
start across if there is not room for your vehicle
on the other side of the track
not go around or under any closed railroad gates.
only when it is safe.