Category Archive: Ask the Driving School Instructor

Overdriving your headlights

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Overdriving Your Headlights

Question: What do they mean when they talk about overdriving your headlights?

Answer: Overdriving your headlights means driving too fast to be able to stop in the distance lit by your headlights. Automobile headlights are only effective for a certain distance. On average, with low beam headlights, you can only spot objects in the road for a distance of about 160 feet in front of your vehicle. With high beams, you can see about 450 feet ahead. Those distances don’t take into account the age, visual abilities of the driver, or road conditions. Your headlights can’t light objects over hills, around curves, or dips in the road and they’re even less effective in rain, fog or snow. Continue Reading

Driving with one hand

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Driving With One Hand

Question: Is it safe to drive with one hand?

Answer: I will say that it’s only safe to drive temporarily with one hand but not all the time. If you need to adjust a control such as the air conditioner or windshield wipers or to pick up something one hand on the wheel is fine. However, you shouldn’t get in the habit of driving with one hand all the time. Driving with one hand doesn’t give you full control over steering and it could hurt you very badly in certain circumstances. Let’s look at a couple of the ways that driving with one hand could be dangerous.

Driving distractions can be even more dangerous when driving with one hand. Most people tend to put their hand at the top of the steering wheel. If you were to to turn your body to look for or to reach for something, you may inadvertently pull the wheel in the direction your body is turning. If that happens while your eyes are off the road, you could drive over into the other lane or off the side of the road.

If you were suddenly involved in a traffic crash in which your airbag deployed, with one hand positioned at the top of the wheel, your hand and arm are going to be driven back into your face at 200 mph. It could break your arm and it isn’t going to do wonders for your face either.

Older drivers were taught to always keep their hands at the 9 or 10 o’clock and 3 or 2 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Today, because of airbags, safety experts suggest keeping your hands lower on the wheel at  the 8 and 4 o’clock positions. Don’t wrap your thumbs around the wheel. Instead, rest your thumbs on top of the wheel. With your hands and thumbs in this position, you’ll have more control and you’re less likely to be injured if your airbag deploys.

Speed Limit 60 Sign

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Why do people drive above the speed limit?

Question: Why do people drive above the speed limit?

Answer: There are several different reasons why people tend to drive above the speed limit but none of those reasons are valid.

The top two reasons that people tend to drive faster are: Continue Reading

Teens not imune to car crashes

Ask The Driving School Instructor: Most Common Type Of Crash

Question: What is the most common cause of car crash?

Answer: It’s hard to nail down one single cause of most car crashes but, since this is a teen blog, I’ll address the types of driving behaviors that I have seen lead to most teen traffic deaths. Continue Reading


Ask The Driving School Instructor: Earplugs

Question: Is it illegal to drive with earplugs?

Answer: By earplugs, I’m guessing that you mean some type of earplugs or earbuds connected to an iPod, MP3, or some other type of music player. Whether it’s earplugs for music or earplugs to drown out the noise, the answer is yes; it’s illegal to wear any type of earplugs in both ears while driving. The only type of earplug allowed by law is that for a hearing aid in one ear.

For those blessed with good hearing, your hearing is a very important tool to warn you of dangers on the road. You need to be able to hear if an emergency vehicle is approaching so that you can get out of the way. The sound of screeching tires can alert you to a possible crash. Even the sound of your engine or the hum of your tires can alert you to a possible mechanical problem.

It’s hard enough to hear the sounds of the roadway to begin with. Modern cars have more soundproofing for a quieter ride and we tend to drive with the windows rolled up, the air-conditioner on, and the radio cranked up. That tends to block out all of those important roadway sounds that we need to hear and wearing earplugs just makes it that much more dangerous.

If you’re wondering then, how can deaf people drive? I grew up in the deaf community and was taught to drive – safely – by my deaf father. Drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing are perfectly safe drivers. They aren’t distracted by cell phones, the radio, air-conditioner, etc. and that allows them to pay even more attention to the roadway conditions around them; something every driver should try to do.