Ask The Driving School Instructor: Left Turn
September 8, 2014
Question: When making a left turn at an intersection, can you end the turn in any lane?
Answer: In most states, whether turning left or right, you must turn into the nearest lane. In other words, if you’re making a right turn from the right lane, you should turn into the far right lane of the street you are turning onto. If making a left turn, you should turn into the left lane.
Florida law is a little different from most states. Under Florida law, you must still make a right turn from the right lane into the right lane. However, when making a left turn, you may turn into “any lane lawfully available, or safe for the desired direction of travel.”
Let’s look at a scenario where it would be legal to turn left into any “lawfully available, safe” open lane. Let’s say, as soon as you turn left, you need to make a right turn into a parking lot. In that case, under Florida law, it would be legal to turn left into the far right lane as long as – and this is important – the far right lane is clear of traffic and you can safely move into that lane. If there is traffic in the lane you want to move into, you must move into the safest available lane and then move into your desired lane as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Unless you need to turn again, after making a left turn, the safest and smartest thing to do is to turn from the left lane into the left lane. Afterwards, if you need to move over into another lane, you should signal for a lane change, check to see if the lane is clear, and then move over. Remember that, under Florida law, you must use your turn signal whenever you are making a turn or when changing lanes.
Ask The Driving School Instructor: Overdriving Your Headlights
September 2, 2014
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
Teens Don’t Know How to Check The Tires
August 27, 2014
Almost half of teen drivers in the US don’t know how to check their tires for wear or proper pressure. Results from a study conducted by Michelin North America showed that teens aren’t getting basic vehicle maintenance training in state driver training courses or from their parents. Basic maintenance checks on tires, windshield wipers, fluid levels, and lights are an important part of driving safety yet the study shows that:
- 27% of teens never check the condition of their tires.
- 44% of teens don’t know how to check the tire tread for wear.
- 29% don’t know how to check the oil.
- 57% don’t know how to change the windshield wipers. Continue Reading
Ask The Driving School Instructor: Driving With One Hand
August 25, 2014
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.
Fewer Colorado Teens See Pot As Risky
August 18, 2014
Fewer teens, in the first survey taken since Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana, see pot as a risky drug. Researchers can’t connect the legalization of pot to the change in attitudes but they say it isn’t helping. Read more: Fewer Colorado Teens Believe Marijuana is a Risky Drug to Use