Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Traffic School, the Sanchez Way

Say, do you have to go to traffic school?

Well, you're in luck! I'll let you use my notes. Here they are:

Chapter 1:

By law you must turn on your low beam headlights within 30 minutes after sunset.

If you are using your high beams, you must switch to low beams when an approaching vehicle is within 500 feet of your vehicle. When approaching a vehicle from behind, you must switch to low beams when you reach a distance of 300 feet to the rear of the other vehicle.

The same hours of operation apply to taillights as to headlights: they must be operating between dusk and dawn.

On most vehicles, when the emergency flasher system is turned on all four of the turn signals simultaneously flash on and off. A signal like this is to be used when a vehicle is disabled, when a vehicle is involved in a collision or when a vehicle is parked within 10 feet alongside a highway.

It is illegal to drive without properly functioning lights. If a law officer notices that your lights are not working correctly, you will likely be stopped and given a "fix-it" ticket. If you receive one of these tickets, you are usually given a period of time to repair the problem. If you do not fix the problem and you get stopped again for the same violation, you will be fined. To help stay safe and avoid being pulled over or fined, make sure your lights functioning properly by checking them at least once every 12,000 miles (about once a year for most drivers).

Your vehicle should be capable of stopping at a maximum stopping distance of 25 feet when traveling at a rate of 20 miles per hour .

You should have your brakes checked every 3,000 miles, or when you consistently need to push down harder on your brake pedal to get your vehicle to stop.

You are allowed to install "sunscreen" devices on the side windows as long as they meet California Vehicle Code requirements regarding reflectivity and transmission of light (CVC 26708.2). These devices must be readily removable.

If cracks appear on the windshield, you must repair them immediately. If you are driving with an obstructed or cracked windshield you may receive a citation. Law officers can either arrest you or give you a "fix-it" ticket, whereby you must have the windshield or rear window repaired or changed to meet regulations.

Unnecessary horn uses include: Using your horn to hear the echo while driving through a tunnel; Using your horn to irritate another driver who has cut you off; Using your horn to say, "{explicative} you!"

The horn should be capable of being heard under normal conditions from 200 feet, but shouldn't be unreasonably loud.

You should test your horn every month to make sure that it is in working order when the driver needs to use it.

You should inspect your tires frequently. Look for blisters on the side-walls of the tread or any glass, nails or metal stuck in the tire. Since they are in different locations on your car, your tires wear down in different ways and at different rates. In order to balance the wear on your tires you should rotate them every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. You should also be aware of how deep the tread is on your tires. The minimum tread depth for most tires is 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch. Never neglect getting new tires when the tread is less than 1/32 of an inch. Penny trick: top of Lincoln's head

nearly two-thirds of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic collisions in 2000 were unrestrained

By law, you must properly wear your seatbelt. You and your passengers must stay buckled up whenever the car is in motion. If you are not wearing your safety belt you will receive a traffic ticket. When you are the driver, it is legally your responsibility to make sure that everyone age 15 and younger is properly buckled up. If they aren't buckled up, you will be cited.

About one in three persons involved in a collision will be either injured or killed

A child passenger restraint system is required for any child who:

    * is under 6 years of age

    * weighs less than 60 pounds .

If your vehicle has an active passenger-side airbag, do not put your child in the front seat if they:

    * are under one year of age,
    * weigh less than 20 pounds, or
    * are secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.

Chapter 2 Notes

If you are traveling under 45 miles per hour, you should signal at least 100 feet before reaching the intersection

As you approach such an intersection, slow down to 15 mph,

As you approach the signal light, choose a "point of no return". If you are traveling at 35 miles per hour, this point should be about 150 to 200 feet from the intersection.

Various calculations on how much stopping distance is needed. Basically, if you are going 20 MPH, you need 40 feet stopping distance; 30 requires about 2 times that (75 feet); 40 requires about 3 times the original number (120); 50 about 4 times original (so 175); etc.

In a survey of 837 drivers with cell phones, it was found that almost half swerved or drifted into another lane, 23% had tailgated, 21% cut someone off and 18% nearly hit another vehicle while using the phone while driving

If you are traveling at 60 miles per hour and you look down for just two seconds to adjust the climate controls, you'll have moved 176 feet blindly

Primary collision factors are the things that the driver was doing that resulted in the collision.

73% of fatal and injury collisions are the result of these five primary collision factors: unsafe speed, right-of-way errors, improper turning, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and not obeying traffic signals and signs

Look down the road 10 to 15 seconds ahead of your vehicle. The distance that 10 to 15 seconds represents is relative to how fast you are traveling. If you are driving in a city, 10 to 15 seconds is about a block ahead. If you are on a highway, 10 to 15 seconds is about a quarter of a mile.

If you are approaching a blind intersection, you should slow down to at least 15 miles per hour. Always make sure you have an unobstructed view for at least 100 feet down all intersecting roadways.

The four-second rule is a great way to measure your frontal space cushion. However, increase following distance to 5 or more seconds when you are being tailgated, when your vision is blocked or visibility is poor, when you are driving at high speeds and when adverse roadway or weather conditions exist.

If you know you are going to be hit from the rear and you cannot maneuver to avoid it, you should prepare for impact by releasing your brake and pressing your head and body firmly against the seat and headrest so that they will be fully supported. Upon impact, re-apply the brake fully.

Chapter 3 notes

Always keep your speed below 25 mph in school zones

At blind intersections (intersections where you cannot see for 100 feet in either direction), you must by law drive slower than 15 mph. At uncontrolled intersections, make sure you slow to 15 mph prior to the intersection and proceed only when it is clear.

When you approach within 100 feet of uncontrolled railroad tracks, if you do not have a clear view down the tracks for a distance of 400 feet in each direction, the prima facie speed limit is 15 mph.

the prima facie speed limit in business or residential areas is 25 mph.

speed limit on freeways is 55 mph for: school buses, vehicles pulling anything, vehicles transporting explosives

if you have a line of 5 or more vehicles following you, look for a turnout where you can safely pull over and allow those vehicles to pass. A very slow-moving vehicle may use the shoulder temporarily to let vehicles pass, but no vehicle should ever drive on the shoulder for an extended period of time.

When entering traffic, look for a gap in traffic that will offer at least 8-12 seconds for you to merge and get up to speed.

When executing a right turn, first make sure that your turn area is safe and clear. Then, 200 feet before your turn, begin slowing to 15 mph.

You are permitted to enter the bike lane only if you are going to make a right turn. Entering the bike lane before your turn improves your safety by helping avoid rear-end collisions and encouraging smoother traffic flow. Only enter the bike lane within 200 hundred feet of the intersection.

Before attempting a U-turn, you will need a clearing of at least 200 feet in each direction, and it is always safer to give yourself more room. Check for signs that indicate whether a U-turn is prohibited. If you don't see a "No U Turn" sign, it's usually OK to perform the maneuver. If you see a "No Left Turn" sign, you should assume that U-turn is also illegal.

U-turns are legal across double yellow lines; in a residential district, if no vehicle approaching you is within 200 feet; at an intersection at green light or green arrow; on a divided highway, so long as you don't cross curbs, double lines, media strip, etc.

U-turns illegal in front of a fire station.

"Covering the brake" involves taking your foot off of the accelerator and positioning it over the brake pedal without pressing the pedal.

You can be ticketed for not using signals. Use your signal when you are within 100 feet  of your intended turn or lane change.

Chapter 4:

At highway speeds, vehicles travel approximately 80 feet in 1 second. If you and an oncoming vehicle are traveling toward each other at this speed, then every single second you will be 160 feet closer to colliding.

You can pass on the right only when:
# you are on an open highway with two or more clearly marked lanes of vehicles moving in your direction, or
# if the driver ahead of you is making a left turn.

Do not pass when you are within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad crossing.

The only time you can pass a school bus with red warning lights flashing is if the bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway.

You must be able to see a sufficient distance ahead in order to pass safely and properly. At highway speeds you will need approximately 1600 feet, or roughly 1/3 of a mile, to safely complete a pass. To complete your pass within a reasonable amount of time, before making your move you should be traveling about 10 miles per hour faster than the vehicle you intend to pass.

Remember, the speed limit in most business districts is 25 miles per hour. Go with the flow of traffic, but, of course, do not exceed the speed limit.  If you are traveling on a one-way alley the speed limit is usually 15 mph.

Looking at least one city block or 10-15 seconds ahead will give you time to see or anticipate lane blockages, identify your detour, and safely complete your detour around the blockage.

Do not enter the center lane any earlier than 200 feet before your turn.

chapter 5

You must use your signal while you are traveling the last 100 feet of the onramp.

The following vehicles can use the diamond lanes at any time:

    * Vehicles carrying a minimum of 2 or 3 people, including the driver.
    * Low-emission vehicles that display a special decal issued by the DMV (the passenger restriction does not apply).
    * Motorcyclists.

Once you enter the deceleration lane, look for posted exit speeds. You must stay within this speed limit while on the exit ramp.

Remember, even if you are traveling below the posted speed limit, you can be ticketed for speeding when your speeds are unsafe for the current conditions.

Never sweep across multiple lanes at once. A maneuver like this is dangerous and illegal. Instead, change one lane, then check to make sure the next lane is clear, change lanes again, and so on.

If you are looking down the freeway about 5 to 10 seconds, you may see some trouble ahead.

Only use the shoulder if you are in an emergency situation. Once you are on the shoulder, illuminate your hazards to warn other drivers that you are there.

If you have flares or other warning devices , use these as well by placing them on the shoulder at a distance of 300 feet behind your vehicle.

When you have been driving at high speeds for a long time, you mentally adjust to these speeds and may start to feel like you are traveling rather slowly. This effect is called velocitation, and it can cause you to drive too fast without realizing your excessive speed. There are two simple things you can do to prevent velocitation.

   1. Check Your Speedometer — Make it a habit, especially after you exit the freeway. One trick is to check your speedometer every time you see a speed limit sign.
   2. Allow Time to Readjust to Slower Speeds — When you exit the freeway you will probably enter a roadway with a lower speed limit. If you feel like you are dragging along, remind yourself that you are experiencing velocitation. Stay within the posted speed limit and have patience while your body adjusts.

chapter 6

If you do encounter livestock on the highway, you must stop and wait until the animals move out of the way or until it is safe to go around.

If an animal is in the road, safely stop and wait until it moves to safety before you continue. Only pass  the animal after it is out of the way. Drive slowly around it and make sure that it does not move into your path as you are passing.

Yes, it is legal to tap your horn or flash your lights at an animal to urge it to move out of harm's way.

If your brakes have failed while you are going down a hill, immediately shift to a lower gear to lower your speed. Pump the brake pedal fast and hard to build up brake fluid. If this doesn't work, start applying the parking brake, but be prepared to release it if the car begins to skid. Sound your horn and flash your lights to warn other drivers. slow your vehicle as much as possible and then steer into bushes or something soft alongside the road. When you no longer need to change direction, turn off the engine.

Always make sure your vehicle's air conditioner is turned off before starting up large hills. Running your air conditioning system increases your engine's operating temperature and can lead to overheating.

If the temperature remains high, pull over into the emergency lane, safely stop and turn off your engine, and then wait for your vehicle's temperature to reduce before continuing on.

A vapor lock is an obstruction to the flow of fuel to a gasoline engine, caused by the formation of bubbles in the gasoline as a result of overheating. Vapor lock can cause your engine to shut down or not be able to start. In this situation, you should simply let the engine cool so the vapors can return to their liquid state, thus allowing your engine to once again operate correctly.

Switch from high beams to low beams when:

    * you approach within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, and
    * you approach within 300 feet behind another vehicle

Use your low-beam lights in fog. Never use your high-beam lights because they will reflect off the fog, blinding you and other drivers.

No vehicle can have more than two fog lamps and they cannot be substituted for headlights. If you install fog lamps on your vehicle, they must be mounted on the front of your vehicle, between 12 and 30 inches off the ground, and should be aimed so that they illuminate the ground up to 25 feet ahead of your vehicle.

If you think a driver approaching from the rear cannot see you, tap your brake pedal to warn them that you are there. If you have found a vehicle ahead of you, try to pace them, but remain a safe distance behind.

After you stall, the first thing you want to try and do is get off the roadway. Move to the shoulder so that you are out of the way of vehicles approaching from the rear. Use your hazard lights so that other drivers will know you are experiencing difficulties. If your vehicle comes to a complete stop before you reach the shoulder, there is a chance that another vehicle will hit you. When stuck stalled in the roadway, stay in your vehicle, illuminate your lights, make sure your seat belt and shoulder harness are secure and prepare for a possible collision from the rear.

California 's Central Valley is frequently host to very thick fog, commonly known as "Tule Fog" because of its prevalence in marshy areas populated by tule reeds or cattails.

If you are driving through deep water, reduce your speed and shift to a lower gear.

Hydroplaning: The condition where a vehicle's tires are riding on a thin layer of water and have lost contact with the road, resulting in loss of control.

If you do hydroplane, you must remember these two things:

    * take your foot off the gas! This will reduce your speed and allow you to regain control
    * do not use your brakes! When hydroplaning, your brakes will send your vehicle skidding out of control. Allow your vehicle to slow gradually.

When you feel the rear of your vehicle sliding to the right, steer to the right (turn the steering wheel clockwise). When you feel the rear of your vehicle sliding to the left, steer to the left (turn the steering wheel counterclockwise).

If you find that your accelerator is stuck, you should use your hand or foot to pull up on the accelerator. When you do this, however, do not take your eyes off the road. If this doesn't fix the problem, then put the vehicle into the neutral position. This will keep the engine running but will prevent further acceleration.

If your tire blows out while you are driving, grip your steering wheel firmly. The car will pull toward the blown tire. Remain calm and steer the other way to keep control.

Chapter 7

If you are 21 or older and have a BAC of 0.08% or more, you will be cited for driving under the influence. However, an officer can still arrest a person if that person's ability to drive has been impaired by alcohol making them a danger on the road, even if the person's BAC level is below the legal limit.

It is illegal to drive a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or more.

Studies show that alcohol was involved in over 50% of fatal collisions. Of these, most of the drivers at fault had more than the legal limit of alcohol in their bloodstream.

An average of one person is injured every 2 minutes by drunk driving. When your BAC exceeds .04%, you are five times more likely to be involved in a collision. Over .08% makes you twenty five times more likely.

It is estimated that on a Friday night, after 11pm, one in four drivers on the road has been drinking or has used drugs.

By driving in California you consent to a field sobriety test.  That means that if a police officer suspects that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will have to take a breath, blood or possibly a urine test. You do not have an option. If you refuse an officer's request to administer the tests, your privilege to drive will automatically be suspended or revoked for one year or more, depending on whether or not you have previously been convicted for driving under the influence.

If the officer suspects you have taken drugs, you are required to take the blood test or urine test. You do not have the right to have an attorney present before you state whether or not you will submit to a test or decide which tests you will take.

If you are 21 or older and are convicted of driving under the influence for the first time, the judge may sentence you to 48 hours to six months in jail. You will have to pay from $390 to $1,000 in fines for your first conviction. In addition, you will lose your license for six months or the DMV will restrict your driving privilege. You will be required to complete a licensed DUI program, file a certificate of insurance and pay restriction and reissue fees. If the vehicle you were driving when you received your DUI is registered in your name, the court may take your vehicle away for up to six months. You will have to pay all vehicle storage fees.

If you are convicted of a second DUI within seven years, the court must punish you with time in jail (up to one year), a fine up to $1,000, and will take your vehicle for up to twelve months. You will lose your license for two years. After completion of 12 months of the suspension period, you may obtain a restricted license if you enroll in a DUI program, have an ignition interlocked device (IID) installed on your vehicle, file a certificate of insurance with the DMV, and pay the restriction and reissue fees. The ignition interlocked device (IID) is a breath-analyzing device that is connected to your vehicle. You must pass a breath test every time to start your vehicle.

If you are convicted of a third DUI within seven years, you will lose your driver license for up to three years, pay a fine up to $1,000, have your vehicle impounded for up to twelve months, and spend from three months to one year in jail. After completion of 18 months of the revocation period, you may apply for a restricted driver license if you complete a DUI program, install an IID on your vehicle, file a certificate of insurance with the DMV, and pay the restriction and reissue fees.

Misdemeanor if driving under the influence without injury, felony if injury results.

ou as a driver should always yield to pedestrians, even if they are illegally crossing and you have the right-of-way. Also, do not block crosswalks.

Head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes, and an unhelmeted motorcyclist is 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury when involved in a crash

If you are a bicyclist, you have to stop at stop signs, all traffic control devices and obey all traffic regulations.

In California, all bicyclists under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet while riding. People under 18 are also required to wear helmets while riding scooters, skateboards and in-line skates

It is against the law to block fire/ambulance vehicles or to follow any of these vehicles too closely while their lights are flashing.

If you are involved in a collision, the law requires you to stop immediately. If you do not stop, you can be charged with hit and run. Hit and run is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to six months in jail and up to $1000 in fines. You must take the time to stop even if you think the collision is minor.

Never move an injured person unless there is a fire, extreme potential of a fire or if that person would die if not moved.

You are required to report a collision to the DMV within 10 days of collision if:

    * more than $750 in damage was done to anyone's property,
    * anyone was injured (no matter how slightly), or
    * anyone was killed.

The minimum amount your insurance must cover per collision is:

    * $15,000 for a single death or injury.
    * $30,000 for death or injury to more than one person.
    * $5,000 for property damage.

Chapter 8

Regulation signs are Red, Black, or Red on White.

Warning signs are Yellow.

Information signs are Blue or Brown.

Guidance signs are Green.

Road Construction or Maintenance signs are Orange .

If you proceed on a yellow light, you must be completely out of the intersection before the red light appears.

If you are in an intersection when your signal light turns red, you will slow all traffic, block other lanes from proceeding, put yourself in a dangerous situation, and even be eligible for a ticket.

You may cross double yellow lines only if:

    * You are turning left into or out of a private road or driveway.
    * The right half of the road is closed or blocked.
    * You are in the carpool lanes.

Curb markings:

White) You can only stop long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail. You might find white curbs at airports and schools.

Green) You can only park for a limited time in these zones. The amount of time you are allowed to park here will be posted on a sign next to the curb or painted on it.

Yellow) You can only stop at a yellow curb long enough to load or unload passengers or freight. Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are usually required to stay with their vehicle when parked in a yellow curb zone.

Red) You cannot stop, stand or park beside a red curb at any time. Buses may stop at red zones specifically marked for buses. Red zones are usually beside fire hydrants or lanes designated for emergency vehicles.

Blue) To park in a blue zone or at a blue curb, you must have a clearly displayed Disabled Person parking placard, window sign or license plate on your vehicle. Blue curbs usually mark parking spaces very close to building entrances or ramps. If you have limited mobility, talk with your doctor about getting authorized to use these areas.

Even if there appears to be no train in sight, drivers may not begin to cross the tracks until the red lights have stopped flashing. It is illegal to drive around (or through) a lowered crossing gate. You should always stop at least 15 feet from the tracks when the gates are down, the red warning lights are flashing, a flagman warns you a train is coming or you see or hear a train approaching.

One Point - You will get one point for most regular traffic convictions (speeding, incomplete stops, lane violations, etc...).

Two Points - Two-point violations are more serious and include reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, evading a police officer, driving with a suspended or revoked license, or driving on the wrong side of a divided highway.

A violation committed while operating a commercial vehicle will yield 1.5 times the normal point value.

California imposes serious legal consequences on drivers who commit acts of Road Rage. If you are convicted for assault on a highway, your license will be suspended for six months starting from the time you are convicted or get out of jail. You also will be ordered to take a court-approved anger management course and pay heavy fines. If you injure or kill anyone with your actions you can receive a prison sentence that spans the rest of your life. All in all, Road Rage just isn't worth it.

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