Driving Lessons Everyone Should Know
Rules & Regulations to make Driving Safer
Sometimes I just get impatient, and frustrated by other people and their inattentive, ignorant, and complacent driving etiquette. To be honest, this was really never a concern for me until recently when I moved to Fremont. I know California drivers get a bad rap because of our (speaking of the general population, and there is always the exception) lack of concern for others, and our inability to drive defensively (i.e. be aware of other vehicles, and attentive to what is happening and to our surroundings).
I have never seen such terrible drivers on the road until I started driving in the Bay Area. Goodness!!! Once, I saw a man run a red light because he believed that since traffic at the intersection was stopped due to a train, he could go since he wasn't crossing the tracks and was rather, driving parallel to the them. Another time, I was almost in an accident myself. As I was turning right into a parking lot, the car behind me was also turning right into the same parking lot. Not paying attention, he attempted to cut me off and turn a short corner, forcing me to let him turn first into the lot, even though I was in front of him and had right of way.
I have typed up some simple questions commonly asked on the written drivers test in the state of California. I have added the correct answers and some incorrect but humorous answers with my commentary on each of them. I hope this will be helpful and enjoyable as you encounter other drivers making these mistakes.
1. All of the following practices are dangerous to do while driving.
Listening to music through headphones that cover both ears: This is illegal. I have never seen anyone do this, although, talking on the cell phone these days is a definite NO NO! Especially in the bay area where people already have little common sense on the road.
Transporting an unrestrained animal inside the vehicle: Well this is just the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen, especially with little dogs! When dogs don't drive, there is no reason for them to be sitting on your lap in the drivers seat.
2. Always stop before you cross railroad tracks when:
You don't have room on the other side to completely cross the tracks: Sounds simple huh! Yet I am sure everyone of us has seen some driver who is just an idiot, or not paying attention (probably talking on a cell phone) cross the tracks without room to get to the other side and you see them sitting with their tails on the tracks. What's worse is that I still see the next car try to cross too, knowing that the vehicle in front of them isn't even all the way across.
3. When you tailgate other drivers (drive close to their rear bumper):
You can frustrate the other drivers and make them angry: Yep, the driver in front of you in fact! You're lucky if they don't have road rage, or cut you off when you try to pass them up. But don't be surprised if they purposely drive super slow just to let you know they are a bit frustrated by how rude you have been to them.
Your actions cannot result in a traffic citation: That's true, and I know someone who was cited for that. Little did she know that she was actually following a police officer too closely. Talk about not being mindful to others on the road.
4. There is no crosswalk and you see a pedestrian crossing your lane ahead. You should:
Make eye contact and then pass him/her: That sounds smart, if we were in Moscow!
Slow down as you pass him/her: The question of passing a pedestrian is still a problem here, yet drivers seem to think it's okay as long as they slowed down.
Stop and let him/her finish crossing the street: No way! That would NEVER cross my mind, and I learned to drive in California, where the best drivers Ed instructors are.
5. You may drive off of the paved roadway to pass another vehicle:
Under no circumstances: In my area, I often see drivers on the freeway driving on the shoulder to pass other vehicles. It is dangerous! I can't believe some of these people have licenses to drive
6. When you are merging onto the freeway, you should be driving:
At or near the same speed as the traffic on the freeway: That's right you slow pokes taking your sweet time to accelerate when getting onto the onramp. Can't you drive correctly?
7. To avoid last minute moves, you should be looking down the road to where your vehicle will be in about ______________.
10 to 15 seconds: So stop looking at the hood of your car and start paying attention to the road, or get off the road!
8. If you plan to pass another vehicle, you should:
Not assume the other driver will make space for you to return to your lane: This is the correct answer. Therefore this should eliminate what is too common a problem on the freeways and main roads where cars weave in and out of lanes trying to make judgments on which lane is moving along quicker.
Assume the other driver will let you pass if you use your turn signal: This is still very true, and NEVER make assumptions. One more thing California drivers especially, always look over your shoulder. It only takes a quick glance to ensure you have nobody in your blind spot. I have seen more accidents in the state of California because drivers never learn how to properly look over their shoulders.
9. You drive defensively when you:
Keep your eyes moving to look for possible hazards: So guess what, no more of this tunnel vision. ALWAYS keep your eyes moving, looking in your side mirrors, and rear mirror, in front of you, to your side lanes, and watching out for pedestrians.
10. You are about to make a left turn. You must signal continuously during the last ____ feet before the turn.
100 feet before turning. AND please signal! There is nothing more annoying than not signaling when making a left turn, especially for those who are 1) turning out of parking lots and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, and 2) making left turns also on a "yield on left turn" cross section, and they are waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so they can turn! If you forget to signal, others will rightly assume you are going straight and it keeps them waiting for you to pass before they can turn.
11. Which of the following statements about blind spots is true?
They are eliminated if you have one outside mirror on each side of the vehicle. FALSE! Blind spots exist on all vehicles, no matter what size the vehicle, and no matter whether the vehicle has side view mirrors.
Large trucks have bigger blind spots than most passenger vehicles. TRUE! Always be aware of this when you are passing, or driving in front of or behind a truck.
Blind spots can be checked by looking in your rear view mirrors. FALSE! That assumption has been the cause of some pretty gruesome accidents. I spoke on this a bit earlier.
12. You may legally block an intersection:
Under no circumstances. I actually have seen this happen so frequently and wrote briefly on it earlier. It happens often in heavy traffic when there is no room to cross the intersection fully. Then, while you are blocking the intersection, the light changes, and vehicles with right of way can't pass because you are in the way. To avoid this, be aware of how much room you have before crossing.
13. To turn left from a multilane one-way street onto a one-way street, you should start your turn from:
The lane closest to the left curb. Of course! Otherwise, you might collide with someone else turning left and/or cut them off.
14. Roadways are the most slippery:
The first rain after a dry spell. Be careful when you drive in/after the first rain. Heck, just be careful when driving in/after any rain!
15. You may not park your vehicle:
On the side of the freeway in an emergency. Yes, this is legal, but be cautious about pulling over, and slowing down as you move into the side lane. Also, pay attention to traffic as you get out of your car.
Next to a red painted curb. Red painted curbs are typically fire lanes and/or no parking areas. DO NOT park there unless you really want your vehicle towed.
16. The safest precaution that you can take regarding the use of cellular phones and driving is:
Pull over to the side of the road to use your cell-phone. Ya right! Who does that? I don't think I have EVER seen anyone do that before. But, it is probably the safest way to use a cell phone in a car. However, if that seems too complicated, then just use a hands free device. Whatever you do, don't text while driving.
17. If you have a green light, but traffic is blocking the intersection, you should:
Stay out of the intersection until traffic clears. This is the correct answer, although, we all should admit that we rarely do this. Remember, the best thing is to simply NOT block an intersection. I wrote about this above, please review question 12.
Merge into another lane and try to go around the traffic. This is what we all do in this situation, let's just be honest. In heavy traffic, it may be difficult. Again, problem would not exist if the intersection was not blocked, please review question 12.