Driver's Education - Modules 7 & 8 (Collisions//Substance Abuse)
Terms in this set (57)
What is defensive driving? It's a set of driving skills that allows you to defend yourself against possible collisions due to other drivers, weather, or road conditions.
Look ahead and keep your eyes moving—it will be easier to spot potential hazards. Once you identify a potential hazard and decided what to do, act immediately. Don't "wait and see."
Defensive drivers avoid dangers on the road by using safe driving practices.
Tips for defensive driving:
Plan for the unexpected
Control your speed
Be prepared to react to other drivers
Don't expect that everyone is a defensive driver
Manage time and space
Be aware of special road and weather conditions
Be alert and avoid distractions (e.g., cell phone use, eating)
IPDE - Identify, Predict, Decide, and Execute
IPDE is a step-by-step reasoning process for safe vehicle operation which uses the principles of defensive driving and careful visual perception in traffic.
IPDE is an organized process of thinking and acting that you should always use when driving.
I (Identify)—Locate potential hazards in the driving environment.
P (Predict)—Anticipate when and where possible hazards may occur.
D (Decide)—Determine what action to take, and when and where to take it.
E (Execute)—Act by maneuvering the car to avoid hazards.
Defensive drivers anticipate the actions of other road users and are willing to adjust their own speed and position to prevent collisions. Defensive drivers also adjust their driving practices to reflect changes in weather and road conditions. With practice, the IPDE process becomes a natural driving habit.
Always be alert. Your first line of defense from a deadly pile-up is your ABILITY TO PAY ATTENTION. You have to SEE IT to be able to AVOID IT.
Safe drivers are full-time drivers—they remain alert and keep their eyes on the road. They make the task of driving their number one priority. Taking your eyes off of the road even for a brief moment can cause you to veer into traffic or rear-end the car ahead of you. A little distraction—allowing your eyes to stray from the road—can cause a big problem.
Don't Make Assumptions
Don't make assumptions about another driver's intentions. If you think drivers in parked vehicles will remain parked at all times, vehicles will always yield at intersections, or remain in one lane at all times, etc., you risk being hurt when drivers fail to meet your expectations.
Expect the other driver to make mistakes. Have an escape plan in mind, so if another driver makes a mistake, you will be prepared to defend yourself.
Never assume that other drivers are sober, alert, or will follow the rules of the road at all times.
An automobile skids when its tires lose their grip on the road surface. You can avoid a skid altogether if you simply slow down when road and weather conditions are poor. And don't forget to check your tires before you drive—worn tires are dangerous.
To help avoid skidding on slippery surfaces, you should:
Drive slowly and stay farther behind the vehicle ahead.
Slow down as you approach curves and intersections.
Avoid fast turns.
Avoid quick stops. "Pump" the brakes to slow or stop. (Antilock brakes should not be pumped.)
Shift to low gear before going down a steep hill.
In case your vehicle begins to skid, do the following:
Avoid using the brakes if possible.
If you are in danger of hitting something, pump the brakes gently.
Steer the vehicle into the direction of the skid. This will help straighten the vehicle and help you gain control.
Steer the vehicle back towards the direction you intend to move in.
Two Seconds Technique
Good defensive driving techniques will help you stay collision-free. To avoid a collision, you need as much time as possible to react. Keep plenty of space between your car and all other objects. Stay in the middle of your lane. Make sure there is enough room ahead to stop or pass safely. The space between you and other vehicles gives you time to react in emergencies. Always allow a two-second following distance from the vehicle in front of you.
Two seconds is the minimum recommended safe following distance in Florida. In hazardous conditions or bad weather, adjust the following distance as necessary.
When it looks like a collision may happen, many drivers panic and fail to act. In some cases they do act, but not in ways that help avoid the collision. There is almost always something you can do to avoid a collision or reduce its severity. In attempting to avoid a collision, drivers have three options:
2. Turn (or steer away)
3. Speed up
In order to stop, you have to use your brakes effectively.
Most new vehicles have ABS (Antilock Braking Systems). Be sure to read the vehicle owner's manual on how to use the ABS. The ABS system will allow you to stop without skidding.
In most cases, you can turn the vehicle faster than you can stop it. When you don't have enough room to stop, you may have to steer away from what's ahead.
How to turn quickly and safely:
Do not apply the brake while you are turning. It's very easy to lock your wheels while turning. If that happens, you may skid out of control.
Do not turn any more than needed to clear whatever is in your way. The sharper the turn, the greater the chances of a skid or rollover.
Be prepared to "counter-steer," that is, to turn the wheel back in the other direction, once you've passed the obstacle.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel. In order to turn quickly, you must have a firm grip on the steering wheel with both hands.
Sometimes it is necessary to speed up to avoid a collision. This may happen when another vehicle is about to hit you from the side or behind and you have room at the front of your vehicle to get out of danger. Be sure to slow down once the danger has passed. Remember to always keep at least a two-second (or greater) space cushion between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
If you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign and another vehicle is approaching you from behind at a high rate of speed, do the following:
1. If possible, pull your vehicle forward in an effort to give the approaching vehicle more room to stop.
2. If the collision cannot be avoided, brace yourself between the steering wheel and the back of the seat and release your brake an instant before impact. This will help to lessen the impact.
If you are in danger of a potential head-on collision:
1. Reduce your speed and flash your headlights in an effort to warn the other driver. Using your horn may also be effective.
2. Head for the shoulder of the road, even if you must hit a fence or drive through bushes.
3. If you cannot avoid the collision, try to maneuver your vehicle in such a way as to lessen the severity of impact. Always wear your seat belts. This is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from injury in the event of a collision.
Stopping quickly with ABS:
Press on the brake pedal as hard as you can and maintain the pressure.
You might feel the brake pedal pushing back when the ABS is working. DO NOT let up on the brake pedal. The ABS system will only work with the brake pedal pushed down firmly. NEVER PUMP ANTILOCK BRAKES.
In case you have a conventional braking system:
Apply the brakes as hard as you can without locking them. The vehicle can go into a skid if you brake too hard.
If the brakes lock-up, you will feel the vehicle start to skid. Quickly let up on the brake pedal.
As soon as the vehicle stops skidding, push down on the brake pedal again. Keep doing this until the vehicle has stopped.
In case of brake failure, pump the brake pedal quickly. After three or four pumps, you will know if the brakes are going to hold. This action may build up enough brake pressure to steer the vehicle off the highway and stop safely.
Use threshold braking for conventional brakes also known as heel-and-toe method. Place the heel of your foot on the floor, so that the ball of your foot makes contact with the pedal.
This will enable you to use your toes to make fine adjustments in pedal pressure and to pivot your foot smoothly between the brake and accelerator. If lock up occurs, steering control can be gained by releasing brake pressure slightly.
Effective Use of Horn
It is important that you know how to establish two-way communication with other drivers. This could be a nod, a flash of the lights, a hand signal, a tap on the horn, or yielding to allow another driver to proceed.
Sound your horn when necessary to avoid collisions. Don't honk at others. A gentle tap on the horn is enough to catch the attention of a pedestrian or another driver.
Adjust Your Speed
All drivers are required to obey posted speed limits. However, a good driver always knows when to slow down.
1. Slow down when the road is wet (rain, snow, sleet).
2. Slow down when the road is crowded.
3. Slow down when your vision is limited. You should always be able to stop within the distance that you can see ahead of your car. In darkness or bad weather, do not drive beyond your range of vision.
A good driver always adjusts speed according to his or her own physical condition and the condition of the vehicle, ensuring complete control of the situation at all times.
Here are some guidelines to help you adjust speed:
Go 5 to 10 mph slower on a wet road.
Cut your speed in half on packed snow.
Slow to a crawl on ice.
Improve Your Driving Techniques
The faster the speed, the less control you have of your car. Rather than just looking at the legal posted speed limit, you should consider what could affect the safe operation of your car.
EXAMPLE: Should you drive 35 mph (the posted speed limit) on a curve down an icy mountain road? Many new drivers do not slow down to safe speeds for each road. That is one reason why new drivers have more "out-of-control" collisions than experienced drivers.
Avoid Collisions with Car Ahead
Choosing Correct Lane Position
Use appropriate lane positions so you can make adjustments and create more space between your car and problem situations. Choose the lane best suited for both the legal requirements of the road and destination. Make a lane change early and be in the correct lane for your turns. Anticipate lane blockages by looking one-and-a-half blocks ahead and select the lane that allows movement with the least conflict. Last minute lane changes could result in a collision with the car ahead.
Don't weave; stay in one traffic lane as much as possible. Weaving in and out of lanes could anger other drivers on the road and create unsafe conditions.
On two-way roads, use the left lane for passing and the right lane for your normal path of travel.
If you can choose among three lanes on your side of the road, pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving. Use the left lane to go faster, pass, or turn left. Use the right lane to drive slowly, enter, or turn off the road.
Make Sure Your Car is Visible
The driver's blind spots are shown in the picture. The driver cannot see vehicles in these blind spots when looking only in the mirrors.
The driver must turn his or her head in order to see a car in one of these blind spots. Drive through another driver's blind spot as quickly as you can or drop back.
Keep a Front Cushion
Give yourself extra cushion:
When a tailgater is crowding you, allow extra room between your car and the car ahead. Then, if you need to slow down, do so gradually after checking your mirrors. You will be able to avoid braking suddenly and being hit from behind.
When your vision is blocked by poor visibility on road (e.g., fog, heavy rain).
When following or driving next to vehicles that block your view ahead (e.g. trucks, SUVs, buses). You need the extra room to see around the vehicle and to the sides.
On slippery roads. If the car ahead slows or stops, you will need more distance to stop your car.
When it rains or snows. Stopping distances increase on snowy and wet roads.
When following motorcycles. If the motorcycle falls, you'll have to avoid hitting the rider.
Motorcycles fall more often on wet or icy roads, bridge gratings, railroad tracks, and on gravel.
When the speed increases and the traffic flow is fast. In such cases, you need a space of at least five seconds.
When merging on an expressway.
Deal with Momentary Distractions
Safety experts estimate that a driver makes nearly 200 decisions for every mile of driving. Think about it. Let's say you're traveling at 60 mph. If you look down for just two seconds to choose a CD or adjust the air conditioning, you will have traveled 176 ft blindly. That's more than half the length of a football field. If the vehicle moves into a high-risk situation while you are distracted, you lose precious seconds for recognizing the situation and making an emergency maneuver.
Avoid distractions and if you really need to look away, pick a safe time to do it. For example, wait until you can bring your car to a complete stop at a traffic light or stop sign before touching the stereo or your navigation system.
The navigation systems can be distracting if you program your route while driving.. Always designate a front-seat passenger to serve as a "co-pilot," and keep your eyes on the road rather than fumbling with maps or navigation systems yourself. If you are driving alone, map out destinations in advance.
If you need to attend to something important while driving, first check the situation ahead, then check traffic by taking frequently, short looks. Also check your mirrors in between movements.
Look Ahead for Trouble
When you drive, keep your eyes moving. Look near and far, and always anticipate trouble or potential hazards. Look over and around the vehicle ahead. Do not just look at the back of the vehicle ahead of you.
This helps you visualize the space you intend to occupy and allows you to plan ahead. You will be more aware of your surroundings, which includes other vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, work equipment, and you will be able to avoid hazards and obstacles by changing lanes or adjusting speed.
Check ahead for traffic lights, stop signs, and posted speed limits and make adjustments accordingly. Think of a speed limit sign as a cue to look at your speedometer and adjust speed.
When driving on hilltops and curves, check ahead for hazards or problems (e.g. a stalled car) and adjust your speed and following distance. Check ahead for speed limit signs on hilltops and curves. Slow down when driving downhill and before entering a curve.
On long, steep downgrades, keep a look out for large vehicles that can gather speed very quickly.
Watch the brake lights of the cars you're following and lights of vehicles in adjacent lanes. If you see the brake lights of several cars come on or traffic slowing, start braking early.
Avoid sudden braking or "hitting the brakes" at the last minute. "Tap" your brake pedal several times to warn drivers behind you to slow down.
Locations to Watch for Trouble
Any time you come to a place where people may cross or enter your path, you should look to the sides to make sure no one is coming.
Cross streets, side streets, and alleys
Crosswalks and railroad crossings
Driveways, shopping center entrances, etc.
FOLLOW THESE RULES AT INTERSECTIONS
-LOOK BOTH WAYS
You should look left, right, and left again just before entering the intersection.
Look to the left first, since cars coming from the left are closer to you.
Some drivers do not obey traffic signals.
At an intersection, look left, right, and left again even if the other traffic has a red light or a stop sign. A drunk or reckless driver may not stop.
Every intersection where streets with sidewalks meet at a right angle has a crosswalk, even if there are no painted lines.
Crosswalks are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. Before turning a corner, watch for people who are about to cross the street.
Keep a space between yourself and parked cars. Watch for trouble when driving in lanes next to parked cars. Someone may step into the street from behind a car. A car may start to pull out suddenly or it's doors can swing open.
In a parking lot entrance, watch out for all approaching vehicles and pedestrians.
Traffic access on expressways is controlled. This means that you can enter or leave the expressway only at entrances and exits, which are called interchanges.
Sometimes you will find interchanges that are really an intersection of two roads, with one road for exiting and the other for entering the expressway. Negotiating these interchanges requires cooperation and communication. The car exiting has the right-of-way unless there is a safety threat.
Stopping distances increase on slippery and ice covered surfaces. Remember, stopping distances on slippery roads may be 2 to 10 times greater than on dry roads. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible—at least 20 to 30 seconds. Look out for hazards (other vehicles) in side or oncoming traffic. Other cars may lose traction on slippery surfaces and enter your lane.
Some road surfaces are more slippery than others when wet and chilled. These roads usually have warning signs. Look out for these signs and make adjustments in your speed and following distances. You should avoid sudden braking or acceleration.
In crowded downtown areas and suburban neighborhoods, children play in the streets because there may not be parks or playgrounds nearby. You must always yield to children playing in the street or nearby.
You are responsible for driving with extreme caution when children are present. Slow down near schools, playgrounds, and residential areas. The cost of hitting a child is very high—in dollars, grief, and guilt.
Avoid Being Rear-Ended
A rear-end collision happens when a vehicle is hit from the back. This type of collision usually occurs when the vehicle behind you is driving too close to your car. Avoid sudden moves and stops so that vehicles behind you have time to react. Keep pressing your brake pedal even after stopping.
If you stop or turn unexpectedly and the car following hits you, it could be your fault.
To avoid being rear-ended by another vehicle, you should:
Always signal when you change direction. Signal even when you don't see any cars around. A car you don't see might hit you.
Signal early for turns, stops or lane changes.
Always signal before pulling next to (or away from) the curb.
Even though you signal, do not assume that the space you wish to occupy is clear. Look in your mirrors and over your shoulder to check your blind spot before making a lane change.
Keep your rear lights clean and functioning. Check these lights at least once a week or whenever you stop for gas. Replace any burned out bulbs immediately. If your brake lights are not working, the driver behind you will not know if you are stopping or slowing down and might run into your car.
Keep Up with Traffic
Collisions tend to happen when one driver is traveling faster or slower than the surrounding cars. If you are traveling faster than traffic, you will have to keep passing other cars. Each time you pass another car, you risk a collision. The car you are passing may change lanes, stop, or run into some other hazard suddenly. On a two-lane road, an oncoming car may appear suddenly. It may not be a big risk, but if you are passing one car after another, the risks begin to add up. Note that speeding does not save more than a few minutes in an hour's driving.
Going slower than other cars or stopping all of a sudden can be just as bad as speeding. It tends to make cars bunch up behind you and it could cause a rear-end collision. If many cars are pulling out to pass you, maybe you should increase your speed to the speed limit or move over into the right lane.
You can be cited for driving too slowly and blocking the flow of traffic.
NOTE: When the posted speed limit is 70 mph, the minimum speed limit is 50 mph.
Be Aware of What's Behind You
If someone is tailgating you (following too closely behind), "lose" the tailgater as soon as you can by changing lanes. If you cannot change lanes, slow down enough to encourage the tailgater to go around you. If this does not work, pull off the road when it is safe and let the tailgater pass.
Check the traffic in both rear view and side view mirrors. Safe driving requires you to know the traffic conditions behind your car as well as to the sides. By checking the mirrors you will be able to judge the following distances of other vehicles on the road and spot tailgaters.
Have an Escape Route
Establishing Space Ahead and Behind:
Always have an escape route. Do this by establishing a safe space around your vehicle. This means that you should always be aware of any secondary spaces or gaps in the adjacent lanes that could be used as an escape route. The gap can be in the front, back, or side of your car. At the same time, it is important to always maintain a two-second distance between your car and the one in front. It can also be equally important for the car behind you to maintain a good following distance. A tap on the brake or slowing your speed can discourage a tailgater and reestablish a cushion of safety.
Driving safely requires an awareness of all available driving options and a willingness to use them. Keep in mind at all times that driving is, substantially, a decision making process. In many ways, the decisions that are made are about space management. Safe driving is constantly avoiding dangerous situations.
By maintaining a good visual lead, you'll be able to manage space well, know a good driving situation from a poor one, and make changes to improve it. The safe driver can figure out what is going on and make adjustments in the physical driving space. The main objective is to maintain the safest possible space around the driver.
Consistently being aware of what is going on in the space around you and ready to make adjustments based on that awareness, is critical to defensive driving.
Speed Control Options:
Speed variance is your best option in managing space. After determining road conditions, you have the following choices for controlling your speed:
Maintain your speed
Slow down your speed
Increase your speed
Apply the brake
Used effectively and timely, these choices should provide you with the correct option to maintain a safe space cushion at all times.
Travel at a speed based upon the speed limit and environmental conditions.
If you determine that a zone is closing to your front, always reduce speed.
Avoid using any unnecessary acceleration into a closed zone.
When you see a red light or stopped traffic, reduce speed until you arrive at an open zone.
When your ability to see others (who may enter your path) is reduced, lower speed.
Use speed limit signs as a cue to check the speedometer and other vehicle gauges.
Select the best lane for the legal requirements of the road and destination.
Select a lane position that provides the best separation from potential problems.
Executing the decision
Once you have evaluated the situation and made a decision, executing it involves figuring out how much braking or acceleration you need, what lane position to take, and whether there is a need to communicate (signal, horn, tap on the brake, etc.) in establishing and maintaining a safe space.
Always remember that the safest position in traffic is the place where the fewest vehicles surround you. Space is the key, and your objective is to always surround yourself with as much space as possible.
Avoid Multiple Hazards
Sometimes there will be dangers on both sides of the road. To avoid these multiple hazards:
Identify all potential hazards early. Rate the hazards on the level of threat to your safety.
Make predictions about what might happen or go wrong.
Make adjustments in your speed and position to make sure you are safe.
Have escape routes in mind before you are faced with a dangerous situation.
Learn to compare potential threats. For example, there may be parked cars to the right and oncoming cars to the left. In such cases, the best thing to do is "split the difference." Steer a middle course between the oncoming cars and the parked cars. If one danger is greater than the other, give the most room to the biggest threat.
Suppose there are oncoming cars to the left of you and a child on a bike to the right. The child is more likely to make a sudden move. Therefore, give him or her lot of room. It may mean moving closer to the oncoming cars.
IF YOUR BRAKES SUDDENLY GIVE OUT:
Pump the brake pedal for about three or four pumps. Doing this fast and hard will build up brake fluid pressure. NEVER PUMP ANTILOCK BRAKES.
Downshift into a lower gear.
Apply the parking brake slowly while holding down the release lever or button. This will prevent the car's wheels from locking and help prevent skidding.
You can also rub the tires against a curb to slow the car, or attempt to move off the road if there is an open space without obstacles.
You can still steer and swerve. Steer into bushes or something soft.
Sound your horn and flash your lights to warn other drivers.
When you no longer need to change direction, turn off the ignition.
IF YOUR TIRE SUDDENLY BLOWS OUT:
Avoid using the brakes.
Focus your steering to avoid hazards.
Attempt to slow the car gradually.
Once the car is under your control, brake softly.
As you slow down, pull the car off the road.
Power Steering Failure
IF THE ENGINE DIES:
Move to the side of the road as safely as possible. The steering wheel may take more force to turn than normal.
Stop the car. You may have to push the brake pedal hard if your car has power brakes.
Restart the engine and proceed with caution.
IF YOUR HEADLIGHTS SUDDENLY GO OUT AT NIGHT:
Try the dimmer switch. This will often put them on again.
Try the headlight switch a few times. If that doesn't work, put on the parking lights, hazard lights, or turn signals.
If none of these work, pull off the road as quickly as possible and leave the hazard lights on.
Hood Latch Failure
IF YOUR HOOD SUDDENLY FLIES UP:
Try to look under the hood to see. If you can't, put your head out the window and use the centerline or the lane marking as a guide.
Turn on the emergency flashers and safely pull off the road as soon as possible.
IF YOUR ACCELERATOR SUDDENLY GETS STUCK:
Shift to neutral.
Apply the brakes.
Keep your eyes on the road.
Look for a way out.
Warn other drivers by blinking and flashing your emergency lights.
Try to drive the car safely off the road.
Turn off the ignition when you no longer need to change direction.
Steering Wheel Locking Device
Never turn your vehicle's ignition to the "lock" position while it is still in motion. Your steering wheel will lock and you will lose control of your vehicle.
Most vehicles have dashboard gauges or lights that indicate the engine temperature. Activities such as driving in stop-and-go traffic on a hot day, driving on steep inclines, and towing a trailer can cause your engine to run hotter than normal.
If your temperature gauge moves up to just below the red zone, turn off your air conditioner and turn on your vehicle's heater to its highest and hottest setting to draw some of the heat away from the engine; then immediately seek out a service station with a mechanic.
If your temperature gauge is rising and you are stopped in traffic, briefly put the car in park (P) and lightly step on the gas to help circulate coolant.
If the temperature light goes on or if the gauge enters the red zone, immediately pull off the road, well away from traffic, and stop the engine.
Wait 20 minutes, start up the engine, and if the temperature light does not come on, proceed directly to the nearest garage. If at any time the gauge goes back into the red zone or the temperature light comes on, pull over immediately, turn off the engine, and repeat the process.
Never attempt to remove the radiator cap when your car is hot, and do not pour water over a hot radiator or engine. You must wait a sufficient amount of time until your engine cools.
Steps to Take if Involved in a Collision
If you are involved in any sort of collision, it is essential for you to stop.
If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
Exchange information with anyone else involved in a collision. You are required to give your name, address, and vehicle registration number. You must also show your drivers license.
Do not block traffic. Move your car out of the way and make sure it doesn't pose a threat to anyone else on the road. Call a tow truck if you are not able to move the vehicle yourself.
If you hit an unattended vehicle or object and cause damage, you must attempt to find the owner. If you can't locate the owner, leave a note with your name, address, and plate number. You are also required to report the incident to your local law enforcement office.
If the accident results in property damage, injury, or death, you are required to report it. Make sure to call your local law enforcement agency, Florida Highway Patrol, or county sheriff's office. If a DUI charge is involved or damage is so extensive that the wreckage must be towed, a law officer will fill out the report. If the incident is to be investigated, you are not required to file a report yourself. If property damage is over $500 and a report is not made by law enforcement, you will be required to file with the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles within 10 days.
Make sure to maintain a copy of any report for your records.
Financial Responsibility and No-Fault Laws
In Florida, there are two insurance laws:
1. The Financial Responsibility Law
2. The No-Fault Law
Every driver who purchases insurance in Florida is issued an insurance ID card. You must have this card with you every time you drive in Florida.
Forging or making a false statement about car insurance is a second degree misdemeanor.
FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAW:
According to the Financial Responsibility Law, the state of Florida requires owners and operators of motor vehicles to submit proof of financial responsibility in the event of a collision. A driver must have liability insurance (sometimes called mandatory insurance) on any vehicle that he/she owns or drives. Motorcycles must also be insured. By law, insurance coverage must provide the following minimum coverage:
$10,000 Bodily Injury Liability to one person
$20,000 Bodily Injury Liability to two or more persons
$10,000 Property Damage Liability
$30,000 combined single limits
According to the Florida Driver Handbook, the Financial Responsibility Law requires drivers and owners of the vehicle to have bodily injury liability insurance at the time of the following cases:
A collision where you are at fault and somebody is injured.
A license suspension for too many points on your driving record.
A citation for driving under the influence, resulting in drivers license revocation.
A revocation for habitual traffic offenses.
A revocation for any serious offense as defined by DHSMV.
If you participate in any of the violations previously mentioned and you do not have sufficient coverage to comply with the Financial Responsibility Law, your drivers license and/or license plates will be suspended for up to three years. In addition, a $15 reinstatement fee will be charged. You will also be required to show certified proof of full liability insurance (using Form SR-22) for three years from the original suspension date if you wish to be able to drive again.
In addition, if you are the driver or the owner of a vehicle and at fault in a collision, you may be required to pay for the damages before your driving privilege is restored.
You will not be able to purchase a license plate or register a vehicle without the appropriate insurance coverage. According to the No-Fault law, an owner of any vehicle with more than four wheels that has been in Florida for at least 90 days during the past year must buy an insurance policy for the state of Florida. The policy must have a minimum coverage amount of $10,000 for personal injury protection and $10,000 for property damage liability. The exceptions to this rule are owners of taxis and limousines.
The DHSMV will be notified of the actions you take with your insurance policy. This includes renewal, cancellation, or the expiration of coverage. You will be required to show proof of new coverage. The department will notify you when this needs to occur. If you fail to provide proof of insurance when required, your drivers license and license plate may be suspended for up to three years.
If you do not maintain the proper insurance coverage, you will be expected to surrender your license plates. Law enforcement officers have the right to seize your plates at any time if your license and plates have been suspended for 30 days or more due to this type of violation. If at any time your license and/or plates are suspended for non-compliance with the No-fault law, you will be expected to show proof of insurance and pay a $150 fee before reinstatement. The fee increases to $250 for a second incident occurring within three years and $500 for a third within three years.
There are four ways to obtain the proper coverage:
1) Buy your insurance policy from a company licensed to do business within the state.
2) Receive your Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. You can do this by posting a satisfactory surety bond from a company licensed to do business in the state.
3) Receive a Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after depositing the required amount of cash or securities.
4) Receive a Self Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after showing proof of a net unencumbered capital.
Teens Less Likely to Drink and Drive
Young drivers are less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol, but their collision risks are substantially higher when they do. The combination of driver inexperience with drinking is a deadly mix that all too often results in tragedy.
Teens are more likely to exhibit impaired driving skills at a lower blood alcohol level.
Teen Drinking and Risk
What are the risks involved?
Teens who drink are at higher risk for date rape, pregnancy, HIV and other STDs, assault, drowning, alcohol poisoning, alcohol dependency, DUI-related injury and death (yours and/or others). This has nothing to do with "good" or "bad" or what kind of person you are. When you and others are drinking, you can become careless, and it's all downhill from there.
Teens who drink are also more likely to engage in violence against others. In addition to criminal penalties, there may be fines and increased insurance rates for teens in possession of alcohol. If you are under 18, you can be sued for acts committed while drinking, such as vandalism, physical assault, and date rape.
Property damage may not be covered by insurance if alcohol is involved. Your parents are liable for any underage drinking that takes place at their residence.
Teens More Likely to Exhibit Impaired Driving Skills at Lower Blood Alcohol Levels
According to the NHTSA, there are 205.5 million licensed drivers in the United States. Young drivers, between 15 and 20 years old, accounted for 6.4% (13.2 million) of the total.
In 2008, 12% (5,864) of all drivers involved in fatal collisions (50,186) were young drivers 15 to 20 years old.
292 young drivers with a BAL 0.01-0.07 (or 5% of all fatalities for the 15 to 20 age group) were involved in fatal collisions.
Lack of Experience + Alcohol/Drugs = Danger
Inexperience, in drinking as well as driving, is the cause of many collisions involving teens. The rate of fatal collisions among 16- to 20-year—olds driving under the influence is more than DOUBLE the rate for intoxicated drivers 21 and older. (Traffic Safety Facts 2008, NHTSA)
Just how much practice does it take to get the hang of drinking and using drugs?
There is no practice because there are no do-overs.
Remember: the younger you are when you start drinking or using drugs, the more likely you are to experience serious physical consequences or become an addict.
Make the responsible choice.
What is drug addiction?
Alan I. Leshner, Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, defines drug addiction as uncontrollable, compulsive drug seeking and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences.
By abusing drugs, the addicted teen has changed the way his or her brain operates. Drug abuse and addiction lead to long-term changes in the brain. These changes cause addicted drug users to lose the ability to control their drug use. Drug addiction is a disease.
Becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol is a process that can happen very quickly. Recreational or occasional use of these substances can quickly turn to abuse. When someone begins to use drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, they are starting on a path toward abuse. The person begins to physically need the alcohol or drug in order to function. This is known as physical dependency. These substances have incredible power over the body.
If dependency is not recognized and dealt with, addiction follows with terrible consequences. Addiction is a condition caused by repeated drug or alcohol use, characterized by a compulsive urge to continue using the drug, a tendency to increase dosage, and physiological and/or psychological dependence.
People who have this addiction tend to have serious health problems. They are prone to grand mood swings, violent and unpredictable behavior, and loss of friendships or family relationships. They tend to turn inward, wanting only satisfy their addictions. When unable to get their drug of choice, their bodies go into withdrawal.
During the process of withdrawal, the body is fighting itself for survival. For many people, addiction to alcohol or drugs is a lifelong struggle which is extremely difficult to reverse.
Ask yourself if you want your life reduced to a desperate need for mind-altering substances. The best way to avoid addiction is to avoid drugs altogether.
Drug Actions Within the Body
Drugs are chemicals.
Marijuana is often considered "just a plant," but it actually has 61 chemicals unique to the cannabis plant and contains carcinogens.
Some common stimulants are:
• Pep pills
• Diet pills
Stimulants can be extremely dangerous drugs. Abuse of these substances can cause paranoia, convulsions, nervousness, coma, and in some cases death.
Short term effects:
Effects peak after 15-40 minutes before fading quickly.
Users experience a sense of well-being. This includes alertness, painlessness, and confidence.
The feelings soon pass and the user is left wanting more of the drug.
Physical effects include dry mouth, sweating, loss of appetite, and a racing pulse.
Long term effects:
Prolonged use can cause heart problems and chest pain while heavy use can cause convulsions.
Users often complain of feeling tired and depressed.
Long-term users can become dependent on the way cocaine makes them feel and may experience withdrawal symptoms.
Snorting the drug damages the inside of the nose. Sometimes the damage is permanent.
Constant or frequent use can leave users restless, confused, paranoid, and sleepless.
Injecting cocaine increases the risk of spreading infections such as HIV or Hepatitis B and C.
Downers (also called depressants) operate by slowing central nervous system functions. Small amounts help relax muscles and produce calmness; while larger doses impair judgment, reflexes, and speech.
Some drugs that fall under the category of downers are:
Narcotic drugs often dull the senses and make the user sleepy. They are also highly addictive. Opium, morphine, heroin (a synthetic drug made by altering the chemicals in opium), and codeine are the most commonly used narcotics.
Narcotics are usually prescribed for pain relief but are often abused. Drowsiness, respiratory slowing, memory loss, and nausea are only a few of the negative effects. There are many more. Abuse of this type of drug can cause convulsions, coma, or even death.
Because narcotics affect the central nervous system, abusing narcotics can also impair mental functioning.
Chronic heroin users may develop collapsed veins, heart lining and valve infections, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health condition of the abuser, as well as from heroin's effects on respiration.
In addition to the effects of the drug itself, heroin may have additives that do not readily dissolve. Absorbing these substances can cause the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain to become clogged. Eventually, this may cause infection or even the death of small patches of cells in vital organs.
Hallucinogenic drugs come in natural and synthetic forms. These substances are known to distort your perception of reality and thought processes. The most common types of hallucinogens are phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and organic drugs (including mescaline and psilocybin).
LSD is sold as small squares of blotting paper that may be decorated with colorful designs or cartoon characters. Users then lick or suck these papers. This drug also comes in capsules and liquid form that can be swallowed.
Hallucinations occur within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion. People say their senses are intensified and distorted when they use. They may see colors or hear sounds with other delusions, such as melting walls and a loss of any sense of time. But the effects are also unpredictable, depending on how much LSD is taken and the user.
The effects of LSD often last 12 hours or longer. "Bad trips" have been known to cause disturbing delusions, panic attacks, depression, and confusion. Physical risks include increased heart rate, sleeplessness, and convulsions.
Users often have flashbacks in which they feel some of the effects of LSD at a later time.
The most widely used illegal drug and hallucinogen in the U.S. is marijuana. This non-synthetic drug resembles green or brown dried parsley with stems or seeds. A stronger form of marijuana called hashish (hash) looks like brown or black cakes or balls. Marijuana is typically smoked in cigarettes (joints), hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes (bowls), or water pipes (bongs). Some people mix it into foods or brew it as a tea.
Marijuana users can become psychologically dependent upon its use to feel good, deal with life, or handle stress. Physically, a user may demand more and more of the drug to achieve the same kind of high he or she experienced when first using the drug.
Over the Counter Drugs
Over-the-counter drugs do not escape abuse and can also have harmful effects. In fact, the use and abuse of diet pills, cough medicine, nicotine gum, or other seemingly safe medications can cause unpredictable driving behaviors and dire health consequences.
Many readily available cough and cold medicines include dextromethorphan (DXM) in their list of ingredients. If taken in large quantities, these over-the-counter medicines can cause loss of motor control, hallucinations, and other dissociative sensations.
DXM is often abused when extracted from cough and cold medicines, put into powder form, and snorted.
Large doses of certain over-the-counter medications can cause fever, confusion, impaired judgment, blurred vision, dizziness, paranoia, excessive sweating, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, lethargy, numbness of fingers and toes, redness of face, dry and itchy skin, loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
Sometimes abusers mistakenly take cough syrups that contain other medications in addition to dextromethorphan. High doses of these other medications can cause serious injury or death.
"When 14-year-old Irma Perez of Belmont, California took a single ecstasy pill one evening last April, she had no idea she would become one of the 26,000 people who die every year from drugs. Irma took ecstasy with two 14-year-old friends in her home. Soon after taking the tiny blue pill, Irma complained of feeling awful and said she felt like she was 'going to die.'"
This excerpt from "Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us" (Police Chief Magazine, March 2005) shows that even small amounts of illegal drugs can be fatal.
From "Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us":
"The friends tried to get Irma to smoke marijuana, but when she couldn't because she was vomiting and lapsing into a coma, they stuffed marijuana leaves into her mouth because, according to news sources, 'they knew that drug is sometimes used to treat cancer patients.'
Irma Perez died from taking ecstasy, but compounding that tragedy was the deadly decision to use marijuana to 'treat' her instead of making what could have been a lifesaving call to 911."
From "Marijuana: The Myths Are Killing Us":
"Irma was a victim of the stunning misinformation about marijuana. Society has come to believe that marijuana use is not only an individual's free choice, but also is good medicine and a cure-all for a variety of ills." However, with any drug, only a doctor can determine whether it is medically appropriate.
Where do illegal drugs come from?
The illegal drug market in the United States is one of the most profitable in the world. As such, it attracts sophisticated and aggressive drug traffickers. Diverse groups traffic and distribute illegal drugs. Criminal organizations operating from South America smuggle cocaine and heroin into the U.S. via a number of routes. Furthermore, criminal groups operating from Mexico smuggle cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and marijuana into the United States.
Besides criminal groups based abroad, domestic organizations cultivate, produce, manufacture, or distribute illegal drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
By growing sinsemilla, the seedless flowering tops of marijuana plants, domestic cannabis growers are able to provide high potency marijuana that easily competes with other illegal drugs.
With demand for methamphetamine remaining high, especially in the West and Midwest, so does the number of illicit domestic laboratories that supply methamphetamine to a growing number of addicts.
Strangers stand on the street corners selling drugs, with no regard for your health or safety—money is their only concern. Drug dealers now also appear through the Internet. Organized crime has set up shop online, with criminals posing as legitimate pharmacies.
Ask yourself this: do you want to sacrifice your health, your life, and the happiness of your loved ones to make drug dealers richer?
The following are some common "excuses" for taking drugs:
Wanting to "enhance" an experience
Someone else you know tried it and nothing happened to them.
How DUI Laws Work
The penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are severe and may include fees, jail time, rehabilitation class, the installation of an ignition interlock device on your car (to disable the car if you have consumed alcohol), and other penalties. DUI laws punish offenders for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
A DUI offense is both a criminal and civil matter. If a law enforcement officer suspects you of being intoxicated, he or she may ask you to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test to verify your blood alcohol level (BAL). According to Florida's implied consent law, signing an application for a driver license signifies that you agree to take these tests. If you refuse to be tested, you will be subject to the following penalties:
The first time you refuse to take the test, your license will be automatically suspended for one year.
If a second incident occurs where you refuse to take the test, your license will be suspended for 18 months. This is a second degree misdemeanor.
If you are involved in an incident where someone dies or is seriously injured, you will need to take a blood test—even without consent. A doctor, nurse, or other health professional will draw your blood.
Blood may be drawn if you are unconscious and cannot refuse a test. The results can be legally used as evidence.
Drivers who exceed the per se breath or BAL limit will be prosecuted solely for having an amount of alcohol in their system greater than permitted by law. A DUI conviction remains on a driver's record for 75 years.
First Time DUI Penalties
The penalties for a first-time DUI charge include the following:
Fine—With a BAL of .08 or higher the fine may range from $250-$500. If there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine jumps to $500-$1000.
Community Service—50 hours
Probation—Not more than one year.
Revocation of License—A 180 day minimum
Imprisonment—No more than six months. If there is a BAL of .20 or higher or a minor in the vehicle, no more than nine months.
DUI School—12 hours
DUI School Requirement—There will be an evaluation to diagnose if there is a need for treatment.
Ignition Interlock Device—Up to six months.
Second Time DUI Penalties
The second offense will result in steeper penalties including the following:
Fine—With a BAL of .08 or higher the fine may range from $500-$1000. If there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine jumps to $1000-$2000.
Revocation of License—A 180 day minimum. If this second offense is within five years of the first conviction, your license will be revoked for five years.
Imprisonment—No more than nine months. If the second conviction is within five years of the first offense, the penalty is ten days in jail with 48 hours of consecutive confinement.
DUI School—21 hours
DUI School Requirement—There will be an evaluation given to diagnose if there is a need for treatment.
Ignition Interlock Device—A one-year minimum.
Third Time DUI Penalties
The third offense will result in the following increased penalties:
Fine—With a BAL of .08 or higher the fine may range from $1000-$2500. If there is a minor in the vehicle, the fine jumps to $2000-$5000.
Revocation of License—A 180 day minimum. If this third offense is within ten years of the second conviction, your license will be revoked for 10 years.
Imprisonment—No more than 12 months. If the third conviction is within ten years of jail time for the same offense, the penalty is 30 days in jail with 48 hours of consecutive confinement.
DUI School—21 hours
DUI School Requirement—There will be an evaluation given to diagnose if there is a need for treatment.
Ignition Interlock Device—A two-year minimum.
Fourth Time DUI Penalties
For the fourth (or higher) offense, the penalties are:
Fine—At least $1000.
Revocation of License—Your license will be revoked permanently.
Imprisonment—No more than five years
On top of court penalties and other fees, the price of insurance greatly increases with a DUI conviction on a driver's record.
Also, your insurance policy may be canceled at the end of the term because of your DUI conviction, especially if you are currently in a preferred class.
Loss of Driving Privileges
Florida follows a Zero Tolerance law. This means if any driver who is under the age of 21 is stopped by a law enforcement officer and shown to have a BAL of .02 or greater, he or she will have his or her driving privilege suspended for six months. If the BAL is higher than .05, the driver will be required to take a substance abuse course. If the driver has a BAL over the legal limit of .08, he or she can be convicted for driving under the influence (DUI).
For drivers under the age of 19, there will be an evaluation to diagnose if there is a need for treatment. If a driver under the age of 21 refuses to take a test to determine BAL, his or her driving privilege will be automatically suspended for one year.
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