Driver's Education - Modules 7 & 8 (Collisions//Substance Abuse)

Terms in this set (57)

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:
1. Stop
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.
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
Expressway entrances
Driveways, shopping center entrances, etc.


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.
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.
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.


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.
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.
"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:

Being social
Wanting to "enhance" an experience
Someone else you know tried it and nothing happened to them.
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.