- The speed at which you drive determines how much time you have to act or react and how long it takes to stop
- The higher the speed, the less time drivers have to spot hazards
- Judge the speed of other traffic, and react to avoid the mistakes of other drivers
- The Basic Speed Rule (BSR) is not a Tennessee law, but it is a general safety principle. The BSR does not set an exact speed limit; instead, it teaches that the speed you may drive is limited by current conditions.
- For example, if the posted speed limit is 65 m.p.h., and you are driving at night on a twolane state highway and it's raining or foggy, 65 m.p.h. is too fast for those conditions.
- To obey the BSR, think about your speed in relation to other traffic (including pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles), the surface and width of the road, hazards at intersections, weather, visibility and any other conditions that could affect safety
1.Your speed must be careful and prudent. Use skill and good judgment. 2.Your speed must be reasonable and proper, not too fast and not too slow, for any conditions including:
• Amount of Traffic - How many cars on the road
• Speed of Traffic - How fast or slow it's moving
• Whether Pedestrians are Present - Especially children in school zones or neighborhoods
• Surface of the Road - Rough or smooth, paved, gravel, etc.
• Width of the Road - One-lane, two-lane, four-lane
• Structure of the Road - Straight, curving, bridges, narrow shoulders, etc.
• Visibility - How far ahead you can see clearly
• Weather Conditions - Rain, snow, ice, fog, etc.
• Your Own Driving Ability
3.Do not drive so slowly that you block, hinder, or interfere with other vehicles moving at normal speeds.
4.Your speed must be adjusted to conditions so you can stop within a clear distance ahead.
(1) You should apply your brakes slowly and evenly by applying gradual pressure. (2) Start braking early as a signal to the cars behind you.
(3) If you brake too strong or quickly, you could skid and lose control of your vehicle.
(4) A sudden stop makes it harder for drivers behind you to stop without hitting your vehicle.
* As a general rule for vehicles without anti-lock brakes, if the car starts to skid, take your foot off the brake and turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid; This is recommended, if you can do so without running off the road, hitting something, or steering into oncoming traffic.
• With a standard transmission, you can use the gearshift to slow down when approaching a stop sign or signal. First, flash the brake lights to signal any cars behind you. Then, shift down to a lower gear.
• Many of today's cars are equipped with 4 wheel anti-lock braking systems (ABS).
- A general overview of ABS braking procedures includes:
• When slowing or stopping, apply firm, steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the pedal with ABS.
• Always brake and steer when using anti-lock brakes-With ABS, you "brake and steer." Push the brake pedal while steering around hazards and keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal until the car comes to a stop. Do not take your foot off the pedal or pump the brakes because that will disengage the anti-lock system.
• If you are braking to avoid an emergency or crash, gradually steer the car around any obstacles. ABS was designed to prevent vehicles from locking wheels and to allow drivers to steer when skidding.
• Expect noise and vibration in the brake pedal when your ABS is in use-- These sensations tell you ABS is working.
- There are some instances when drivers should be especially alert, including:
• When driving next to parked cars
• When approaching any type of intersection • When approaching traffic signals and crosswalks
• When driving in a school zone or residential area
• When seeing brake lights of other cars
• When driving in heavy, slow moving traffic
- Drivers should know the difference between "covering the brake" and "riding the brake." In situations listed above, "covering the brake" means the driver's foot needs to hover over the brake or between the brake and gas pedals for quicker response time.
- "Riding the brake" is keeping your foot resting or slightly pressed down on the brake
- This adds much wear and tear on the vehicle's brake system, and also gives other drivers the false impression that a stop is imminent. Covering the brake is often smart and a safe driving practice; Riding the brake is NOTa safe practice.
• Come to a full and complete stop at the stop sign or traffic signal. Often, a wide white stop line will be painted on the pavement in line with the sign. You must stop your vehicle behind this line.
• If no pavement markings are present, stop when the front of your vehicle is even with the stop sign's placement on the roadside.
• If you cannot see whether the intersection is clear of crossing traffic, edge up slowly until traffic is clearly visible from both directions.
• If the intersection where the stop sign/traffic signal is placed has a crosswalk for pedestrians marked on the pavement, you must stop before the front of your vehicle reaches the nearest white line marking the border of the crosswalk.
• If there are pedestrians in the crosswalk or about to enter the crosswalk, you must wait for them to cross before proceeding.
• Once the crosswalk is clear, you may slowly edge forward to check traffic before crossing the intersection or entering the roadway.
• When stopping behind another vehicle already stopped at the intersection, make sure you allow adequate "gap" space between the vehicles so you are not "tailgating."
- A basic rule of thumb is that you should be able to see the license plate and/or the other vehicle's back tire where it meets the pavement
- This "gap" provides a safety zone in the event that the other vehicle rolls back slightly or stalls. If the vehicle stalls, you would still be able to maneuver around it safely. The gap provides a way out in the event of an emergency, such as another vehicle approaching from behind so fast that you may need to move to avoid a rear-end collision.
• Once the vehicle in front of you has moved on through the intersection, you may move forward to the stop line. Remember, you still must bring your vehicle to a FULL STOP at the stop line.
• A complete stop is required at a flashing red traffic light, just as with a stop sign.
• After you have stopped, if there is no traffic from the right or left, you may proceed. When there is traffic on the crossroad (right to left) and/or oncoming traffic (heading toward you) from the other side of the intersection, you must follow the right-of-way procedures. (Right-of-Way rules are discussed in depth later in this chapter.)
• You must stop completely when directed to stop by a flag person at a road construction site or by a police officer directing you to stop in any situation.
1.Yield to pedestrians crossing the road or your path of travel:
• Pedestrian means any person afoot or using a motorized or non-motorized wheelchair.
• When pedestrians are in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) or when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which your vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger;
• When in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. The driver shall remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway on which the vehicle is stopped.
• When your car is turning a corner and pedestrians are crossing with the light;
• When your vehicle crosses a sidewalk while entering or exiting a driveway, alley or parking lot. It is illegal to drive on a sidewalk except to cross it;
• When a blind or visually impaired pedestrian using a guide dog or carrying a cane, which is white in color or white with red tip, or a hearing impaired person with a dog on a blaze orange leash, is crossing any portion of the roadway, even if not at an intersection or crosswalk. Take special precautions as may be necessary to avoid accident or injury to the pedestrian. Stop at least 10feet away until the person is off the roadway. Do not use your horn, as it could startle the blind pedestrian;
• You must yield to children playing in the streets. In crowded downtown areas and in suburban residential neighborhoods, children play in the streets because there may not be parks or playgrounds nearby. Even though they have been told not to run into the street, children won't always put safety ahead of a runaway puppy or a bouncing ball. Children on bicycles can easily forget to slow down before entering an intersection or to signal and look behind before they turn. You are responsible for driving with extreme caution when children are present. Slow down near schools, playgrounds, and residential areas.
2 . Yield to Oncoming Traffic:When meeting other traffic at intersections, or when entering the roadway, make sure the other driver sees you. Make eye contact whenever possible. Drive cautiously and defensively. Be a friendly driver. Remember, the right-of-way is something to be given, not taken.
• When starting from a parked position, wait for all moving traffic to pass.
• When turning left, you must wait for oncoming traffic going straight ahead or turning right.
• When entering a main road from a driveway, alley, parking lot or roadside, you must yield to all vehicles already on the main road. (The blue car in the graphic below must yield the right-of-way.)
• When entering a roundabout, traffic circle or rotary (also known as "town squares"), you must yield to traffic already in the roundabout.
• When approaching a MERGE onto a busy highway or interstate, you must increase or decrease speed as needed to avoid an accident and yield the right-of-way, if necessary, to the oncoming traffic.
• When approaching a fire station, you should yield to any emergency vehicle that is about to back into, or is already in the process of backing into, the driveway entrance to the station.
3.Yielding at Intersections: The right-of-way should be determined by each driver before entering an intersection. If you have the right-of-way and another driver yields it to you, proceed immediately. However, YOU must yield the right of-way:
• When oncoming vehicles (including bicycles) are proceeding straight or making a right turn;
• At intersections where YIELD signs are posted, the driver must slow down or stop to avoid a crash with oncoming traffic;
• To any vehicles already in the intersection, even if you have the green traffic light; (The red vehicle in the diagram at right must yield to the green vehicle.) • At "T" intersections where one road dead-ends into another main crossing roadway, the vehicles on the road ending must yield to oncoming traffic from both directions on the main road; • When turning left at intersections, you must yield to any oncoming vehicle proceeding straight or turning right, unless you have a traffic light where your left turn is on a protected green arrow; (The red vehicle in the diagram to the right must yield.)
• At intersections marked as FOUR-WAY or ALL-WAY stops, the vehicle reaching the intersection first gets to go first (of course, ALL vehicles must stop). If more than one vehicle arrives at the same time, yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right;
• Where roads cross and there are no stop signs or signals, yield to any vehicle coming at the same time on your right;
• Do not enter an intersection unless you can get through it without having to stop. You should wait until traffic in front of you clears so that you are not blocking the intersection. If your vehicle is left blocking an intersection (with or without a traffic signal), it prevents other traffic from proceeding and you could be ticketed
* It is against the law to follow a fire truck or other emergency vehicle responding to a fire alarm or other emergency.
- It is also illegal to take your vehicle within the block of where the emergency vehicle has stopped to take care of the emergency. If your car passes an emergency site, do not drive over any unprotected fire department hose unless the fire department official in command says it is okay.
*Tennessee law requires that when an emergency vehicle is approaching, all traffic meeting or being overtaken must yield the right-of-way and immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to the right hand edge or curb of the roadway stop.
- You must remain in that stopped position until the emergency vehicle has passed or until you are directed to move by a police officer. You must still proceed with caution; there may be other emergency vehicles coming.
- There are a few other important details about sharing the road with emergency vehicles:
• If you are in an intersection, drive on through the intersection before pulling over, or you may block the emergency vehicle's path through the intersection.
• Do not pull over to the right if it will block a side road or driveway. The emergency vehicle may need to turn into that road or driveway to get to the incident scene.
• If the traffic light is red, stay where you are. If the light turns green before the emergency vehicle has passed, do NOT proceed on green. Wait until the emergency vehicle has passed or turned onto a different street.
• When yielding to emergency vehicles, get in the habit of turning down the volume on the radio (if on) so you can hear any instructions or directions given out over the emergency vehicle's loudspeaker. Your immediate reaction to such directions may be critically needed.
- You must yield the right-of-way to any transit vehicle (metro bus) that has signaled and is pulling back onto the roadway from a bus stop. Generally, this occurs on urban roadways in areas marked by "bus stop" signs or benches. Occasionally, you may encounter cross-country commercial buses signaling to re-enter traffic after allowing passengers to disembark on rural roadways in smaller communities and towns.
A. You are not required to stop for, nor forbidden to pass, transit buses when they are stopped for passenger pick-up or drop-off as you would be for a school bus in the same situation.
B. Be extremely cautious near stopped buses and be watchful for passengers (including elderly individuals and children) attempting to cross the road in these areas.
• Check your vehicle's turn signals often to be sure they are working properly.
• Be sure that your turn signal lights (front and rear) are clean and free from dust, dirt, ice or snow.
• When signaling a stop, lightly pump your brakes a few times to attract attention with your brake lights.
• Be sure to turn off your turn signal light after using it. An unintended signal still means "turn" to the other drivers. By leaving it on, you might tempt other drivers to pull out in front of you.
• At least 50 feet before the turn, you must turn on your turn signal lights.
• Use your turn signals ONLY to indicate when YOU plan to turn or change lanes.
• If you are parked at a curb or roadside and about to re-enter traffic, use a signal long enough to alert oncoming traffic that you are moving from the parked position back into the traffic lane.
• If you plan to turn beyond an intersection, do not signal until you are in the intersection. If you signal earlier, another driver may think you intend to turn at the intersection and might pull into your path.
• Get in the habit of signaling every time you change direction. Signal even if you do not see anyone else around. It is the car you do not see that is the most dangerous.
• When you slow down, your brake lights flash as a signal. Slowing down, itself, acts as a signal
Divided highways have two-way traffic, but the roads for each direction are divided by a median or barrier. Always use the road on the right when driving on a divided highway, such as an interstate, unless directed to do otherwise. Do not drive within, across or over any median strip or barrier separating these roadways. It is only allowed at an authorized crossover or intersection, or when you are officially directed to do so. (Yellow sign with squiggly arrow pointing up and a squiggly arrow pointing down with a shaded in U in the middle)
- On a divided four-lane highway, when using a designated crossover for a left turn (or a U-turn where permitted), treat the crossover/opening the same as a cross street by keeping to the right side of the crossover paved area
A .If a vehicle is already in the crossover waiting for traffic to clear, remain stopped in the left most lane of the four-lane highway with your turn signal on until the waiting vehicle has cleared the crossover.
B .DO NOT "swing" into the left side of the crossover or "bunch-up" behind the waiting car. This creates a dangerous situation for any vehicle attempting to use the crossover for a left turn coming from the opposite direction.
• It leaves your vehicle with its rear-end partially sticking out in the left traffic lane. In this position, approaching vehicles coming upon your car are less likely to notice your turn signal than if your vehicle was fully stopped in the left lane.
• It places your car on the wrong side of the road in the crossover and could cause a head-on collision with a vehicle attempting to turn left in the crossover from the opposite direction.
*Remember, such a crossover is PERMITTED ONLY at paved openings provided on four-lane highways. There are NO crossovers provided for traffic on interstates.
- Red reflectors always mean you are facing traffic the wrong way and could have a head-on collision.