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Safe Driving Tips

Allied Driving School teaches defensive driving skills. We have found that driving defensively is synonymous with driving economically. Avoiding quick stops and starts, pacing yourself in traffic, and being aware of your surroundings are all steps to increasing safety, mileage and the longevity of your vehicle.

1. How far away should you follow the vehicle in front of you?

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The recommended following distance is not measured in feet, but rather in seconds. The recommended amount of time between your car and the vehicle in front of you is 3-5 seconds. This allows for reaction time and braking distance in the event of an emergency situation. The faster or larger your vehicle, the more time is needed to slow or stop your car.

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2. How far in front of you should you be scanning the road ahead?

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Again, the distance is measured in time, rather than feet. The recommended scanning area ahead of your vehicle is a minimum of 15 seconds. This is done to give the driver other options rather than always having to 'hit the brake'. Advance warning of upcoming obstacles is the driver's biggest advantage in avoiding crashes and congestion.

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3. What is the difference between a yellow crosswalk and a white crosswalk?

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Yellow crosswalks are in designated school areas. Remember that even when school is out, children may be present, going to or coming from the playground.

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4. Why are headlights required during the day in certain "Daylight Safety Sections"?

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A study performed by CALTRANS indicates that vehicles are more visible with their headlights on. It is easier for cross traffic to judge your distance and speed with your headlights on. Daylight safety sections are often found on high speed roadways with cross-traffic.

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5. If your car is equipped with daylight running lights, are you still required to turn on your headlights in rain or fog?

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If your vehicle is equipped with daytime running lights, you are still required to turn on your headlights during adverse weather conditions. The running lights are not as bright as your low beam headlights are not aimed in the same direction and only light up the front of the car. Turning on your headlights enables vehicles from behind to see you better, too.

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6. What should you do if you are being tailgated by another vehicle?

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Tailgating is one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes. You can definitely control the space in front of you, what what about the space in back? By slowing slightly and opening up more space in front of your vehicle, you may encourage the tailgater to pass you. At the very least, you give yourself the opportunity to brake more gradually, and flash your brake lights, helping to avoid surprise to the driver behind you, who may also be distracted.

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7. At what speed should you merge onto a freeway?

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You should merge onto the freeway at the speed of traffic. Regardless of the posted speed limit, you may not drive faster or slower than is safe. Merging on too slow or fast may cause a collision.

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8. What is the difference between a yellow line and a white line on the road?

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Yellow lines divide traffic traveling in opposite directions, they border the left hand side of divided highways and sometimes one-way streets. White lines separate lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction, they also border the right hand side of the road. A road with only white lines marking the lanes indicates a one way street!

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9. What does a blue reflector on the road mean?

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A blue reflector on the road indicates a fire hydrant. It will be off center, indicating which side of the road the hydrant is located on.

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10. What does a right red arrow on a traffic light mean, how is that different from a solid red light?

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A right red arrow on a traffic light indicates that movement in that direction in not allowed until the light turns green. On a solid red light, you may make a right turn after stopping and yielding the right-of-way to all cross traffic.

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Santa Clara County
(408)278-7032
(408) 972-4591
1064 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
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San Mateo County
(650) 368-2200
2995 Woodside Road
Suite 400
Woodside, CA 94062
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