This section of the Florida Drivers Handbook explains how to drive in the State of Florida. Topic covered include defensive driving, protecting children, speed limits, making turns, passing, parking and others.
Topics Addressed in this section of the Florida Driver Handbook include:
Good driving is based on practice and being alert at the wheel. When driving, you must make sure that nothing interferes with your ability to see the road, react to situations or operate your vehicle properly. You must look down the road, to the sides and behind your vehicle and be alert for unexpected events. Be alert to what is going on around you and do not take your eyes off the road for more than a few seconds at any one time. Do not have objects inside your vehicle that might interfere with your ability to drive safely. This might include objects that obstruct your view of the road or mirrors.
Good drivers develop habits that focus their full attention on driving. Some drivers can develop bad habits that can be very dangerous when driving. Some bad habits that distract your attention away from driving are:
Getting Ready to Drive
Before you start your engine:
Defensive driving means doing all you can to prevent crashes. As a defensive driver, you will "give" a little. You will change your driving to fit the weather conditions, the way you feel, and the actions of other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. Follow these steps to avoid crashes:
Use these defensive driving tips if you see that you are about to be involved in a crash:
When You Back Up
Check behind your vehicle before you get in. Children or small objects cannot be seen from the driver's seat. Place your right arm on the back of the seat and turn around so that you can look directly through the rear window. Do not depend on your rearview or side mirrors as you cannot see directly behind your vehicle. Back slowly; your vehicle is much harder to steer while you are backing. Whenever possible use a person outside the vehicle to help you back up.
Avoiding Rear-end Collisions
Many crashes happen because one vehicle runs into the back of another one. Here are some things you can do to lower the risk of someone running into the rear of your vehicle.
Basic Driver Improvement
Any driver can take a basic driver improvement course. The course teaches ways of keeping crashes from happening. One driver can sign up, or a group can request a class. Consult your yellow pages under Driving Instruction for the location nearest you.
The driver and front seat passengers must wear seat belts. The seat belt law applies to passenger cars manufactured beginning with the 1968 model year, and trucks beginning with the 1972 model year. It is unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle in this state unless every passenger of the vehicle under the age of 18 is restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device, regardless of seating position.
If the passenger is 18 years of age or older and fails to wear a seat belt when required by law, the passenger will be charged with the violation.
The law exempts the following from the seat belt requirements:
In a crash, you are far more likely to be killed if you are not wearing a safety belt. Wearing shoulder belts and lap belts make your chances of living through a crash twice as good.
In a crash, safety belts:
SAFETY BELTS SAVE LIVES!
Wear a lap belt around your hips, not your stomach. Fasten the belt snugly. Wear a shoulder belt only with a lap belt. Don’t just use your safety belt for long trips or high-speed highways. More than half of the crashes that cause injury or death happen at speeds less than 40 MPH and within 25 miles from home.
ALL CHILDREN 5 YEARS OF AGE OR YOUNGER MUST USE A RESTRAINT DEVICE WHEN RIDING IN A MOTOR VEHICLE.
The number one killer of young children in the United States is traffic crashes in which children were not restrained at all. Over 90 percent of the deaths and 80 percent of the injuries in car crashes could be prevented by using crash-tested child restraints.
Children should be secured in the rear seat. Never secure a child in the front passenger side, especially if your vehicle has an air bag.
The law requires every driver to properly secure children five years of age or younger in child restraint devices riding in a passenger car, van, or pick-up truck, regardless of whether the vehicle is registered in this state. Infant carriers or children’s car seats must be used for children up to three years of age and younger. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat or a seat belt may be used. All infant carriers and car seats must be crash-tested and approved by the U.S. Government.
Children being carried or riding bicycles should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets.
What is the Best Child Seat?
For more information on the best child seat, please visit: DMVFlorida.org and obtain information on Occupant Protection & Child Passenger Safety News.
Leaving Children Unattended or Unsupervised in Motor Vehicles
Do not leave children unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle and never leave a child unattended for any period of time if the motor vehicle is running or if the health of the child is in danger.
WARNING: WHEN IT’S HOT OUTSIDE, DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN UNATTENDED!
On a hot summer day, the interior of a car can get dangerously hot. One study found that with the windows up and the temperature outside at 94 degrees, the inside of a car could be 122 degrees in just half an hour, or 132 degrees after an hour.