This section of the Florida Driver Handbook covers parking techniques and laws.
Topics Addressed in this section of the Florida Driver Handbook include:
When parking on a public road, move as far away from traffic as possible. If there is a roadside shoulder, pull as far onto it as you can. If there is a curb, pull close to it — you must not park more than one foot away.
Always park on the right side of the roadway, unless it is a one-way street. Make sure your vehicle cannot move. Set the parking brake and shift to park with an automatic transmission or reverse with a manual transmission. Turn off the engine and lock the vehicle. Florida law requires that you take the keys out of your vehicle before leaving it. Always check traffic behind you before getting out, or get out on the curb side.
Before you leave any parked position, look over your shoulder to the rear to make sure the way is clear. Give the proper turn signal if driving from a curb and yield to other traffic.
Parking on Hills
When parking on hills:
The rear markers represent the REAR corners of the parking space. The forward markers represent the approximate CENTER of the parking space. When properly parked, the vehicle should be centered inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out into the traffic lane.
Where Parking is not Allowed
Parking lights must be used at night on any vehicle parked on a roadway or shoulder outside of cities and towns. vehicle should be centered inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out into the traffic lane.Driving with parking lights only (in place of headlights) is against the law.
Parking Privilege for Disabled
Disabled persons do not have to pay parking fees on any public street, highway, or metered space. Their vehicles must display a valid parking placard which is visible from the front and rear of the vehicle. Each side of the placard must have the international symbol of accessibility in a contrasting color in the center. These may be obtained from a tag agent or tax collector's office and must be renewed every four years.
Disabled persons must park in spaces reserved for the disabled when possible. These spaces are marked by the wheelchair symbol and "Parking by Disabled Permit Only" signs. Vehicles illegally parked in spaces reserved for the handicapped will be ticketed and may be towed.
Turning a corner may seem to be a simple operation, but many traffic crashes are caused by drivers who do not turn correctly.
There are nine steps in making a good turn:
If you reach an intersection where you wish to make a right or left turn and are not in the proper lane, you should drive to the next intersection. Then make the turn from the proper lane.
Bike Lanes at Intersections
Slow down and look for bicyclists. Signal your turn prior to crossing through the bike lane at the dashed striping. Yield to any bicyclist. Complete the turn from the designated right turn lane. If there is no right turn lane, after first checking to make sure that no bicyclists are present, you may enter the bike lane at the intersection or driveway.
Turnabout (Three-Point Turn)
Sometimes you will need to turn your car around in a very small space. Use a three-point turn only if the road is too narrow for a U-turn and you can’t go around the block. To make a three-point turn:
You can now move in the opposite direction. Check the traffic and move forward. Never make a three-point turn or a U-turn on a curve, a hill or when a sign indicates that making a U-turn is prohibited.
Turn Signals and Emergency Signals
You must use hand signals or directional signals to show that you are about to turn. Turn signals are required when changing lanes or overtaking a vehicle. It is against the law to use your directional signals to tell drivers behind you that they can pass. Four-way emergency flashers should only be used while your vehicle is legally stopped or disabled on the highway or shoulder.
Right Turn — Hand Signal
Slow Down — Hand Signal
Left Turn — Hand Signal
Always drive on the right side of a two-lane highway except when passing. If the road has four or more lanes with two-way traffic, drive in the right lanes except when overtaking and passing.
Left lanes on some interstate roads are reserved for car pool vehicles with two or more occupants in the car — watch for diamond signs in the median. The center lane of a three-lane or five-lane highway is used only for turning left.
If you see red reflectors facing you on the lane lines, you are on the wrong side of the road. Get into the proper lane immediately! If you see red reflectors on the lines on the edge of the road, you are on the wrong freeway ramp. Pull over immediately! Red reflectors always mean you are facing traffic the wrong way and could have a head-on collision.
Blind spots are areas near the left and right rear corners of your vehicle that you cannot see in your rearview mirrors. Before you move sideways to change lanes on an expressway or to pass on any road, turn your head to make sure these areas are clear. Areas bordered by Xs are blind spots for a car with an outside mirror on the left side only.
On the roads with more than one lane in each direction, do not drive in someone else’s blind spot. Speed up or drop back so the other driver can see you.
When you are driving, things can happen very quickly. You may have only a fraction of a second to make the right move. Follow these guidelines for handling emergencies.
Right Wheels off Pavement
Car or Motorcycle Approaching in your Lane
Jammed Gas Pedal
When an animal is seen in the road or on the road shoulder, you should slow down and, if necessary, yield the right-of-way. Be especially careful in rural areas at night. Often an animal’s eyes shining in the headlight beams will be seen first.
Use reasonable care when approaching a person who is riding or leading an animal on the roadway or shoulder of the road. Horses have poor side vision and are easily frightened by loud noises or sudden movements.
Fog or Smoke
It is best not to drive in fog or smoke. If you must, slow down, turn on your low beam headlights, and be ready for a fast stop. Use windshield wipers in heavy fog. If the fog or smoke becomes so thick that you cannot see well enough to keep driving, pull all the way off the pavement and stop. Turn on your emergency flashers.
The first few drops of rain mean danger. Roads are most slippery just after the rain begins because oil dropped from cars has not been washed away. Slow down and plan for at least two times the normal stopping distance.
In a heavy rain, your tires can ride on a thin film of water, like skis. This is called hydroplaning. When your tires are not touching the road, you can easily lose control and skid. Keep your tires on the road by slowing down when it rains, and by having tires with the right air pressure and good tread.
Brakes often become wet after driving through deep water or driving in heavy rain. They may pull to one side or the other, or they may not hold at all. If this happens, slow down and gently push on the brake pedal until your brakes are working again.
You must turn on your low beam (dim) headlights when driving between sunset and sunrise, including the twilight hours between sunset and sunrise or between full night and sunrise. You must also use these lights during any rain, smoke or fog. Parking lights do not meet requirements of this law.