Driver’s Refresher Course: Thumbing Through a Florida Driver’s Handbook
Chances are, if you took Driver’s Ed in high school, the information you learned has mostly been relegated to memories of orange cones and awkwardly attempted three point turns. Yes, most of us integrated that valuable knowledge and translated it into our daily commutes; however, there are always some tidbits that slip past us and aspects we can improve upon. Thanks why we recently flipped through the Florida Driver’s Handbook.
Florida Driver’s Handbook
Understanding Florida traffic law and driving best practices helps protect us all. The following information has been pulled from the Florida Driver’s Handbook to help refresh your memory and hopefully reduce your chances of a car accident. If the worst happens, however, know that there’s a Florida personal injury lawyer that understands how an accident can wreak on your life and is willing to help you find your footing again.
LICENSE SUSPENSIONS, REVOCATIONS, AND POINTS
One of the first things the handbook dives into after explaining the procedure for obtaining a license is how you can lose your license. As stated in chapter two of the Florida Driver’s Handbook, a driver’s license is a privilege in Florida—one that allows you to safely operate a motor vehicle to get to work or drive to the beach.
Your license may be suspended if you accrue too many points because of traffic or safety violations, fail to pay a fine, or refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, among other reasons.
Your license may be revoked if you commit a DUI or a felony where a motor vehicle is involved.
Speeding, passing a stopped school bus, and reckless driving (along with other violations) can lead to you incurring points on your license. If you accrue enough points, your license will be suspended for a set period of time.
SEAT BELTS AND CAR SEATS
If you’re driving a car manufactured after 1968, you must wear your seatbelt unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from safely wearing your seatbelt. In addition, as the driver, it is your responsibility to ensure that every passenger under the age of 18 is also buckled up. While older passengers are legally required to buckle up, they will be held legally responsible for their own actions.
Children under five are required by law to use a child seat. The type of seat is needed depends on the child and vehicle. Safecar.gov provides information to help you pick the right seat for your child. It is very important that the seat is installed properly so that it will effectively protect your child in case of an accident.
DEALING WITH EMERGENCY VEHICLES
Maybe you’ve heard you should pull over when you see flashing lights or that you should keep going with the flow of traffic as to not slow down the emergency vehicle. While this may vary from state to state, Florida requires that motorists pull over to allow for emergency vehicles to pass safely and quickly.
In addition, if you’re driving on a two lane highway and there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road, you should merge into the lane furthest from the emergency vehicle and slow down to twenty miles below the speed limit if the limit is higher than 25 or to 5 miles per hour if it is 25 or less.
PARKING ON A HILL
When you are parked on a hill, you want to turn your wheels so that if your car starts moving it rolls away from traffic or into a curb. In addition, you should set your parking brake.
WHEN TO USE HEADLIGHTS
You may have heard the phrase, “If your wipers are on, your headlights should be, too.” It’s pretty good advice. Florida does require that headlights be on when it’s raining. In addition, your headlights should be on from sunset to sunrise.
That’s right—the Florida Driver’s Handbook advises drivers to turn on their low-beam headlights once the sun starts to set. Also, low-beams should be on if you’re driving in fog or smoke. In addition to illuminating the road in dark conditions, your low beams help other drivers see you. This is especially important during a rainstorm when it takes a little longer to brake to a stop.
DEALING WITH EMERGENCY SITUATIONS
Chapter three of the Florida Driver’s Handbook provides great advice for dealing with emergency situations, including breakdown, jammed brakes, and tire blowouts. Here are two emergency situations you may encounter as a motorist (though hopefully not).
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VEHICLE SKIDS
- Remove your foot from the gas pedal
- Gently pump your brakes if you are close to hitting something, otherwise, refrain from using your brakes
- Steer your vehicle in the same direction of the skid to straighten yourself out, then steer yourself in the direction you want to go
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR BRAKES FAIL
- Repeatedly pump your brake pedal hard and fast
- Shift your car into a lower gear
- Slowly apply your parking brake
- If you are near a curb, rub your tires against it to slow your car; if not, pull off the road into an open space like a shoulder or field
Know The Rules and Protect Yourself
Knowing how to handle yourself while you drive can help protect you. By following road signs and using your driving knowledge, you can reduce your car accident risk. Following appropriate safety measures, such as buckling your seat belt, can help protect you in case of a car accident.
If all your driving knowledge fails you or you are blindsided by another driver and have experienced serious injuries, you do have recourse. A Tampa motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you get your life back.
As a conscientious driver, you shouldn’t suffer because of someone else’s mistakes. Speaking with a Florida personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid legal claim and help you begin getting your affairs back in order.