California Driver Handbook - Sharing The Road
Small changes in your driving habits can help relieve chronic traffic congestion, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).
Avoid the following driving behaviors:
- Rubbernecking–slowing down to look at collisions or virtually anything else out of the ordinary.
- Tailgating–following too closely.
- Unnecessary lane changes–weaving in and out of freeway lanes.
- Inattention–eating, grooming, talking on a cell phone, text messaging, reading the newspaper, etc.
- Operating a poorly-maintained or malfunctioning vehicle or running out of fuel.
Aggressive driving can cause many serious problems on the roadway. All drivers must be aware of both aggressive driving and the behavior known as “road rage,” and what to do when they occur. A driver may not even be aware that they are driving aggressively.
There are two important things to be aware of regarding aggressive drivers:
- Recognizing and avoiding the behaviors in yourself.
- Avoiding other drivers engaging in these behaviors.
Every driver can potentially engage in these behaviors. It could happen to any of us when our irritation or frustration leads us to drive, or behave, in an unsafe or hostile manner. Aggressive drivers become a threat to the safety and wellbeing of themselves and others on and near the road. Below are some guidelines regarding how to avoid becoming an aggressive driver:
- Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Do not “cut off” other drivers.
- Do not drive slowly in the left (fast) lane.
- Do not tailgate.
- Do not gesture to other drivers.
- Use your horn for emergencies only.
- Let aggressive drivers pass you.
The following are examples of common behaviors that can lead to aggressive driving and how to avoid them:
- Lane Blocking–Don’t block the passing lane. Stay out of the far left lane if other traffic wants to drive faster, and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to pass.
- Tailgating–Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you are being tailgated, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
- Signal Lights–Always use your signals when changing lanes, and avoid changing lanes too close to the other vehicles. After you have changed lanes, turn your signal off.
- Gestures–If you must gesture to another driver, do so in a way that will not be interpreted as hostile or obscene.
- Horn–Avoid using your horn to say “hello” to a pedestrian. The driver in front of you might think you are honking at them.
- Failure to Turn–Unless otherwise posted, right turns are allowed after a complete stop at a red light. Choosing to wait for the green light may frustrate the drivers behind you, but is not illegal.
- Parking–Do not take more than one parking space. Do not park in the disabled parking space if you do not have a disabled parking placard or plates.
- Headlights–If you use your high-beam headlights, dim your lights for oncoming traffic and when approaching a vehicle from behind; do not retaliate to oncoming high beams with your own.
- Merging–When traffic permits, make room to allow vehicles to merge into your lane.
Take the questionnaire below to determine the type of driver you are.
Do you: (Check the appropriate box)
How did you do?
(1 – 3) Safe Driver
(4 – 7 Good Driver
(8 – 11) Semi–Aggressive Driver
(12+) Aggressive Driver