Deer crossing sign

Understand What the Deer Crossing Sign Mean

Deer Crossing Means You Must Be Alert

Between October and December, deer and car collisions are at their highest. But deer can dart into your path at any time of the year.

Be aware of the deer crossing sign anytime you drive through an area known for high deer populations. It tells you to slow down and be extra alert. Sometimes deer crossing signs are used together with a beacon that flashes when deer movement is detected.

Pay special attention to the roadsides at dawn and dusk. These are the times when deer are most likely to cross the road. Lower visibility can also make it more difficult for you to see them.

If there is one deer by the roadside, expect more. Deer almost never travel alone. Chances are there are others nearby. Your best defense against a crash, is to control your speed, avoid distractions, and stay alert.

200 Deaths Each Year

Collisions with deer and other wild animals result in almost 200 fatalities each year. State Farm estimates that 1.25 million auto-deer collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. The average cost per insurance claim was $4,135.

Collisions with animals are more common than people think.

Don’t Swerve Around the Animal

If you are about to strike a deer, don’t try to swerve around the animal. They move quickly and you could lose control of your vehicle and go off the roadway. You also risk a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles. In both cases, you increase the chances of serious injuries.

As much as possible, you should try to bring your vehicle to a controlled stop or hit the deer at low speed.

If you hit a deer, report it to the police. If someone is injured, call emergency services.

Deer at night - State Farm

Should You Flash Your Headlights?

If there is a deer standing in your path, should you try to deter the animal by flashing your headlights or using your horn? Most experts will tell you that it has little or no effect. The animal is usually deterred by the approach of your vehicle. Slowing down is often enough.

Flashing high beams at night could have the reversed effect and cause an animal to freeze. High beams will temporarily blind the animal. So, use your headlights with care when you approach a deer.

Read More

What to Do If You See a Deer Crossing the Road by Driver’s Prep.

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Turn on Hazard Lights or Not?

Hazard Warning Lights in rain - Copyright: driversprep.com

Should You Turn on Your Hazard Lights?

You should turn on hazard lights:

A.   Whenever you are driving slower than the flow of traffic.
B.   Whenever it is raining hard and you can barely see the road ahead.
C.   Whenever you are double parked.
D.   None of the above.

This is not a real DMV exam question, but it should give you something to think about. Are you one of these drivers that turn on emergency flashers in a heavy downpour or think it is a good idea to use hazard warning lights every time you driver slower than the rest of traffic?

If you are, you are not alone.

But here is a sobering fact that might come as a surprise to you. Driving with your emergency flashers on in these situations is illegal in many states – and for a good reason.

Emergencies Only

In states where driving with activated hazard lights is allowed, this is usually limited to emergencies and hazards only. If there is an unexpected accident ahead, and you need to warn others, then slowing down and activating hazard lights may be allowed. If your steering or brakes fail, you should also warn others with your hazard lights until you can come to a stop in a safe location.

Otherwise, you should refrain from using your emergency flashers, unless you have stopped because of an emergency on the roadway or on the shoulder, and your vehicle may interfere with traffic.

For your DMV test and future safe driving, make sure you know the law in your state. When driving from one state to another, you should check the laws before you embark on your trip. Or to be on the sage side, just be very restrictive when it comes to using emergency flashers.

Double Parking

Of course, double parking is always illegal. Turning on your emergency flashers while you leave your vehicle does NOT make double parking legal.

Get More Information about the Laws in Your State

Read more about when to use emergency flashers

Seat Belt Reminder

Important Safety Reminder

See this dash-cam video of a young man who loses control of his vehicle and is thrown out. Somehow he survives this crash.

Remember to always wear your safety belt. Your chances of surviving a motor vehicle crash like this are much better if you stay inside the vehicle. If you are buckled up, it will keep you from being thrown out of your vehicle into the path of another vehicle.

Driversprep - Seat Belt Reminder

Being Pulled Over at Night

 

Woman driving at night - Copyright: Kirill Polovnoy

What Should You Do?

What should you do if you are pulled over in a poorly lit area and are unsure that the vehicle is a police vehicle?

Recently, a North Texas woman was driving along a poorly-lit road around 2:30 a.m. when she saw emergency lights in her rear view mirror. She pulled over, rolled down her window, and a non-uniformed man approached her vehicle. As she reached for her license and insurance card, she was attacked.

Verify

If you are unsure that you are being pulled over by an officer and have a cell phone, stop and call 911 to verify it is a legitimate traffic stop.

Continue to a Well-lit area

If you are uncomfortable about stopping because an area is deserted or not well lit, acknowledge the officer’s presence by slowing down and turning on your emergency flashers.

Proceed slowly to a more populated or better illuminated place.

Officers usually understand and take into consideration the surroundings when stopping a driver.

Even if the officer drives an unmarked vehicle, he or she usually wear a police uniform and always possess a photo ID card and a badge. If the office does not wear a uniform, always ask for identification.

Additional reading: https://driversprep.com/driving-alone-at-night/

 

Stay Awake On The Road

Drowsy driving

 

Concentration is one of the most important elements of safe driving. You must always stop driving when you feel tired or drowsy.

If you are tired before getting behind the wheel, let somebody else drive. Never rely on stay-awake drugs or pep pills. They are likely to make your driving even more dangerous.

Here are some other good advice when you need to drive for several hours.

  • Try to get a normal night’s sleep before you leave. Always plan your trips so you can leave when you are rested.
  • Plan for plenty of time to complete your trip safely.
  • Try not to drive late at night when you are normally asleep.
  • Do not take any medicine that can make you drowsy.
  • On the road, take regular breaks, at least once every 100 miles or every two hours. Get out of the car and walk, stretch, loosen up, and relax. Having a snack or something to drink is also a good idea.
  • If you have company, talk to your passengers in order to stay alert.
  • If you are alone, listen to the radio. Drowsiness or unawareness is often brought on by monotony, like the sound of the wind, the tires on the pavement, and the steady hum of the engine.
  • Open a window to increase fresh airflow.
  • Get into the habit of moving your eyes. Look well ahead, but avoid a fixed stare.

Remember, if you feel drowsy, pull off the road and rest or let somebody else drive.

Most states will have a question about drowsy driving or highway hypnosis on the driver’s license test. The key answer is to stop and take regular breaks. Or to let somebody else drive.

 

How To Hold The Steering Wheel

Both hands on the steering wheel

 

It is just as easy to develop good driving habits as it is to fall into bad habits. Make sure you listen to advice given by trained instructors. Form good habits from the beginning and use them for every trip, even if it is just around the block.

When you get in your car, always check your mirrors. Adjust them, if needed.

Make sure your seat is adjusted. You should be able to see clearly through the windshield. Keep a distance of at least 10 inches to the steering wheel.

All passengers should be properly seated.

Before switching on the ignition, buckle your safety belt and see that all passengers do the same.

With a manual transmission, push in the clutch before turning the ignition key. With an automatic transmission, the indicator must be in park or neutral, then depress the brake pedal as you turn the key.

Before you start driving, make sure it is safe to do so. Know what it is happening around your vehicle by checking mirrors and your blind spots.

Good posture at the steering wheel is important. It will result in better vision, control, and ability to maneuver in an emergency.

Grip the outside rim of the steering wheel with both hands.

If your vehicle has airbags, grip the wheel by 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions, or lower. This position helps avoid injury from air bag deployment during an accident.

Avoid the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions, unless you drive a vehicle without airbags.

Do not develop the habit of driving with your elbow or arm propped on the door or out the window. You can easily loose control of your vehicle if you have a blowout, a skid, or run off the pavement.

 

When Can You Drive Faster Than the Speed Limit?

Driving faster than the speed limit

 

In general, it does not matter what your reasons are. Driving faster than the posted speed limit is illegal in all states.

The posted speed limit is always the maximum speed permitted on that particular road. Sometimes you must drive slower than the posted speed limit. You may never drive faster than what is reasonable and prudent under current conditions. Reduce speed when weather is bad, or when there are potential hazards on the road.

In Minnesota, the speed limit on two-lane highways with a posted speed limit of 55 mph or higher is increased by 10 mph when the driver is lawfully passing another vehicle in the same direction.

 

What is the Basic Speed Law?

Reduce speed in bad weather

 

A basic speed law says that you must travel at a speed that is consistent with existing driving conditions. These include weather, traffic, and road conditions.

Or put in other words: No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.

Such a basic speed law is used in all 50 states.

Remember, it does not always matter what the speed limit sign says.

In bad weather, you must reduce speed. If there are potential hazards on the road, you must also drive slower than the posted speed limit.

 

Nevada DMV Test Update

Nevada bans handheld cell phones

 

In 2011, Nevada banned handheld cell phone use.

As of January 1, 2012, fines up to $250 are imposed for using a handheld phone or similar device to talk, read or type. This includes surfing the internet, texting, electronic messaging and instant messaging.

The free DMV tests at driversprep.com are now updated with the new laws regarding cell phone use.

The law states that the use of a handheld cell phone or other handheld wireless communications device to engage voice communications is prohibited.

You may use a handheld cellphone only to report an emergency, and only if stopping the vehicle would be inadvisable, impractical or dangerous.

Not only is cell phone use while driving banned in Nevada, but you are up to four times more likely to crash when driving while talking on a cell phone.

It is important to remember that there are more than 3,500 distraction-related crashes in Nevada every year. Across the nation, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2009.

Make any necessary phone calls before or after driving. If you must make a call while driving, pull over to a safe area such as a parking lot before making or receiving a call or texting.

 

Safe Driving

Accident

 

Most written tests for a driver’s license in U.S. will address alcohol, or drinking and driving. You will learn from the driver’s manual that alcohol is the number one killer on U.S. highways. Alcohol is involved in approximately 40% of all traffic deaths. Among persons aged 16 to 20, the percentage is 36. (niaaa.nih.gov).

The reason is that it highly increases the risk of driver-related errors.

Driver errors range from driving too fast, following cars too closely, unsafe overtaking, running a red light and many other careless mistakes. But also over-correcting when running off the pavement.

In theory, the way back to the road is very simple: stay calm, decelerate, don’t slam on the brakes, and then slowly ease back onto the roadway or your lane when it is safe.

Theory is of course one thing, real life something else.

16-year-old Joseph Gerald Hart died in North Carolina after being in a head-on crash with a delivery truck. He had run off the pavement and quickly over-corrected trying to get back on the road, getting too far onto the opposite lane.

Many driving schools have started to give students hands on experience in off-road recovery. Never try to get back on the road until you got full control and you know that it is safe.

If you already have your driver’s license: repeat theory and make yourself aware of the risks involved.

Another common driver error is swerving out of one’s lane. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 15,574 people died in US traffic accidents in 2007 because a driver swerved out of their lane. Alcohol and/or cell-phone use are often the reason behind this kind of distracted driving.

Don’t drink and drive. And hang up your cell phone.