DUI Hillsborough Attorney Home Page The 2000 Florida Driver Handbook
Table of Contents Public Records Warning Definitions Foreword: Please Read
Chapter 1: Your License Florida Classified Driver Licenses Licensing Information Identifying Yourself Restrictions Endorsements Examination Information Appointments License Renewal Identification Card Fees Organ Donor/Voluntary Contributions
Chapter 2: Your Driving Privilege Revocations, Suspensions and Cancellations The Point System Driving While Impaired Insurance Laws Crashes – What Are Your Responsibilities?
Chapter 3: Your Driving Defensive Driving Safety Belts Protecting Children Speed Limits Right-of-Way Pedestrians Bicyclists Making Turns Passing Parking Expressway Driving Animals & Horses Handling Emergencies Sharing the Road with a Bicycle Sharing the Road with a Truck The “No Zone”
Chapter 4: Signals, Signs, and Pavement Markings Traffic Signals Traffic Signs Railroad Crossing Signs and Signals Special Signs Pavement Marking
Chapter 5: Your Vehicle Equipment Standards Anti-lock Braking Bicycles Mopeds Vehicle Licensing Study Questions
Chapter 6: Class D License? Who Needs a Class D license? Following Distance Stopping Distance Lights, Side Marker Lamps,Reflectors Limitations on Towing Limitations on Loading Directional Signal Requirements Warning Devices Maximum Weight Maximum Width, Height and Length Study Questions First Aid Information
The Florida Driver’s Handbook covers many condensed and paraphrased points of the Florida state laws and provides safety advise not covered in the laws. The handbook is not a legal authority to cite and should not be used in a court of law.
The Florida Driver’s Handbook is printed in volume and copies already purchased will not reflect any changes made by the Legislature regarding fees or laws passed after the revision date.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles consists of the following divisions:
THE DIVISION OF DRIVER LICENSES administers examinations to qualify persons to drive on Florida’s highways. Its primary mission is to promote and maintain the highest possible driving standards on the streets and highways of the State of Florida and to remove unsafe drivers from the highways.
THE DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL enforces all state laws pertaining to motor vehicles, patrols the state highway system to help ensure the safety of all drivers and implements the state traffic safety programs. Each trooper is always ready and willing to render assistance to the motoring public.
THE DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES regulates the sale and distribution of all motor vehicles and vessels in Florida. The division administers the sale of license plates through county tax collectors and authorized tag agents for every automobile, vessel, trailer, truck, mobile home, camper and motorcycle that operates on the public roads. In addition, it keeps records on every motor vehicle that is titled or registered in Florida and enforces mobile home construction standards.
THE INFORMATION SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATION manages data processing for the agencies operating divisions.
THE DIVISION OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES manages the functions of payroll, personnel, purchasing, data processing, accounting and fiscal operations and maintenance and repair of equipment for agencies operating divisions above.
DRIVING IS A PRIVILEGE AND NOT A RIGHT. PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS BY KNOWING THE LAWS AND DRIVING SAFELY.
Florida law and sound records management practices require the collection of certain personal information in the driver licensing process. This personal information identifies an individual and is used for records management, driver improvement, financial responsibility, and law enforcement purposes.
Failure to provide the required information will result in denial of a license or identification card. Falsification of information may result in prosecution. Florida law specifies that all documents or other material made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency are public records. In addition to all documents, information taken from them is subject to public disclosure under the State’s public records act. This information, except for medical data, which is confidential by law, is regularly given to law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, credit bureaus, lending institutions, and any other person who desires to obtain a copy and who pays the required fee.
The Division of Driver Licenses strives to ensure the accuracy of information obtained in the licensing process and makes every effort to correct any incorrect information in its files. Incorrect information may be corrected by supplying the Department with your name in full, date of birth, driver license number and information on the nature of the error as well as proof that it is an error to the Chief, Bureau of Driver License Records, Neil Kirkman Building, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0575, or telephone (850) 922-0927. Certain information, such as conviction reports received from a court, can only be corrected upon notification from the court that the report was in error.
Automobile Insurance information is exempt from the Public Records Law. This information will be provided to any party involved in a crash when a written request with a copy of the crash report is received. This information will also be provided to law enforcement agencies, officers of the court and representatives such as insurers and attorneys of parties involved in the crash, upon receiving a written request.
Under Section 322.212 (5), Florida Statutes, it is a FELONY of the third degree “to use a false or fictitious name in any application for a driver’s license or identification card, or knowingly to make a false statement, knowingly conceal a material fact, or otherwise commit a fraud in any such application.”
Violators face immediate arrest and, upon conviction, penalties up to a maximum fine of $5,000.00 and imprisonment up to 5 years.
The Department will suspend for one year the driving privilege of any person who made a fraudulent application for a Florida driver license.
Under Section 322.36, Florida Statutes, it is unlawful for any person to authorize or knowingly permit a motor vehicle or moped to be operated by any person who does not hold a valid driver license.
business district: An area where 50% or more of the land next to the road is used for businesses.
bicycle: Every vehicle propelled solely by human power.
cancellation: The act of declaring a driver’s license void and terminated.
certified copy: A copy which has been marked in some official way to show that it is a true copy of the original document. To get a certified copy of a document, you must contact the agency that issued the original document.
child restraints: Infant carriers or removable car seats specially designed to keep babies and young children from being injured in car crashes. A lap belt may be used as a restraint for children four years old or older.
conviction: A judgement of guilt in a court. In a driver’s record, suspended sentences, forfeiting/estreatures of bonds, and pleas of no contest count against the driver just as a conviction does.
department: The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Tallahassee, Florida.
felony: A serious crime for which you can be sent to a state prison or receive a death sentence.
intersection: Where two streets meet or cross.
motor vehicle: Any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in Section 316.003, Florida Statutes.
pedestrian: Any person afoot.
resident: A person who has his principal place of domicile in this state for a period of more than six consecutive month, has registered to vote, has made a statement of domicile pursuant to Section 222.17, Florida Statutes, or has filed for homestead exemption on property in this state.
residential district: An area where most of the land next to the road is used for homes.
restriction: A prohibition against operating certain types of motor vehicles or a requirement that a driver comply with certain conditions when driving a motor vehicle.
suspension: The temporary withdrawal of a licensee’s privilege to drive a motor vehicle.
vehicle: Every device, in, upon, or by which any person is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues the following classes of licenses: Class A, B, C, D, and E. Classes A, B, and C are for drivers of commercial motor vehicles such as large trucks and buses. Classes D and E are for drivers of non-commercial vehicles. There is a separate manual entitled Commercial Driver License Manual for Truck and Bus Drivers. This manual is available at any driver license office. If you wish to drive a commercial motor vehicle as defined below, you must be properly tested and licensed to do so.
Who Needs One?
- If you live in Florida and want to drive a motor vehicle on public streets and highways.
- If you move to Florida and have a valid license from another state, you must get a Florida license within 30 days of becoming a resident. You are considered a resident of Florida if you:
- enroll your children in public school, or
- register to vote, or
- file for a homestead exemption, or
- accept employment, or
- reside in Florida for more than six consecutive months.
Who Does Not Need One?
The following persons may drive in Florida without having a Florida driver license if they have a valid license from another state or country:
- Any non-resident who is at least 16 years old.
- Persons employed by the United States Government driving a United States Government motor vehicle on official business.
- Any non-resident working for a firm on a contract for the United States Government. (This exemption is only for 60 days.)
- Any non-resident attending college in Florida.
- Persons who drive only vehicles like farm tractors or road machines temporarily on the highway may drive without a license.
- A licensed driver who lives in another state and travels regularly between his home and work in Florida.
- Non-resident migrant farm workers even though they are employed or place children in the public schools, providing they have a valid license from their home state.
- Members of the Armed Forces stationed in Florida and their dependents, with these exceptions:
- Service member or spouse claims homestead exemption (All drivers in family must obtain Florida licenses),
- Service member becomes employed (All drivers in family must obtain Florida licenses),
- Spouse becomes employed (Spouse and children who drive must obtain Florida licenses),
- Child becomes employed (Only employed child who drives must obtain Florida license).
Learner’s Driver License
A person who holds a Learner’s License must be accompanied by a licensed driver, 21 years of age or older, who occupies the front passenger seat. To be eligible for a Class E license, all drivers 15 years of age and under 18 years of age, must hold a Learner’s License for at least 12 months without convictions or who has a conviction but elects to attend a traffic school for which adjudication must be withheld pursuant to section 318.14, Florida Statutes. Parents or legal guardians must also certify that the driver has 50 hours driving experience, 10 of these hours must include night time driving. Drivers can only drive between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. the first three months from the original issue date when accompanied by a licensed driver, 21 years or older who occupies the front passenger seat. After the three months, the driver may operate a vehicle from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a licensed driver, 21 years or older in the front passenger seat. . Drivers with a Learner’s License are ineligible for a motorcycle endorsement. NOTE: A learner’s driver license does not mean you can drive in other states. You will need to check the laws in each state.
- Be at least 15 years old.
- Pass vision, road signs and road rules tests.
- Have the signature of one parent (or guardian) on the consent form if under age 18.
- Completion of Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course.
- Two forms of identification (see Identifying Yourself.)
- Social Security Number.
- Must be in compliance with school attendance.
State law requires identification, proof of date of birth and social security number from all customers before a driver license or identification card can be issued. Each application for an original driver license or identification card MUST submit the original or certified copy of one of the first five documents, unless a driver’s license record or identification card record has already been established:
PRIMARY IDENTIFICATION 1. United States birth certificate, including U.S. territories and District of Columbia. 2. Valid United States passport (not expired) 3. Alien Registration receipt card, (Green card, Form I-151) 4. Employment authorization card issued by the United States Department of Justice (Form I688b) 5. Proof of non-immigrant classification provided by United States Department of Justice(Form I94) And a secondary document, which can include one of the following documents:
SECONDARY IDENTIFICATION 6. School record stating date of birth, which must contain the registrar’s signature. 7. Transcript of the birth record filed with a public officer charged with the duty of recording certificates. 8. Baptism certificate, which shows date of birth and the place of baptism. 9. An insurance policy on the customers life which has been in force for at least two years and which has the month, day and year of birth. 10. A military or military dependent identification card. 11. Florida or out-of-state driver license, valid or expired. 12. Florida license record or identification card record. 13. Selective Service Registration (Draft Card). 14. Florida Vehicle Registration certificate (HSMV 83399, owner’s copy) obtained from the tax collector’s office where the customer’s vehicle was registered, Florida, or out-of-state registration certificate, if name and date of birth are shown. 15. Florida and out-of-state non-driver identification cards (state issued). 16. Receipt copy of your last Florida driver license issuance. 17. Immigration form I-571. 18. Federal form DD-214 (military record) 19. Marriage certificate 20. Court order, which includes legal name. 21. A Florida voter registration card which was issued at least three months previously. 22. Personal identification by an examiner or by a person well known to the examiner. 23. Social Security Card. 24. Family bible record or birth announcement in baby book. 25. Parent Consent Form (HSMV 71022) If you have legally changed your name by marriage or court order, you must submit the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate or court order. No photocopies will be accepted unless certified by the issuing authority. A secondary identification from the above list is required. The Social Security Number (if issued) MUST be included on the application for a driver’s license or identification card.
Substance Abuse Education
If you have never been issued a license in any jurisdiction (state or country), you will be required to complete a traffic law and substance abuse education course before you will be issued a license. Consult your local phone directory for locations in your area.
Parent’s Consent for Minors
If you are under 18 and are not married, your license application must be signed by one parent or legal guardian. STEP-PARENTS MAY NOT SIGN FOR YOU UNLESS THEY HAVE LEGALLY ADOPTED YOU. The application must be signed in front of the examiner or a notary public. Whoever signs your application agrees to take responsibility with you for your driving. If the signer decides later not to accept responsibility for your driving, your license will be canceled. To cancel the license, the signer must write a letter to the department. The full name and date of birth of the minor driver must be in the letter. PARENTS/GUARDIANS: Signing this form constitutes consent for the minor to also obtain an operator license at age 16 or older, unless you notify the Department that you wish to withdraw this consent. REMEMBER: THE CONSENT FORM MUST BE NOTARIZED OR SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE EXAMINER.
Driver education courses can help you develop all the skills you need to be a safe driver. You can obtain more information by referring to your local telephone directory under Driving Instruction.
Third Party Testing
Many Driver Education teachers assist the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in licensing new drivers. Students who satisfactorily completely DHSMV-approved Driver Education Licensing Assistance Program (DELAP) courses in participating public or private schools may receive DHSMV waiver certificates from their DELAP teacher. These certificates, when presented to the local driver license office, will be used to replace the DHSMV written and/or driving tests for issuance of a Learner’s driver license or Class E license. DHSMV may, however, test any student on a random basis before issuing a driver license.
Restriction and Endorsement Codes on Florida Licenses
A. CORRECTIVE LENSES means a person must wear corrective lenses at all times when operating a vehicle. B. OUTSIDE REARVIEW MIRROR (Left Side) means the vehicle the person is driving must have a left outside rearview mirror on the car. C. BUSINESS PURPOSES ONLY means the person can only drive to work and on-the-job, for education purposes, to church and for medical purposes. D. EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES ONLY means the person can only drive to work and on-the-job. E. DAYLIGHT DRIVING ONLY means the person can only drive during daylight hours. F. AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION means the person can only drive a vehicle that has automatic transmission. G. POWERING STEERING means the person can only drive a vehicle with power steering. I. DIRECTIONAL SIGNALS means a person must be equipped with a knob or grip on the steering wheel. J. GRIP ON STEERING WHEEL means the vehicle must be equipped with a knob or grip on the steering wheel. K. HEARING AID means the person must wear a hearing aid at all times while driving the vehicle. L. SEAT CUSHION means the person must use a seat cushion at all times while driving. M. HAND CONTROLS OR PEDAL EXTENSION means the vehicle must be equipped with hand controls or a pedal extension. N. LEFT FOOT ACCELERATOR means the vehicle must be equipped with a left foot accelerator. P. PROBATION-INTERLOCK DEVICE means the vehicle must be equipped with a device that locks the ignition at times specified by the court imposing the restriction. S. OTHER RESTRICTIONS means there are other restrictions imposed on this license. T. NO PASSENGERS ON MOTORCYCLE means the person cannot have passengers when driving a motorcycle. X. MEDICAL ALERT BRACELET means the person must wear a medical alert bracelet at all times while driving the vehicle. Y. EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY means the person can drive for educational purposes.
Restriction Codes Appearing on Commercial Driver Licenses Only
1 = VEHICLES W/O AIR BRAKES issued to those who have not passed the required written and/or skills tests for the operation of vehicles with air brakes. 2=CDL-INTRASTATE ONLY (CMV) issued to those who are authorized to operate commercial motor vehicles inside Florida only. 3=BUS ONLY (CMV) – issued to persons who took written and skills tests which authorize them to drive commercial motor vehicles that are buses only. 4=CMV<- 26,001 LBS Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 5=NO TRACTOR /TRAILERS 6=NO CLASS A PASSENGER VEHICLES 7=NO CLASS B PASSENGER VEHICLES NOTE: Persons with a restriction on their license who do not comply with the requirements of the restriction can be issued a citation for violation of restriction and could be suspended. Offenses of this type are a second degree misdemeanor, except for violations of restriction code X.
These endorsements are placed on Class A, B, or C commercial driver licenses and on certain Class D licenses. E. EMERGENCY VEHICLES – issued to those who drive an emergency vehicle, that is a commercial motor vehicle, but are exempt by law from obtaining a commercial driver license. F. FARM CMV – issued to those who drive farm type commercial motor vehicles, but who are exempt by law from obtaining a commercial driver license. H. PLACARDED HAZMAT – issued to those who have passed the required written and skills tests and who will transport placarded hazardous materials. N. TANK VEHICLES – issued to those who have passed the required written and skills tests and who will drive tank vehicles. P. PASSENGERS – issued to those who have passed the required written and skills tests and who will drive passenger vehicles. T. DOUBLE/TRIPLE TRAILERS – issued to those who have passed the required written and skills tests and who will drive double or triple tractor trailer vehicles. X. PLACARDED HAZMAT & TANK VEHICLES – issued to those who qualify for endorsements H and N.
Physical and Mental Requirements
You must list any physical or mental problems on your license application which might affect your driving. Many of the physical problems can be handled by placing restrictions on your license. If you have epilepsy, fainting spells, dizziness, blackouts or any other medical condition that could impair your driving, you may be asked to have your doctor complete a medical report form. These forms may be requested through your local driver licenses office and will be mailed directly to you. The report must be completed by your doctor and submitted to the Department before a license can be issued. If you are diabetic, and use insulin, you may request that it be indicated on your license.
Person applying for original Florida licenses will be required to take the following tests:
- Learner’s Driver License – vision, hearing, road signs, and Class E road rules.
- Class E license – vision, hearing, road signs, Class E road rules and driving test.
- Class D license – vision, hearing, road signs, Class D road rules and driving test (driving test not required if applicant holds valid Florida Class E operator’s license).NOTE: Persons holding valid licenses from other states, U.S. possessions, France, or Canada are only required to take a vision test unless their driving ability is questionable. Persons holding a license from Germany and Taiwan are required to take the vision, hearing and written exam unless their driving ability is questionable.
- Motorcycle endorsement – In addition to the above tests, applicants requesting motorcycle endorsements must pass the written motorcycle knowledge test and on-cycle skill test (unless they have a motorcycle endorsement on their out-of-state license.)
- Commercial driver licenses – see Florida Manual for Truck and Bus Drivers for required exams.
*All vehicles used for driving or on-cycle skill tests will be inspected by the examiner.
Purpose of Driver License Examination
The purpose of the license examination is to find out several things:
- Can you read and understand road signs, traffic signals and highway markings?
- Do you know the Florida driving rules?
- Can you see well enough to drive safely?
- Do you have the skill and experience to drive safely?
- Do you have any physical or mental handicaps that would affect your driving?
Vision test – standard vision screening. Lenses or Glasses:
- You will be restricted to wearing corrective lenses when you drive if you need to wear contact lenses or glasses to pass the test.
- Telescopic lenses – you will not be eligible for a driver’s license if you wear glasses with telescopic lenses.
Requirements: Your driving privilege will be revoked if you are unable to meet the rules of vision standards. To pass you must meet the following vision standards with or without corrective lenses:
- Have 20/40 (or better) vision in each and both eyes. With or without corrective lenses.
- If you have 20/200 (or worse) vision in one eye, you must have 20/40 (or better) vision in the other eye. With or without corrective lenses.
- If you have 20/70 (or better) vision in either eye separately, or in both eyes together. The worst eye must have a vision screening better than 20/200. With or without corrective lenses. Referral to an eye doctor may be required.
Preliminary Sample Vision Test
Road sign test – Multiple choice test which consists of 20 road signs for you to identify by color, shape or meaning. Road rules test – Multiple choice test which consists of 20 questions regarding Florida traffic laws. Vehicle inspection – Your vehicle will be inspected to determine it is safe for a road test. Driving test
- You must provide the vehicle for the driving test.
- Proof of personal injury protection insurance and valid vehicle registration must be provided on the vehicle for the driving test.
- If you do not have a valid license you must be accompanied by a licensed driver.
- Persons with a learner’s license you must be at least 16 years of age and have held the learner’s license for 12 months.
- No one may accompany you and the examiner(s) during the driving test.
You will be expected to perform the following maneuvers on the driving test:
- turn about – Turn your car around in a 30′ to 40′ space
- shift gears – Change gears smoothly and correctly (if your car has a manual shift transmission).
- approach of crossing – Get in the proper lane and look in each direction. Change gears smoothly and correctly (if your car has a manual shift transmission).
- observe right-of-way – Allow pedestrians to cross, pull over and stop for emergency vehicles and do not enter an intersection when you will interfere with other traffic.
- straight-in parking – Park your vehicle inside the parking space straight-in. When properly parked, the vehicle should be centered, inside the space with no part of the vehicle extending out in the traffic lane. This maneuver gives the examiner the opportunity to observe your ability to:
- handle the vehicle in close quarters
- judge distance
- maintain control of the vehicle as you turn into a straight-in parking space
- stop quickly – Drive at 20 miles per hour and make a quick, safe stop when the examiner instructs you.
- backing – Back for a distance of 50 feet at a slow speed. Do not use the rear-view mirror when backing. Look to the rear instead.
- obey stop signs – Give the proper signal if turning, approach in the proper lane, come to a complete stop before reaching the pedestrian crosswalk or stop line, and remain stopped until you can move safely without interfering with cross traffic.
- obey traffic signals – Get into the proper lane and approach the light at a speed that will allow you to stop if the light should change. When you must stop, stop before the pedestrian crosswalk or stop line. When the light turns green, do not move forward until the other traffic has cleared the intersection. Give the correct signal for stopping and turning. Watch for “no turn”and “one way” signs.
- signal and turn – Get into the proper lane and signal your turn for the last 100 feet. You may use either hand signals or mechanical signals. Slow before reaching the crosswalk and turn into the proper lane.
- passing – Always look ahead and behind to make sure you can pass safely. Pass on the left, unless the car ahead is about to make a left turn or is in the left turn lane on a street with more than one lane in each direction. Do not pass on the shoulder (side of the road).
- stay in proper lane – Drive in the right lane except on a one-way street. Do not change lanes until you may do so safely.
- follow at a safe distance – Do not drive too closely behind other cars. Use the Two Second Rule
- use proper posture – Keep both hands on the steering wheel and do not rest your elbow in the window.
The examiner will explain any mistakes you may have made, after the test is completed. If you disqualify on the driving test you will be asked to study or practice before you return for another test. You will be asked to return another day for additional tests due to the volume of driving tests, which are conducted at each driver license location. If you pass the examination, the examiner will collect the fee and issue your license. If you surrender a valid restricted operator license or learner’s permit, you will not be charged additional fees for the replacement operator license when you pass the driving test. NOTE: ON-CYCLE TEST-Study the Florida Motorcycle Operator Handbook for knowledge and on-cycle testing procedures.
Appointments are recommended, but not required for many of the services provided by the driver license offices. Contact your local driver license office to determine if an appointment is required for the service you need. Call in advance for your appointment and report at least five minutes before your scheduled time. You may still appear at the driver license office without an appointment, however, the fastest service is provided through the use of appointments.
Change of Address
You must obtain a new license showing your new address within 10 days of the change. You may change the address on your driver license or ID card by:
- Using your home touch-tone telephone and calling 1-800-448-1002. There is a $4 service fee plus the $10 license fee.
- By mail being sure to include your name, new address, driver license number, and date of birth. Mail to Division of Driver Licenses, Mail Stop 92, Post Office Box 5775, Tallahassee, Florida 32314-5775. Include a $10 check or money order payable to DHSMV. You will receive the appropriate corrections by mail. Allow 30 days for processing.
- Visiting your local driver license office.
- Internet at http://express.hsmv.state.fl.us. There is a $3 service fee plus the $10 license fee.
- Florida law requires that you destroy your old license when you receive the new license.
You must bring a court order or marriage certificate to a driver license office to prove your name change within 10 days of the change. Documents must be original or certified copies.
If your driver license is lost or stolen, apply for a duplicate immediately. At your driver license office you will need to:
- sign a statement that you have lost your license;
- show your identification (TWO OF THE ITEMS LISTED); and
- pay the duplicate license fee ($10).
- a “no fee” duplicate license will be issued if a police report was filed on the stolen license.
Renewal at a Driver License Office
Before you renew your license, your driving record is checked. If you have had no convictions for driving violations in the past three years, or suspension/revocation/disqualification free record for the past seven years, you will be issued a six-year license. You may also be asked to take other parts of the test if:
- The examiner has a reason to question your driving skill.
- Your license may not be renewed if:
- You are not qualified to receive a license.
- You did not answer a summons, which involved a traffic violation.
- Your driver license is suspended or revoked or canceled.
Renewal by Mail, Internet or by Telephone
Drivers may renew through the mail for two consecutive license expirations. You may receive a mail-in renewal packet approximately 30 days prior to license expiration. There are no additional fees for renewing by mail. Your can renew by internet at http://express.hsmv.state.fl.us. There is a $3 service charge in addition to the renewal fee. After you return your payment, you will receive a four or six-year renewal sticker to be placed on the back of your current license. Drivers with a digital license will receive a new license. Drivers with a digital license will receive a new license. Florida law requires that you destroy your old driver license after receiving the new license.
Military Renewal by Mail
Members of the US Armed Forces serving on active duty outside of Florida may renew their licenses by mail without examination. Their spouses and children living with them may do the same. At least 3 months prior to the expiration of your licenses, write to: Division of Driver Licenses, 2900 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0575 or e-mail at [email protected] Give your name as it appears on your license, the driver license number, your date of birth and out-of-state address and zip code. The department will advise you further by return mail.
Any veteran honorably discharged from the Armed Forces, who has been issued a valid identification card by the Division of Veteran’s Affairs of the Department of Administration and has been determined by the Veteran’s Administration to have a 100% service-connected disability and who is qualified to obtain a Class E or Class D license, is exempt from paying initial, renewal and motorcycle endorsement fees.
If you need an identification card, you can apply for one at any driver license office. To get the identification card, you must:
- Be 12 years old or older. (Any person can be issued an identification card if applying for a disabled parking permit. No minimum age in Citrus, St. Johns or Monroe counties);
- Present your official Social Security card that was issued by the Social Security Administration; and
- Present identification. See section under Identifying Yourself.
The card will contain your color photograph, full name, sex, address, date of birth and other data the Department may require. Identification cards are valid for 4 years. Citizens 60 years of age or older are issued a “non-expiring” identification card.
Fees for License
|Initial License Fee for first Florida license, any type except commercial driver licenses||$ 20|
|Learner’s Driver License||$ 15|
|Class E Renewal||$ 15|
|Class D Renewal||$ 15|
|Commercial Driver License||$ 50|
|Duplicate License (if a license is lost or destroyed)||$ 10|
|Stolen License-if police report filed||No fee|
|Replacement License (you must turn in the incorrect license)||$ 10|
|Commercial Driver License Endorsements||$ 5.00|
|Motorcycle Endorsement||$ 5.00|
|Identification Card||$ 3.00|
|Duplicate Identification Card (If identification card is lost or destroyed)||$ 2.50|
|Delinquent Fee (paid if license expired less than 12 months before renewal application)||$ 1.00|
|Administrative Fee Alcohol & Drug-Related Offenses (in addition to any other required fees)||$105|
|After a license has been revoked||$ 50|
|After a license has been suspended||$ 35|
|After a license has been suspended for D6||$ 47.50|
|After a license has been disqualified||$ 50|
Failure to maintain PIP insurance:
|Under the Financial Responsibility law failure to carry liability insurance||$ 15|
|Note: If you are suspended under both the PIP and the liability law, you can be charged both reinstatement fees.|
Florida Organ and Tissue Donor Program
Through the miracle of transplantation, many people here in Florida are living healthy, productive lives. However, the need for donated organs and tissues to outpace the supply. Right now, there are thousands who would be helped if more of us became organ and tissue donors. Organ and tissue donations provide each of us with a special opportunity to help others. Donation of vital organs and tissues can save lives where no other hope is available. Heart, liver, lung and kidney transplants save lives everyday. Additionally, bone, skin, and cornea transplants often restore sight and save burn victims.
How Can You Help?
- Indicate your desire to donate organs and tissues on your Florida drivers license or identification card.
- Tell your nearest relative or legal guardian.
- Donate a minimum of $1 to fund organ and tissue donor education
- ALL OF THE ABOVE
When you are applying for a driver license or identification card, you may voluntary contribute to the following special trust funds: Election Campaign – $5 minimum to be transferred to the Election Campaign Financing Trust Fund. Florida Organ and Tissue Donor Education and Procurement Trust Fund – $1 minimum for organ and tissue donor education and for maintaining the organ and tissue donor registry. Florida Council of the Blind – $1 minimum for assisting persons who have already been diagnosed as blind. Prevent Blindness of Florida – $1 minimum to prevent blindness and preserve the sight of the residents of the State of Florida. Hearing Research Institute – $2 minimum for infant hearing screening in Florida. Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International – $1 minimum contribution
Your Driving Privilege
Driving a motor vehicle in Florida is a privilege you earn. You cannot get a license in Florida under the following conditions:
- If your license is suspended or revoked in any state.
- If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- If you cannot drive safely because of mental or physical problems. (Deafness alone will not prevent a person from being issued a driver license.)
- If you are under the legal age for licensing (15 for Learners license, 16 for Class D or E).
Every driver who obtains a license must drive safely to keep it. If you break the traffic laws or become an unsafe driver, your license can be taken away. It can be suspended, revoked, or canceled. Your license can be SUSPENDED if you:
- Make a fraudulent driver license application.
- Allow your license to be used for a purpose that is against the law.
- Are convicted in a traffic court and the court orders that your license be suspended.
- Refuse to take a test to show if you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Misuse a restricted license.
- Earn a certain number of points for traffic offenses on the point system.
- Break a traffic law and fail to pay your fine or appear in court as directed.
- Failure to pay child support.
- Failure to carry insurance on your vehicle.
- Not stopping for a school bus.
- Under age tobacco use.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other controlled substances.
- A felony in which a motor vehicle is used.
- Not stopping to give help when the vehicle you are driving is involved in a crash causing death or personal injury.
- Lying about the ownership or operation of motor vehicles.
- Three cases of reckless driving within one year. Forfeiting bail and not going to court to avoid being convicted of reckless driving counts the same as a conviction.
- An immoral act in which a motor vehicle was used.
- Three major offenses or 15 offenses for which you receive points within a 5-year period.
- A felony for drug possession.
- Vision worse than the standard minimum requirements.
A court may also order that your license be revoked for certain other traffic offenses. Your license will be revoked for at least three years if you kill someone because of reckless driving.
If your license was issued because of a mistake or fraud (giving false information or identification), it will be canceled.
|Leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage of more than $50||6|
|Unlawful speed resulting in an accident||6|
|Any moving violation resulting in an accident||4|
|Passing a stopped school bus||4|
|Driving During Restricted Hours||3|
|Unlawful speed – 16 MPH or more over lawful or posted speed||4|
|Unlawful speed – 15 MPH or less over lawful or posted speed||3|
|(Fines are doubled when infractions occur within a school zone or construction zone, with possible civil penalties up to $1,000 and can be required to complete driving school course.)|
|All other moving violations (including parking on highway outside the limits of municipalities)||3|
|Improper equipment or vehicle in an unsafe condition||2|
|(Operator corrects defects within 10 days from the date the traffic citation was issued)||0|
|Violation of curfew||3|
|Open Container as an operator||3|
|Child Restraint Violation||3|
|*The driver receives the same number of points listed if the conviction occurs out-of-state or in a federal court.|
length of suspension
|Not more than|
|12 points within a 12-month period||30 days|
|18 points within an 18-month period, including points which cause suspension under line 1 above||3 months|
|24 points within a 36-month period, including points which cause suspension under line 2 above||1 year|
In computing points and suspensions, the offense dates of all convictions are used. Three points is deducted from the driver record of any person whose driving privilege has been suspended only once under the point system and has been reinstated, if such person has complied with all other requirements. NOTE:Serving a point suspension does not prohibit these convictions from being used to accumulate additional suspensions or revocations.
Any driver under the age of 18 who accumulates four or more points within a 12 month period shall be automatically restricted for one year to driving for business purposes ONLY. If additional points are accumulated the restriction will be extended for 90 days for every additional point received.
A licensed driver who is under the age of 17 may not operate a motor vehicle after 11:00 p.m. and before 6:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a driver, who is 21 years of age or older and holds a valid driver’s license, unless the person is driving to or from work. A licensed driver who is 17 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle after 1:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a driver, who is 21 years of age or older and holds a valid driver license, unless the person is driving to and from work..
Reinstatement & Administrative Hearings
If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license or reinstatement. For eligibility information contact the local Bureau of Administrative Reviews Offices, Driver License Office or Bureau of Customer Services in Tallahassee. You can be charged with DUI if you are found to be driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in the state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances. Controlled substances include narcotic drugs, barbituates, model glue and other stimulants – whether taken by swallowing, by sniffing, by smoking, by injection or by other means. You will be administratively suspended if you have a breath or or blood alcohol level of .08 or above or refuse to submit to a chemical test. This suspension is a mandatory period without a license. If you wish to appeal this suspension, you must apply for a formal or informal review hearing at the appropriate Division of Driver Licenses, Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office within 10 days of your date of arrest. This suspension is in addition to any penalties directed by the court. A DUI conviction will remain on your driving record for 75 years. Some effects of drug and alcohol consumption are impaired judgment, slow reaction, poor vision, and concentration. A person’s judgment is the first thing affected after drinking an alcoholic beverage.
Any driver under 21 years of age who is stopped by law enforcement and has a breath or blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their driving privilege suspended for 6 months. This is an administrative suspension and does not reflect as a DUI on the driver’s record. If the driver refuses to take a test, their driving privilege is automatically suspended for one year.
Penalties for DUI
Penalties for DUI (including previous DWI and DUBAL convictions)
4th or more conviction
|$250-$500 with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than $500 or more than $1000||$500-$1000 with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than $1000 or more than $2000||$1000-2500 with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than $2000 or more than $5000||Not Less than $1000|
Not more than 1 year.
|Not more than 6 months; with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not more than 9 months||Not more than 9 months; 2nd conviction within 5 years, 10 days in jail, 48 hours of confinement must be consecutive||Not more than 12 months; 3rd conviction within 10 years, mandatory 30 days, 48 hours must be consecutive||Not more than 5 years|
|License Revocation||Minimum 180 days||minimum 180 days; 2nd conviction within 5 years, 5 year revocation||minimum 180 days; 3rd conviction within 10 years, 10 year revocation||Permanent revocation|
|12 hours||21 hours||21 hours|
|DUI School Requirement||Evaluation conducted to determine need for treatment||Treatment required||Treatment required|
Drinking and Driving
Alcohol is involved in about 38% of the traffic crashes in which someone is killed. If you drink alcohol, even a little, your chances of being in an accident are much greater than if you did not drink any alcohol. No one can drink alcohol and drive safely, even if you have been driving for many years. New drivers are more affected by alcohol than experienced drivers because they are still learning to drive. Because drinking alcohol and then driving is so dangerous, the penalties are very tough. People who drive after drinking risk heavy fines, higher insurance rates, loss of license and even jail sentences.
The Dangers of Drinking and Driving
Alcohol reduces all of the important skills necessary to drive safely, such as judgment, reaction, vision and concentration. It is absorbed into the lining of the stomach and then passes directly into the bloodstream. Alcohol reaches your brain within minutes after consumption and affects those areas of the brain that control judgment and skill. This is one reason why drinking alcohol is so dangerous; it affects your judgment. Good judgment is important to driving but in this case, judgment helps you to know when to stop drinking. Alcohol puts good judgment on hold. You do not know when you have had too much to drink until it is too late. It is a little like sunburn, by the time you feel it, it is already too late. Alcohol slows your reflexes and reaction time, reduces your ability to see clearly and makes you less alert. As the amount of alcohol in your body increases, your judgment worsens and your skills decrease. You will have trouble judging distances, speeds and the movement of other vehicles. You will also have trouble controlling your vehicle.
If You Drink, DO NOT DRIVE!
The best advice is if you drink alcohol, do not drive. Even one drink of alcohol can affect your driving. With two or more drinks in your bloodstream you are impaired and could be arrested. It takes about an hour for your body to get rid of each drink. Time is the only thing that will sober you up. There are ways of dealing with social situations. Arrange to go with two or more persons and agree which one of you will not drink alcohol. You can rotate among the group being a “designated driver”. You can use public transportation or use a cab, if available.
You will be asked to take a blood, a urine or a breath test if a law enforcement officer thinks you are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs while driving. By law, if you drive in Florida, you have agreed to take these tests if asked. If you refuse to take the tests when asked, your license will be suspended for one year. A second refusal will result in an eighteen-month suspension. In DUI cases involving death or serious injury, you can be required to take the blood test without your consent. The blood must be withdrawn by a doctor, nurse or other health professional. If you are unconscious and cannot refuse the blood test, blood may be withdrawn. The results of the test may be used as evidence, even if you object after becoming conscious.
Besides alcohol, there are many other drugs that can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. These drugs can have effect like those of alcohol, or even worse. This is true of many prescription drugs and even many of the the drugs you can buy without a prescription. Drugs taken for headaches, colds, hay fever or other allergies or those to calm nerves can make a person drowsy and affect their driving. Pep pills, “uppers” and diet they can cause a person to be nervous, dizzy, unable to concentrate and they can affect your vision. Other prescription drugs can affect your reflexes, judgment, vision and alertness in ways similar to alcohol. If you are driving, check the label before you take a drug for warnings about its effect. If you are not sure it is safe to take the drug and drive, ask your doctor or pharmacist about any side effects. Never drink alcohol while you are taking other drugs. These drugs could multiply the effects of alcohol or have additional effects of their own. These effects not only reduce your ability to be a safe driver but could cause serious health problems, even death. Illegal drugs are not good for your health and effect your ability to be a safe driver. For example, studies have shown that people who use marijuana make more mistakes, have more trouble adjusting to glare and get arrested for traffic violations more than other drivers.
Emotions can have a great effect on you driving safely. You may not be able to drive well if you are overly worried, excited, afraid, angry or depressed.
- If you are angry of excited, give yourself time to cool off. If necessary take a short walk, but stay off the road until you have calmed down.
- If you are worried, down or upset about something, try to keep your mind on driving. Some find listening to the radio helps.
- If you are impatient, give yourself extra time for your driving trip. Leave a few minutes early. If you have plenty of time, you may not tend to speed or do other thing that can get you a traffic ticket or cause a crash.
- Don’t be impatient to wait for a train to cross in front of you. Driving around lowered gates or trying to beat the train can be fatal.
You can be put in jail or made to pay a fine for the following offenses:
- Changing your license in any way. Any changes must be made by the Department.
- Unlawful use of your license, including allowing your license to be used by another person.
- Making a fraudulent application for a driver license or identification card.
- Having more than one Florida driver license.
- Allowing an unlicensed person to use your car, hiring an unlicensed chauffeur, or renting a motor vehicle to someone without a license.
- Giving false statements to an officer or in a courtroom.
- Knowingly giving false information in crash reports.
- Failing to make crash reports.
In Florida there are two motor vehicle insurance laws. They are the Financial Responsibility Law and the No-Fault law. It is important that you understand these laws because if you do not have the proper insurance, you can lose your driver license and tag(s) and have to pay large fees to get them back.
The reason for the Financial Responsibility Law is to require owners and operators of motor vehicles to be financially responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others when a motor vehicle crash happens. This law requires any person to have liability insurance at the time of the following:
- A crash where you are at fault and injuries have occurred.
- A suspension for too many points against your driver license.
- A citation for DUI, which results in a revocation.
- A revocation for Habitual Traffic Offender.
- A revocation for any serious offense where this department is required to revoke your license.
You must have the following minimum insurance coverage:
- $10,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
- $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability to two or more persons.
- $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL), or
- $30,000 Combined single limits.
If involved in any of the above violations and you do not have insurance to comply with the financial responsibility law, your driver license and/or tags will be suspended for up to three years. You will have to pay a $15 reinstatement fee and show the department certified proof of full liability insurance on Form SR-22 for three years from the original suspension to get your driving privilege back. In addition, if you are the driver or the owner of a vehicle which is in a crash that is your fault, this Department can require you to pay for the damages before your driving privilege is reinstated. Under this law, to protect yourself and others, you should have liability insurance on any motor vehicle you own or drive, including motorcycles.
The Florida No-Fault Law requires anyone who owns or has registered a motor vehicle with four or more wheels (excluding taxis and limousines), that has been in the state for at least 90 days or non-consecutive days during the past 365 days to purchase a policy delivered or issued for delivery in this state. The minimum coverages are:
- $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- $10,000 of Property Damage Liability (PDL)
You cannot buy a tag and registration for a car, or other four wheel vehicle, without having coverage issued in this state. Once you have this insurance, anytime you renew it, fail to renew it, or cancel it, the insurance company must notify this department. The department will then notify you for an explanation. If you then fail to provide proof of insurance, your driver license and tag(s) will be suspended for up to three years. You must maintain insurance coverage during the entire time that the car is registered in your name. If the car is in storage or not in working order or if you wish to cancel the insurance for any reason, you must turn in the tag and registration at any driver license office or mail to the department. If your driver license and tag(s) are suspended for not having insurance under the No-Fault Law, you will have to pay $150 and show proof of insurance to get them back. If it happens a second time within three years, you will pay $250. If it happens three times within three years, you will have to pay $500. Also, if your driver license and tag(s) have been under suspension for 30 days or more for a no-fault insurance violation, a police officer can seize your tag on the spot.
Your insurance company will give you an insurance I.D. Card. You must have this card ready to show to any police officer to prove that you have the required insurance. If not, you may receive a ticket for not having proof of insurance. If your driver license or tag(s) are suspended for not obeying either of these laws, you cannot get a temporary license for any reason, not even for work purposes only. Any person who makes a false statement or commits forgery about their motor vehicle insurance can be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor. The department will always provide you with an opportunity to prove insurance coverage or be heard before being suspended. How to comply:
- By purchasing a motor vehicle insurance policy from a company licensed to do business in Florida.
- By obtaining a Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after posting a satisfactory surety bond of a company licensed to do business in Florida.
- By obtaining a Self-insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by depositing cash or securities with the Department.
- By obtaining a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by providing satisfactory proof of financial responsibility.
Remember: Automobile insurance is an important part of your driving privilege. Protect yourself and others by having and keeping the proper insurance coverage.
- Stop. If you are in a crash while driving, you must stop. If anyone is hurt, you must get help. You must also be ready to give your name, address, and vehicle registration number; as well as show your driver license to others involved in the crash.
- Report the crash. If the crash causes injury, death, or property damage, it must be reported. Call the local police, the Florida Highway Patrol, or the County Sheriff’s Office. If the crash involves a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) or results in death, injury, or property damage to the extent a wrecker must tow a vehicle away, the officer will fill out a report. If the crash is investigated by an officer, you (the driver) need not make a written report. If property damage appears to be over $500 and no report is written by an officer, you must make a written report of the crash to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 5 days. The officer will provide you with a copy of the form for your records.
- Move your car if it is blocking traffic. If your car is blocking the flow of traffic, you must move it. If you cannot move it yourself, you must get help or call a tow truck. This is true anytime your vehicle is blocking the flow of traffic whether it has been involved in a crash or not.
- Appear in court. If you are charged in a driving crash, you may have to go to court. The officer who comes to the scene of the crash will file charges against any driver who violated a traffic law. Anyone who is charged will have a chance to explain to the court what happened. The court will then decide what the penalty will be. Anyone who is not charged with violating the law may have to come to court as a witness. If you are found at fault in a collision where anyone is injured and transported to a medical treatment facility or it is your second collision in a two-year period, you will be required by law to attend a Traffic Collision Avoidance Course. The traffic school that conducts this course can be found in the yellow pages of your local telephone book under Driving Instruction. A driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash involving death or personal injury will have his or her license revoked. The driver is also subject to criminal penalties.
If, while driving, you hit a vehicle with no one in it or if you damage any object that belongs to someone else, you must tell the owner. Give the owner your name, address, and tag number in person or in a note attached to the object that was hit. Report the crash immediately to the proper law enforcement agency.
Drivers are responsible for any littering from their vehicles. Use ash trays for cigarettes and litter bags for trash while riding in motor vehicles. Empty ash trays and litter bags only into trash cans. LITTERING IS A CRIME. PEOPLE WHO THROW TRASH ON PUBLIC STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CAN BE FINED UP TO $500.00 OR JAILED UP TO 60 DAYS. The court may also require you to pick up litter along roadways.
It is against the law to damage the roads by driving on the rim of a flat tire or by any other means.
Good driving is based on practice and being alert at the wheel.
- Good drivers know that driving is a full time job. They give driving their full attention.
- Good drivers drive defensively, scanning the road ahead as well as objects to the side and rear. This is a good way to see possible problems developing and still have time to avoid them.
- Good drivers know, understand, and respect the rules.
- Good drivers keep their vehicles in safe operating condition.
- Good drivers do not drive when they are ill, upset or angry.
Before you start your engine:
- Make sure all windows are clean. Remove anything that blocks your view of the road.
- Adjust the seat so you can reach all controls.
- Adjust the inside and outside rearview mirrors. You should not have to lean forward or backward to use them.
- Lock all car doors.
- Put on your safety belts. Ask all passengers to do the same. Any passenger under 18 years old is required by law to be buckled up.
- Make sure your car is in park or neutral gear before starting the engine.
Never move your car until you have looked in front, behind and to the side for pedestrians and oncoming traffic. Then, signal and pull into traffic when safe.
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 accidents:
- Look for possible danger. Think about what might happen. If there are children playing by the road, plan what you will do if one runs or rides into the street.
- Understand what can be done to prevent a crash. See the defensive driving tips which follow as well as Handling Emergencies.
- Act in time. Once you have seen a dangerous situation, act right away to prevent a crash.
Use these defensive driving tips if you see that you are about to be involved in a crash:
- It is better to swerve right instead of toward oncoming traffic to prevent a crash.
- Hitting a row of bushes is better than hitting a tree, post or solid object.
- Hitting a vehicle moving in the same direction as you are is better than hitting a vehicle head-on.
- It is better to drive off the road than skid off when avoiding a crash.
- It is better to hit something that is not moving instead of a vehicle moving toward you.
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.
- Check your brake lights often to make sure they are clean and working properly.
- Know what is going on behind you. Use your rearview mirrors.
- Signal well in advance for turns, stops and lane changes.
- Slow down gradually. Avoid any sudden actions.
- Drive with the flow of traffic (within the speed limit). Driving too slowly can be as dangerous as driving too fast.
- To avoid striking the vehicle in front of you, keep at least two seconds following distance. This is done by following the instructions found under the section, Minimum Safe Following Distances.
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 ask for a class. Consult your yellow pages under, Driving Instruction, for the location of the schools.
Florida law requires all occupants of cars, pickup trucks, and vans who are 6 years of age or older to wear seat belts, regardless of seating position. Passengers 16 and older can be fined individually for violating this provision. Drivers will be held responsible and fined for passengers 15 years old and younger who are found unrestrained. Children infant through 3 years of age must be properly secured using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. Such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used. This seat belt law applies to passenger cars manufactured beginning with the 1968 model year, and trucks beginning with the 1972 model year. The law exempts the following from the seat belt requirements:
- Any person certified by a physician as having a medical condition that causes the seat belt use to be inappropriate or dangerous.
- Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering newspapers on home delivery routes.
- School buses.
- Buses used for transportation of persons for compensation.
- Farm equipment.
- Trucks of a net weight of more than 5,000 pounds.
- Motorcycle, moped or bicycle.
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:
- Keep you from being thrown from the vehicle. The risk of death is five times greater if you are thrown from a vehicle in a crash.
- Keep you from being thrown against parts of your vehicle, such as the steering wheel or windshield.
- Keep you from being thrown against others in the vehicle.
- Keep the driver behind the wheel, where he or she can control the vehicle.
SAFETY BELTS SAVE LIVES!
Wear lap belts around your hips, not your stomach. Fasten them 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 of home.
THE LAW: ALL CHILDREN 5 YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER MUST USE A RESTRAINT DEVICE WHEN RIDING IN A MOTOR VEHICLE. The law requires every driver to 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 three years old and younger. Children’s car seats or safety belts may be used for four- and five-year-olds. 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.
- Infant Carriers – Birth to 9 months or 20 pounds.
- Children’s Car Seats – Nine months to four years (20-50 pounds).
- Lap Belt – Four years and older (over 40 pounds).
- Lap Belt and Shoulder Belt – 55 inches tall.
No person responsible for a child younger than 6 years of age shall leave such child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for a period in excess of 15 minutes. No person shall leave a child unattended for any period of time if the motor of the 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.
Speed causes many crashes. More drivers are convicted of speeding than any other offense. To avoid being fined or involved in a crash, obey the speed limits. Speed is very important in a collision. If you double the speed of a car, you increase its force of impact four times. If you triple the speed, the impact is nine times as great.
Remember that speed limits show the fastest speed you may drive under good conditions. You are responsible for adjusting your driving speed to the road conditions. For example, if the weather is bad or there is a lot of traffic, you must drive more slowly than the posted speed. The safe speed is the one that allows you to have complete control of your vehicle.
Florida Speed Limits
|Mopeds||All Other Vehicles|
|Business or Residential Area||25||30|
|Rural Interstate Limited Access Highways||70*|
|All Other Roads and Highways||25||55|
*The 55 MPH maximum speed limit is still in effect in Florida except where otherwise posted. Speed limits are 70 MPH on some rural interstate highways. Speed limits may be changed on other multi-lane highways. Drivers should not assume because the area appears to be rural, the limit is 70 MPH. Observe and obey the posted speed signs as there may be frequent changes from area to area along the selected highways.
Drive with the flow of traffic (within the speed limit). You should not drive so slowly that you block other vehicles moving at normal, safe speeds. You can be issued a ticket for driving too slowly.
If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer, pull off immediately to the extreme right, clear of traffic when possible. Turn off your engine. Reduce your headlights to the parking light position at night. Sit calmly and follow the instructions of the officer. You must follow any lawful order or direction of (1) any police officer or (2) any fireman at the scene of a fire who is directing traffic. If a police officer is directing traffic where there are signal lights, obey the officer – not the signals.
More crashes happen at intersections than any other place. Be very careful when approaching any intersection or driveway.
- Look both ways and be ready to brake or stop.
- Drive at the slowest speed just before entering the intersection, not while crossing.
- Do not pass or change lanes.
- Be aware of vehicles behind you. Will they be able to stop if necessary?
If you are stopped:
- Look for bicyclists and pedestrians who may be crossing the intersection from either direction.
Who has the right-of-way in Florida? The answer is no one! The law only says who must yield (give up) the right-of-way. Every driver, motorcyclist, moped rider, bicyclist and pedestrian must do everything possible to avoid a crash.
You must yield the right-of-way to all other traffic and pedestrians at stop signs. Move forward only when the road is clear. At four-way stops, the first vehicle to stop should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right.
An open intersection is one without traffic control signs or signals. When you enter one, you must yield the right-of-way if:
- A vehicle is already in the intersection.
- You enter or cross a state highway from a secondary road.
- You enter a paved road from an unpaved road.
- You plan to make a left turn and a vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction.
When two cars enter an open intersection at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right.
Roundabouts are a new type of intersection, which improves traffic flow and reduces traffic crashes. Most roundabouts do not require stopping, which allows vehicles to move continuously through intersections at the same low speed. Roundabouts are designed to move all traffic through a counterclockwise direction. Vehicles approaching the roundabout yield to circulating traffic; however, drivers must obey all signs to determine the correct right-of-way in the roundabout.
- Look to the left and the right before stepping off any curb.
- Cross only at intersections or designated crosswalks. Drivers are always more alert for pedestrians when they approach intersections.
- Cross with the green light or “WALK” signal. Make sure you have enough time to cross. Although the motorist must yield, he may not see you in time.
- While walking along a highway, always walk on the shoulder on the left side, facing traffic. Wear light colored clothing or use a flashlight to make you more visible to drivers at night.
It is the motorist’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with any pedestrians. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians. Turning motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersections without traffic signals.
In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists using a public roadway are considered operators of motor vehicles and are responsible for observing traffic laws. With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to motorists and bicyclists to treat each other with care and respect. Adherence to the law is the foundation of respect.
The primary traveling aids for a person who is blind are often either a white cane or a trained guide dog. Independent travel involves some risk that can be greatly reduced when you, the driver, are aware of the use and meaning of a white cane or guide dog. Drivers must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are blind. When a pedestrian is crossing a street or highway guided by a dog or carrying a white cane (or a white cane with a red tip), vehicles must come to a complete stop.
On a two-way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children. You must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway and the bus signal has been withdrawn. Violation of this law is considered a moving violation and is subject to a mandatory hearing. If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus. Painted lines or pavement markings are not considered to be barriers. If you are moving in the same direction as the bus, you must always stop – and not go forward until the bus stop signal has been withdrawn.
BOTH CARS MUST STOP!
Crossing guards are posted in areas where it is unsafe for children to cross alone. When you see a guard, reduce your speed as you near a school and children are in the area. Watch for school zone posted speed and stop if necessary at the marked stop lined but never in the cross walk. Obey signals from any crossing guard. It is the driver’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Remember, children are unpredictable. Do your part to make every crossing a safe crossing.
All drivers should yield the right-of-way to public transit bus traveling in the same direction which has signaled and in reentering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout bay.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions. When the first vehicle in the funeral procession lawfully enters an intersection, other vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on as a signal to other drivers not to drive between or interfere with the procession while it is in motion unless directed to do so by a police officer.
Driveways form an intersection with sidewalks. Motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to law-enforcement cars, fire engines and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/or flashing lights. Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway right away and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Do not block intersections.
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:
- Make up your mind about your turn before you get to the turning point. Never make “last minute” turns.
- If you must change lanes, look behind and to both sides to see where other vehicles are located before making your turn.
- Move into the correct lane as you near the intersection. The correct lane for the right turn is the lane next to the right edge of the roadway. On a two-lane road with traffic in both directions, an approach for a left turn should be made in the part of the right half of the roadway nearest the center line.
- Give a turn signal for at least the last 100 feet before you make your turn. Let other drivers know what you are going to do.
- Slow down to a safe turning speed.
- When you are slowing to make a right turn, the bicyclist you passed may be catching up to you. Search over your shoulder before turning. Yield to bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Yield to pedestrians who may be crossing your path when turning left. Always scan for pedestrians before starting the turn.
- Make the turn, staying in the proper lane. Yield the right-of-way to vehicles (including bicycles) coming from the opposite direction.
- Finish your turn in the proper lane. A right turn should be from the right lane into the right lane of the roadway entered. A left turn may be completed in any lane lawfully available, or safe, for the desired direction of travel. See diagrams for making left turns from or into one-way streets.
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.
Study these diagrams showing lanes to use in making turns.
Left and Right Turns
Left from one-way into 2-way
Left from one-way into one-way roads
Left from two-way onto two-ways roads
Left from two way onto one-way roads
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 checking to make sure that no bicyclists are present, you may enter the bike lane at the intersection or driveway.
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:
- Move as far right as possible, check traffic, and signal a left turn.
- Turn the steering wheel sharply to the left and move forward slowly. Stop at the curb, or edge of roadway.
- Shift to reverse, turn your wheels sharply to the right, check traffic, and back your vehicle to the right curb, or edge of roadway.
You can now move in the opposite direction. Check traffic, and move forward. Never make a three-point turn or a U-turn on a curve or a hill.
In some places, U-turns are not safe. Signs may be posted to let you know this. You may make safe U-turns on any roadway where there is two-way traffic except where you see these signs.
You must use hand signals or directional signals to show that you are about to turn. 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 of highway. right turn left turn slow or stop
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 X’s 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.
- Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle you want to pass. The closer you get to the vehicle you want to pass, the less you can see ahead. This is especially true when passing trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles.
- Before you pull out to pass, check your blind spots and make sure that you have plenty of time and room to pass.
- On a two-lane road, tap your horn, or at night blink your headlights to let the other driver know you are passing.
- Give your signal before you move into the left lane.
- Do not return to the right side of the road until you can see the vehicle you passed in your rearview mirror.
- You must return to the right side of the road before coming within 200 feet of any vehicle coming from the opposite direction.
- Passing on the right is only legal when there are two or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction or the vehicle you are passing is making a left turn. Pulling off the pavement to pass on the right is against the law.
Don’t speed up. Stay at your same speed or slow down. Help other drivers pass you safely. Move to the right side of your lane to give them more room and a better view of the road ahead.
DO NOT OVERTAKE AND PASS AT THESE LOCATIONS
You may not pass on a two-lane road with traffic moving in opposite directions under these conditions:
- Where you see a “DO NOT PASS” or “NO PASSING ZONE” sign.
- Where a solid yellow line is painted on your side of the center line.
- On hills or curves.
- At intersections.
- Within 100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, tunnel, or railroad crossing.
Violators may be arrested or issued a ticket.
Leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead. If it stops quickly, you will need time to see the danger and stop.
At any speed, you can use the two-second rule to see if you are far enough behind the car in front of you:
- Watch the vehicle ahead pass some fixed point – an overpass, sign, fence corner, or other marker.
- Count off the seconds it takes you to reach the same spot in the road (“one thousand and one, one thousand and two…”).
- If you reach the mark before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Slow down and check your following distance again.
The two-second rule applies to any speed in good weather and road conditions. If road or weather conditions are not good, increase your following distance. See the chart on total stopping distance.
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.
When parking on hills:
- Turn your wheels so that if your car starts to move by itself it will roll away from traffic or into the curb. Study the diagram provided.
- Set the parking brake.
- Put automatic gear shift in park. Shift manual gears to reverse (downhill) or first (uphill).
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.
- On the roadway side of another parked vehicle (double parking).
- On crosswalks.
- On sidewalks.
- In front of driveways.
- By curbs painted yellow or where “No Parking” signs are posted.
- Within intersections.
- Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
- Within 20 feet of an intersection.
- Within 20 feet of the entrance to a fire, ambulance or rescue squad station.
- Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing.
- On the hard surface of a highway where parking spaces are not marked.
- On any bridge or overpass or in any tunnel.
- Within 30 feet of a rural mail box on a state highway between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
- Within 30 feet of any flashing signal, stop sign or traffic signal.
- In such a way that you block or create a hazard for other vehicles.
Parking lights must be used at night on any vehicle parked on a roadway or shoulder outside of cities and towns. Directional signals must not be flashed on one side only on a parked or disabled vehicle. Use your emergency flashers. Driving with parking lights only (in place of headlights) is against the law.
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 from the rearview mirror or on the front dash. These may be obtained from a tag agent or tax collector’s office and must be renewed every four years. They 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 away.
- Proof of Eligibility: Statement from a physician licensed in the United States, the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education, or the Veterans Administration to the effect that applicant is a severely physically disabled individual with permanent mobility problems which substantially impair his or her ability to ambulate or is certified as legally blind. Procedure
- Contact your local County Tax Collector or Tag Agent.
- Complete HSMV 83039 “Application for a disabled person’s parking permit.”
- Provide Proof of Eligibility – Doctor’s Statement
- Pay $15
- Present valid Florida driver license or identification card.
Expressways – also called interstate highways, freeways, and turnpikes – are multiple-lane roads with no stop signs, traffic lights, or railroad crossings. For these reasons, expressways can give you a fast, safe way to get where you need to go. Pedestrians, hitchhikers, bicycles, animal-drawn vehicles or motor-driven cycles and motor scooters with 150 cubic centimeter displacement or less are not allowed on expressways.
Vehicles can enter and leave expressways only at certain points. Because expressway traffic is usually moving at or close to the maximum speed allowed, you need to know how to enter and exit safely. All expressway entrances have three basic parts: an entrance ramp, an acceleration lane, and a merging area. Follow these guidelines to enter an expressway safely:
- On the entrance ramp, begin checking for an opening in traffic. Signal for your turn.
- As the ramp straightens into the acceleration lane, speed up. Try to adjust your speed so that you can move into the traffic when you reach the end of the acceleration lane.
- Merge into traffic when you can do so safely. You must yield right-of-way to traffic on the expressway. You cannot always count on other drivers moving over to give you room to enter, but do not stop on an acceleration lane unless traffic is too heavy and there is no space for you to enter safely.
Get into the exit lane. Posted signs will tell you which one. Most expressway exits are from the right lane.
- Signal your intention to leave the expressway by using your turn signals.
- Slow down as soon as you are off the expressway. Check the posted safe speed for the exit ramp.
- Do not make last-minute turns into an exit. If you go past your exit, you must go to the next one.
- Plan your trip. Know just where you will get on and get off.
- Drive in the right lane and pass on the left. If there are three lanes, use the right lane for lower speed driving, the left for passing. If you stay in the right lane, watch for cars entering the expressway. Adjust your speed or move into the center lane so they can enter safely.
- Never stop on the pavement, shoulder, or connecting ramp of an expressway except in an emergency. If your vehicle breaks down, it may be parked on the side of the expressway (completely off the pavement) for no more than six hours. Raise your hood and tie a white cloth to your antenna or left door handle to show you need help.
- Never back up on an expressway entrance ramp or exit ramp. The only exception to this would be if you are trying to enter an express way through an exit. In this case, you would see a “WRONG WAY” or “DO NOT ENTER” sign. Then you must back up or turn around.
- Do not cross, drive on or park on the median strip.
- Do not follow too closely. Rear end collisions are the greatest danger on expressways. Always leave room for emergency stops.
- Stop driving when you feel tired. On long trips the hum of the engine and your lack of movement can make you feel sleepy. Stop for a cup of coffee, a short walk, or a nap. Do not risk failing asleep at the wheel.
- Stay out of other drivers’ blind spots.
- Beware of turnpike hypnosis. Continuous expressway driving can become monotonous. Avoid staring. Get into the habit of shifting your eyes left and right and using rearview mirrors.
You will need to drive with extra care at night. You cannot see as far ahead or to the side, and glare from oncoming cars can reduce your vision even more. Follow these guidelines for driving at night:
- Use your headlights (low beam or high beam) between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
- Low beam headlamps are only effective for speeds up to 20-25 mph. You must use special care when driving faster than these speeds, since you are unable to detect pedestrians, bicyclists and others.
- High beam headlights can reveal objects up to a distance of at least 450 feet and are most effective for speeds faster than 25 mph.
- Don’t use high-beam headlights within 500 feet of oncoming vehicles.
- If you are behind other vehicles, use low beams when you are within 300 feet of the vehicle ahead.
- When leaving a brightly lit place, drive slowly until your eyes grow used to darkness.
- If a vehicle comes toward you with high beams, flash your lights to high beam and back to low beam once.
- Don’t look directly at oncoming headlights. Instead, watch the right edge of your lane. Look quickly to be sure of the other vehicle’s position every few seconds.
- Drive as far to the right as you can if a vehicle with one light comes toward you.
Wild and domestic animals may move unpredictably towards or across the travel path of an approaching motor vehicle. 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 upon the roadway or shoulder of the road. Horses have poor side vision and are easily frightened by loud noises or sudden movements.
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 at any time between sunset and sunrise including the twilight hours between sunset and sunrise including the twilight hours between sunset and full night 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.
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.
- If possible, park where the disabled vehicle can be seen for 200 feet in each direction.
- Move the vehicle so all four wheels are off the pavement.
- Turn on your emergency flashers.
- Get all passengers out on the side away from traffic.
- Tie a white cloth on the left door handle or antenna.
- Raise the hood.
- Do not use brakes.
- Concentrate on steering.
- Slow down gradually.
- Brake softly when the car is under control.
- Pull completely off the pavement.
- Test brakes lightly after driving through deep water.
- Brakes may pull to one side or may not hold at all.
- Dry brakes by driving slowly in low gear and applying brakes.
- Take your foot off the gas pedal.
- Hold the wheel firmly and steer in a straight line.
- Brake lightly.
- Wait until the road is clear.
- Turn back on the pavement sharply at slow speed.
- Sound your horn.
- Brake sharply.
- Steer for the side of the road or the ditch.
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Tap the gas pedal with your foot.
- Try to pry the pedal up with the toe of your shoe.
- Shift into neutral.
- Turn off the ignition. (Do not turn the key to lock, or your steering will lock.)
- Use your brakes.
- Pump the brake pedal hard and fast.
- Shift to a lower gear.
- Apply the parking brake slowly, so you do not skid.
- Rub your tires on the curb to slow your vehicle, or pull off the road into an open space.
- Take your foot off the gas pedal.
- Do not use your brakes, if possible.
- Pump the brakes gently if you are about to hit something.
- Steer the car into the direction of the skid to straighten the vehicle out. Then steer in the direction you wish to go.
- If the fire is small and you have a portable extinguisher, you should attempt to extinguish the fire.
- If you cannot extinguish the fire and it continues to get larger, get away from the vehicle, due to the presence of toxic fumes and the possibility of explosion.
- Never apply water to a gasoline or diesel fire.
- Allow three feet of clearance when passing a cyclist. Reduce your speed if the roadway is narrow.
- After parallel parking, check for cyclists before opening the driver’s side door.
- At night, avoid using high-beam headlights when a cyclist is approaching. The cyclist could be temporarily blinded.
- Do not follow a cyclist closely. If you are too close and the cyclist must lay down their bike down on the road in an emergency, you could run them over.
Whether you are sharing the road with a car, truck, bus, or other large vehicle, it’s important for safety’s sake to obey traffic laws, abide by the rules of the road, and drive defensively. Are there any special rules for sharing the road with a truck? Yes! Here are some suggestions from professional truck drivers.
- Side Blind Spots. Trucks and buses have much larger blind spots on both sides than do passenger cars. If a commercial driver needs to swerve or change lanes for any reason, contact with the car in such a spot can occur.
- Rear Blind Spots. Unlike passenger cars, trucks and buses have deep blind spots directly behind them. Tailgating greatly increases your chances of a rear-end collision with a commercial vehicle.
- Unsafe Passing. Another “No Zone” is just in front of trucks and buses. When passing a bus or truck, be sure you can see the cab in your rear view mirror before pulling in front.
- Wide Right Turns. Truck and bus drivers sometimes need to swing wide to the left in order to safely negotiate a right turn. They cannot see cars directly behind or beside them. Cutting in between the commercial vehicle and the curb or shoulder to the right increases the possibility of a crash.
- Backing Up. When a truck is backing up, it sometimes must block the street to maneuver its trailer accurately. Never cross behind a truck that is preparing to back up or is in the process of doing so. Remember, most trailers are eight and a half feet wide and can completely hide objects that suddenly come between them and loading areas. Automobile drivers attempting to pass behind a truck enter a blind spot for both drivers.
- When passing a truck, first check to your front and rear, and move into the passing lane only if it is clear and you are in a legal passing zone. Let the truck driver know you are passing by blinking your headlights, especially at night. The driver will make it easier for you by staying to the far side of the lane.
- On a level highway, it takes only three to five seconds longer to pass a truck than a car. On an upgrade, a truck often loses speed, so it is easier to pass than a car. On a downgrade, the truck’s momentum will cause it to go faster, so you may need to increase your speed.
- Complete your pass as quickly as possible, and don’t stay alongside the other vehicle.
- If the driver blinks his lights after you pass, it’s a signal that it is clear to pull back in. Be sure to move back only when you can see the front of the truck in your rear-view mirror After you pass a truck, maintain your speed.
- When a truck passes you, you can help the truck driver by keeping to the far side of your lane. You’ll make it easier for the truck driver if you reduce speed slightly. In any event, do not speed up while the truck is passing. After passing, the truck driver will signal to let you know that the truck will be returning to your lane.
- When you meet a truck coming from the opposite direction, keep as far as possible to the side to avoid a sideswipe accident and to reduce the wind turbulence between the two vehicles. Remember that the turbulence pushes the vehicles apart. It does not suck them together.
In general, trucks take slightly longer than cars to stop because of their size. However, at highway speeds or on wet roads, trucks may have better traction and stability allowing them to stop more quickly. A car following too closely may not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid rear-ending the truck. If you are following a truck, stay out of its “blind spot” to the rear. Avoid following too closely, and position your vehicle so the truck driver can see it in his side mirrors. Then you will have a good view of the road ahead, and the truck driver can give you plenty of warning for a stop or a turn. You will have more time – to react and make a safe stop. When you follow a truck at night, always dim your headlights. Bright lights from a vehicle behind will blind the truck driver when they reflect off the truck’s large side mirrors. If you are stopped behind a truck on an upgrade, leave space in case the truck drifts back slightly when it starts to move. Also, keep to the left in your lane so the driver can see that you’re stopped behind the truck.
When you follow a motorcycle, remember that motorcycles have the ability of stopping much more quickly than other vehicles in emergencies. Following too closely endangers your life and that of the motorcyclist. Do not follow a motorcyclist closely. If you are too close and the motorcyclist must lay their bike down on the road in an emergency, you could run over them.
Signals, Signs and Pavement Markings
Traffic signals are placed at intersections to keep traffic moving and avoid accidents. Drivers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders must obey these signals except when an officer is directing traffic. Stop on the stop line if your car is nearest the signal. Some signals change only when a car is at the stop line. If traffic signals are out of order, stop as you would for a four-way stop sign.
Come to a complete stop at the marked stop line or before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After stopping, you may turn right on red at most intersections if the way is clear. Some intersections display a “NO TURN ON RED” sign, which you must obey. Left turns on red from a one-way street into a one-way street are also allowed.
Stop if you can. The light will soon be red.
Go – but only if the intersection is clear. Yield to pedestrians and vehicles still in the intersection. If turning left, wait for gap in oncoming traffic to complete turn.
Come to a complete stop at the marked stop line or before moving into the crosswalk or intersection. After stopping, you may turn right on red arrow at most intersections if the way is clear. Some intersections display a “NO TURN ON RED” sign, which you must obey. Left turns on red arrow from a one-way street into a one-way street are also allowed.
Stop if you can. The light will soon be red. The yellow arrow means the same as the yellow light, but applies only to movement in the direction of the arrow.
A green arrow, pointing right or left, means you may make a turn in the direction of the arrow, if you are in the proper lane for such a turn, after yielding the right-of-way to vehicles and pedestrians within the intersection, even if the red light is burning at the same time.
A flashing red light means the same thing as a stop sign. It is used at dangerous intersections. A flashing yellow light means you may move forward with caution. It is used at or just before dangerous intersections, or to alert you to a warning sign such as a school crossing or sharp curve.
Lane signals are used:
- When the direction of the flow of traffic changes during the day, or
- To show that a toll booth is open or closed.
- To show which lanes are opened or closed.
You must never drive in a lane under a red X. A yellow X means that your lane signal is going to change to red. Prepare to leave the lane safely. You may drive in lanes beneath the green arrow, but you must also obey all other signs and signals.
There are eight shapes and eight colors of traffic signs. Each shape and each color has an exact meaning, so you must acquaint yourself with all of them.
The shape of a road sign can tell you as much about the sign’s message as its color.
OCTAGON: Exclusively for stop signs. HORIZONTAL RECTANGLE: Generally for guide signs. TRIANGLE: Exclusively for yield signs. PENNANT: Advance warning of no passing zones.
DIAMOND: Exclusively to warn of existing or possible hazards on roadways or adjacent areas. VERTICAL RECTANGLE: Generally for regulatory signs. PENTAGON: School advance and school crossing signs. ROUND: railroad advance warning signs. CROSSBUCK: Railroad crossing.
STOP SIGNS are always octagonal (8 sided). A stop sign means that you must bring your vehicle to a complete halt at the marked stop line. If there is no marked stop line, stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no crosswalk, stop at a point nearest the intersecting roadway where you have a clear view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. A four-way stop sign means that there are four stop signs at this intersection. Traffic from all four directions must stop. The first vehicle to reach the intersection should move forward first. If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right.
Slow down and give vehicles crossing your path the right-of-way. If the way is clear, you may move forward slowly without stopping. Yield signs are usually placed where auxiliary roads lead into major roads.
Pennant: No Passing
You are entering a no passing zone. This sign is placed on the left side of the road, facing the driver.
Narrow bridge. These signs warn you of special conditions or dangers ahead. Words or symbols on the sign will show why you need to use caution.
Pentagon: School Sign:
This five-sided sign means you are near a school. Watch for children.
As you approach this sign, slow down, watch for children crossing the road. Stop if necessary. Obey signals from any crossing guards.
Here are some common warning signs. These signs give you advance notice of possible hazards ahead. Drive with caution. 1. SLIPPERY WHEN WET. In wet weather, drive slowly. Do not speed up or brake quickly. Make sharp turns at a very slow speed. 2. DIVIDED HIGHWAY AHEAD. The highway ahead is divided into two one-way roadways. Keep to the right. 3. DIVIDED HIGHWAY ENDS. The divided highway on which you are traveling ends 350 to 500 feet ahead. You will then be on a roadway with two-way traffic. Keep to the right. 4. LOW CLEARANCE. Do not enter if your vehicle is taller than the height listed on the sign. 5. BICYCLE CROSSING. Warns you in advance that a bikeway crosses the roadway ahead. 6. MERGING TRAFFIC. You are coming to a point where another traffic lane joins the one you are on. Watch for other traffic and be ready to yield the right-of-way when necessary. 7. PEDESTRIAN CROSSING. Watch for people crossing the street. Slow down or stop if necessary. 8. NARROW BRIDGE. The bridge is wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic, but with very little clearance. 9. DIP. There is a low place in the road. Go slowly and be ready to stop if the dip is filled with water. 10. SOFT SHOULDER. The dirt on the side of the road is soft. Don’t leave the pavement except in an emergency. 11. ONE LANE BRIDGE. The bridge is wide enough for only one vehicle at a time. Make sure the bridge is clear of oncoming traffic before you cross. 12. PAVEMENT ENDS. Road surface ahead changes from a hard surfaced pavement to a low-type surface or earth road. 13. RIGHT CURVE. Slow your speed and keep well to the left. The road will curve to the right. 14. DOUBLE CURVE. The road will curve to the right, then to the left. Slow your speed, keep to the right, and do not pass. 15. WINDING ROAD. There are several curves ahead. Drive slowly and carefully. 16. TRUCK CROSSING. Watch for trucks entering or crossing the highway. 17. CROSS ROAD. A road crosses the main highway ahead. Look to the left and right for other traffic. 18. SIDE ROAD. Another road enters the highway from the direction shown. Watch for traffic from that direction. 19. SHARP RIGHT TURN. The road will make a sharp turn to the right. Slow your speed, keep to the right, and do not pass other vehicles. 20. REDUCTION OF LANES. There will be fewer lanes ahead. Traffic must merge left. Drivers in the left lane should allow others to merge smoothly. Right lane ends. 21. ADVISORY SPEED SIGN. The highest safe speed you should travel around the curve ahead is 25 miles per hour. Advisory speed signs may be used with any diamond-shaped warning sign. 22. HILL/DOWNGRADE. Slow down and be ready to shift to lower gear to control speed and save brakes. 23. YIELD AHEAD. Warning of yield sign ahead. Slow down and be prepared to stop at yield sign or adjust speed to traffic. 24. TRAFFIC SIGNAL AHEAD. Warning of traffic signals at intersection ahead. Slow down, poor visibility is likely. 25. STOP SIGN AHEAD. When you come to this sign, slow down to be ready to stop at the stop sign check. 26. TWO-WAY TRAFFIC AHEAD. The one-way street or roadway ahead ends. You will then be facing oncoming traffic.
Rectangle: Regulatory or Information
These signs tell you the law, so you must follow their instructions. Remember that a red circle with a slash means NO. The sign shows you what is not allowed. NO U-TURN. – You cannot make a complete turn to go in the opposite direction where this sign is displayed. No U-turn. You must not make a right turn at this intersection. 50 miles per hour is the highest safest speed you can travel in this area. You cannot go straight ahead. You must turn either to the right or left. You are going the wrong way on an expressway exit ramp. Do not drive past this sign. Turn around immediately. A divided highway is ahead. Stay on the right side of the divider. Parking only for vehicles displaying an official permit and transporting a disabled person. You may travel only in the direction of the arrow. This sign lists the maximum recommended safe speed for an entrance or exit on an expressway. Slow down to whatever speed is shown. You may not turn right or left during the red light. You must wait for the signal to turn green. A diamond-shaped marking shows that a lane is reserved for certain purposes or certain vehicles. The lanes are usually reserved for buses or car-pool vehicles during rush hour traffic. Other diamond signs are used to designate bicycle lanes. The center lane is shared for left turns in both directions of travel. You must not pass any other vehicles going in the same direction as you are, while you are in this area. When you have passed this sign, you are again permitted to pass other vehicles with care. Traffic in left lane must turn left at the intersection ahead. Stopping permitted only for emergencies. You are approaching an area where a reduced speed zone has been established. At the intersection ahead traffic in left lane must turn left and traffic in adjoining lane may turn left or continue straight ahead. This sign is used on multiple lane highways to advise slower driving traffic to stay in the right hand lane; and also to do so when approached from behind by other traffic even if you are doing the speed limit. This marks a one-way roadway with traffic coming toward you. You must not enter the one-way roadway at this point. You must not turn either to the right or to the left at this intersection. If you park, you must always park off the pavement of the highway. When entering a right turn lane motorists will conflict with bicycle through movements. Always yield. ANIMAL CROSSING. The animal pictured on the sign is common in this area: watch for this species crossing the road particularly during twilight and nighttime hours.
There are several signs, signals and pavement markings that indicate highway- railroad crossings. When you see one of them, slow down and be ready to stop. REMEMBER: Trains cannot stop quickly. An average freight train traveling at 30 MPH needs a stopping distance of more than half a mile. Longer trains moving at faster speeds can take one and a half miles or more to stop. Any person walking or driving a vehicle and approaching a railroad- highway grade crossing must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of the the railroad when the electrical or mechanical warning devices are flashing; or the crossing gate is lowered or human flagger is warning of an approaching train; or there is an approaching train clearly visible and is in hazardous proximity to the railroad-highway grade crossing, and must not proceed until he or she can do so safely. Pavement markings, consisting of an RXR followed by a stop line closer to the tracks, may be painted on the paved approach to a crossing. Any person walking or driving a vehicle must stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet of the crossing. Stay behind the stop line while waiting for a train to pass. The advance warning sign is usually the first sign you see when approaching a highway-rail intersection. The advance warning sign advises you to slow down, look, listen for a train, and be prepared to stop if a train is approaching. Crossbuck signs are found at highway-rail intersections. They are yield signs. You are legally required to yield the right of way to trains. Slow down, look and listen for a train, and stop if a train approaches. When the road crosses over more than one set of tracks, a sign below the crossbuck will indicate the number of tracks. At many highway-rail crossings, the crossbuck has flashing red lights and bells. When the lights begin to flash, stop! A train is approaching. DO NOT STOP ON THE TRACKS OR WITHIN SIX FEET OF EITHER RAIL. Do not move forward until you can do so safely. If there is more than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before crossing. In heavy traffic make sure there is room for your vehicle on the other side before starting to cross. Many crossings have gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when the lights begin to flash, and before the gate lowers across your side of the road. Do not move forward until the gates are raised and the lights stop flashing as there may be a train approaching on an adjacent track. Always approach highway-railroad crossings at a reasonable speed – and be prepared to stop if you have to. Be especially alert when you are following buses or trucks which may have to stop at highway-railroad crossings even if any gates are up and the warning lights are not flashing. If your car stalls on the tracks don’t hesitate. Get yourself and your passengers out and away from the car immediately. If a collision is imminent, the safest direction is toward the train but stay off the tracks. That way you will be least likely to be hit by your vehicle or any debris from the collision.
Various traffic control devices are used in road construction and maintenance work areas to direct drivers and pedestrians safely through the work site and to provide for the safety of highway workers. Be prepared to reduce your speed and use caution when directed to do so by a sign, flagger and/or police officer.
Construction and maintenance signs are used to notify drivers of unusual or potentially dangerous conditions in or near work areas. Most signs used in highway and street work areas are diamond shaped.
Barricades, vertical panels, drums, and cones are the most commonly used devices to alert drivers of unusual or potentially dangerous conditions in highway and street work zones. These devices are used to guide the drivers safely through the work area, and at night, they may be equipped with warning lights. When a Road Closed sign is displayed, do not drive on this road. Look for a detour or another route.
Stripes on barricades and panel devices slope downward in the direction traffic must travel.
Flashing arrow panels are used both during the day and at night to give advance warning and directional information to drivers where it is necessary to move to the right or to the left into another lane.
A horizontal flashing bar indicates a warning – use caution approaching the work area.
Flaggers are often provided in highway and street work zones to stop, slow, or guide traffic safely through the area.
Flaggers wear orange vests or jackets and use red flags or stop/slow panels to direct traffic through work zones.
SLOW MOVING VEHICLE Vehicles going less than 25 miles per hour (such as farm equipment) must display this sign on the rear when using public highways. GREEN GUIDE SIGNS Green and white signs give information about directions and distances. Guide signs on expressways show you which lanes to use to get where you want to go. Routes that run generally East-West have even numbers and those running North-South have odd numbers. BLUE SERVICE SIGNS Blue and white signs direct you to services, such as gas, food, motels and hospitals. Brown and white signs point out scenic areas and parks.
Road markings are used to guide and warn drivers. Markings may be either yellow or white. Each has a different meaning. Yellow center line markings separate lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions. White lines separate lanes of traffic going in the same direction. Some of the basic rules that must be followed are:
- A single solid, broken or dotted line may be crossed with care. In yellow, it means pass with due care; and in white, it means to change lanes with due care.
- A double solid line may not be crossed. In yellow, it means no passing and in white, a double solid line means do not change lanes. However, a double solid yellow line may be crossed in making a left turn.
- A dotted line is used to guide vehicles into particular paths such as through intersections where solid or broken or skip lines would be confusing.
- A solid line with a dotted line has several meanings. Passing or crossing is prohibited if the solid line is on the side where the vehicle is traveling. Exceptions to this is when the vehicle is turning into a reversed turn lane or into a two-way left turn lane – where they exist.
Yellow Center Line Markings
Broken A broken yellow line shows that you may pass on the left when the way ahead is clear. Remember that you are facing oncoming traffic, so overtaking and passing should be done with care.
Solid & Broken A solid yellow line to the right of a broken yellow center line means passing or crossing is prohibited in that lane, except when turning left.
Double Yellow Double solid yellow lines show that passing is not allowed in either direction. You may not cross the lines unless you are making a left turn.
Broken Broken white lines separate lines of traffic going in the same direction. They may be crossed with care.
Solid with Turn Lane Arrow
Solid white lines are used for turn lanes and to discourage lane changes near intersections. Arrows are often used with the white lines to show which turn may be made from the lane. If you are in a lane marked with a curved arrow and the word ONLY, you must turn in the direction of the arrow. If your lane is marked with both a curved and straight arrow, you may either turn or go straight.
Double solid white lines indicate that changing lanes is not allowed.
Some highways have reversible traffic lanes to help handle rush-hour traffic. The direction of traffic is normally reversed at set times each day. These pavement markings are used along with special lane signals and other signs and symbols. A solid white line marks the edge of the pavement on most roads. Stop lines, crosswalks and parking spaces are also marked by white lines. Symbols such as arrows are in white also. A single yellow line marks the left edge of all divided or one-way roadways. Curbs are often marked yellow in no-parking zones near fire hydrants or intersections. It is unlawful to park in or drive through areas that have pavement markings indicating fire lanes or safety zones. The lane marking arrow, in the center lane in the diagram below, indicates that traffic in this lane can be reversed in accordance with local traffic controls due to “rush hour” traffic or other special traffic conditions.
Two-Way Roadway with Center Lane Two-way roadway with a center lane for left turns in either direction of travel. The specially marked center turn lane is intended for slowing down and for sheltering of turning vehicles and may not be used for passing.
These items will be checked before you take the driving test for your license. If your tires, brake light, directional signals, brakes, steering, horn or mirror are not in good condition, you will not be allowed to take the driving test. You may be stopped at any time by a law enforcement officer for a vehicle inspection.
The equipment on your car must meet certain standards. These are listed below.
Your car must have two braking systems. Each must be able to stop the car alone. The parking or emergency brake should be strong enough to hold the car on any hill. Your brakes must be able to stop your car within the distance shown on the chart on the right.
You must be able to stop your car within the distance shown by the black cars when you use the foot brake. For safest driving, keep your brakes in such good condition that you can stop within distance shown by the white cars. It is important to note that the graph below illustrates the braking distance AFTER YOU HAVE APPLIED YOUR BRAKES. To this must be added a REACTION DISTANCE, which is the distance you travel from seeing the danger to putting your foot on the brake pedal. Since 3/4 second is the average reaction time, a motorist will travel 11 feet for each 10 m.p.h. of speed before hitting the brake. At 50 m.p.h. this distance would be 55 feet!
Your car must have the following lights:
- Bright (high-beam) headlights which show objects 450 feet ahead.
- Dimmed (low-beam) headlights which show objects 150 feet ahead.
- Two red taillights mounted on the rear, visible from 1,000 feet.
- A white light that makes the license plate visible from 50 feet (The plate must be kept clean).
- Two red stoplights. They must be seen from 300 feet in the daytime, and must come on when the foot brake is pressed.
All vehicles, including animal-drawn vehicles, must have at least one white light visible from a distance of not less than 1,000 feet to the front. They must also have two red lights visible from a distance of not less than 1,000 feet to the rear, or one red light visible to the rear for a distance of 1,000 feet and two red reflectors visible from all distances from 600 feet to 1,000 feet.
Horn: Your vehicle must have a horn which can be heard from a distance of 200 feet. Windshield Wiper: Your vehicle must have a windshield wiper in good working order for cleaning rain, snow or other moisture from the windshield. Windshields: Must be safety glass and may not be covered or treated with any material which has the effect of making the windshield reflective or in any way non-transparent. It must be free of any stickers not required by law. Side windows: May not be composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which has a highly reflective or mirrored appearance and reflects more than 35% of the light. Rear windows: When the rear window is composed of, covered by, or treated with any material which makes the rear window non-transparent, the vehicle must be equipped with side mirrors on both sides. Directional signals: You must have electrical turn signals if your vehicle measures more than 24 inches from the center of the top of the steering post to the left outside limit of the body, or when the distance from the steering post to the rear of the body or load is greater than 14 feet. Tires: Your tires should have visible tread of at least 2/32 of an inch across the base with no worn spots showing the ply. Smooth tires on wet roads contribute to thousands of serious crashes. Mirrors: Your car must have at least one rearview mirror which gives a view of the highway at least 200 feet to the rear.
No matter how well you drive, you are not safe unless your vehicle is in good condition. If it is not, you could have a serious crash. Brakes: Check to see that the pedal stays well above the floor when you step on it. If the car pulls to one side when you use the brakes or you hear any scraping or squealing noises, your brakes may need to be repaired. Lights: Replace burned-out bulbs and clean lenses often. Dirty headlights can cut your night vision by one-half. Burned out signal lights or brake lights mean you can’t tell other drivers what you are doing. Keep your lights adjusted so that you don’t blind oncoming drivers. Windows and Windshields: Keep the glass clean, inside and out, to reduce glare.
You may not have on or in your vehicle:
- Red or blue emergency lights. These are for emergency and law enforcement vehicles only.
- A siren, bell or whistle.
- A very loud muffler or one that lets out smoke.
- Signs, posters or stickers on the windshield or windows (except those required by law).
- A television which the driver can see.
- More than two spotlights, cowl or fender lights, fog lights (in front), or other extra lights (in front).
- Headsets worn by driver while operating a vehicle.
Owners of automobiles and pickup trucks are required to have both front and rear bumpers mounted within certain height levels. Height limitations are governed by the new shipping weight of the vehicle; not the modified or altered weight. The maximum allowable heights between the pavement and bottom of the front and rear bumper, as provided by Section 316.251, Florida Statutes, are:
- Cars with a net weight of less than 2,500 pounds – 22 inches front and rear;
- Cars 2,500 pounds or more but less than 3,500 pounds – 24 inches front and 26 inches rear;
- Cars 3,500 pounds or more – 27 inches front; 29 inches rear;
- Trucks under 2,000 – 24 inches front; 26 inches rear;
- Trucks 2,000 pounds or more but less than 3,000 pounds – 27 inches front, and 29 inches rear;
- Trucks 3,000 pounds or more but not more than 5,000 pounds – 28 inches front; 30 inches rear.
Please Do not Tamper
It is illegal to tamper with, remove, or cause not to work, any pollution control device on your vehicle. Those who do are guilty of a first or second degree misdemeanor depending on the offense. Tampering with emissions control devices damages your vehicle and can cause the following:
- Increased air pollution.
- Lower gas mileage and less vehicle efficiency.
- More maintenance costs.
- Respiratory (breathing) difficulties.
Anti-Locking Brake System (ABS)
Anti-locking brakes prevent skidding and allow drivers to steer during an emergency, braking situation. ABS can help improve vehicle stability (avoiding spinouts), steering ability (directing the car where the driver wants to go) and stopping capability (distance needed to stop the vehicle). Many drivers learned the correct way to stop in an emergency situation where traction is lost and the vehicle slides is by pumping the brakes, while this is correct with conventional brakes, with ABS it is different. All drivers need to do with vehicles who have ABS is press down hard on the brake pedal, hold it and steer out of danger. In an emergency situation, ABS pumps the brakes for the driver and pumps the brakes at a much faster rate than the driver ever could. Drivers should be aware that removing steady pressure from the brake pedal or pumping the brakes will disengage or “turn off” the ABS. One of the most important benefits of ABS is that driver can steer the vehicle away from hazards while braking. Drivers should not turn the steering wheel hard or jerk the vehicle in one direction. Control of the vehicle can be maintained by steering where the driver wants to go. Drivers need to check that traffic is clear when deciding where to steer and always remember to steer back into the original lane as soon as the hazard is cleared. Vehicles can be equipped with two different types of ABS:
- Four-wheel-Passenger cars and some light trucks. Always remember to brake hard and steer. It is important to keep firm and constant pressure on the brake pedal while stopping.
- Rear-wheel-Only on some light trucks. It prevents the rear wheels from locking up so that the back end of the vehicle does not skid sideways. The front wheels can still lock up and the driver will lose steering control if this happens. In this situation, the driver should let up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to start rolling again to regain control. When the driver feels that he has regained steering control, the brake pedal should be again be firmly engaged.
Drivers can determine whether their cars have ABS by looking for a lighted ABS symbol on the dashboard right after starting the engine, checking the owners manual or asking the dealer.
There is a separate written test and road test for motorcycle operators. If you plan to operate motorcycles and vehicles with four or more wheels, you must take the written test and road test for motorcycles, and the regular written test and road test for automobiles. Extra information for motorcycle operators is available in a separate handbook. Ask for a copy of the motorcycle handbook if you will be operating a motorcycle. Read and study this manual and the motorcycle handbook before taking your license examination. All first time applicants applying for motorcycle endorsements who are under 21 years of age, must complete a department-approved motorcycle safety course before they can be licensed to operate a motorcycle. Contact your local Florida driver license office for school locations.
Persons riding bicycles or mopeds on a roadway have the same rights (with certain exceptions)and duties as drivers of motor vehicles. Bicycle riders will receive traffic tickets for traffic violations. Know and obey these laws:
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a backpack or sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.
- You may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier when you are in immediate control of the bicycle.
- Bicyclists and passengers under age of 16 are required to wear helmets approved by ANSI, Snell or other standard recognized by Florida. (Bicycle helmets are recommended for all ages)
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the bicyclist to stop within 25 feet when traveling from a speed of 10 miles per hour on a dry, level, clean pavement.
- A bicyclist on a sidewalk or crosswalk must yield right of way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
- On the roadway, check behind you before changing lanes.
- For use between sunset and sunrise, a bicycle must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.
- If you are not traveling at the speed of other traffic, stay on the the rightmost portion if the roadway except when passing, making a left turn, avoiding hazards or when a lane is too narrow for you and a car to share it safely.
- When operating a bicycle on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes, you may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.
- Do not ride two abreast when this will impede the flow of traffic.
- If you intend to make a left turn, you are entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made.
- In addition to the normal vehicular-style left turn, you may proceed in the new direction of travel.
- Signal your intent to turn to other vehicle operators by pointing in the direction you are going to turn.
- Do not wear headphones or any other listening device except a hearing aid while bicycling.
- Do not ride a bicycle when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Persons riding mopeds have the same rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles. Moped riders will receive citations for traffic violations. Know and obey these moped laws:
- You must be 16 years of age or older to operate a moped on a public road.
- Operators of mopeds must have the minimum of a Class E license. No motorcycle endorsement is required.
- Mopeds must be registered annually and a tag purchased.
- Mopeds may not be operated on bicycle paths or foot paths.
- No person may operate a moped at a speed greater than 25 MPH.
- Moped operators do not have to carry PIP insurance.
- Operators 16 years age or older are not required to wear helmets.
If you accept employment or engage in a trade, profession or occupation in Florida or if you enroll your children to be educated in a public school in Florida, the vehicle you own must have a Florida registration certificate and license plate. You must obtain the registration certificate and license plate within 20 days after the beginning of such employment or enrollment. You also must have a Florida Certificate of Title for your vehicle, unless an out-of-state financial institution holds the title and will not release it to Florida.
To get your license plate and registration certificate, you must prove that you own your vehicle and that you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage for your vehicle. You must prove ownership by showing your certificate of title. You must prove PIP coverage by showing an insurance identification card or other acceptable proof. The vehicle identification number (VIN) on any vehicle previously titled or registered in another state must be verified by one of several designated officials before the vehicle can be titled and registered in Florida. The VIN on any new vehicle purchased from an out-of-state dealer to be initially titled in Florida must also be verified.
Apply for title, license plates and registration at any tax collector’s office in Florida. The cost of your license plate will depend on the type and weight of your vehicle. Your vehicle must always have a current license plate and you must always have your vehicle’s registration when you are driving. If you buy a vehicle from a dealer in Florida, the dealer must apply for a certificate of title, certificate of registration and license plate for you. If you buy a vehicle from an individual, you must obtain the title from the individual and apply for a certificate of title in your name. You may apply for certificate of title, certificate of registration and license plate at the same time. You cannot get a license plate until you have a title to prove that you own the vehicle.
Vehicle license plates and registration must be renewed each year, on or before the birthday of the first owner listed on the registration form. Each time you renew, you must prove that you have the required insurance. You may renew by mail. Registrations expire at midnight on the birthday of the first owner listed on the registration form, except for:
- mobile homes – renew yearly by January 31.
- truck-tractors and semi-trailers – renew yearly by December 31.
- vehicles owned by companies and corporations, and some commercial vehicles – renew yearly by June 30.
For more information or assistance on motor vehicle title and registration, contact your local tax collector’s office.
On your road rules examination, you will be given 20 questions and asked to choose the right answers for each. During the written exam, you may not use books or notes, and you may not talk to anyone except the examiner. You should read each question carefully, and read each of the four possible answers. Choose the best answer. A sample question with the correct answer is shown below. The main reason for examining persons before issuing driver licenses is:
(X) To determine the applicant’s abilities, knowledge and skills. Your complete written examination will include 20 road signs and 20 questions on road rules. To pass, you must choose the right answers to at least 15 road signs and 15 road rules questions. Sample test questions are listed below. These questions will not necessarily appear on the examination. Answers to all of the sample questions can be found in this book.
- 1. What is the definition of a felony?
- 2. If you knowingly make a false statement in an application for a driver license or identification card, can you be fined and placed in prison upon conviction?
- 3. Can a person temporarily operate a farm tractor on the highway without a driver license?
- 4. How many forms of identification must you show the examiner when you apply for your first driver license or identification card?
- 5. If your name has been legally changed, how would you go about getting it changed on your driver license?
- 6. You must obtain a new license showing the new address within how many days of moving?
- 7. If you lose your Florida driver license and need a duplicate license, where do you apply for it?
- 8. If you failed to answer a traffic summons, would you be able to renew your license?
- 9. What would happen to the license of a driver who was involved in an accident and did not stop to help persons who were injured?
- 10. If you receive twelve points within twelve months, for how long will your license be suspended?
- 11. What are the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI)?
- 12. Both your judgment and vision are affected after drinking alcohol. Which is affected first?
- 13. What are the penalties for refusing to take a test to determine whether you are intoxicated?
- 14. What type of insurance must you have on motor vehicles with four or more wheels?
- 15. If your driver license is revoked for DUI or suspended for too many points, what type of insurance must you either purchase or prove that you had on the date of the violation or effective date of the suspension?
- 16. What are the penalties for littering?
- 17. If you hit a parked car and are unable to find the owner, what should you do?
- 18. When a crash results in property damages of any amount, must the driver notify the Florida Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s Department, or the City Police Department?
- 19. After a crash has been investigated by an officer, does the driver need to send a written report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles?
- 20. Who is required to wear seat belts when riding in the front seat of a car or a pickup truck?
- 21. If a fourteen-year-old front-seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt, who could be charged with the violation?
- 22. What is the maximum speed limit for passenger cars on a two-lane highway during the daytime?
- 23. What is the maximum speed limit in a residential area if there is no speed limit sign?
- 24. What is the maximum speed limit on an interstate highway on a clear day? In a rural area?
- 25. When are you driving too slowly; can you be issued a ticket?
- 26. What must you do when approaching a person who is riding or leading a horse upon or near the roadway?
- 27. What must you do when you see a pedestrian with a white cane in the street ahead of you?
- 28. To what ages does the Child Restraint Law apply?
- 29. When you are entering a highway or street from a private driveway and the way is clear, can you move forward without stopping first?
- 30. Are vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of school buses that have stopped to unload children on a divided highway with a dividing barrier required to stop?
- 31. When a school bus stops to unload children on a divided highway, should the vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus stop?
- 32. If a school bus stops to unload children on a four-lane highway divided only by a four-foot paved strip, must vehicles traveling in the opposite direction stop?
- 33. For how many feet before you start to turn should you begin your turn signal when you are driving on a highway?
- 34. Suppose you are driving on a four-lane highway. From which lane should you turn? Into which lane should you turn?
- 35. Is it a violation of the law to use turn signals to let other drivers know it is safe to pass?
- 36. Is an arm signal for a left turn made by extending the left arm straight out of the window?
- 37. When may you drive in the left lane of a road with four or more lanes with two-way traffic?
- 38. After passing a vehicle, you must return to the right side of the road before coming within how many feet of an oncoming vehicle?
- 39. At what places is it unlawful to overtake and pass?
- 40. Can a driver who crosses a solid line on the right of the center line of the highway be issued a ticket for the violation?
- 41. What is the recommended safe following distance?
- 42. Which way should you turn your wheels when parking facing uphill where there is a curb? Which way should you turn them where there is not a curb?
- 43. Can you park your car on a sidewalk, within an intersection, or on a crosswalk?
- 44. May you drive with just your parking lights on, in place of your headlights?
- 45. Are motor scooters whose engines have less than 150 cubic centimeter displacement allowed to be driven on an expressway?
- 46. What should you do if you drive past the exit on an interstate highway where you wanted to get off?
- 47. At what times should you use your headlights?
- 48. When approaching another vehicle from the rear at night, within how many feet must you dim your bright headlights?
- 49. Within how many feet of an oncoming vehicle should you dim your bright headlights?
- 50. Under what conditions must you use your headlights when driving in the daytime?
- 51. If you approach a red light and a traffic officer directs you to go through the intersection without stopping, what should you do?
- 52. What does a green arrow showing at the same time as a red traffic light mean you can do?
- 53. After a full stop at a red traffic light may a driver turn right if the way is clear?
- 54. What does a red traffic light mean? What does a flashing red traffic light mean?
- 55. Can you proceed with caution when you approach a flashing yellow light?
- 56. Where do you usually find “YIELD RIGHT-OF-WAY” signs posted?
- 57. If more than one vehicle is approaching a four-way stop sign and you are the first one to get there and stop, do you have the right to move forward first?
- 58. What does a “PAVEMENT ENDS” sign mean?
- 59. What does a solid yellow line to the right of the center line of the highway mean?
- 60. What does a double solid yellow line in the center of the highway mean? What does a double solid white line in the center of the highway mean?
- 61. What does a broken white line on the highway mean?
- 62. When the foot brake is pressed, which light must come on?
- 63. In addition to other equipment, is your vehicle required to have a white light that makes the license plate visible from 50 feet, a windshield wiper and a horn?
- 64. What is the maximum allowable height between the pavement and bottom of a front and rear bumper for a truck that weighs 4,000 pounds?
- 65. Are drivers allowed to wear headsets while operating a vehicle?
- 66. What rights and duties do riders of bicycles and mopeds have?
- 67. When a motorist preparing to make a right hand turn move into a bike lane?
- 68. What is the proper passing procedure for a motorist when a bicyclist is occupying too much space for you to share the lane?
- 69. What is the legal definition of a bicycle?
- 70. What is the proper way to use anti-lock brakes in an emergency situation?
- 71. What does anti-lock braking systems prevent when used in an emergency stopping situation?
Class D License
- Anyone who operates a truck or truck tractor that weighs 8,000 pounds or more but less than 26,001 pounds or is more than 80 inches wide.
- Farmers and drivers of authorized emergency vehicles who drive commercial motor vehicles, but are exempt from obtaining a commercial driver license, must obtain a Class D license.
All motor vehicles, with the exception of mopeds, must obey the same speed limits.See SPEED LIMITS.
A truck or any vehicle towing another vehicle may not follow within 300 feet of another truck or vehicle towing a vehicle. This law does not apply to overtaking and passing, and it does not apply within cities or towns.
By law, the following vehicles must be able to stop within the distances listed. Within 30 feet at 20 mph:
- single-unit vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
Within 40 feet at 20 mph:
- single-unit vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
- all buses.
- combination of two-axle towing vehicle (such as a truck tractor) and a trailer, with the trailer weighing 3000 pounds or less.
- all combinations of vehicles in tow-away operations.
Within 50 feet at 20 mph:
- all other vehicles except passenger vehicles with seating capacity of 10 people or less, including the driver.
Every trailer or semi-trailer weighing 3000 pounds or more must have brakes which can be operated by the driver in the towing motor vehicle. The brakes must be designed and connected so that they will automatically stop the trailer if it breaks away from the towing vehicle.
Buses, trucks, truck tractors and trailers must have the following equipment:
- Every bus or truck: On the rear, two reflectors, one at each side, and one stop light.
- Every bus or truck 80 inches or more wide: On the front, two clearance lamps, one at each side. On each side, two side marker lamps, one at or near the front and one at or near the rear. On each side, 2 reflectors, one at or near the front and one at or near the rear. These vehicles must also have electric turn signals if built after January 1, 1972.
- Every truck tractor: On the front, two clearance lamps, one at each side. On the rear, one stop light.
- Every trailer or semi-trailer weighing more than 3,000 pounds: On the front, two clearance lamps, one at each side. On each side, two side marker lamps, one at or near the front and one at or near the rear. On the rear, two clearance lamps, one at each side, and two reflectors, one at or near the front and one at/or near the rear. There shall also be two stoplights on the rear of these vehicles. One stoplight is permitted on vehicles built before January 1, 1972.
- Every pole trailer weighing more than 3,000 pounds: On each side, one side marker lamp and one clearance lamp (which may be in combination), to show to the front, side and rear. On the rear of the pole trailer or load, two reflectors, one at each side.
- Every trailer, semi-trailer or pole trailer weighing 3,000 pounds or less: On the rear, two reflectors, one on each side.
Reflectors must be mounted not less than 24 inches and not more than 60 inches above the ground. If the highest part of the vehicle is less than 24 inches, the reflector should be mounted at the top of the vehicle. The rear reflectors on a pole trailer may be mounted on each side of the load. Any required reflector on the rear of a vehicle may be part of the taillamp. Clearance lamps must be mounted on the permanent structure of the vehicle to show its extreme height and width. Side marker lights may be mounted at any height unless mounted in combination with clearance lamps. Then both must be able to be seen from front, side and rear.
The following rules apply to the drawbar or towing connection:
- It must be strong enough to pull all towed weight.
- It must not be more than 15 feet long unless you are towing poles, pipes, machinery, or other objects that cannot be easily taken apart.
- If a chain, rope, or cable is used as the towing connection, you must have a white flag at least 12 inches square attached to it.
You may not drive or move any loaded vehicle on the highway if the load is not secure. The load must not be able to drop, shift, leak, or otherwise escape.
- You must use a close-fitting cover when hauling loads which could fall or blow onto the roadway. Examples: dirt, sand, lime-rock, gravel, silica, trash or garbage.
- Every truck carrying logs or pulpwood must use proper equipment, including lock chains that will securely fasten the load.
No matter what kind of load you are carrying, you must have a rearview mirror that allows you to see the highway at least 200 feet behind you.
When a load extends to the rear 4 feet or more beyond the bed or body of the loaded vehicle, it must be clearly marked. Nighttime At night or when you cannot see clearly at least 1000 feet ahead, the following markers must be used:
- Two red lamps on the back of the load which can be seen from at least 500 feet to the rear.
- Two red reflectors on the rear which can be seen at night from all distances between 100 and 600 feet when directly in front of low-beam headlights. These reflectors should be placed to show the full width of the load.
- Two red lamps, one on each side of the load, which can be seen from at least 500 feet. These lamps should be placed near the end of the projecting load.
Daytime In the daytime, red flags at least 12 inches square must be placed on the projecting load where red lamps are used at night (extreme rear and sides).
Your vehicle must have directional signals under the following conditions:
- When the driver’s hand signals cannot be seen from both the front and rear because of the way the vehicle is built or loaded.
- When the nearest distance from the center top of the steering post to the outside of the cab, body or load is more than 24 inches.
- When the distance from the center top of the steering post to the rear limit of the body or load is more than 14 feet. (This applies to a single vehicle or combination of vehicles.)
Vehicles 80 inches or more wide or 30 feet or more long must carry warning devices when they are being operated on any highway outside a city or town or on any divided highway at night (from 1/2 hour after sunset until 1/2 hour before sunrise). This rule applies to such vehicles as trucks, buses, truck tractors, and vehicles towing house trailers. The following equipment must be carried:
- Three flares, three red electric lanterns, or three red emergency reflectors.
- Three red-burning fuses (unless lanterns or reflectors are carried).
These warning devices must be displayed when the vehicle is stopped on a roadway or on the side of a road outside a city or town for more than 10 minutes. The vehicle’s four-way flashers may be used until the warning devices can be placed. ANY VEHICLE USED TO CARRY FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS, COMPRESSED FLAMMABLE GASES OR EXPLOSIVES MUST NOT CARRY ANY FLARES, FUSES, OR OTHER SIGNALS PRODUCED BY FLAME. THESE VEHICLES MUST USE ELECTRIC LANTERNS, REFLECTORS, AND FLAGS ONLY.
warning device display: two-way roadway All disabled trucks, truck-tractors, and buses must display emergency warning signals as shown if parked outside the city limits of a municipality.
WARNING DEVICES REQUIREMENTS
- Able to be seen from 600′ under normal conditions at night.
- Built to burn for at least 12 hours in 5 mph wind.
- Able to burn in winds up to 40 mph.
- Able to withstand shock without damage.
- Able to be seen from Lanterns 600′ under normal conditions at night.
- Able to operate for at least 12 hours.
- Able to withstand shocks without damage.
- Able to reflect low-beam headlights from 100′ away to 600′ away
- Able to withstand shocks without damage.
- Able to burn at least 15 minutes.
- Meets specifications of The Bureau of Explosives (N.Y.)
- A red flag, not less than 12 inches square.
Nighttime On Two-Way Roadway.
- One 100′ ahead, one 100′ behind in the center of the lane where the vehicle is.
- One on traffic side 10′ to the rear or ahead of vehicle.
On Divided Highway.
- One 200′ to the rear, one 100′ to the rear in the center of the lane where the vehicle is stopped.
- One 10′ to the rear on traffic side.
Electric Lanterns-Nighttime-same as flares. Free-Standing Reflectors-Nighttime-same as flares. Fuses-Nightime-On Two-Way Roadway
- One lighted fuse, lantern or reflector should be placed on the traffic side of the vehicle right away. All other signals should be placed before the fuse burns out.
- 100’ahead and 100′ behind the stopped vehicle
The gross weight on the highway from the wheels of any one axle of a vehicle must not be more than 22,000 pounds. The total weight allowed on all axles of a vehicle or combination of vehicles is determined by the number of axles and the distance between them. Vehicles with longer wheel bases and 5 or more axles may weigh up to 80,000 pounds including tolerances. For more information, see Section 316.535, Florida Statutes, or contact the Florida Department of Transportation, Bureau of Weights and Safety, Douglas Building, Room 208, 2540 Executive Center Circle West, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450, or telephone (850) 488-7920.
- Maximum height of a vehicle including load: 13 feet, 6 inches.
- Maximum width of a vehicle including load: 96 inches (8 feet). On roads with traffic lanes 12 feet wide or more, vehicles may be 102 inches (8.5 feet). Maximum length including load overhang (load overhang over front or front bumper of vehicle cannot exceed 3 feet):
- Single unit, 2 axles – 35 feet
- Single unit 3 axles – 40 feet
Exam Questions The Class D License examination has 20 questions and 20 road signs. Some of the test questions will come from the list below; others will come from the Class E test questions in Chapter 5. You are allowed to miss not more than five questions and five road signs.
If you come upon an accident, activate the Emergency Medical System (EMS) to insure prompt response. Then apply four first aid rules:
- Protect yourself from possible injury or infection – use barrier devices such as gloves and a mask.
- Start the breathing. If the injured person has stopped breathing, start artificial respiration right away. Do not stop until another qualified person relieves you or the victim is breathing normally.
- Stop the bleeding. Most bleeding can be stopped by pressing down on the wound. If possible you should place a gauze pad, a clean cloth or even your fingers (if wearing protective gloves) will have to be used. Bleeding from an artery should always be stopped first. The blood from an artery will be bright red and will come out of the wound in spurts. If the blood is darker in color and flows evenly, it is from a vein. Once the gauze or cloth is in place – DO NOT REMOVE IT.
- Treat for Shock. Persons who have been injured may go into shock. When someone is in shock, all of the body functions slow down. Shock can be very serious. It can cause death. Shock may develop right after a crash or later. Injured persons must be treated for shock regardless of whether or not they appear to be in shock.
- Reassure the injured person. Your calmness will help. Do not give them anything to drink.
- Cover the person with blankets or coats to hold body heat. Have the person lie flat.
- Keep onlookers back so that the injured person has air.
- Keep their head as low as possible unless there is a head injury.
- Loosen tight collars to make breathing easier.
DO NOT MOVE AN INJURED PERSON IF THE PERSON CANNOT MOVE OR COMPLAINS OF PAIN IN THE BACK OR NECK OR HAS A HEAD INJURY.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE HELMET OF AN INJURED MOTORCYCLE RIDER. USE PRUDENT CARE AND GOOD JUDGMENT. WORK ONLY WITHIN THE SCOPE OF CARE YOU ARE TRAINED TO PROVIDE.