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9. Auto Accidents: Causes & Prevention

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Darkness & Earthquakes

Darkness

When driving at night you should be careful and drive more slowly because you cannot see as far. Therefore, you will have less time to stop for a hazard.

You should only drive as fast as permits you to stop within the distance lighted by your headlights (overdriving your headlights) . Remember, at night, your headlights cannot follow the curves, hills, and dips in the road.

There are a lot of dark/blind spots in what you can see with your headlights at night, both high and low beams. You should reduce your speed as needed. Bad weather, unexpected actions by other drivers, and fatigue can also affect your driving and what you can see.

You must turn your headlights on 30 minutes after sunset and leave them on until 30 minutes before sunrise . You must also turn them on any time you can't see at least 1,000 feet ahead , or anytime that your windshield wipers are turned on. You should even use your headlights during the daytime if it is difficult to see.

Remember that it is always illegal to drive with only your parking lights on.

Use your high beams whenever possible, as long as it is not illegal or unsafe (e.g., use them on open country when other cars are not near or on dark city streets when no other traffic would be affected by your high beams).

Do not blind other drivers with your high beam headlights. Dim your lights by switching to low beams before you are 500 feet from a vehicle coming towards you. If you are following another vehicle, change to low beams when you get closer than 300 feet .

Don't look directly into oncoming headlights. When another driver does not turn off his or her high beams, look towards the right edge of your lane. Watch the oncoming car out of the corner of your eye. Do not try to get back at the other driver by using your own high beams or even flashing them. If you do, both of you may be blinded.

When leaving a brightly lit place, drive slowly until your eyes adjust to the darkness.

You should look carefully for motorcycles at night. They are harder to see because they only have one headlight. Drive as far to the right as possible if a vehicle with one headlight is approaching you. It could be a bicycle or motorcycle, but it could also be a car or truck with a burnt-out headlight.

Earthquake

Experiencing an earthquake while in a moving vehicle has been compared to driving on four flat tires.

If an earthquake occurs while you are driving:

  • gradually decrease speed and pull to the side of the road
  • do not stop on or under overpasses or bridges
  • do not park near trees or downed power lines, and avoid parking near buildings
  • stop the car and stay down on the floor until the shaking stops
  • remember that aftershocks may follow the earthquake
  • turn on your car radio and listen for broadcast emergency advisories
  • do not continue to drive until it is safe and avoid overpasses and bridges because they may have been weakened
  • if driving on the freeway, and if it is safe to do so, exit at the first opportunity
  • cooperate with public safety officials because they are trying to ensure your safety and the safety of others
  • Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 9 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. Teenage drivers have a total accident rate that is _____ times that of adults:


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    2. If you are distracted for one second, by a cell phone, passenger, or other distraction, at 30 mph you will travel how far "blindly"?


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    3. If you have a tire blowout:


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    4. To avoid tailgating, and help avoid a rear-end collision, you should give yourself a gap of how many seconds behind the car in front of you?


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    5. Failure to yield is the primary cause of what percentage of fatal and injury collisions?


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