DONE - Chapter 9. Major Traffic Laws 3 - Part 3

Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course: Chapter 9. Major Traffic Laws - Part Three

This chapter covers the following topics

9.3. Defensive Driving

Section 9.3. Defensive Driving

Getting from one point to another is like a game plan for a football team. You have to plan ahead to reach your goal, and you have to be ready for the little emergencies that might trip you up. The term, "defensive driving" is just common sense driving. It's a strategy for survival.

It's important that you know the rules of the road. But simply knowing the rules doesn't make you a safe driver. To become a safe driver, you must practice defensive driving techniques. This means perfecting your powers of observation, your traffic safety attitudes, your courtesy to other drivers, your communication abilities and your overall driving skills.

Keys to becoming a successful defensive driver:

Control your emotions - Remain calm. Don't let other drivers control your emotions.

Look ahead - Give yourself a 10- to 15-second lead time, about the time it takes to travel a city block, and you'll prevent many emergencies. Scan the road for potential hazards - a rolling ball suggests there may be children chasing after it. A car pulled into a parking space might suggest that a door is about to open. Cars could emerge suddenly from a parking lot exit. Avoid momentary distractions. If you must look away from the road, find a safe moment, and only take a brief glance. If you are driving in an unfamiliar area, have a passenger hold the map and navigate for you.

Don't tailgate - Maintain a two- to three-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. If you're on the highway or driving in bad weather conditions, increase your following distance to three to five seconds. Never use tailgating to express your anger or frustration. It's senseless and it puts others at risk. If you're being tailgated, don't take it personally: stay calm, and either slow down or change lanes to let the tailgater pass.

Give yourself room to maneuver - Have an escape plan. Your car should be in a position that gives you the most options for maneuvering in case of an emergency. If you need to stop ahead, start as early as possible, and keep an eye out for brake lights in adjacent lanes. Most likely they mean that you'll have to use your own brakes very soon.

Never insist on the right of way - Even if you think you have it.

Always ask yourself, "What if..." - "What if someone cuts in front of me?" "What if the car in front makes a sudden stop?" "Am I ready for the next move?" If any of these questions makes you think twice, adjust your speed or change your position in traffic. Do whatever you can to reduce the risk of hazard. For example, if you see a long line of cars approaching, be prepared to brake and move into the right lane in case a car tries to dart into your lane to pass you.

Stay alert - Keep all your senses engaged in driving. Your hearing is more important than you might realize. For instance, it can alert you to a car that's in your blind spot. Don't play your stereo so loud that you cannot hear outside your car and don't ever wear headphones. That's dangerous and against the law.

Passing - Never overtake or pass another vehicle if the line on your side of the road is solid yellow, or if you are at an intersection, or if a "Do Not Pass" sign is posted. You should have clear visibility for at least 1,000 feet. Don't pass on hills, around curves, if you can't see, or within 100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, tunnel, intersection, or railroad crossing.

Remember, passing is a hazardous maneuver, so before passing, ask yourself:
  • Is passing illegal in this situation?
  • Is my visibility limited?
  • Is an oncoming vehicle in the left lane too close?
  • Are there vehicles directly in front of the car I want to pass?
  • Will I need to exceed the posted speed limit to pass?
  • Are there side roads from which traffic could emerge suddenly?
If you answered no to these questions, you are ready to pass:

  • 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.

The Big Picture

You must have extremely good seeing habits while driving. This means you must be aware visually of all your surroundings when driving. Do you know what the most common excuse is among people who get into a crash? "I didn't see it." People are driving along, when all of a sudden, a car appears and they get into a crash!

People who are not driving defensively look down over the dashboard at the vehicle in front of them. When you look down over the dashboard you get "tunnel vision." It's like looking through a cardboard tube. You only see what's directly in front of you. No wonder people get hit from the sides! Try this. Get the center piece of cardboard from two rolls of paper towels. Look through the cardboard tubes. Notice how you're not able to see what's on each side. That's what you see when you look down over your dashboard.

Here are some techniques to improve your ability to see everything that's around you while driving.

First, "Aim high." Aim your eyes upward so you can see more of the road. Try to see at least 10 cars ahead of you. If you're behind a van, truck or a vehicle with tinted windows, change lanes when it is safe to do so. It will make a world of difference.

Second, keep your eyes moving from side to side. Never fix your eyes on the center line. Make sure you check your mirrors every three to five seconds. You may see a motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian on one side. If you don't keep your eyes moving, you might not see that person.

Third, look at the "Big Picture." The big picture is identifying everything on the road that's a potential hazard to you as a driver. As an alert driver, you're able to see everything. You see a car about to pull out in front of you. You watch carefully because you know the vehicle might pull out at any second. There are some children kicking a ball around on the side of the road. The ball may roll out into the street and a child may chase it. There's a motorcycle coming up really fast. Remember, if you see a motorcycle, bicycle or children around your vehicle, watch them carefully until they're gone.


  • Keep your eyes up
  • Look at least ten cars in front of you
  • Look side to side
  • Keep your eyes moving
  • Don't fix your eyes on the centerline or on the vehicle in front of you
  • Keep a watchful eye out for potential hazards
  • Look in your rearview and side view mirrors every three to five seconds

Get the "Big Picture."


Center Turning Lane

If a street has a left turn center lane, you must use it when you turn left. The center turn lane, when available, may not be used to pass another vehicle.

To turn left from the street, drive completely inside the center left turn lane. Don't stop part way into the lane with the rear of your vehicle blocking traffic. Turn only when it is safe. Look for vehicles coming towards you in the same lane as they start to make their left turns.

When turning left from a side street or driveway, wait until it is safe, then drive into the center left-turn lane. Signal before moving into regular traffic. Enter traffic only when it is safe. You may drive across a center left-turn lane.

Examples of Left and Right Turns

The numbers on the cars in the illustrations refer to the numbered sentences below.

1. Left turn from a two-way street. Start the turn at the left- hand edge of the lane closest to the middle of the street. You may complete the turn in the left lane of the cross street (as shown by the arrows) if it is safe to do so. You must use a left-turn lane if there is one. A left turn from the next lane may be made if signs or arrows show it is allowed.

2. Right turn. The automobile is turning correctly. It began the turn in the lane nearest the right-hand curb. It will end the turn in the lane nearest the right-hand curb. Do not swing wide into another lane of traffic. You may start a right turn from other than the far right lane only where pavement or overhead markings show that using that lane for a right turn is permitted.

3. Left turn from a two-way street into a one-way street. Start the turn from the far left-hand portion of your side of the road.

4. Left turn from a one-way street into a two-way street. Start the turn from the far left-hand portion of your side of the road. Turn into the lane shown by the arrows.

5. Left turn from a one-way street into a one-way street. The turn must be started from the left-hand portion of the road. Watch for bicycles between your vehicle and the curb, because they can legally use the left turn lane for their left turns.

6. Right turn from a one-way street into a one-way street. After starting your turn in the far right lane, your turn will end in the lane nearest you. Sometimes signs or pavement markings will allow you to turn right from a lane next to the far right lane (shown by *).

7. Turn at an "observe" intersection from a one-way into a two-way street (unless otherwise marked). Through traffic has the right-of-way. You may turn either right or left from the center lane. Watch for vehicles and bicycles inside your turn.

Other Types of Turns:

Right Turn Against a Red Light

Make a full stop for a red traffic light at the limit line, if there is one, or before entering the intersection. If there is no sign which prohibits a right turn on the red light, you may turn right, being careful that you do not interfere with pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles moving on their green light.

Left Turn Against a Red Light on a One-Way Street

Make a full stop for a red traffic light at the limit line, if there is one, or before entering the intersection. On a one-way street, you may turn left into a one-way street where traffic moves left if there is no sign which prohibits the left turn. If the light is red, be very careful that you do not interfere with pedestrians, bicyclists, or vehicles moving on their green light.

No Turn Against a Red Arrow

A right or left turn may not be made against a red arrow.


Legal U-Turns

When you make a U-turn, you turn around and go back the way you came.

  • Make the turn only from the far left lane on your side of the road.
  • If the street has a center left-turn lane, begin your U-turn in that lane, provided there are no vehicles to your left.
  • At an intersection, you may make a U-turn from the left turn lane on a green light or green arrow, unless a "No U-turn" sign is posted.

Before you make a U-turn on a divided highway, be sure you won't drive over or across any dividing section, curb or strip. This includes:

  • Double lines marking a center divider, except through an opening provided for turns.
  • The unpaved median in the middle of the freeway.

Illegal U-Turns

Never make a U-turn on a highway by crossing a curb, or strip of land, or two sets of double lines.


  • Where you cannot clearly see in each direction because of a curve, hill, rain, fog, or other reason.
  • Where a "No U-Turn" sign is posted.
  • When vehicles may hit you.
  • On a one-way street.
  • In front of a fire station. Never use a fire station driveway to turn around.

Anytime you're turning, follow this simple procedure:

  • Signal to let others know of your intentions
  • Move into the proper lane from which to turn
  • Yield to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians
  • Complete the turn into the proper lane

What to Do if You're Involved in a Traffic Crash

Your chances of being involved in a crash will be significantly reduced if you use the tools you've just learned. Here are some things to do if you are ever involved in a crash.

First, you must stop - unless you're in the line of oncoming traffic, stop. If you're in the line of oncoming traffic, pull off onto the nearest shoulder on the road and stop. You are breaking the law if you do not stop at the scene of a crash.

Move your car - away from the traffic flow and warn oncoming traffic, if possible. You should turn on your emergency flashers and place flares or safety triangles behind your vehicle.

Check for any injuries - try to make the injured person as comfortable as possible, but do not move the injured person unless they are in imminent danger. Moving an injured person can result in more serious injury.

If the injured person is bleeding:

  • Cover the wound with a piece of clothing or whatever is available.
  • Apply pressure and elevate the wound above the heart, unless doing so causes pain.
  • Keep the injured person warm and lying down in case they go into shock.
  • Try to get medical help as quickly as possible; use a cell phone or flag down someone who has a cell phone or a CB radio.
  • If that fails, ask someone else to go for help and call the police.

Exchange information - with the other driver and passengers. You should exchange names and addresses, driver license information, names of insurance companies, and vehicle registration information. If you're involved in a collision with a parked vehicle, you must leave this information on or in the vehicle, such as on a sheet of paper placed under the windshield wiper blade. Make sure you have accurate information, including the license plate numbers of all the vehicles involved. Take pictures if you have a camera. Get names or business cards of witnesses you may need to verify the events of the crash; not doing so may result in hit-and-run charges against you.

Getting your license is very exciting and the beginning of a more independent lifestyle. But along with the independence and excitement, you must realize that driving a motor vehicle is a huge responsibility. The choices you make before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can sometimes be a matter of life or death to you, a family member, a friend or a complete stranger. A decision to drink or take drugs and get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can only have a negative impact on your life.



Florida Drug and Alcohol Test (TLSAE) Course:

Florida TLSAE/Drug & Alcohol 4 hour Course Online

Who is required to take this 4-hour drug and alcohol course?

This is a first-time drivers ed course for new aspiring drivers. The state of Florida requires all new drivers take a 4-hour drug and alcohol course. If you want your Permit License you must take this course. You can take the DATA course when you are 14 1/2. You can sign up right now at our website. Our course is easy and fun!
  •     Florida 4 hour first-time drivers course also referred as:
  •     TLSAE - Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education
  •     DATA - Drug Alcohol Traffic Awareness course
  •     DATE Drug Alcohol Traffic Awareness Education course
  •     ADAPT - Alcohol Drugs Accident Prevention Training
  •     Drug & Alcohol Course or Drug and Alcohol Class
  •     Florida Permit Test or Florida Permit Exam Course
  •     The Permit Test is also known as the DMV Exam or DMV Test
Florida first time driver course required to get a Florida drivers license. Florida first time driver courses teach drivers how drugs and alcohol affect driving,. In that situation you have to go home, make a new appointment and return the DMV. Every new driver is required to take a Florida TLSAE course.

Enroll your Florida 4 hour drug and alcohol course online and meet your learner's permit requirement.

Take Your FL Drug & Alcohol Test. FL DMV Authorized. Get Started Now!