Unit 3

 

Driver Ed. Course HOME

Better Drivers Public Web Site

Survey of the Handbook

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

Unit 5

Unit 6

Unit 7

FINAL EXAM

Prepare for Gov. Test

Learning to Drive

 

Better Drivers Driver Ed. Course - Unit 3

Managing Space and Time, and Collision Avoidance

Some Main Points:

  • As a driver, you need to be aware of what is going on around you. Try to have a "pillow" of space around your car at all times.
  • The easiest way to stay safe and take control of your driving space is to avoid following too close. Use the 2 second rule.
  • You want other drivers to know what you are doing next, so be predicatable in your actions. Always turn from and into the correct lane.
  • Practice the observation exercises in red below. You should actually practice good observation and decision-making before you begin driving. It's hard to drive at the same time as you are learning to notice everything in the driving scene, so practice good eye habits before you get your permit.
  • It also takes practice to learn to anticipate what the other drivers will do next, but it's worth the effort to learn. It helps you avoid crashes.
  • Crashes are usually the result of erratic driving and are not really accidents, but the inevitable result of sloppy drivers' failure to manage their space and time.

Now you can read the essay, or go straight to the practice questions.

 

 

 

 

It seems obvious that you do not want to crash your car. Did you know that collisions are not accurately called "accidents" any more? The correct term is "crash". That is because it is a crash, not an accident. Oh, sure he did not mean to crash, but when drivers fail to be deliberate about managing their time and space, the resulting crash should not be a surprise.

Kind of like pointing a loaded gun at your foot and pulling the trigger; when you go to the hospital, you really can't call it an accident.

Vehicles are moving around at different speeds in different directions and the drivers usually cannot talk to each other, so it is important to have a system for communicating and avoiding crashes. If we all just drive around as if we are the only driver, we will crash, and often with tragic results.

in the paragraph above, you may have noticed that I talked about time and space. in driving, you need to understand that

TIME = SPACE

If you need time to respond to the car in front of you, you give yourself that time by increasing the DISTANCE between that car and yours. How do you measure the distance when you are moving along the road? By using the 2-second rule! You measure your distance by making sure you are at least two seconds behind the other car.

So you see that time and space are interchangeable when you are driving. If you learn to manage your time and space, and keep your safety cushion  around your vehicle, you will avoid conflicts and crashes.

There are a couple of things I want to be sure you know about managing your time and space.

The first thing to know is that slower is better. Of course you can't go super slow on the highway, but we are talking about space and time. If you are going too fast, you cannot respond to situations ahead of you. So slow down and go the speed limit. The speed limit is designed for that particular stretch of road. If you go the speed limit, you will be able to see far enough ahead to avoid conflicts.

Another concept in avoiding crashes is this: Communicate and  Anticipate.

If you communicate to the other drivers, you will find most of them will give you time and space to complete your maneuver.

Part of communicating is moving in a way that makes it easy for other drivers to anticipate your next move. So they can make sure they are not at the same pace at the same time you are! (That's called a crash.)

If you want other drivers to have a fair chance to avoid a crash with you, you should be sure that everything you do is:

Predictable and Consistent.

That is why you do not change lanes in an intersection. That is why you use your turn signals. That is why you must go to a certain lane when you turn.

If you communicate and act in a predicatable way, other drivers can see what you are up to and stay out of your way.

Anticipate. The other part of the formula for avoiding crashes is to anticipate what the other drivers are going to do next.

It can be a challenge to figure out what other drivers are going to do if they do not signal their intentions. It is especially difficult if they are acting erratically. Erratic driving is an invitation to crash.

Assignment: When you are a passenger (or driving after you get your permit), play these three games. The first is a game I call:

"What's Next?" Look at other cars. Try to figure out what they are going to do next. It is a good idea to develop this skill of anticipation while you are a passenger. Then, when you begin to drive, you will automatically pay attention to the likely actions of the other drivers.

Will that truck cut out in front of you?

 A car is following too close. The car in the lane beside you pulls up a bit. Will the car on your back bumper jump out and pass?

You are in the right-hand lane. A pickup truck cuts in front of you without a signal. Will he turn right in front of you without signalling?

Another game : Identify the Erratic Driver. This is the guy you see in your rear-view mirror lurching in and out of lanes, cutting people off, driving too fast. What is going to do when he catches up with your car? It is an important part of your anticipation skills to identify the crazy drivers. Because they are the ones who will do something crazy in your driving space. Erratic drivers do not communicate or anticipate. They will ignore your signals and your consistent and predicatable actions. They also will make no attempt to let you know what they are up to next. Usually they are going so fast and angrily that the driver himself doesn't know what he is going to do next. You must be very careful because these drivers are counting on you for their safety. And what's even scarier is that they think they are good drivers.

There are enough erratic drivers on the road already. Don't be another one.

What is the erratic driver going to do next? __________________

answer: something erratic.

Who is likely to something crazy and unexpected in your vicinity? ____________________

answer: the erratic driver.

Now do you see why you should identfy the erratic driver? it is part of the skill of Anticipation.

A game similar to What's Next is called "What If ".

What if that car turns left?

What if the car in the second lane changes lanes to the right in the middle of the intersection just as you make a turn at the red light?

What if that kid runs out into traffic in front of you?

What if that guy falls off his bicycle?

What if that light turns red? Can I stop?

What if that pickup goes through the red light?

Are you ready to respond to any of these things happening? What wold you do if one of these things happened? Are you prepared, or just hoping nothing unexpected ever happens?

Can you see why this game is so important? Do it while you are a passenger. It is difficult to try to learn this while learning how to drive. Since these games are about SEEING and RESPONDING, it is really a part of the decision-making set of skills you need to be a good driver . And you do not need to be actually driving to practice and hone these important skills; you can do it from the passenger seat.

NOTE: The three games above are extrememly important because they will make you a much better driver than the average. I do not think the majority of drivers actively and consciously anticipate as much as they should.

This assignment is SIX hours of the 32 hour course. 2 hours for each excercise.

In just about any sport or active occupation, you must be aware of your surroundings if you want to be successful and safe. Logging, working on a fishing boat, police work, combat, pilot, football, hockey, etc. You cannot be good at these things if you are not habitually active in observing and responding to your surroundings, including to the sides and behind. Driving is obviously an activity in which your safety depends on your awareness of your surroundings. Be deliberate about building these skills.

Good driving is a function of decision making. Good decision making is based on good observation; knowing what is going on around you and what is likely to happen next is the most important skill you can cultivate if you want to be a safe driver. No amount of driving skill can make up for a driver's lack of observation.

Managing Space and Time, and Collision Avoidance questions:

Look below for answers.


21. Proper following distance can be calculated by:

a. Following 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front

b. Maintaining a distance of 1 car length for every ten miles per hour of speed.

c. Counting 3 seconds behind the other vehicle if the weather is bad

d. A and B above

e. A, B, and C above

 


22. The maximum speed limit on Guam is:

a. 35 mph

b. 45 mph

c. 25 mph in residential areas

d. B and C above

e. A and C above


23. Speed limits on Guam are:

a. 35 mph if not posted

b. 45 mph in some areas where posted

c. 15 mph in residential areas

d. Governed by the Basic Speed Law

e. All of the above


24. The Guam Basic Speed Law means:

a. You must always obey the posted speed limit

b. You must obey the speed limit and adjust your speed for the conditions

c. You can go as fast as you want as long as you are responsible for your actions

d. Always go slow to be safe

e. All of the above


25. You are traveling on an unlined, 2 lane residential road. There is a car approaching from the opposite direction and there are children bouncing a ball on the side of the road on your side. What should you do?

a. Stop and yell at the kids.

b. Speed up to get past the kids safely before the other car gets there.

c. Slow down to let the other car pass, then go slowly past the kids

d. Swerve around the kids and hope the other car stops for you.

e. None of the above

 

26. A truck in front of you has dropped a box into the road. You should:

a. Apply the brakes as quickly as possible.

b. Brake and swerve while honking.

c. Cover the brake and go around the obstacle if possible.

d. Run over it if it is small enough.

e. Any of the above


27. If a big truck is signaling a right turn, but seems to be turning to the left, you know that:

a. The truck driver is probably drunk or sleepy and is using the wrong signal.

b. There is no reason to pay attention to the signal.

c. He is going to turn right at the next intersection

d. The driver is preparing to make a wide right turn and you had better stay out of his blind spots.


28. When changing lanes, you must:

a. Signal for 50 feet and look in the mirrors before changing position.

b. Signal for 100 feet, check mirrors, then check your blind spot by looking over your shoulder.

c. Begin to change lanes, and then look in the mirror to see if you are going to hit another car.

d. Glance in the mirror and then you can change lanes if no one is in the way.

e. Slow down before trying to decide what to do


29. You should never:

a. Change lanes in an intersection

b. Stop at a yellow light

c. Parallel park on the left side of a road

d. Travel at a speed that is below the posted speed limit

e. All of the above


30. A traffic light that has just turned yellow means:

a. You should hurry before it turns red.

b. You are allowed to proceed as long as you think you can make it before the light turns red.

c. Stop if you can and if it is safe to do so.

d. A red light will be shown immediately thereafter.

e. C and D above

 

 


 


***********************

 

Answers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21. Proper following distance can be calculated by:

a. Following 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front

b. Maintaining a distance of 1 car length for every ten miles per hour of speed.

c. Counting 3 seconds behind the other vehicle if the weather is bad

d. A and B above

e. A, B, and C above

 

Answer is E. All three of these are formulas for establishing a correct and safe following distance. Of course, more distance is better, so if you feel safer with a 3-second space in normal conditions, go for it. It's safer.

Back to Q.

22. The maximum speed limit on Guam is:

a. 35 mph

b. 45 mph

c. 25 mph in residential areas

d. B and C above

e. A and C above

The book says the answer is A. 35 mph is considered the maximum speed limit on Guam. Any speed posted higher than 35 is an exception.

 Back to Q

 

23. Speed limits on Guam are:

a. 35 mph if not posted

b. 45 mph in some areas where posted

c. 15 mph in residential areas

d. Governed by the Basic Speed Law

e. All of the above

The answer is E. 35 is default speed limit. But it is 45 in some areas where posted, 15 in housing areas, and always governed by the Basic Speed Law, which instructs you to be aware of conditions and adjust your speed accordingly.

 

Back to Q


 

24. The Guam Basic Speed Law means:

a. You must always obey the posted speed limit

b. You must obey the speed limit and adjust your speed for the conditions

c. You can go as fast as you want as long as you are responsible for your actions

d. Always go slow to be safe

e. All of the above

The best answer is B.

A is true, but is not the point of the Basic Speed Law. B is a more complete and correct answer. C and D are "garbage" answers.

 

Back to Q


25. You are traveling on an unlined, 2 lane residential road. There is a car approaching from the opposite direction and there are children bouncing a ball on the side of the road on your side. What should you do?

a. Stop and yell at the kids.

b. Speed up to get past the kids safely before the other car gets there.

c. Slow down to let the other car pass, then go slowly past the kids

d. Swerve around the kids and hope the other car stops for you.

e. None of the above

The answer is C. In this situation, you must separate the hazards and deal with them one at a time. You do not want to be passing the kids at the same time the other car is crowding you from the other side of the road. Adjust your speed and manage the hazards separately. First, let the car pass, then, slowly go around the kids.

Notice the word "swerve". In the lesson about passing a written test, you were advised to avoid abrupt words like swerve. I also think that the word "hope" is a red flag. You need to be sure of what is happening. You need to take control. You must never "assume" or "hope" that everything will be OK. It is your responsibility to be certain your actions are safe.

 

Back to Q


26. A truck in front of you has dropped a box into the road. You should:

a. Apply the brakes as quickly as possible.

b. Brake and swerve while honking.

c. Cover the brake and go around the obstacle if possible.

d. Run over it if it is small enough.

e. Any of the above

 

This is from a video we used to have. C. is the best answer. Again, swerve is not the best course of action, neither is ignoring something. Now if it's a refrigerator that was dropped in the road, you better hit the brakes. And if that's the case, I "hope" you were not following too close!

But the best answer is to cover the brake and steer around the obstacle.

 Back to Q


27. If a big truck is signaling a right turn, but seems to be turning to the left, you know that:

a. The truck driver is probably drunk or sleepy and is using the wrong signal.

b. There is no reason to pay attention to the signal.

c. He is going to turn right at the next intersection

d. The driver is preparing to make a wide right turn and you had better stay out of his blind spots.

 

Answer is D. A big truck or bus may need to turn wide. That means he may actually turn the wheel to the left before cranking it all the way to the right. To a beginner or distracted driver, this may look like the truck is making a left turn.

Do not get on the right side of this vehicle. You will get run over.

Back to Q

28. When changing lanes, you must:

a. Signal for 50 feet and look in the mirrors before changing position.

b. Signal for 100 feet and check your blind spot by looking over your shoulder.

c. Begin to change lanes, and then look in the mirror to see if you are going to hit another car.

d. Glance in the mirror and then you can change lanes if no one is in the way.

e. Slow down before trying to decide what to do

Answer is B. Refer to lesson on changing lanes.

Back to Q


29. You should never:

a. Change lanes in an intersection

b. Stop at a yellow light

c. Parallel park on the left side of a road

d. Travel at a speed that is below the posted speed limit

e. All of the above

This one seems tricky, but if you look at the answers one-by-one, you will see they are all things you are allowed to do except A.

A. is the correct answer. You are supposed to stop at a yellow light if you safely can. Yellow light does not mean "proceed with caution"; a flashing yellow light means proceed with caution. A solid yellow light means STOP if you can because a RED light is NEXT.

You may NOT change lanes in an intersection. This is dangerous for many reasons, and is a terrible habit. Why do people change lanes in an intersections? I mean, what are they trying to accomplish? Almost every time someone changes lanes in the middle of an intersection, it is because they are passing. Their only goal is to GO FASTER. As we have discussed repeatedly, this is not a good reason to risk the lives of everyone around you. Changing lanes in an intersection is a dangerous action and will not be tolerated on the driving test. And again, it is a terrible habit that reduces your long-term safety.

 

Back to Q


 

30. A traffic light that has just turned yellow means:

a. You should hurry before it turns red.

b. You are allowed to proceed as long as you think you can make it before the light turns red.

c. Stop if you can and if it is safe to do so.

d. A red light will be shown immediately thereafter.

e. C and D above

Answer is E. Discussion above. #29. During the actual driving lessons, I have had far too many students slow down for a yellow light and slowly proceed through the red light. If you think a yellow light means slow down and go through the red light, I will not issue a certificate.

Be sure you know the difference beween a yellow light and a flashing yellow light.

 

 

 Question? Email us.

betterdrivers@gmail.com   Please include your name and date of birth so we know who you are. Thanks.

Now go to Unit 4.