Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. A
driver must obey all traffic laws and be prepared to react to other
drivers and driving conditions.
Aggressive driving is the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner
that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property. Persons
doing any of the following may be committing acts of aggressive
red lights and stop signs.
on the shoulder of the road.
off another vehicle.
on brakes in front of a tailgater.
hand or facial gestures at other drivers.
Repeatedly honking the horn.
Repeatedly flashing of headlights.
Aggressive driving is a serious problem that is
responsible for many traffic accidents and fatalities. It is to your
benefit to avoid aggressive drivers and potentially dangerous
situations. If you encounter an angry or aggressive motorist:
Do not retaliate or in any way engage
the other driver. Get out of the way.
Do not make eye contact.
Keep your doors locked and your windows
Keep enough space between you and the
vehicle in front of you to pull out from behind.
Do not underestimate the other driver’s
potential for aggression.
Anyone can become an aggressive driver. Do not
let stress and frustration get the best of you while driving:
patient and courteous.
- Do not
drive when angry, overtired or upset.
extra time to get to your destination.
possible, change your schedule to avoid congestion.
- Listen to
relaxing music or books on tape.
other drivers the benefit of the doubt - all drivers make mistakes.
- Avoid all
conflict, even if you are right.
A driver must concentrate on the road and drive defensively.
Operating a vehicle safely demands that the driver concentrate on
driving. The person should be rested, calm and not under the
influence of alcohol or other drugs. One of the greatest hazards of
roadway driving is drowsiness or "highway hypnosis". Lack of sleep
or fatigue affects your ability to safely drive your vehicle. When
taking a long trip, avoid drowsiness by stopping frequently to drink
coffee, exercise or nap. Exercise your eyes by reading road signs or
shifting the focus of your eyes to different parts of the roadway.
Make sure you are properly rested.
DEFENSIVE DRIVING: Plan ahead for the unexpected. Always be
prepared to react to the other driver. Do not expect the other
driver to do what you think he or she should do. Do not think you
know what he or she is going to do. If you cannot avoid a crash,
remain calm and try to choose the least dangerous situation. For
example, running into a ditch is less dangerous than a head-on
collision. Also, your chances of survival are greater if your
vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
Following a vehicle too closely is called "tailgating". Use the
two-second rule to determine a safe following distance. Select a
fixed object on the road ahead such as a sign, tree or overpass.
When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, count
"one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two". You should not reach the
object before you count to one-thousand-two. If you do, you are
following too closely. Most rear-end collisions are caused by the
vehicle in back following too closely.
The two-second rule also applies to your speed
when you are on a good road and during good weather conditions. If
the road and/or weather conditions are not good, increase your
distance to a four- or five-second count. If you are being
tailgated, move to another lane or slowly pull off the road and
allow the vehicle to pass.
MAXIMUM SPEEDS: Driving too fast or too slowly may
create a dangerous situation. Regardless of the posted speed limit,
weather and traffic conditions may make it necessary to drive more
slowly. However, driving too slowly also can be dangerous. Your
speed should be adjusted for the conditions and match the flow of
traffic, as long as it does not surpass the maximum posted speed.
ability to stop your car safely should be considered when deciding
your speed. Consider the following:
How quickly you can react physically
The type and condition of the roadway.
It will be more difficult and take longer to stop on wet asphalt.
The kind of tires you are using and the
condition of the tread. Large, wide tires with good tread will stop
a vehicle faster than small, narrow tires with little tread.
The type, condition and adjustment of
The direction and speed of the wind. A
strong tail wind can make it very difficult to stop.
Vehicle design, weight distribution,
suspension and shock absorbers.
Crashes involving vehicles and trains can be prevented. Approaching
and crossing railroad tracks require drivers to take extreme
caution. Following are important laws and safety tips:
Railroad crossings are marked with one or more of the following
- A round railroad advance
warning sign means a crossing is ahead. In rural areas, this sign is
posted 750 feet before the tracks. It warns you to look, listen and
front of the railroad crossing, the pavement is marked with a large
X and two R’s. A solid yellow line means you may not pass another
vehicle as you near the tracks.
buck signs are posted at most tracks. The sign will indicate if
there is more than one track.
Flashing lights always mean a train is near. Always stop when the
lights begin to flash.
crossings also have gates. Always stop when the gates begin to
lower. It is against the law to drive through, around or under these
When crossing a railroad track, be especially careful! Drive as
though you expect a train on any track at any time.
SECOND TRAINS: More
than one train may be on the tracks. After one train has passed,
always look for a second train on another track before proceeding.
NEVER GET TRAPPED:
Sometimes you may be moving with a stream of vehicles across a
railroad track. Check carefully to make sure there is enough room
for your vehicle on the other side of the track. If there is not
enough room, do not cross the tracks.
NEVER SHIFT GEARS:
If your vehicle has a manual transmission, shift down before
reaching the tracks. To avoid stalling, you should not change gears
while crossing the track.
NEVER RACE A TRAIN:
Trying to race a train may cost you your life and those of your
passengers. DO NOT race a train to a crossing.
SOME VEHICLES MUST STOP:
Some vehicles must stop at railroad crossings. These include
commercial vehicles carrying people for hire, school buses and
vehicles carrying hazardous material. Be prepared to stop when you
are behind these vehicles.
Remember, crashes involving trains and vehicles
are usually caused by carelessness. Always stop, look and listen for
trains. Extra safety may save your life.
Weather can create a driving hazard. Special care must be taken in
fog, rain, high winds and winter driving conditions.
FOG: It is best not
to drive in fog. However, if you must drive in fog, take the
down. If you see headlights or taillights, slow down even more. A
driver may be driving in the center of the roadway or may be stopped
or barely moving.
with your headlights set on dim, or use fog lights..
not overdrive your headlights. Stay within the limits of your
vision. You may have to stop suddenly. If the fog is too dense, pull
off the roadway and stop. Do not drive at 5-10 mph.
your turn signal long before you turn, and brake early when you
approach a stop to warn other drivers.
RAIN: When rain
begins to fall lightly, water, dust, oil and leaves cause the
roadway to become slippery. When this happens, increase your
following distance. Take special care on curves and turns and while
braking. Your headlights must be on when operating your wipers.
Parking lights are not acceptable.
When rain begins to fall heavily, your tires may
"hydroplane". This means the tires are riding on a layer of water
and not on the roadway. Avoid hydroplaning by slowing down. If you
skid while hydroplaning, try to regain control of the vehicle.
Otherwise, release the accelerator and ride out the skid.
HIGH WINDS: Wind can be a difficult problem for all
drivers. Wind is especially difficult for drivers of trucks,
recreational vehicles, campers and trailers-in-tow. In high winds,
reduce your speed and make steering corrections when you go from a
protected area to an open area and when meeting large vehicles such
as trucks and buses. Heavy rain or sleet often accompanies high
winds. Be alert to wet or slippery areas and plan for those
conditions. In high winds, the Illinois Toll way System bans the
hauling of house trailers.
Winter is the most difficult driving season due to many reasons,
including ice, snow, lower temperatures and fewer daylight hours.
slower and increase your following distance. Roadway conditions may
vary depending upon the sun, shade or roadway surface.
Remove all snow and ice from your vehicle. Clear all windows, and do
not start driving until your windshield is defrosted and clear. Be
sure you have non-freezing windshield washer liquid and that your
headlights and taillights are visible.
sure your vehicle is maintained properly. Lights, brakes, windshield
wipers, defrosters, radiator and other parts should be in good
snow tires and/or chains (where allowed). Snow tires give you extra
traction, and chains increase safety on snow or ice packed roads.
Neither tires nor chains allow you to drive on bad roads at normal
slowly. Gentle braking in slow, steady strokes helps you find out
how much traction you have. Begin braking early when you come to an
intersection or a stop.
Approach bridges, shaded spots, overpasses and turns slowly. They
may remain icy after the rest of the roadway is clear and dry.
ahead for winter driving. Carry a blanket, food and other survival
equipment, such as a shovel, in your vehicle in case you become
stranded. If you become stranded, remain in your vehicle. Run your
engine only for brief times, and open your window to prevent carbon
monoxide poisoning. Make sure your vehicle tailpipe is free of snow
Crashes often happen when equipment fails. Your most important aid
is remaining calm. Equipment failures may include:
BLOWOUTS: A thumping
sound may be a warning of a blowout. If this happens, ease your foot
off the gas pedal and keep a firm grasp on the steering wheel. Do
not brake suddenly. Pull safely off the roadway and check your
LOSS OF A WHEEL:
React as you would with a blowout. Ease off the gas pedal and pull
off the roadway.
If you suddenly have no control of the steering wheel, ease your
foot off the gas pedal. Turn on your emergency flashers and allow
your vehicle to come to a slow stop. Brake very gently to prevent
your vehicle from spinning.
BRAKE FAILURE: If
your brake pedal suddenly sinks to the floor, pump it to build
pressure. If that does not work, use your emergency or parking
brake. To slow down, shift your vehicle into a lower gear.
If your headlights fail suddenly, try your emergency flashers,
parking lights and/or turn signals. Pull off the road. If your
lights begin to dim, drive to a service station or pull off the road
and seek help.
STUCK GAS PEDAL: If
the gas pedal becomes stuck, hook your toe under it to free it. If
it does not become free, shift your vehicle into neutral and brake
gently to slow down. If you have power steering or a locking
steering wheel, do not turn off the ignition, you will lose either
your power steering or your ability to steer.
BLOCKED VISION: If
for any reason your vision becomes blocked, roll down the side
window to see. Turn on your emergency flashers and then pull your
vehicle off the road.
Just as weather and equipment affect your safety, other driving
situations also require extra caution.
Expressways, toll roads, turnpikes and freeways are fast,
multiple-lane roads. The maximum speed limit is 55 or 65 mph.
Following are some tips for safe driving on expressways:
Getting ON expressways: When entering an
expressway, you will usually find a speed-change lane. This lane
allows you to gain the speed necessary before merging. You should
signal and look for an opening in the traffic, match traffic speed
and merge with traffic when safe.
Getting OFF expressways: Exits may be on
the right or left. Be sure to be in the correct exit and
speed-change lanes. Signal your intent, then slow down to make your
exit in the speed-change lane.
Driving on expressways: Be especially
alert when driving on expressways. Speed and traffic volume are
your rearview and side mirrors before changing lanes.
your turn signals when making lane changes.
- Go to
the next exit if you missed yours. Backing up on expressways is
against the law.
not follow too closely. Allow plenty of distance between you and the
right lane is for slower traffic. The left lane is used for faster
traffic and for passing.
not stop on the expressway. Pull off the road if you have a problem.
Lift your car's hood and turn on your hazard flashers. Do not walk
along the expressway.
Night driving is difficult because things may appear differently
than in daylight. Also, glare from lights may interfere with vision.
Courtesy and common sense should be used when driving at night.
overdrive your headlights. Always keep them clean and aimed
properly. Use them at dusk and dawn. Bright lights must be dimmed
500 feet before meeting an oncoming vehicle or 300 feet before
passing a vehicle.
street lights cause a lot of glare, dim your dashboard lights and
use your sun visor. Avoid using any other light inside your vehicle.
Roadway signs are more difficult to see at night.
edge lines and center lines of the roadway as guides.
not stop on the roadway. If you must stop, carry and use a red
Depending on the time of the year, it may be difficult to see other
drivers. Some rural intersections may be marked with warning signs
(stop, yield, etc.), while others may not. When approaching any
rural intersection, slow down and look both ways before entering the
intersection. Be safe and enter all rural intersections with
CURVES: Slow down
before beginning the curve. Do not brake suddenly as this may cause
skidding or locked wheels. Never drive over the center line.
When a vehicle is approaching head-on in your lane, slow down
immediately. Pull over to the right and sound your horn.
occurs when tires lose traction. If you skid, ease off the gas pedal
or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you feel you
have regained traction and then straighten your vehicle.
DRIVING OFF THE
PAVEMENT: If your wheels drift off the pavement onto
the shoulder, grip the wheel firmly, ease your foot off the gas
pedal and brake gently. After checking for traffic behind you,
gently steer back onto the pavement. Do not jerk your wheel to
correct your steering. This may cause you to drive into oncoming
FIRE: If smoke
appears, pull off the road. Turn off the engine, move away from the
vehicle and call the fire department. Vehicle fires can be very
dangerous. Do not fight the fire yourself.
WATER ACCIDENTS: If
your vehicle runs off the roadway into water but does not sink right
away, try to escape through a window. Because of differences in
water pressure, you may not be able to open your car door. If your
vehicle does sink, move to the back seat area where an air pocket
usually forms. Take a deep breath and exit from a rear window.
CELLULAR PHONE USAGE:
When using your cellular phone while driving, always remember your
number one responsibility is driving. Persons under age 18 are
prohibited from using a cell phone while driving except in an
emergency. If you do use a cellular phone, take the following
assess traffic conditions before calling.
familiar with the phone's keypad - use speed dial if possible.
calls when stopped, or have a passenger dial.
- Make sure
phone is within easy reach.
speaker phone/hands-free device.
intense, emotional or complicated conversations.
talking on phone in congested traffic or bad weather.
- Pull off
road to dial or complete a conversation.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly poison. Symptoms of carbon monoxide
poisoning are weariness, yawning, dizziness, nausea, headache and
ringing in the ears. You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by
having the exhaust system checked regularly. Also, leave the window
partially open when starting the engine, while driving the vehicle
or when running the engine while parked. Never run the engine in
If you are in a crash that results in power lines falling on your
vehicle, the danger of electrical shock exists. You should remain in
your vehicle until help arrives. However, if fire is an immediate
danger, you must jump clear of the vehicle. Do not allow any part
of your body to touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.
Always shut off your vehicle’s engine when refueling. Never smoke
around gas pumps. For safety purposes, remain with the pump while
refueling and avoid returning to vehicle during the pumping process.
Over by Law Enforcement
Slow down and pull over safely as soon as possible. If the police
vehicle is unmarked and you cannot identify the driver as a police
officer, drive slowly and carefully below the speed limit to a
well-lit, populated spot and pull over, or go to the nearest police
station, attempt to attract the attention of a uniformed officer or
make a call.
in the driver’s seat with both hands clearly in sight on the
steering wheel until the officer instructs you otherwise or the
traffic stop is complete. Do not exit your vehicle unless asked to
do so. Getting out of your car can be perceived as aggressive
behavior and a threat to the officer’s safety. Turn on your interior
light if stopped at night.
Comply with the officer’s request to see your driver’s license and
proof of insurance. If these items are in the glove box or under the
seat, inform the officer of that fact and then follow his directions
before retrieving them.
you are issued a ticket requiring a signature, sign it. Signing a
ticket is not an admission of guilt—only an acknowledgment of
receiving the ticket.
you are suspected of drunk driving, cooperate with the officer(s) on
the scene. If you refuse to submit to breath, blood or performance
tests, your refusal could result in loss of driving privileges.
out of the automobile only if asked to do so.
aware that you may have committed some minor traffic violation
without realizing it, there may be some problem with your vehicle of
which you are unaware, or you might be driving a vehicle that is
similar to one used in a serious crime. Many officers will not
provide specific reasons for the stop until they have your license
and insurance card in hand. Therefore, they will avoid having to
debate the reason for the stop before they receive these items from
you wish to offer an explanation of your circumstances when stopped,
do so before the officer returns to his vehicle. The officer cannot
void the ticket once it has been written. Cooperate during the
incident even if you believe you haven’t committed an offense. If
you believe you have been treated unfairly, present your case in
traffic court and not to the officer along the roadway.
are to be treated with dignity and respect by the officer. If you
believe that an officer has acted inappropriately during a traffic
stop or other encounter, you should report that conduct as soon as
possible to the officer’s superiors.
Officers are required to provide their names and badge number upon