No car can make you a safe driver: only you can do that. To help you do that, we'll take a deep dive into the importance of the laws surrounding the driving privilege. Like cars, these laws have evolved and adapted over time.
Understanding the laws and reasons behind them is an important part of being a skilled and safe driver.
We'll also investigate the process of becoming a responsible Florida driver. There are a lot of important stages in this process, so it's important to have a roadmap.
Finally, you'll see a movie that will show some of the unique challenges faced by young drivers across the nation.
Let's get started!
Because driving is such a central part of our culture, it may be easy for you to take the automobile for granted. In fact, the modern car is a sophisticated machine that relies on ingenious technologies innovated over the course of more than a century.
The most well-known American manufacturers of steam-driven automobiles were the Stanley brothers of Massachusetts. They produced their Stanley Steamers from 1897 until after World War I.
Within a few years, however, American manufacturers would begin to mass produce cars with internal-combustion engines. These men included Henry Ford, who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903, proclaiming, "I will build a car for the great multitude."
The United States has been fundamentally transformed by the coming of cars. Many cultural shifts have been made possible by the automobile, including:
- Increased mobility of the US population
- Accelerated development of remote areas
- Major population growth in urban areas
- The explosion of suburbs
- Increased access to goods and services, and to better education and health care
- The replacement of brick streets with asphalt roads
The automobile industry has also been a powerful force driving the American economy. Countless people work for automobile manufacturers directly, or for the automotive industry indirectly.
These indirect jobs include developing new technologies, producing individual parts, repairing existing cars, and even producing laws to govern automobile use.
Ever since there have been cars on the road, there has been the problem of traffic. Who should have priority on the road? How do we make sure that the rights of everyone on the road are as protected as possible? How do we make sure everyone's physical health is protected, too? When two cars seek to proceed in incompatible ways, who has the right-of-way?
All of these questions need well-thought-out answers.
There are traffic laws governing the speed you must travel at, the maneuvers you may make on the road, and the things you may (and may not) do behind the wheel. There are traffic laws that change depending on the time of day or the time of year.
If you haven't thought things through, it may sometimes seem like there are too many traffic laws. After all, you might think that there are many other human activities where thousands of people must work in coordination, but these are rarely as regulated as driving. You might even conclude that ignoring one law occasionally won't be that bad. But you'd be wrong: dead wrong.
The reason you must follow each and every traffic law is simple: a motor vehicle is a deadly weapon. Controlling a motor vehicle is a more complex task than many you will do, and the consequences of a single mistake can be much more severe than the consequences would be in most circumstances.
Indeed, one reason that penalties for traffic violations are so severe is to provide drivers with obvious incentives to avoid behaviors that will put other drivers at risk.
When driving, you are always surrounded by other road users. Drivers. Pedestrians. Bicyclists and motorcyclists—they're everywhere! They are present even when out of your direct view, concealed by your car's blind spots, hard to see from your position in the driver's seat, or obscured by other obstacles.
Be ready to share the road. Traffic laws exist so that all these road users can share the road in a safe and responsible manner.
Without right-of-way laws, how would you know if it was safe to proceed when you arrived at an intersection? How would you be able to predict what other drivers were going to do?
By making sure that all drivers follow the same set of rules and know to respond to a given situation in the same way, traffic laws ensure that all drivers have a common understanding of how they should act on the road. This is why we are able to drive with confidence that another driver isn't about to do something unexpected.
Be prepared for other drivers' mistakes by maintaining a considerate and courteous attitude on the road. Courtesy improves the interaction between drivers and keeps traffic moving.
Millions of people are able to use Florida roads every day because drivers generally abide by the rules of the road and maintain a respectful attitude towards each other. When everyone drives appropriately, it's easier for each driver to focus on his or her own driving. This keeps traffic moving in an orderly and efficient manner.
In the United States, learning to drive is often more than just acquiring a new skill: it's a rite of passage. Being able to drive brings with it new freedoms, new experiences, and new opportunities.
Driving is such an essential aspect of the American way of life that it's easy to take for granted how much work goes into making sure the roads remain safe for everybody. Yet it's important to remember that this love of driving is shared by millions of Americans, and we all must share the road together.
One of your responsibilities as a driver is to know the rules that govern driving in Florida. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issues a handbook that discusses the specific rules that Florida drivers are required to obey. You can get a copy of the Florida Drivers Handbook by visiting your local drivers license office or clicking here.
Whether you are driving in Florida or another state, you will be held responsible for any traffic violation you commit, even if you didn't know your actions were against the law.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse!
Remember that when you obtain your license, you have not proven that you are an excellent driver. You have only demonstrated that you have the minimum level of skills necessary to be allowed to drive on public roads.
Even after you have earned your license, you will still be considered a novice driver.
It is generally thought that a person can only become as skilled as an "average" driver after having personally driven over 30,000 miles.
There are many things about the act of driving and many aspects of your own responses that you will not truly appreciate until you have been a driver for a long time.
Driving is not a right. Driving is a privilege.
Florida grants the privilege of using its roadways only to those drivers that prove themselves to be safe, courteous, and competent enough to use them without posing an unnecessary risk to other drivers.
In this course, you'll learn the step-by-step fundamentals of safe vehicle operation, the principles of defensive driving, and the complexities of visual perception in traffic.
Our course emphasizes the proper and routine use of seat belts. Seat belt use is mandatory in Florida, and safety restraint systems have a dramatic effect on reducing injury and death in vehicle collisions. We will give you the facts about this and more.
Speed limit signs and laws are easy to understand, yet speed violations make up a high percentage of total citations. In addition, speeding violations are responsible for over 10,000 fatalities every year.
In this course, we emphasize responsible judgment in selecting driving speed as a central principle of good driving habits. Always remember that the Basic Speed Rule prohibits the operation of a vehicle at a speed greater than is safe under prevailing traffic and road conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit.
To be prepared for the situations you'll encounter on the road, you must always maintain the appropriate driving attitude whenever you're behind the wheel. As a driver, you must be positive, attentive, and courteous.
Driver distraction and road rage are growing problems among drivers of all ages. We'll explain why these behaviors are so dangerous and consider effective ways to avoid them.
Perhaps the single most dangerous driving practice is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even familiarity with the rules of the road and defensive driving techniques won't do you any good if you're seriously impaired by alcohol or substances that affect your physical and mental skills.
We'll discuss how impaired drivers endanger themselves and others, and the severe legal and financial consequences they face. One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself safe on the road is to drive sober.
Your time with us will be well spent if you put the lessons of this course into practice behind the wheel. The key to safe driving is remembering your responsibility as a driver.
An aware driver is a safe driver and a safe driver is one who avoids tickets and collisions and who never has to worry about losing his or her license!
Florida Driver Ed - FLVS Demo
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Module: Driving: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow