When you think about it, a car license grants a lot of power and freedom for very little work. We learn to drive during a semester or so of high school, and after we pass, we’re given a license and (mostly) free reign on the road behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle. Honestly, a refresher course every decade or so might be a good idea. Don’t agree? Then consider these rules of the road you might have forgotten.
What Do You Do When You Park on a Hill?
Your driving instructor might have posed this question during your last driving test: when parking on a hill, which way do you turn the wheels? If you live on the plains, it might be easy to forget this one, but the answer is to turn your wheels left when parked while facing uphill, and to the right when parking downhill. The reasons why are simple. Turning your wheels the proper way ensures your car won’t roll into traffic if the parking brake fails, or if another driver hits your car from behind. It sounds strange, but it’ll prevent accidents and save lives. So, remember: uphill, left; downhill, right. And don’t forget to engage the parking brake, which is another thing too many people forget to do.
Right of Way at a Four-Way Stop
You and several other drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians are simultaneously, or almost simultaneously approaching a four-way stop. Who enters first? While “every man for himself” seems to be the law of the land for some folks, that’s a good way to ensure a bad pileup. The general rule is that you get to proceed through the intersection as you arrived. If you all arrive at the same time, that’s another matter. In that case, you take turns going clockwise, meaning whoever’s to your right goes first. This also applies to situations where a traffic light is out of commission.
Slower Traffic to the Right
While everyone should mind the speed limit and no one should consider the left lane to be the anything-goes Autobahn, the fact is that if you’re driving at the speed limit or below, you should stay in the right two lanes. The left lane, or passing lane, lets faster cars pass slower vehicles and helps keep traffic moving. Lingering in the left lane might garner you a ticket, whether you’re going too slowly or tailgating another vehicle. Mostly, remember that the left lane is for passing, not racing—the speed limits still apply.
Maintaining a Safe Distance From Other Cars
One of the chief rules of the road you might have forgotten is to always gauge how much space there is between you and other drivers. When driving, sustain a courteous and calm demeanor and obey the rules of the road. It’s not up to you to encourage slower drivers to speed up by tailgating them, nor is it very smart. Tailgating can lead to a serious accident, injury, or death, and that’s why in some states it’s considered a petty offense. You could even end up being slapped with a thousand-dollar fine and receiving a serious mark on your driving record. Keep about three seconds of space between you and other cars, or more during inclement weather. This allows you enough time to stop suddenly and avoid an incident.