Course Demonstration

Arizona Defensive Driving Course

Search Behind

It is just as important to check your rear-view mirrors as it is to search ahead. Check your rear-view mirrors every 2 – 5 seconds so that you will know the positions of vehicles around you. Being aware of the roadway behind you can help you avoid a collision. For example, if you observe a vehicle approaching from behind that does not appear to be stopping, you can accelerate, change lanes, or move out of the way to avoid being involved in a collision.

You also need to be aware of vehicles behind you as you change lanes. Before changing lanes, check your rear-view mirrors and then look over your shoulder in the direction you are planning on moving, to check your blind spots. Don’t move from your lane until you are sure there are no vehicles that may be a hazard when you change lanes.

Anti-Lock Braking

The purpose of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) on a vehicle is to prevent skidding on dry, wet, and slippery surfaces. When a car goes into a skid, the driver is essentially unable to steer the vehicle in the desired direction. ABS uses the existing brakes on your vehicle. Therefore, under normal driving, it does not increase or decrease the vehicle’s braking efficiency.

The most efficient braking is just before the skid and is known as threshold braking. ABS is effectively providing you with threshold braking during the entire braking period. This is accomplished by sensors attached to each wheel, which are designed to detect skidding. When a skid is detected, ABS starts to pulsate the brakes very fast (many times per second), which allows the wheels to continue rolling. By preventing a skid, ABS lets you maintain steering control of the vehicle.

If you have never experienced ABS, consider finding a vacant parking lot or a large traffic-free area, where it is safe and quiet to experience it. This way during an emergency situation, you will know what to expect from ABS. When ABS is activated, you may feel a pulsating sensation on the brake pedal and vibrations in the steering wheel. This is normal. Keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal and a firm grip on the steering wheel.

Daily Inspections

You should inspect your vehicle every day before you drive away. As you walk up to your car, look underneath and around your vehicle. Check for any fluids under your car, broken lights, flat tires, and other objects that may become a hazard once you begin driving. If you observe a liquid underneath your car, the color of the fluid will often indicate the type of fluid. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific fluids and colors, but the following are common fluids:

  • Water (clear) – usually condensation from the A/C or defroster system which is normal and should not be cause for concern.
  • Engine Oil (light to dark brown or black) – will be slippery and may have a dirty, burnt rubber smell.
  • Coolant (green or yellow) – watery and slick to the touch with a sweet smell.
  • Power Steering Fluid (light yellow) – may feel oily with very little smell.
  • Transmission Fluid (red) – may feel greasy and have a sharp smell.

If you suspect your vehicle is leaking any fluids, contact a qualified mechanic immediately and do not drive your vehicle until it has been repaired.

Vehicle Failures - Engine

There can be many causes of engine failure from a bad spark plug, clogged fuel line, overheating, lubrication failure, etc. If an engine failure were to occur:

  • Remain calm and focus on the road ahead
  • Shift your vehicle’s engine to NEUTRAL, so your car will continue to move
  • Search for a place to safely exit the traffic lanes
  • Signal and move your vehicle to a safe place on the shoulder or out of the traffic lanes – steering and braking may be difficult
  • Activate your hazard lights and call for roadside assistance
  • Place flares or warning triangles behind your vehicle, if you have them
  • Have your car towed to a qualified mechanic for repairs
Regulatory Signs

Regulatory signs are used to convey traffic laws, rules, and regulations. These signs use white, black, and red as the primary colors. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians must obey the instructions of an official traffic control device unless otherwise directed by a traffic or police officer (A.R.S. §28-644).

Examples of regulatory signs include:

  • Speed limit signs
  • Stop signs
  • Yield signs
  • Railroad crossing signs
  • Intersection turning restrictions
  • Lane use signs
  • Do not enter signs
  • Wrong way signs
  • One-way signs
  • Parking control signs
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