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2.8 – Seeing Hazards (continued)

Tourists unfamiliar with the area can be very hazardous. Clues to tourists include car-top luggage and out-of-state license plates. Unexpected actions (stopping in the middle of a block, changing lanes for no apparent reason, backup lights suddenly going on) are clues to confusion. Hesitation is another clue, including driving very slowly, using brakes often, or stopping in the middle of an intersection. You may also see drivers who are looking at street signs, maps, and house numbers. These drivers may not be paying attention to you.

Slow Drivers. Motorists who cannot maintain normal speed are hazards. Seeing slow-moving vehicles early can prevent a crash. Some vehicles, by their nature, are slow, and seeing them is a hazard clue (mopeds, farm machinery, construction machinery, tractors, etc.). Some of these will have the “slow-moving vehicle” symbol to warn you. This is a red triangle with an orange center.

Drivers Signaling a Turn May Be a Hazard. Drivers signaling a turn may slow more than expected or stop. If they are making a tight turn into an alley or driveway, they may go very slow. If pedestrians or other vehicles block them, they may have to stop on the roadway. Vehicles turning left may have to stop for oncoming vehicles.

Drivers in a Hurry. Drivers may think your commercial vehicle is preventing them from getting where they want to go on time. Such drivers may pass you without a safe gap in the oncoming traffic, cutting too close in front of you. Drivers entering the road may pull in front of you in order to avoid being stuck behind you, causing you to brake. Be aware of this and watch for drivers who are in a hurry.

Impaired Drivers. Drivers who are sleepy, have had too much to drink, are on drugs, or are ill are hazards. Some clues to these drivers include:

  • Weaving across the road or drifting from one side to another.
  • Leaving the road (dropping right wheels onto the shoulder or bumping across a curb in a turn).
  • Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a green light or waiting for too long at a stop).
  • Open window in cold weather.
  • Speeding up or slowing down suddenly, driving too fast or too slow.

Be alert for drunk drivers and sleepy drivers late at night.

Driver Body Movement as a Clue. Drivers look in the direction they are going to turn. You may sometimes get a clue from a driver's head and body movements that a driver may be going to make a turn, even though the turn signals aren't on. Drivers making over-the-shoulder checks may be going to change lanes. These clues are most easily seen in motorcyclists and bicyclists. Watch other road users and try to tell whether they might do something hazardous.

Conflicts. You are in conflict when you have to change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting someone. Conflicts occur at intersections where vehicles meet, at merges (such as turnpike on-ramps), and where there are needed lane changes (such as the end of a lane, forcing a move to another lane of traffic). Other situations include slow-moving or stalled traffic in a traffic lane and accident scenes. Watch for other drivers who are in conflict because they are a hazard to you. When they react to this conflict, they may do something that will put them in conflict with you.

2.8.4 – Always Have a Plan

You should always look for hazards. Continue to learn to see hazards on the road. However, do not forget why you are looking for the hazards — they may turn into emergencies. You look for the hazards in order to have time to plan a way out of any emergency. When you see a hazard, think about the emergencies that could develop and figure out what you would do. Always be prepared to take action based on your plans. This way, you will be a prepared, defensive driver who will improve your own safety and the safety of all road users.

Multiple-Choice Questions:

Question #877 (1 of 5)

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Which of the following actions might indicate that a driver is a tourist and may not be paying attention to you while driving in an unfamiliar area?

  • Looking at street signs
  • Using brakes often
  • All of these actions might indicate that a driver is a tourist and may not be paying attention
  • Driving very slowly
Tourists unfamiliar with the area can be very hazardous. Clues to tourists include car-top luggage and out-of-state license plates. Unexpected actions (stopping in the middle of a block, changing lanes for no apparent reason, backup lights suddenly going on) are clues to confusion. Hesitation is another clue, including driving very slowly, using brakes often, or stopping in the middle of an intersection. You may also see drivers who are looking at street signs, maps, and house numbers. These drivers may not be paying attention to you.
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Question #876 (2 of 5)

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Which of the following are clues to identifying tourists who may be hazardous while driving in an unfamiliar area?

  • Out-of-state license plates
  • All of these are clues to identifying tourists who may be hazardous
  • Hesitation
  • Car-top luggage
Tourists unfamiliar with the area can be very hazardous. Clues to tourists include car-top luggage and out-of-state license plates. Unexpected actions (stopping in the middle of a block, changing lanes for no apparent reason, backup lights suddenly going on) are clues to confusion. Hesitation is another clue, including driving very slowly, using brakes often, or stopping in the middle of an intersection. You may also see drivers who are looking at street signs, maps, and house numbers. These drivers may not be paying attention to you.
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Question #109 (3 of 5)

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Drivers who are sleepy, have had too much to drink, are on drugs or are ill are hazards. Some clues to these drivers include:

  • All these answers are correct
  • Leaving the road (dropping right wheels onto the shoulder or bumping across a curb in a turn)
  • Speeding up or slowing down suddenly, driving too fast or too slow
  • Weaving across the road or drifting from one side to another.

Impaired Drivers. Drivers who are sleepy, have had too much to drink, are on drugs or are ill are hazards. Some clues to these drivers include:

  • Weaving across the road or drifting from one side to another.
  • Leaving the road (dropping right wheels onto the shoulder or bumping across a curb in a turn).
  • Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a green light or waiting for too long at a stop).
  • Open window in cold weather.
  • Speeding up or slowing down suddenly, driving too fast or too slow.

Be alert for drunk drivers and sleepy drivers late at night.

Always pay close attention to the little things that other drivers do. A little glance over the shoulder, a glance down at the seat, weaving slightly in their lane, etc. These little things will soon become obvious red flags once you get a feel for predicting driver behavior.
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Question #878 (4 of 5)

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What does it mean to be in conflict with another vehicle?

  • You are in conflict when you have two vehicles sitting at a stop side on opposing sides of an intersection
  • You are in conflict when you have to change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting someone
  • You are in conflict when a vehicle is following too closely behind you
  • You are in conflict when another vehicle has the right of way
You are in conflict when you have to change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting someone
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Question #108 (5 of 5)

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How can you tell that a driver may be ready to make a turn, even though the turn signals aren't on?

  • The driver may tap his brakes for no apparent reason because he is preparing for an upcoming turn.
  • All these answers are correct
  • Drivers look in the direction they are going to turn.
  • You may get a clue from a driver's head and body movements
Driver Body Movement as a Clue. Drivers look in the direction they are going to turn. You may sometimes get a clue from a driver's head and body movements that a driver may be getting ready to make a turn, even though the turn signals aren't on. The driver may tap his brakes for no apparent reason because he is preparing for an upcoming turn. Drivers making over-the-shoulder checks may be going to change lanes. These clues are most easily seen in motorcyclists and bicyclists. Watch other road users and try to tell whether they might do something hazardous.
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