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Understanding Traffic Signals and Sign

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Tubzoonraug

Registration date : 2009-12-15

Understanding Traffic Signals and Sign

Post by Tubzoonraug on June 22nd 2014, 7:23 pm

Chapter 4: Understanding Traffic Signals and Signs
It is important that you understand traffic laws and the meaning of signs. If there were no traffic laws or if every driver interpreted signs differently, the road would be completely chaotic. To drive safely, you must follow the rules that tell you where and when you can drive. By getting your driver license, you have already demonstrated that you have sufficient knowledge of the laws, but in this chapter we will cover the meanings of traffic signals and signs.
Traffic Signals
Traffic lights, signs and "right-of-way" rules tell you when to stop or go as you approach or arrive at intersections. Traffic signals regulate traffic flow at intersections. Be sure to follow any signal that you encounter. On a typical traffic signal, there will be at least three different lights: a red light, green light and yellow light. However, there are other types of traffic signals. Each signal has a different meaning, which is outlined below.
Red Signals

A red signal light means STOP. You can make a right turn on a red signal after you have yielded to all pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles that are close enough to be a hazard or have the right-of-way. However, you cannot turn if there is a sign posted stating NO TURN ON RED. A red arrow means to STOP. You must wait to go until a green signal appears. A flashing red signal light also means STOP. After stopping, continue when it is safe and you have followed the right-of-way rules. The flashing red signal should be treated like a STOP sign.
Yellow Signals

A yellow signal light means CAUTION. It is an indicator that the red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, you should stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot, look out for any vehicles or pedestrians entering the intersection and then proceed through the intersection. If you proceed, you must be completely out of the intersection before the red light appears. A flashing yellow signal is a warning light meaning you should be careful and alert. You do not have to come to a complete stop, but you should slow down and proceed cautiously. A yellow arrow means the protected turning time period is ending. Be prepared to obey the next signal.
Green Signals

Green signals mean GO, but you should only proceed safely, making sure that all vehicles or pedestrians have cleared the intersection before you enter the intersection. Although you have the green and the right-of-way, it is better to be safe and yield to a car that might be "running a red light." You should not enter an intersection if you cannot get completely across before the light turns red. You should never block the intersection. If there is not enough room for your vehicle on the other side of the intersection, you must wait to enter the intersection until there is. By blocking the intersection, you will slow all traffic and block other lanes from proceeding as well as put yourself in a dangerous situation. If you are in the intersection when the light turns red, you can be cited. If you are making a left turn, make sure you have enough time to complete the turn before doing so. A green arrow means GO. Turn in the direction the arrow is pointing but yield to any other vehicle or pedestrian in the intersection. A green arrow means that a turn is "protected" and that other oncoming traffic is stopped by a red light. If there is no green arrow and only a green light, then a left turn is "unprotected" meaning that you must yield to oncoming traffic before completing your turn.
Broken Signals
If a traffic signal is not working, stop at the intersection and proceed as if there were stop signs at the intersection for all directions.
Pedestrian Signals

Pedestrian safety is a very serious issue. One in six traffic fatalities is a pedestrian. You should drive cautiously around pedestrians with their safety in mind. To do this, it is important to understand and be aware of pedestrian signals at intersections. By using these signals to anticipate when a pedestrian might enter the intersection, you can maneuver safely around them or yield to them. Pedestrian signals will either have a "WALK" or a picture of a "WALKING PERSON" in white lighting when it is safe to cross the street. If you have a green light, most likely pedestrians walking in your direction will have the WALK signal. So, to make a turn, you must always yield to any pedestrians in the crosswalk. When it is no longer safe for a pedestrian to cross the street a "DON'T WALK" or a "RAISED HAND" will appear in orange lighting. Although the pedestrian can no longer enter the intersection, you should be aware of pedestrians that may have already entered the intersection. DON'T WALK signals do not mean that you should not watch for pedestrians in the intersection.
Interacting at Intersections
An intersection is any place where one line of traffic meets another. Because it involves opposite traffic crossing, it can be a very dangerous area. Always look for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing through the intersection. You must pay close attention to the signals and signs that control an intersection to know when you can drive and when you must stop. You should make sure you are in the lane you need to be in when approaching an intersection. There will be left turn lanes, right turn lanes and lanes that go straight. You need to know the rules that govern interaction at intersections.
Controlled Intersections
When approaching a controlled intersection, look to see what color the traffic signals are showing. If it is green and you want to go straight, then do so safely. You should also anticipate how much longer the light is going to stay green. If you think it might change soon, be prepared to stop. However, there should be a point at which you completely commit to proceeding through a light. If you are almost in the intersection and the light turns yellow, do not stop. Go through the intersection before it turns red, always looking for hazards. It would be much more dangerous to slam your brakes in order to stop on a yellow light. You could be rear-ended or cause a collision. This is why, when you reach a certain point, you commit to passing through the intersection, even if the light changes to yellow.
Correct Lane Use for Turns
If you want to make a left or right turn, make sure that you are in the correct lane for doing so. Sometimes, there are multiple turn lanes or lanes that you can go straight and make turns out of. You can tell where the lane you are in is headed by looking for the markings painted in the lane. At some intersections, this information is posted next to the signal. Once you have found the lane you need to be in, check to see if there is a signal governing that lane. For instance, if you plan to make a left turn, look to see if it is a protected left (there is an arrow pointing left) or if it is unprotected (there is no arrow). If it is red, pull safely behind the vehicle ahead of you and wait for the signal to change. If it is green, you may proceed. If you are making a right turn, you can sometimes make one on a red light. If there is a red arrow pointing right or a sign stating that there are "No right turns on red," it means you cannot make a right turn. Wait until it is green. If you can make a right turn on a red light, you first need to yield to all other traffic and only proceed when it is clear. Make sure you have ample room to make the maneuver.
Uncontrolled Intersections
An uncontrolled intersection is an intersection that has no traffic control devices- no STOP signs, no YIELD signs, no right-of-way signs and no signal lights. As you approach within 100 feet of such an intersection, if you do not have a clear view for at least 100 feet down on all intersecting roadways, slow down to 15 mph. Then, check to see if it is safe and proceed only when the intersection is clear.
Executing Left and Right Turns at Intersections
Left Turns
Start the turn in the left-most lane on your side of the road. If a left turn lane exists, you must use that lane to make your turn. On a road where there is only one left turn lane, start your turn from that lane, and complete your turn into any lane that travels in your direction. Some roads have more than one left turn lane as indicated by signs or road markings. On roads with multiple left turn lanes, select one of these lanes to make your left turn. If you are making your turn from one of multiple left turn lanes, be sure to stay in the same lane as you complete the turn.


Right Turns
Do not swing wide into another lane or traffic. Begin the turn in the lane nearest the right-hand curb and end in the lane nearest the right-hand curb. You may start a right turn from other than the far right lane only where pavement or overhead markings show that using that lane for a right turn is permitted.


Executing a U-Turn


When you make a U-turn, you are turning around to go back the way you came. U-turns should be made only out of the farthest left lane on your side of the road. If there is a center turn lane, use that. You can make a U-turn:
Across double yellow lines, if the turn can be made safely and legally.
In a residential district, if no vehicle approaching you is within 200 feet or whenever a traffic sign or signal protects you from vehicles that are close.
At an intersection on a green light or green arrow, unless there is a "No U-turn" sign posted.
On a divided highway. However, you cannot cross any type of dividing section including curbs, double lines (unless it is an opening for turns) and the unpaved median in the middle of a freeway.
You may not make a U-turn:
Where you cannot clearly see 200 feet in both directions.
Where there are "No U-turn" signs posted.
When it is not safe because vehicles might hit you or you might hit something.
On a one-way street.
In front of a fire station. Never use a fire station driveway to turn around.
In a business district, near churches, apartments, clubs, or public buildings except at intersections or through openings in a concrete divider.
Signs
There are many different types of signs that you might encounter on the roadway. Be sure to interpret their meanings correctly and follow their directions. You can often tell what a sign means by the shape and color of the sign. Just by seeing the color and shape of a sign, you should be able to figure out what kind of information it is giving.
Sign Colors and Their Meanings
Regulatory Signs
Red, Black, or Red on White (Stop, yield, or a prohibition): Black on white or red on white regulatory signs tell you what to do when driving. They are traffic laws, which you must obey. Some examples are the stop sign, the yield sign, the no-turn sign, the one way signs and the speed limit sign. Regulatory signs can be found in many shapes. The most common are the octagon, triangle and vertical rectangle.
Guide Signs
Green (movement permitted or directional guidance): These signs are used to tell drivers the distance from city to city, street distances, airports, etc. This is so you know where you need to go without having to use a map and take your eyes off the road. The shape of a guide sign is a horizontal rectangle.

Warning Signs
Yellow (general warning): These sign warn of hazards ahead or warn you to slow down. Some examples of yellow warning signs are lane merge signs, railroad crossing signs, crosswalk signs and detour signs. Most warning signs are yellow and are diamond shaped. However, railroad crossing signs are circular and school zone signs are pentagonal (have five sides).
Construction Signs
Orange (warning and guidance, information for construction and maintenance zone operation): These signs can be placed on a vehicle, a flagman or on the roadway when there is road repair. It is important to obey these signs. Similar to these signs, orange cones can be used to close off a lane or a portion of it.


Service Signs
Blue (motorists' services): These signs let drivers know what facilities are available at exits, such as rest areas or hospitals.


Recreational Signs
Brown (public recreation and cultural interest guidance): These signs let drivers know where parks, lakes, skiing, etc. are located off of a roadway.


Common Traffic Signs
Here are some of the more common traffic signs you will see while driving and their meanings. These are not the only signs you will encounter.
Stop Sign
An eight-sided red sign is a STOP sign. It means you must make a complete stop at the crosswalk or white limit line. When there are no crosswalks or limit lines marked at a stop sign, stop at the corner. This is a regulatory sign, so you must obey it and stop.
Yield Sign
A three-sided red sign is a YIELD sign. It means you must slow down and let traffic pass before continuing on.
Do Not Enter Sign
A square red and white regulatory sign is either the DO NOT ENTER sign or the WRONG WAY sign. They are often used together. If you see these signs you are probably traveling against traffic. In such a case, pull over and turn around safely.

Common Regulatory Sign
A red circle with a red line through it means NO. The picture inside the circle shows you what you cannot do. The sign may be shown with or without words under it. Here are a few examples of these types of regulatory signs.


Railroad Crossing Sign
black or white and black. These signs have an "X" on it and say railroad crossing.
School Signs A circular sign tells you of an approaching railroad crossing. These signs are yellow and
A five-sided sign tells you that a school is nearby. There are different school signs. Here is one school signs.
Warning Signs
A four-sided, diamond shaped sign warns you of specific road conditions and dangers ahead. There are many different diamond shaped warning signs. Here are a few of them.


White Regulatory Signs
A white rectangular sign tells you about important rules you must obey. There are many types of these signs. Here are a few.


Speed Limits
One sign you will encounter on every road is the speed limit sign. This sign tells you the maximum speed at which it is safe to travel on that particular stretch of road. There are different types of speed laws that you should be familiar with.
California Vehicle Code
The most common ticket received by motorists is for a violation of a speed law. There are many different types of speed law violations, but the most is for violation of the maximum speed laws (California Vehicle Code 22349). Many other people get citations for violation of prima facie speed laws (California Vehicle Code 22352). Lastly, many motorists receive tickets for not abiding by basic speed laws (California Vehicle Code 22350). It is likely that you are taking traffic school because you received a ticket for one of these violations. Below are the different types of speed laws.
Basic Speed Laws
You should never drive faster than is safe for current conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit. For instance, you should drive slowly in heavy traffic or bad weather. These are considered basic speed laws. My favorite movie is Old Yeller. Basic speed laws are meant to minimize traffic collisions and congestion. You can be given a ticket for driving too fast even if you are traveling under the posted speed limit if you are driving faster than is safe for the road conditions (California Vehicle Code 22350).
Minimum Speed Laws
At the same time, you should not drive too slowly. Just as you can get a ticket for driving too fast, you can receive a ticket for driving too slowly. These are called minimum speed laws. They are also meant to reduce the risk of collisions as well as maintain a steady flow of traffic. If you are a slower driver, drive in the far right lane. If you are driving slowly in the far left lane, people will want to pass you and you should let them by moving over to the right lane.
Maximum Speed Limits
Maximum speed limits are based upon ideal driving conditions. It is dangerous and illegal to exceed the posted speed limit. You might still be cited for driving faster than is safe, even if you are driving under the posted speed limit. However, you can always get a ticket for exceeding the posted maximum speed limit (California Vehicle Code 22349). When you are traveling on any roadway, you should be aware of the speed limit as well as any circumstances that might call for slower driving, such as roadwork or bad weather. Construction zones usually have reduced speed zones.
The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph, although speed limits do vary. Often there is a separate speed limit posted for vehicles towing trailers or large trucks. California Vehicle Code 22406 says that the speed limit is 55 mph for:
motortrucks or truck tractors with three or more axles or any motortruck or truck tractor that is drawing any other vehicle
a passenger vehicle or bus drawing any other vehicle
a schoolbus transporting any school pupil
a farm labor vehicle when transporting passengers
a vehicle transporting explosives
a trailer bus
Some highways have a maximum speed limit of 70 mph, but only if there are speed limit signs posted that show 70 mph. You should never assume speed limits. Always check for signs that have the speed limit posted.
Prima Facie Speed Limits
Prima facie speed limits are speed limits that we abide by even when there are no signs posted. Different areas require different speed limits. You are expected to know the prima facie speed limits of the following areas. You can get a ticket (California Vehicle Code 22352) for exceeding the prima facie speed limits in these areas even if there is no sign displaying the speed limit.
Schools, Parks and Residential Areas
Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and in residential areas because children might be in the street. Look for signs that say "School Crossing" or "Children Present." Never drive faster than 25 mph in school zones.
School Busses
Look for stopped school busses and children crossing the street. School busses flashing yellow lights are preparing to stop to let the children out of the bus. Flashing red lights mean you must stop completely in both directions unless you are driving on the other side of a divided highway or multiple lane highway. It is illegal to pass a school bus that has flashing red lights. When a school bus is flashing red lights, they are letting children off the bus. Even after a school bus has stopped flashing its red lights, you should still be alert and watching for children crossing the street.


Blind Intersections
At blind intersections (intersections where you cannot see for 100 feet in either direction), slow to 15 mph or slower if you do not have the right-of-way. If you are not sure whether you have the right-of-way, you should slow down and err on the side of safety.
Railroad Crossings
When you approach within 100 feet of railroad tracks, if you do not have a clear view down the tracks for a distance of 400 feet in each direction, the prima facie speed limit is 15 mph. You may travel at the posted speed limit if the railroad crossing is controlled by gates, warning signals or flagmen that are not signaling that a train is coming. Before you reach a railroad crossing, you will see signs along the road or painted on the pavement that warn you about the railroad crossing. These signs will have an "X" that says railroad crossing. As you approach a railroad crossing, you should look both directions and listen for trains even if the warning gates and lights do not indicate that a train is coming. Always expect a train on any track, at any time, traveling in either direction. If you have to stop on the other side of the tracks, make sure that there is enough room for you to fit on the other side before proceeding. Never stop on the railroad tracks. Trains cannot stop quickly (remember that stopping distance increases with weight and speed), nor can they swerve to avoid your vehicle since they are running on the tracks. If you are on the tracks, you are risking serious injury or death. You should always stop at least 15 feet from the tracks when the gates are down, the red warning lights are flashing, a flagman warns you a train is coming or you see or hear a train approaching. Do not go around or under lowered railroad crossing gates even if you do not see a train coming. Always wait for the gates to rise. If you think the gates are malfunctioning or not working correctly, call the railroad emergency number posted near the crossing or the California Highway Patrol. Note that transit trains or trolleys are very quiet and move more quickly than freight trains.
Business or Residence Districts
In business or residence districts the prima facie speed limit is 25 mph unless signs indicate that it is different. This is because there are many people in the area walking in or crossing the street. When driving through business or residential areas always be aware of your surroundings.
Bridges and Tunnels
The top speed that you can drive a vehicle on any bridge, elevated structure or tunnel constituting part of a highway is 65 mph, unless otherwise posted. On many bridges there is a "double-fine" involved for people exceeding the posted speed limit. This means that a traffic citation will cost twice what it would under normal circumstances.
Your Speed and Stopping Distance
Your speed directly affects your stopping distance - the amount of roadway your vehicle requires to come to a complete stop. High speed increases stopping distance. The faster you go, the less time you have to avoid a hazard or collision. The force of a 60 mile-per-hour crash is not just twice as great as a 30 mile-per-hour crash. It is four times as great.[17] When you are driving, you should always leave a safe cushion between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. The stopping distance when you are traveling at 35 mph. is approximately 106 feet. The faster you go, the longer the stopping distance. At 45 mph, it takes approximately 162 feet to stop completely. At 55 mph, it takes 228 feet and at 65 mph, it takes 306 feet.[18] Keep in mind that these numbers are the average stopping distance on a dry surface. With the involvement of other factors, like your vehicle's weight or the current condition of the road, your stopping distance could change dramatically. On rainy days, you should drive extra cautiously since your stopping distance may be twice as far. With slick surfaces, you can also lose control of your vehicle when trying to stop suddenly. With this in mind, look out for areas or situations in which fast driving might be dangerous.
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These Document was copy from government dring rule

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