Chapter 14: Driving in City Traffic Karime Bastida A1

14.1 Adjusting to City Traffic

Traffic Complexity:

  • Driving in the city will really test your skills.
  • Factors will come in place that will block your path of travel.
  • When driving you will have to use the IPDE Process which will take time.
  • Conflicts may arise at the same time and you will have to find a solution to all.
  • When you have a hazard and you cannot increase the following distance you will have to increase the following distance or you will have to change your lane position.
  • Slowing down or stopping will give you time to solve the conflict.

Using the IPDE Process:

  • Give all your attention to avoid conflicts and distractions
  • Some drivers will increase the risk by challenging other drivers
  • Driving aggressively is a criminal offense
  • Control aggressive driving situations by avoiding them
  • Identify: Check searching ranges
  • Use visual skills
  • Check line-of-sight restrictions
  • Predict: Gain time to respond
  • Predict where conflicts will happen
  • Decide: Be ready to communicate
  • Adjust car position
  • Use distance correctly
  • Execute: Be ready to make smooth low-risk maneuvers

14.2 Following & Meeting Traffic

Following Traffic

  • 3 second Following Distance: Gives you a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you in normal driving conditions.
  • Works well at all speeds
  • Works well at all driving conditions
  • Only protects you from crashing with the car ahead of you
  • Not total stopping distance that you need to avoid an object at rest
  • Add more following distance if the weather is not good
  • Stay Alert: Look over, through, and under the car you are behind from
  • You can see brake lights on the reflection of a wet pavement under the car
  • Try to think what the driver in front will do when changing zones
  • Be careful in areas where sudden stops can happen


  • Tailgates: Following to closely behind a car
  • If you need to stop fast the driver will rear end you
  • Tailgating drivers think they have enough time to stop
  • They also think they can make you go faster
  • Managing tailgaters: You can take these steps when being tailgated
  • Increase following distance, if you need to stop do it slower
  • Move a little to the right so the tailgater can see ahead
  • Signal early for any actions, flash brake lights to warn the driver that you intend on slowing or stopping
  • In bad occasions change lanes or pull out of the traffic

Meeting Traffic

  • When a driver crosses over the line react quickly
  • Knowing how to handle a situation like that before will help give you enough time to react.
  • Avoiding conflicts: If a car is coming towards you take these steps
  • Slow down until the other driver can return to the correct lane
  • Turn on or flash your headlights and blow your horn to warn the other driver
  • if open move to the right front zone to give the driver more room

14.3 Managing Space in City Traffic

  • In city traffic there are things you will need to respond to
  • Unfamiliar streets
  • Line-of-sight restrictions
  • Narrow lanes
  • Heavy traffic
  • Always have a positive and alert attitude
  • Look ahead one block or more

Approaching Traffic Signals

  • Look around to find traffic signals
  • You will have more time to respond by looking at them earlier
  • If a light is red slow down and be ready to stop
  • If the lights on the streets are working at the same time you can drive at or near the speed limit for blocks
  • Look for DON'T WALK pedestrian signals that start to flash
  • Look for a pedestrian countdown signal number below 10 seconds
  • Those signals warn you that the light is stale (will change soon) and you have to decide if you have time to turn or not
  • Your decision will depend on the distance between the intersection and your speed
  • NEVER speed up to to get to a green light before the change
  • Any speed you are going at there will be a point-of-no-return (point where you need to start braking if stopping at an intersection)
  • Covering the brake: Maintaining a normal speed can be done when you are going to a stable problem free traffic place
  • To get ready to stop you need to cover the brakes take your foot of the accelerator pedal and hold it over the brake pedal.
  • This technique can be used when you feel a problem will arise and to help avoid a collision.
  • When you cover the brake don't ride the brake or rest your foot on the brake pedal
  • If you do your brake heats up and they wear faster
  • Your brake lights will also stay on

Selecting the Best Lane

When you drive in multilane traffic you will use different lanes at different times.
  • Left lane is usually for the faster moving traffic
  • Traffic can be help up by drivers waiting to turn left
  • Choose the lane where traffic is flowing the smoothest
  • Overtaking and Passing: Trying to pass in a city can be dangerous
  • Be aware for pedestrians, cross traffic, signals, and line-of-sight restrictions
  • Sometimes you might need to overtake (pass a car ahead)
  • If you overtake a car on a two way street you need to do it carefully and legally
  • It is illegal to pass at intersections or over double yellow lines located in the center
  • Use the lane changing procedure to overtake cars
  • Signal and then return to your lane when both headlights or the car you passed can be seen inside your rearview mirror
  • Special Traffic Lanes: To help move traffic many cities made lanes for buses and carpool drivers.
  • Drivers who travel alone have to use the regular more crowded slower moving lanes
  • If you drive together in buses more fuel and time will be saved
  • Pollution and parking problems will be reduced

14.4 Special City Situations

Driving on Two-Way Streets

  • Most roadways are two-way streets with one lane going in each direction
  • Many intersections in a city do not have traffic controls
  • You don't know what other drivers will do at blind intersections (where your view of traffic is minimal
  • If you have a left turn at a blind intersection you must yield

Driving on One-Way Streets

  • More traffic with less conflicts
  • Identifying One-Way Streets: See if there is a ONE WAY sign posted
  • All moving traffic and parked cars are pointing in the same direction
  • Broken white lines that separate lanes and traffic signs in the same directions
  • Entering One-Way Streets: To make a left position yourself to the nearest left lane
  • If driving on a one way for a distance try to pick a lane that is away from parked cars
  • A parked car could pull out anytime
  • If you are going to turn position your car ahead of time
  • Leaving One-Way Streets: When turning out of a one-way street turn to the nearest lane going your way
  • On some one-way streets the outside lanes may be for turns only
  • You will need to make changes when a one-way street turns into a two-way street
  • Unexpected Situations on Crowded Streets: If a car is going the wrong way on a one-way street honk the horn and flash the lights
  • Maintain an ordered visual search pattern
  • If drivers have a green light they must stop for pedestrians
  • Angle and parallel parking is allowed on most streets
  • At first sign of movement from a pedestrian or car change lanes
  • Roundabouts cut crash injuries by up to 75 percent


  1. Where is traffic density higher?
  2. What type of driving/behavior is illegal?
  3. What should your following distance be?
  4. Where can the reflection of brake lights be seen?
  5. Name two situations that make your driving task more difficult.
  6. Why happens when you ride the brakes?
  7. Name an advantage of driving on one-way streets.
  8. Two types of parking that are allowed on most streets are...
  9. When getting ready to stop you need to _________ by taking your foot off the accelerator and holding it over the brake.
  10. To _________ a vehicle use the lane-changing procedure.


  1. Cities
  2. Violent behavior/aggressive driving
  3. 3 seconds
  4. Wet pavement (under the car)
  5. Unfamiliar streets, line-of-sight restrictions, narrow lanes, heavy traffic
  6. Brakes heat up and wear out faster
  7. All traffic is going one way and less chance of conflicts
  8. Angled and parallel
  9. Cover the brake
  10. Overtake


Created with images by Alex Graves - "Traffic" • woodleywonderworks - "dangerous driving in the rain + tips"

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