The D.E.P. Academy Driver Education Course


Chapter 1. Driver Responsibilities  

    What it means to have a drivers license.  

  • Driving is a serious responsibility, and is a privilege, not a right. You must have a California Driver License before driving on any road, highway, freeway, or in any parking lot in California.    

    Drivers license, what it means to others.    

  • Other drivers and pedestrians expect that you will follow the laws and the rules of the road, be courteous, and will not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise be impaired while you are driving.

  • Your parents are responsible for any financial liabilities you incur until you turn 18.

  • Your passengers are depending on you to keep them safe.

    Operating Your Vehicle

  • It is important to "use your head" and make good decisions while driving. This is necessary to avoid problems on the road.

  • Your vehicle could be considered a weapon if used recklessly.  You don't have to be driving fast. Even at low speeds a car can cause major property damage, serious injury and even death. A car can be considered as dangerous as a loaded gun, causing death on the roadways. s

  •  Speeding allows you less reaction time. Less time to stop or turn your car. 

  •  Weather and road conditions affect everyone's ability to drive safely.

  •  California's Basic Speed Law states that you should never drive faster than is safe for the current road and weather conditions. 

  •  It is important to look ahead and scan 10 to 15 seconds down the road. This allows you to identify and react to hazardous conditions. 

  •  It is important that your vehicle be in good working condition. Having your vehicle maintained professionally is the best tool. 

  • Being safe is being careful.


  • Whenever you stop your car, you should always set your parking brake, even if you think your car is not going to roll away.  For an automatic transmission, you should place your car in the "park" position. For a manual transmission, you should put it in either first gear or reverse.  All vehicles should follow the same rules for parking either uphill, downhill, or on flat surfaces.

  • Uphill Parking With A Curb:  When parking uphill, you should turn your front wheels left, away from the curb, then let your car roll gently back until the right front tire touches the curb, and then set your parking break.

  • Uphill Parking With No Curb: Always point your tires toward the side of the road. If your car breaks loose it'll swing off the road.

  • Downhill Parking:  When you park headed downhill, you should turn your front wheels towards the right side of the road, or towards the curb. Be sure you're tires are touching the curb. This way if your brakes fail, your car will roll away from traffic.

    Some of the basics.

  • While driving safely, you must follow all the laws and rules of the road, which tell you when and where you can drive.  This means you must know what traffic lights and signs mean.  You must understand the  right-of-way laws.          

    Why you must come to a complete stop. 

  • Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, traffic signal or four way intersection can result in an accident with other cars, bicycles and pedestrians. 

  • When coming to an intersection, you should first, begin to slow down and then come to a complete stop.  Before proceeding be sure to look left, right, and left again for traffic you did not see the first time. Be courteous and give pedestrians in cross walks, and bicyclists, the right-of-way.  Proceed only when safe.

  • What does Yield really mean? A three sided yield sign means to slow down, be ready to stop, and be prepared for vehicles to pass you i.e. let cross traffic go first.  At other times, traffic may be clear and you can proceed.  Yielding to other drivers allows the flow of traffic to be consistent and helps eliminate potential crashes. 

    Common Courtesy Is A Key To Safety.

  • The roadway is shared by all drivers.  You're not the only driver out on the road, so don't drive with a bad attitude.  Always be considerate to other drivers and pedestrians. We all share the same roads.  

    Courtesy Turns Chaos Into Order.

  • You should always drive with a positive attitude towards other drivers.  

  • Never insist on taking the right-of-way. The right of way must be given, not taken.

  • Courtesy can be contagious. By being considerate, you can help avoid accidents and make driving more pleasant. Angry and aggressive drivers can cause other drivers to swerve, brake suddenly, speed and cause road rage, leading to a potential hazard to all drivers on the road.  Making eye contact and a simple smile can lead to other drivers being more considerate. 

    Treat Other Drivers The Way You Want To Be Treated   

    What goes around comes around. 

  • Don't cut off other drivers.  When you merge, make sure you have enough room and always signal. 

  • Don't drive slow in the fast lane.  You should use the fast lane only to pass other drivers.  Driving slowing in the fast lane can be frustrating to others and you can receive a citation for doing so.  

  • Do not tailgate.  Many drivers get angry when they are being followed too closely.  Always use the three second rule between you and the car ahead of you.  

  • Don't honk unnecessarily at other drivers, use your horn for emergencies only.  Even a polite tap on your horn be enough to provoke another driver.  

  • Don't signal gestures to other drivers, such as giving the bird, or the finger.  Making obscene gestures to other drivers may provoke them. 

  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times. 

  • Protect yourself from being involved in a violent incident.

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