Chapter 5: Your Vehicle
These items will be checked before you take the driving test for your
license. If your tires, brake light, directional signals, brakes, steering, horn or mirror are not
in good condition, you will not be allowed to take
the driving test.
may be stopped at any time by a law enforcement officer for a vehicle
equipment on your car must meet certain standards. These are listed
Your car must have two braking systems. Each must be
stop the car alone. The parking or emergency brake should
be strong enough to
hold the car on any hill. Your brakes must be able to
stop your car within the
distance shown on the chart on the right.
You must be able to stop your car within the distance shown
by the black
cars when you use the foot brake. For safest driving, keep your
such good condition that you can stop within distance shown by the
It is important to note that the graph below illustrates the
distance AFTER YOU HAVE APPLIED YOUR BRAKES. To this must be added a
DISTANCE, which is the distance you travel from seeing the danger to
your foot on the brake pedal. Since 3/4 second is the average reaction
a motorist will travel 11 feet for each 10 m.p.h. of speed before hitting
the brake. At 50 m.p.h. this distance would be 55 feet!
must have the following lights:
- Bright (high-beam) headlights which
show objects 450 feet ahead.
- Dimmed (low-beam) headlights
which show objects 150 feet ahead.
- Two red taillights
mounted on the rear, visible from 1,000 feet.
- A white light
that makes the license plate visible from 50 feet (The plate must be
- Two red stoplights. They must be seen from 300 feet in the daytime, and must come on when the
foot brake is pressed.
vehicles, including animal-drawn vehicles, must have at least one
visible from a distance of not less than 1,000 feet to
the front. They
must also have two red lights visible from a distance of
not less than 1,000
feet to the rear, or one red light visible to
the rear for a distance of 1,000 feet and two red reflectors visible
from all distances from 600 feet to 1,000 feet.
Other Equipment Standards
Horn: Your vehicle must
have a horn which can be heard from a distance
of 200 feet.
Windshield Wiper: Your vehicle must have a windshield wiper in good
working order for cleaning rain, snow or other moisture from the windshield.
Windshields: Must be safety glass and may not be covered or treated
any material which has the effect of making the windshield reflective
or in any
way non-transparent. It must be free of any stickers not required
Side windows: May not be composed of, covered by, or treated with
material which has a highly reflective or mirrored appearance and reflects
than 35% of the light.
Rear windows: When the rear window is composed
of, covered by, or
treated with any material which makes the rear window
vehicle must be equipped with side mirrors on both
Directional signals: You must have electrical turn signals if
vehicle measures more than 24 inches from the center of the top of the
post to the left outside limit of the body, or when the distance from
steering post to the rear of the body or load is greater than 14 feet.
Tires: Your tires should have visible tread of at least 2/32 of an
across the base with no worn spots showing the ply. Smooth tires on
contribute to thousands of serious crashes.
Mirrors: Your car must
have at least one rearview mirror which gives
a view of the highway at least 200
feet to the rear.
Keeping your Car in Good Condition
matter how well you drive, you are not safe unless your vehicle is
condition. If it is not, you could have a serious crash.
to see that the pedal stays well above the floor when
you step on it. If the car
pulls to one side when you use the brakes or
you hear any scraping or squealing
noises, your brakes may need to be repaired.
burned-out bulbs and clean lenses often. Dirty headlights
can cut your night
vision by one-half. Burned out signal lights or brake
lights mean you can't tell
other drivers what you are doing. Keep your lights
adjusted so that you don't
blind oncoming drivers.
Windows and Windshields: Keep the glass clean,
inside and out, to
Equipment Not Permitted
may not have on or in your vehicle:
- Red or blue emergency lights.
These are for emergency and law enforcement
- A siren, bell
- A very loud muffler or one that lets out smoke.
posters or stickers on the windshield or windows (except those
- A television which the driver can see.
- More than two spotlights,
cowl or fender lights, fog lights (in front),
or other extra lights (in front).
- Headsets worn by driver while operating a vehicle.
Bumper Height Requirements
Owners of automobiles and pickup trucks are required to have
and rear bumpers mounted within certain height levels. Height
are governed by the new shipping weight of the vehicle; not the
or altered weight. The maximum allowable heights between the pavement
bottom of the front and rear bumper, as provided by Section 316.251, Florida
- Cars with a net weight of less than 2,500 pounds -
22 inches front
- Cars 2,500 pounds or more but less than 3,500
pounds - 24 inches front
and 26 inches rear;
- Cars 3,500 pounds or more -
27 inches front; 29 inches rear;
- Trucks under 2,000 - 24 inches front; 26
- Trucks 2,000 pounds or more but less than 3,000 pounds - 27
front, and 29 inches rear;
- Trucks 3,000 pounds or more but not more than 5,000
pounds - 28 inches front; 30 inches rear.
Please Do not Tamper
It is illegal to tamper with, remove, or cause not to work,
control device on your vehicle. Those who do are guilty of a first
degree misdemeanor depending on the offense.
emissions control devices damages your vehicle and can
cause the following:
- Increased air pollution.
- Lower gas mileage and less vehicle
- More maintenance costs.
- Respiratory (breathing) difficulties.
DO NOT EXHAUST FLORIDA'S FUTURE!
Anti-Locking Brake System (ABS)
Anti-locking brakes prevent skidding and allow drivers to steer during an
emergency, braking situation. ABS can help improve vehicle stability (avoiding
spinouts), steering ability (directing the car where the driver wants to go)
and stopping capability (distance needed to stop the vehicle).
Many drivers learned the correct way to stop in an emergency situation where traction is lost and the
vehicle slides is by pumping the brakes, while this is correct with conventional brakes, with ABS it is different. All drivers need to
do with vehicles who have ABS is press down hard on the brake pedal, hold it and steer out of danger. In an emergency situation, ABS
pumps the brakes for the driver and pumps the brakes at a much faster rate than the driver ever could. Drivers should be
aware that removing steady pressure from the brake pedal or pumping the brakes will disengage or "turn off" the ABS.
One of the most important benefits of ABS is that driver can steer the vehicle away from
hazards while braking. Drivers should not turn the steering wheel hard or jerk the vehicle in one
direction. Control of the vehicle can be maintained by steering where the driver wants to go. Drivers
need to check that traffic is clear when deciding where to steer and always remember to steer back into the
original lane as soon as the hazard is cleared.
Vehicles can be equipped with two different types of ABS:
- Four-wheel-Passenger cars and some light trucks. Always remember to brake hard and steer. It is important to keep
firm and constant pressure on the brake pedal while stopping.
- Rear-wheel-Only on some light trucks. It prevents the
rear wheels from locking up so that the back end of the vehicle does not skid
sideways. The front wheels can still lock up and the driver will lose steering
control if this happens. In this situation, the driver should let up on the
brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to start
rolling again to regain control. When the driver feels that he has regained
steering control, the brake pedal should be again be firmly engaged.
Drivers can determine whether their cars have ABS by looking
for a lighted ABS symbol on the dashboard right after starting the engine,
checking the owners manual or asking the dealer.
is a separate written test and road test for motorcycle operators.
If you plan to
operate motorcycles and vehicles with four or more wheels,
you must take the
written test and road test for motorcycles, and the regular
written test and road
test for automobiles.
Extra information for motorcycle operators is
available in a separate handbook. Ask for a copy of the motorcycle handbook if
you will be operating a motorcycle. Read and study this manual and the motorcycle
taking your license examination. All first time applicants
motorcycle endorsements who are under 21 years of age, must complete
motorcycle safety course before they can be licensed to
operate a motorcycle.
Contact your local Florida driver license office for school
Persons riding bicycles or mopeds on a roadway have the same rights (with certain
duties as drivers of motor vehicles. Bicycle riders will receive traffic
for traffic violations. Know and obey these laws:
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.
- An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a backpack or sling, child seat or
trailer designed to carry children.
- You may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier when you are not in immediate control
of the bicycle.
- Bicyclists and passengers under age of 16 are required to wear helmets approved by ANSI, Snell or
other standard recognized by Florida. (Bicycle helmets are recommended for all ages)
- Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the bicyclist to
stop within 25 feet when traveling from a speed of 10 miles per hour on a dry, level, clean
- A bicyclist on a sidewalk or crosswalk must yield right of way to pedestrians and must give an
audible signal before passing.
- Keep at least one hand on the handlebars.
- On the roadway, check behind you before changing lanes.
- For use between sunset and sunrise, a bicycle must be equipped with a
lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the
front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light
visible from 600 feet to the rear.
- If you are not traveling at the speed of other traffic, stay on the the
rightmost portion if the roadway except when passing, making a left turn,
avoiding hazards or when a lane is too narrow for you and a car to share
- When operating a bicycle on a one-way street with two or more traffic
lanes, you may ride as close to the left-hand edge of the roadway as practicable.
- Do not ride two abreast when this will impede the flow of traffic.
- If you intend to make a left turn, you are entitled to full use of the lane from
which the turn is made.
- In addition to the normal vehicular-style left turn, you may proceed in the new direction
- Signal your intent to turn to other vehicle operators by pointing in the direction
you are going to turn.
- Do not wear headphones or any other listening device except a hearing aid while bicycling.
- Do not ride a bicycle when under the influence of
alcohol or drugs.
Persons riding mopeds have the
same rights and duties as drivers of
motor vehicles. Moped riders will receive
citations for traffic violations.
Know and obey these moped laws:
- You must be 16 years of age or older to operate a moped on a public
- Operators of mopeds must have the minimum of a Class E
license. No motorcycle endorsement is required.
- Mopeds must be registered
annually and a tag purchased.
- Mopeds may not be operated on bicycle paths
or foot paths.
- No person may operate a moped at a speed greater than 25
- Moped operators do not have to carry PIP insurance.
- Operators 16 years age or older are not required to
If you accept employment or engage in a trade, profession or
in Florida or if you enroll your children to be educated in a public
in Florida, the vehicle you own must have a Florida registration
and license plate. You must obtain the registration certificate and
plate within 20 days after the beginning of such employment or
You also must have a Florida Certificate of Title for your vehicle,
an out-of-state financial institution holds the title and will not release
it to Florida.
Proving Ownership and Insurance Coverage
your license plate and registration certificate, you must prove
that you own your
vehicle and that you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
insurance coverage for
your vehicle. You must prove ownership by showing
your certificate of title. You
must prove PIP coverage by showing an insurance
identification card or other
acceptable proof. The vehicle identification
number (VIN) on any vehicle
previously titled or registered in another state
must be verified by one of
several designated officials before the vehicle
can be titled and registered in
Florida. The VIN on any new vehicle purchased
from an out-of-state dealer to be
initially titled in Florida must also
Applying for title, license plates and registration
Apply for title, license plates
and registration at any tax collector's office in Florida. The cost of your
license plate will depend on the type
and weight of your vehicle. Your vehicle
must always have a current license
plate and you must always have your vehicle's
registration when you are
driving. If you buy a vehicle from a dealer in Florida,
the dealer must
apply for a certificate of title, certificate of registration and
plate for you. If you buy a vehicle from an individual, you must obtain
the title from the individual and apply for a certificate of title in your
You may apply for certificate of title, certificate of registration
plate at the same time. You cannot get a license plate until
you have a title to
prove that you own the vehicle.
Vehicle license plates and registration must be renewed each year, on
before the birthday of the first owner listed on the registration form.
you renew, you must prove that you have the required insurance.
You may renew by
Registrations expire at midnight on the birthday of the
listed on the registration form, except for:
homes - renew yearly by January 31.
- truck-tractors and semi-trailers -
renew yearly by December 31.
- vehicles owned by companies and corporations, and
some commercial vehicles - renew yearly by June 30.
For more information or assistance on motor vehicle title and registration, contact
your local tax collector's office.
Class E License and Restricted Class E License
On your road rules examination, you will be given 20
questions and asked
to choose the right answers for each. During the written
exam, you may not
use books or notes, and you may not talk to anyone except the
You should read each question carefully, and read each of
the four possible
answers. Choose the best answer. A sample question with the
is shown below.
The main reason for examining persons before
issuing driver licenses
Your complete written
examination will include 20 road signs and 20
questions on road rules. To pass,
you must choose the right answers to at
least 15 road signs and 15 road rules
questions. Sample test questions are
listed below. These questions will not
necessarily appear on the examination.
Answers to all of the sample questions can
be found in this book.
- What is the definition of a felony?
- If you knowingly make a false statement in an application for a driver license or identification card, can you be fined and placed in prison upon conviction?
- Can a person temporarily operate a farm tractor on the highway without a driver license?
- How many forms of identification must you show the examiner when you apply for your first driver license or identification card?
- If your name has been legally changed, how would you go about getting it changed on your driver license?
- You must obtain a new license showing the new address within how many days of moving?
- If you lose your Florida driver license and need a duplicate license, where do you apply for it?
- If you failed to answer a traffic summons, would you be able to renew your license?
- What would happen to the license of a driver who was involved in an accident and did not stop to help persons who were injured?
- If you receive twelve points within twelve months, for how long will your license be suspended?
- What are the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI)?
- Both your judgment and vision are affected after drinking alcohol. Which is affected first?
- What are the penalties for refusing to take a test to determine whether you are intoxicated?
- What type of insurance must you have on motor vehicles with four or more wheels?
- If your driver license is revoked for DUI or suspended for too many points, what type of insurance must you either purchase or prove that you had on the date of the violation or effective date of the suspension?
- What are the penalties for littering?
- If you hit a parked car and are unable to find the owner, what should you do?
- When a crash results in property damages of any amount, must the driver notify the Florida Highway Patrol, the Sheriff's Department, or the City Police Department?
- After a crash has been investigated by an officer, does the driver need to send a written report to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles?
- Who is required to wear seat belts when riding in the front seat of a car or a pickup truck?
- If a fourteen-year-old front-seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt, who could be charged with the violation?
- What is the maximum speed limit for passenger cars on a two-lane highway during the daytime?
- What is the maximum speed limit in a residential area if there is no speed limit sign?
- What is the maximum speed limit on an interstate highway on a clear day? In a rural area?
- When are you driving too slowly; can you be issued a ticket?
- What must you do when approaching a person who is riding or leading a horse upon or near the roadway?
- What must you do when you see a pedestrian with a white cane in the street ahead of you?
- To what ages does the Child Restraint Law apply?
- When you are entering a highway or street from a private driveway and the way is clear, can you move forward without stopping first?
- Are vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of school buses that have stopped to unload children on a divided highway with a dividing barrier required to stop?
- When a school bus stops to unload children on a divided highway, should the vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus stop?
- If a school bus stops to unload children on a four-lane highway, divided only by a four-foot paved strip, must vehicles traveling in the opposite direction stop?
- For how many feet before you start to turn should you begin your turn signal when you are driving on a highway?
- Suppose you are driving on a four-lane highway. From which lane should you turn? Into which lane should you turn?
- Is it a violation of the law to use turn signals to let other drivers know it is safe to pass?
- Is an arm signal for a left turn made by extending the left arm straight out of the window?
- When may you drive in the left lane of a road with four or more lanes with two-way traffic?
- After passing a vehicle, you must return to the right side of the road before coming within how many feet of an oncoming vehicle?
- At what places is it unlawful to overtake and pass?
- Can a driver who crosses a solid line on the right of the center line of the highway be issued a ticket for the violation?
- What is the recommended safe following distance?
- Which way should you turn your wheels when parking facing uphill where there is a curb? Which way should you turn them where there is not a curb?
- Can you park your car on a sidewalk, within an intersection, or on a crosswalk?
- May you drive with just your parking lights on, in place of your headlights?
- Are motor scooters whose engines have less than 150 cubic centimeter displacement allowed to be driven on an expressway?
- What should you do if you drive past the exit on an interstate highway where you wanted to get off?
- At what times should you use your headlights?
- When approaching another vehicle from the rear at night, within how many feet must you dim your bright headlights?
- Within how many feet of an oncoming vehicle should you dim your bright headlights?
- Under what conditions must you use your headlights when driving in the daytime?
- If you approach a red light and a traffic officer directs you to go through the intersection without stopping, what should you do?
- What does a green arrow showing at the same time as a red traffic light mean you can do?
- After a full stop at a red traffic light may a driver turn right if the way is clear?
- What does a red traffic light mean? What does a flashing red traffic light mean?
- Can you proceed with caution when you approach a flashing yellow light?
- Where do you usually find "YIELD RIGHT-OF-WAY" signs posted?
- If more than one vehicle is approaching a four-way stop sign and you are the first one to get there and stop, do you have the right to move forward first?
- What does a "PAVEMENT ENDS" sign mean?
- What does a solid yellow line to the right of the center line of the highway mean?
- What does a double solid yellow line in the center of the highway mean? What does a double solid white line in the center of the highway mean?
- What does a broken white line on the highway mean?
- When the foot brake is pressed, which light must come on?
- In addition to other equipment, is your vehicle required to have a white light that makes the license plate visible from 50 feet, a windshield wiper and a horn?
- What is the maximum allowable height between the pavement and bottom of a front and rear bumper for a truck that weighs 4,000 pounds?
- Are drivers allowed to wear headsets while operating a vehicle?
- What rights and duties do riders of bicycles and mopeds have?
- When a motorist preparing to make a right hand turn move into a bike lane?
- What is the proper passing procedure for a motorist when a bicyclist is occupying too much space for you to share the lane?
- What is the legal definition of a bicycle?
- What is the proper way to use anti-lock brakes in an emergency situation?
- What does anti-lock braking systems prevent when used in an emergency stopping situation?
Go to Chapter Six