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Speed Control

Speed Control - Driving the Safe Speed for Current Conditions

Speed control is something that is used by drivers on a regular basis. Whether driving on a busy major street or on a residential street, driving the appropriate speed is not only important for your safety, but also for the safety of other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. For future drivers, speed control is a concept that is often hard to master consistently. Some driving students drive too fast, while many actually drive too slow, usually due to lack of confidence or awareness. Another important aspect of speed control is the ability to drive smoothly. Drivers need to be able to accelerate smoothly, brake smoothly, and maintain a consistent speed. By the time student drivers are ready to take the DMV Drive Test, they need to be prepared to drive the appropriate speed for any and all driving conditions.

General Tips to Keep in Mind for Proper Speed Control

  • Not sure what the speed limit is on a major street? Speed limit signs (posted in black and white) are usually located after major intersections.
  • In neighborhoods where no speed limit is posted, the speed limit is 25 mph.
  • The California "Basic Speed Law" states that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. That means you could get ticketed for driving the posted speed limit if there is bad weather like rain, snow, or fog.

Speed Control Tips for the DMV Test

  • Driving at the posted speed limit (or very slightly below) shows the DMV examiner that you are confident and understand speed control. Driving too slowly for conditions shows that you lack confidence or are unaware of the speed limit. Keep in mind, students fail their drive test for driving too slow 5-times more than for driving too fast.
  • Driving 5 mph under OR over the speed limit might be an auto fail, while driving 10 mph under OR over the speed limit is definitely an auto fail.
  • In school zones, the speed limit is 25 mph if there are children present. Remember, if there are NO children present, do not slow down unnecessarily. If the normal posted speed limit is 35 mph and you slow down to 25 mph when no children are present, you could auto fail for driving too slowly!
  • In order to be a smooth and controlled driver, practice good foot technique on the accelerator and brake pedals. When accelerating, use gentle pressure on the accelerator to get up to the speed limit. When approaching a stop sign or red light, begin slowing down by taking your foot off the accelerator and allowing the car to slow down gradually, applying gradual pressure to the brake until you bring the car to a smooth, gentle stop. Unless you are attempting to avoid a collision, you never want to "slam" on the brakes and come to an abrupt, jerky stop. Want to impress your DMV examiner? Make your drive test a nice, smooth ride for them. The more you put them at ease, the more likely they are going to want to pass you!

Speed Control Video Transcript

Hello! Today we're working on something that's not only tough for newer drivers but almost half of everyone out there on the road is doing this wrong anyway. Today we're working on… Speed Control.

California has a "Basic Speed Law" that says you cannot drive faster than what is safe for road conditions, so if a road is wet or there's a lot of parked cars or there's pedestrians out. We need to go under the maximum speed limit. How do you know what the maximum speed limit is? Well, there will be speed limit signs posted. Normally after major intersections, in black and white or regulatory signs telling you how fast you can go if road conditions are perfect. If road conditions are not perfect, you need to be under that maximum speed limit. And that is your responsibility that comes with your permit or license. Now that you know what speed control is, I'll show you how to have proper speed control.

Now I'm going to show you the footwork required for proper speed control. And this is the perfect day for this because it's a little rainy. The roads are wet which means they're not ideal which means, I've got to keep my speed a little under the speed limit which is 25 mph because we're in a neighborhood. Now I've just pulled away from the curb. Now you can see I just barely gave it any gas and I'm accelerating up to the speed that I kind of want to maintain which is between 20 and 25 mph and then I'm going to kind of ease up off the gas pedal. I'm maintaining my speed. I'm coming up to a stop sign. So I'm going to move my foot over to the brake and let my car coast and then I'm going to start braking to make this stop nice and smooth and behind the limit line. Now you'll notice I didn't go just from the gas to the brake. I maintained my speed. I also coasted before I started braking. Now that's going to make your ride really smooth for your passengers. Coming back up to my speed that I wanna cruise at. I'm between 20 and 25 mph. So I'm just going to ease up off the gas pedal, let my car kind of maintain speed by just giving a little pressure on the gas. Now if I just keep accelerating I'm going to find myself up over the speed limit.

In addition to our normal white and black speed limit signs, we want to be on the lookout for warning signs. They'll be black and yellow. An example of one would be, "Go 15 miles an hour for the speed bumps." We also want to pay attention to school zones. If there are students present, we go 25 miles an hour.

Now on your drive test, you are graded on speed. Anything between 5 to 10 miles an hour over or under the speed limit could be an automatic fail and anything 10 miles an hour over or under is definitely an automatic fail. Now of course if you're stuck in traffic, you're going to be under the speed limit, or if road conditions are not perfect we need to be under the speed limit. But if road conditions are ideal I tell people, "Hey, go the speed limit. It'll make you look good. It'll make you look confident." Now, even if you go a mile or two over the speed limit, or even five miles under the speed limit, it could be points off your drive test.

Well, thank you for watching speed control today. Today we looked at the California "Basic Speed Law" and we looked at how to control your speed using acceleration, maintaining your speed, coasting, and braking. Good luck on your drive test and see you in the next video.