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Traffic Checks on Major Streets


Major Street Intersection Traffic Checks - Skills Needed for City Driving

When driving on busy major streets, making all the required intersection traffic checks is so important. One bad judgement call can lead to more than just an automatic fail on your DMV test. The truth is, one bad judgment call can be a fatal mistake. Even the best drivers sometimes struggle with proper traffic checks when there is heavier traffic, higher speeds, and more commotion on the road. Join Drivers Ed Direct instructor Micah as he expertly demonstrates and discusses how to make the required traffic checks when navigating major intersections out in traffic.

What is an Intersection Traffic Check?

A defensive driving scan that drivers need to do BEFORE entering any intersection - checking for other traffic, cyclists, pedestrians or any other obstacles that may be present in an intersection.

Generally speaking, you perform an intersection traffic check using quick glances to the left, to the right, and then back to the left again (left-right-left). On some challenging intersections you will need to repeat the left-right-left checks over and over again, until it is safe to go.

When Do You Make a Traffic Check?

Before every intersection! Do traffic checks before each intersection when you are driving straight, whether you have the right-of-way or not. Do traffic checks before making left and right turns. When you are waiting at a red light and your light turns green, make sure you do a left-right-left traffic check before going into the intersection - there may be vehicles or pedestrians still clearing the intersection, or another driver running a red light!

Any Traffic Check Tips for Entering Heavy Traffic?

Yes! Always remember that you must never enter traffic until you are 100% sure that it is safe and clear. You cannot enter traffic if it will impede another driver's progress (i.e. you cannot make another driver slow down or change lanes to avoid hitting you). This is not only dangerous, it is an auto fail on your DMV drive test. If you do not have the right of way and are entering traffic at an intersection where visibility is poor (maybe parked cars or bushes are blocking your view), then you must "inch out" or "creep out" far enough to determine when it is safe to enter traffic. Always "inch out" very slowly and look left-right-left over and over until you are 100% certain it is safe to go!