New York State's need for organ and tissue donation is tremendous. Approximately 10,000 New Yorkers
are waiting for a life-saving transplant. Just one person who donates his or her organs can save up
to eight lives.
What can you do to help?
Enroll in the NYS Registry Online:
If you are 16 years of age or older, simply go to dmv.ny.gov and sign up to be an organ donor through
MyDMV, or go to donatelife.ny.gov.
Enroll By Mail:
If you prefer, enroll by signing the organ donation box on your driver license or non-driver identification
card application or on your renewal form. If it's not time for you to renew your license or non-driver ID,
simply go to donatelife.ny.gov to print and mail in your enrollment application or enroll online;
it's just that easy!
What You Should Know if You Enroll in the NYS Registry:
Tell your family you have enrolled in the
Registry and have given your legal
consent for donation to occur upon your death;
Your decision to donate will not a ect your
medical treatment;
The organs and tissues you donate will go
to the patients in the greatest need;
There is no cost to the donor's family;
You can have your name removed from
the Registry at any time;
After you enroll, you will receive a
confirmation email or letter to confirm
your enrollment and provide you with
additional information.
For more information call 1-866-NYDONOR (693-6667)
visit donatelife.ny.gov or contact one of these organizations:
Donate Life NYS: 518-326-3237 www.donatelifenewyork.com
Center for Donation & Transplant: 1-800-256-7811 www.cdtny.org (Capital District)
Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network: 1-800-81 0-5494 www.donorrecovery.org (Finger Lakes Region)
LiveOnNY, Inc.: 1-800-443-8469 www.liveonny.org (Metro NYC and Long Island Area)
Upstate Transplant Services: 1-800-227-4771 www.unyts.org (Western NY/Bu alo)
4 | Driver’s Manual
PART ONE – Information for Drivers and Vehicle Owners
Chapter 1 – Driver Licenses
Types of Licenses
When You Apply for Your First License
The Learner Permit and Road Test
Junior Operator Restrictions
Change of Address
License Renewal
Non-Resident and New Resident Drivers
Chapter 2 – How to Keep Your License
Special Rules for Drivers with Junior Permits & Licenses
Probation Period for All Other Newly Licensed Drivers
If You Receive a Trac Ticket
Trac Tickets Received Out of State
Mandatory Suspension or Revocation
The Point System
Trac Crashes
Fees and Civil Penalties
Driver Responsibility Assessments
Driving While Suspended or Revoked
Chapter 3 – Owning a Vehicle
Registration and Title
Registration Renewal
Resident and Non-Resident Responsibility
Complaints Against Businesses
PART TWO – Rules of the Road
Chapter 4 – Trac Control
Trac Signals
Pavement Markings
Trac Ocers
Chapter 5 – Intersections and Turns
Emergency Vehicles
Blue, Green and Amber Lights
Chapter 6 – How to Pass
How to Pass on the Left
How to Pass on the Right
Being Passed
School Buses
Chapter 7 – Parallel Parking
How to Park
How to Park on a Hill
How to Pull Out from Parallel Parking
Parking Regulations
Reserved Parking for People with Disabilities
Driver’s Manual | 5
PART THREE – Safe Driving Tips
Chapter 8 – Defensive Driving
Be Prepared and Look Ahead
Driver Distractions
Aggressive Drivers
Road Rage
Allow Yourself Space
Seat Belts, Child Safety Seats, and Air Bags
How to Drive Safely in Work Zones
How to Drive Through a Roundabout
Drowsy and Fatigued Driving
Using a Cellular or Mobile Telephone
Vehicle Condition
Chapter 9 – Alcohol and Other Drugs
What Alcohol Does
Other Drugs
Alcohol, Other Drugs, and the Law
Your BAC
Chemical Tests
The Consequences
A Few Important Reminders
How to Avoid Trouble
Chapter 10 – Special Driving Conditions
Railroad Crossings
Expressway Driving
Night Driving
Driving in Rain, Fog, or Snow
How to Drive in Winter
How to Avoid Collisions With Deer
Driving Emergencies
Chapter 11 – Sharing the Road
Pedestrians and Skateboarders
Bicyclists and In-Line Skaters
Moped Operators
Large Vehicles
Slow-Moving Vehicles
All-Terrain Vehicles and Snowmobiles
Horse Riders
Chapter 12 – If You Are in a Trac Crash
At the Scene
Emergency First-Aid
Reports to DMV
DMV Consumer Directory
State DMV Oces
County DMV Oces
DMV Call Centers
Important DMV Addresses and Telephone Numbers
6 | Driver’s Manual
You must have a valid driver license to drive le-
gally in New York State. If you reside in and hold a
valid license from another state or nation, you can
drive legally in New York State. However, even if
you are licensed somewhere else, people under
age 16 cannot drive in New York State.
Drivers who have moved here must turn in their
out-of-state driver license and get a New York
license within 30 days of becoming a permanent
resident. In most cases, it is illegal to hold a New
York driver license and a driver license from an-
other state at the same time. It is also a violation
of Federal and state law to hold more than one
commercial driver license (CDL).
It is a crime to alter or forge any motor vehicle
document, including a driver license. This may
cause suspension or revocation of the driver
license and criminal prosecution resulting in a fine
or imprisonment.
New York State recognizes six types of
non-commercial driver licenses. The information
in this chapter applies to passenger car and mo-
torcycle licenses. Information about commercial
driver licenses can be found in the Commercial
Driver’s Manual (CDL-10). This is available from
the DMV website (search under Forms) or at any
motor vehicle oce. You must have a CDL if you
drive any vehicle that:
• Has a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) of more than 26,000 pounds
(11,794 kg); or
• Has a gross combination weight rating
(GCWR) of more than 26,000 pounds
(11,794 kg), including any towed unit with a
GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds (4,536
kg); or,
• Is made or used to carry 15 or more
persons, in addition to the driver; or,
• Regardless of seating capacity, is defined
as a bus by Article 19-A of the Vehicle and
Trac Law (including vehicles that carry
school children or disabled people); or,
• Carries hazardous materials required by
federal law to contain a placard.
The non-commercial driver licenses in this
manual are:
Operator, Class D - Minimum age is 18, or age
17 with a driver education Certificate of Comple-
tion (see Driver Education later in this chapter).
Allows you to drive a vehicle with a manufactur-
er’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000
pounds (11,794 kg) or less; to tow a vehicle with a
GVWR of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) or less; or tow
a vehicle of more than 10,000 pounds if the gross
combination weight rating (GCWR) of the two
vehicles together is no more than 26,000 pounds
(11,794 kg). You can also operate Class B and C
mopeds with this driver license.
Junior Operator, Class DJ - Minimum age is
16. Allows you to drive a vehicle with a GVWR
of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) or less, and tow a
vehicle of 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg) or less. You can
also operate Class B and C mopeds with this driv-
er license. Please note you are limited with where,
when, and with whom you can drive – please
refer to the section of this manual labelled “Junior
Operator Restrictions” found later in this chapter.
Non-CDL Class C - Minimum age is 18. Allows
you to drive some vehicles with a GVWR of
26,000 pounds or less, or to tow a vehicle with
a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less providing the
GCWR is not more than 26,000 pounds (11,794 kg)
where no CDL endorsement is required.
Taxi/Livery, Class E - Minimum age is 18.
Allows you to drive the same vehicles as a Class
Driver’s Manual | 7
D license, and transport passengers for hire in a
vehicle designed or used to carry 14 or fewer pas-
sengers. If the vehicle is defined as a bus under
Article 19-A of the Vehicle and Trac Law (e.g., a
school car or a van that transports physically or
mentally disabled persons), regardless of seating
capacity, you must have a CDL.
Motorcycle, Class M - Minimum age is 18, or
age 17 with a driver education Certificate of Com-
pletion (see Driver Education later in this chapter).
Allows you to drive motorcycles and mopeds.
Junior Motorcycle, Class MJ - Minimum age is
16. Allows you to drive motorcycles and mopeds.
You are also limited with where, when, and with
whom you can drive – please refer to the section
of this manual labelled “Junior Operator Restric-
tions” found later in this chapter.
Note: If you have a motorcycle license and
another type of driver license, both classes will
be listed on one document (e.g., “Class DM”).
Enhanced Driver License - Can be used for
land and sea border crossings to and from the
U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbe-
an. This license can be used instead of a passport
as an identity and Citizenship document at these
crossings and for air travel within the U.S. This is
an option for NYS residents who are U.S. citizens.
Commercial driver licenses and motorcycle licens-
es can also be issued as an EDL.
Real ID License – The REAL ID Act is a federal
law passed by Congress resulting from the 9/11
Commission’s recommendation that establishes
specific federal requirements for state-issued
driver licenses, permits and ID cards to be ac-
ceptable for certain federal purposes. Beginning
October 1, 2020, every air traveler flying within
the United States will need to present a REAL ID
or an Enhanced Driver License, or bring another
acceptable form of identification, determined by
the federal government, to get through security at
U.S. airports. To get a REAL ID, you will need to go
to a DMV Oce.
Personal Use Vehicle (Rental, Recreational
Vehicle) or “R” endorsement - The Personal Use
Vehicle “R” endorsement is required for opera-
tion of recreational and/or rental vehicles used
to transport personal household goods when the
vehicle is over 26,000 pounds (11,794 kg.) GVWR
and/or forty (40) feet in length. This endorsement
is available to Class D and E license drivers.
To get an “R” endorsement: Submit a complet-
ed Application for Driver License or ID Card (MV-
44) to a state or county motor vehicle oce; pay
a permit fee, which is valid for a maximum of two
road tests; and pass a road test in the size and
type of vehicle you will drive. No written test is re-
quired. For the road test, a driver who is at least 21
years old, with a license valid for the vehicle you
will drive during the test, must accompany you.
(e.g., a driver license with an “R” endorsement
or the correct Commercial Driver License). The
road test will take approximately 15 minutes and
will include turns, intersections and backing the
vehicle to the curb. When you pass the road test,
you must go to a motor vehicle oce and pay
the required fee to complete the license
amendment process.
8 | Driver’s Manual
The information and required application forms
you need to apply for a learner permit or driver
license are available at any motor vehicle oce.
You can also download them from the DMV
website. To apply for a learner permit or driver
license you must complete an Application for
Driver License (MV-44). You must pass a vision
and written test and pay the application and
license fees. Most drivers must also complete an
approved 5-hour Pre-Licensing Course and pass
a road test. For more information about how to ap-
ply for and receive a license to drive a motorcycle
or a commercial vehicle that requires a CDL, refer
to the Motorcycle Operator’s Manual (MV-21MC)
or the Commercial Driver’s Manual (CDL-10).
You must bring your completed application to
any motor vehicle oce, show the required proof
of name and date of birth, provide your Social
Security card and pay the correct fee.
Your first New York driver license will be issued
for a period not to exceed 5 years, on your month
and day of birth. Your fee for a learner permit and
license in Class D, DJ, M or MJ will be based on
your age and date of birth.
Proof of Identity and Age
For your protection, DMV must be sure who
you are. As part of the application, you must pro-
vide your Social Security card. You must present
documents that prove your name and age. All
proofs must be in English or accompanied by a
certified English translation. The list of acceptable
documents and assigned point values, described
below, are on forms License/Permit/ID Instructions
(MV-44.1 and MV-44.1RID) and Proofs of Identity
(ID-44 and ID-44RID) available from the DMV
website (search under Forms) or at any motor
vehicle oce.
Proof of Name
Documents that prove your name are assigned
a point value. You must present proofs that total
six points or more. At least one of the proofs must
have your signature.
Examples of common proofs and their point val-
ues are listed below.
Each document below has a value of 6 points:
• New York Photo Driver License/Permit/
Non-Driver ID Card
Each document below has a value of 4 points:
• If Under Age 21 — Statement of Identity
by Parent/Guardian (MV-45) (see special
instructions and requirements on the DMV
form). Proof of date of birth and an original
Social Security card are required for
the applicant.
• U.S. Passport, must be valid
Each document below has a value of 3 points:
• Foreign passport - in English and with a U.S.
Visa and valid I-9 or unexpired I-551 stamp
or statement on visa. If the document is not
in English, a certified translation by the em-
bassy or consulate of the issuing country
is required. See the publication Proofs of
Identity (ID-44).
• Valid U.S. Re-entry Permit (I-327)
• Valid U.S. Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
• Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of
Naturalization (N-550, N-560, N-561, N-570,
N-578 or N-645)
• Permanent Resident Identification Card
(INS I-551)
• Valid U.S. Employment Authorization Card
(INS I-688B or I-766, with photo)
• U.S. Military Photo Identification Card
(issued to military personnel only)
• NYS Medicaid/Benefit/Food Stamp Card,
with photo (or, 2 points without photo)
Driver’s Manual | 9
Each document below has a value of 2 points:
• Photo Driver License issued by another U.S.
state, jurisdiction, territory or possession, or,
a Canadian province or territory (must be in
eect at least 6 months and not expired for
more than 12 months)
• U.S. Military Dependent Photo ID card
• NYS DMV Non-Photo Interim License or
Computer Generated Learner Permit
• NYS Vehicle Certificate of Title
• NYS Vehicle or Boat Registration Document
• U.S. Social Security Card (must have
your signature)
• U.S. High School ID With Report Card
• U.S. College ID With Photo and Transcript
• U.S. Marriage or Divorce Record or Court-
Issued Name Change Document
• NYS Professional License
• NYS or New York City Pistol Permit
Each document below has a value of 1 point:
• Valid U.S. Major Credit Card, or
• U.S. Cash (ATM) Card (with pre-printed
name and signature), or
• U.S. Canceled Check (with your pre-printed
name), or
• U.S. Bank/Financial Institution
• U.S. Employee Identification Card
• U.S. Computerized Pay Stub (must include
your name
• U.S. Supermarket Check Cashing Card
(must have your pre-printed name
and signature)
• U.S. Insurance Policy (in eect at least
two years)
• U.S. Health Insurance Card/Prescription
• U.S. Utility Bill (must have your name
and address)
• U.S. High School Diploma or General
Equivalency Diploma (GED)
• W-2 Form (must include Social Security
• U.S. Union Card
• Veteran Universal Access Photo Identifica-
tion Card
Proof of Age
You must prove your date of birth. The DMV will
accept the original or certified copy of ANY ONE
of these documents from the issuing agency:
• Birth Certificate issued and certified by
the U.S. Department of State or a Board of
Health or Bureau of Vital Statistics in the
U.S., its territories or possessions
• Certificate of Birth Registration issued by
the Department of Health of New York State
or New York City
• U.S. Military Photo Identification Card
• U.S. Passport
• Foreign Passport (with INS documentation)
or Immigration Documents - See the publi-
cation Proofs of Identity (ID-44) for details
• Certification of Citizenship or Certificate of
10 | Driver’s Manual
Vision and Written Tests
To pass the vision test, you must have 20/40 vi-
sion in at least one eye with or without corrective
lenses. If you cannot pass this test or if you wear
special lenses, contact a DMV Call Center for
additional instruction.
The written test for a Class D, M, DJ, MJ or E
license examines knowledge of the rules of the
road, safe driving techniques, road signs and the
laws about alcohol and drug use while driving. To
pass the written test, you must correctly answer at
least 14 of the 20 questions asked, but you must
correctly answer two of the four questions about
road signs. You can practice for the written test
with the questions included in this Driver’s Manual
and you can take practice quizzes online at the
DMV website. (dmv.ny.gov)
If you require a motorcycle license, also study
the Motorcycle Operator’s Manual (MV-21MC).
There is a separate commercial driver license
written test for a CDL Class A, B, or C. If you want
to apply for a commercial driver license, also
study the Commercial Driver Manual (CDL-10).
Automated Knowledge Test
Class D knowledge tests are oered in multiple
languages and can be taken via touch screen test
stations or on paper. For practice tests, please
visit our website by scanning the QR code below.
The QR code can be scanned with your smart-
phone once you’ve downloaded a free QR Code
Reader to your phone.
Online Knowledge Test Application
Before you apply for a learner permit, students
who are at least age 15 can take the written
test through the DMV Online Knowledge Test
Application (OKTA) program. The test is given at
participating high schools across New York State.
The test is given in an easy-to-use format and is
oered in English and Spanish.
It is not necessary for schools that participate
to have a driver education program. They must
provide a personal computer with Internet access,
a printer and at least one sta person to monitor
the tests. The OKTA program automatically scores
each test and displays the results for the student
on the computer screen.
Students who pass the test online will receive
a receipt, instructions and all required forms to
apply for a learner permit. Students who are at
least age 16 can bring their receipt and completed
forms to any state or county motor vehicle oce
to apply for a learner permit. Students who fail the
test can take it again online as many times as the
school allows.
The Learner Permit
When you pass the vision and written tests and
pay your fees, your learner permit will be issued
and you can start to learn to drive. When you
practice, you must be supervised by a licensed
driver who is at least 21 years old, has a license
valid for the type of vehicle you are driving, and
is seated in the front seat with you when you
are driving. New York State also has additional
restrictions that apply to drivers under the age of
18. Based on the Graduated Driver Licensing laws,
if you have a DJ Learner Permit you are restricted
by where and when you drive, and who can be in
the car with you when you drive. These restric-
tions are based on where you are driving and are
best explained by the chart on the next page:
Driver’s Manual | 11
You must drive only under the
immediate supervision of your:
1. Parent
2. Guardian
3. Person “in loco parentis”
4. Driver Education Teacher
5. Driving School Instructor
Those listed above must be age
21 or older and have a license
valid for the vehicle being driven.
Vehicle must have dual controls
(dual brakes)
New York City (5 Boroughs) Long Island (Nassau & Suolk) Upstate (All Other Counties)
5AM – 9PM 5AM – 9PM 5AM – 9PM
You must drive only under the
immediate supervision of your:
1. Parent
2. Guardian
3. Person “in loco parentis”
4. Driver Education Teacher
5. Driving School Instructor;
6. Anyone who has been desig-
nated in writing by the parent,
guardian, or person “in loco
Those listed above must be age
21 or older and have a license
valid for the vehicle being driven.
You must drive only under the
immediate supervision of:
A person who is age 21 or older
and has a license valid for the
vehicle being driven.
9PM – 5AM 9PM – 5AM 9PM – 5AM
You must NOT drive. You must NOT drive You must drive only under the
immediate supervision of your:
1. Parent
2. Guardian
3. Person “in loco parentis”
4. Driver Education Teacher
5. Driving School Instructor
Those listed above must be age
21 or older and have a license
valid for the vehicle being driven.
The restrictions for drivers with learner permits
are also available at state or county motor vehicle
oces or online, “Important Information About
Learners’ Permits” (MV-500H), at the DMV web-
site, dmv.ny.gov/forms/mv500h.pdf.
Definitions (For the purpose of this section of
the manual)
“Properly Licensed” means has a license valid
in this state to drive the type of vehicle being
driven by the new or junior driver.
“Guardian” means a person who has, on a reg-
ular and extended basis, assumed the character
of a parent and discharges parental duties as the
result of a court appointment.
“In Loco Parentis means a person who
assumes the role of a parent for the purpose of
performing parental duties with the implied or
actual consent of a parent (e.g. as a result of the
death, incapacity, or in the absence, of a parent).
“School Course” means instruction that is
licensed or approved by a state agency or depart-
ment, or training conducted by the U.S. Armed
Forces. The term “school course” does NOT
include activities or events for which no scholastic
credits are given.
New York City (5 Boroughs) Long Island (Nassau & Suolk) Upstate (All Other Counties)
12 | Driver’s Manual
“Employment” means a place of business at
which you are paid to work on a scheduled basis.
You cannot drive during work or as part of your
work duties.
“Work Study Program” means a state-ap-
proved work-study program. For example, a
Board of Cooperative Educational Services
(BOCES) course for which academic credit is
granted for work experience.
“Medical Appointment” means medical treat-
ment that is necessary for you or a member of
your household.
“Daycare” applies to travel to and from child
care if the attendance of the child is necessary
for a family member to maintain employment or
attend a school course.
General Rules for All Drivers with Learner
If you hold a learner permit, you cannot drive:
• Unless you are accompanied by a super-
vising driver who is at least age 21 and has
a license to operate the vehicle you are
driving. In Long Island and New York City,
this person must be a parent, guardian or
driving instructor. For example, a person
with a motorcycle license can supervise a
motorcycle learner.
• In a DMV road test area.
• On any street within a park in New York City
or any bridge or tunnel under the jurisdic-
tion of the Triborough Bridge and
Tunnel Authority.
• On the Cross County, Hutchinson River,
Saw Mill River, or Taconic State parkways in
Westchester County.
Driving with a Junior Learner Permit
• You cannot drive with more than one
passenger under the age of 21 unless they
are members of your immediate family or
if your supervising driver is your parent,
guardian, person “in loco parentis,
driver education teacher or driving
school instructor.
• You and each passenger must wear a seat
belt: one per person. Every child passenger
must use a correct child restraint. (See:
Chapter 8, “Seat Belts, Child Safety Seats,
and Air Bags”)
• If you hold a junior permit, the only pas-
senger allowed in the front seat is your
supervising driver.
• Also see “Special Rules for Drivers with
Junior Permits and Licenses,” Chapter 2.
Preparing for the Road Test
Safe drivers often find their amount of practice
before the road test makes a positive dierence.
Before you take the test, it is important that you
have had at least 50 hours of practice, with at
least 15 hours after sunset. It is recommended
that at least 10 hours of the supervised practice
be in moderate to heavy trac. Road tests are
given on city streets, but you should practice on
expressways and other types of highways as
well. DMV suggests you take a high school or
college driver education course or lessons from a
DMV-licensed driving school. If you cannot take a
course or lessons, have the person who teaches
you read Parts 2 and 3 of this manual.
You cannot practice in a DMV road test area
or on any restricted roads. In New York City,
these areas include any street within a park and
all bridges and tunnels under the jurisdiction of
the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. In
Westchester County, the streets and roadways
you cannot practice on include these parkways:
Cross County, Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River
and Taconic State.
Safe Driving Course Requirement
Before you can make a road test appointment,
you must first complete an approved safe driver
course. This requirement is automatically fulfilled
as part of a state approved high school or college
driver education course. Or you can complete this
requirement when you take a special Pre-Licens-
ing course available at most licensed driving
schools. When you complete the course, you will
receive a certificate which you’ll need to schedule
your road test appointment. The certificate is valid
for one year.
Driver’s Manual | 13
Note: A defensive driving course, taught
through the DMV-certified Point & Insurance
Reduction Program does NOT meet the Safe
Driving course requirement.
Driver Education
If you are 17, you are eligible for a senior driver
license (Class D or M) if you have a junior driver
license and have completed a state-approved
high school or college driver education course.
To change your junior license to a senior license,
bring your junior license and the Student Certif-
icate of Completion (MV-285) that you received
from your instructor to any motor vehicle oce.
You must return your certificate and junior license
to receive the senior license. If you do not change
your junior license to a senior license, you are
subject to the restrictions for junior drivers until
you are age 18, even if you carry the completion
certificate with you. You can also give your certifi-
cate with your junior permit to the license examin-
er at your road test. You will automatically receive
a senior license when you become eligible.
For Junior Drivers with Permits
Your permit must be valid for a minimum of six
months in order to take the road test. When you
pass the road test, you will be issued a Junior
License (Class DJ or MJ). See the chart “Regional
Restrictions for a Junior License.
A DMV license examiner will conduct the road
test. You must give the license examiner your
photo learner permit, your 5-hour Pre-Licensing
Course Completion Certificate (MV-278) or your
Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) and
a completed Certification of Supervised Driving
(MV-262). All junior drivers with permits are re-
quired to present a completed MV-262 at the time
of the road test.
The Certification of Supervised Driving (MV-
262) is available from the DMV website dmv.
ny.gov and at any motor vehicle oce. With this
statement, your parent or guardian certifies that
you completed at least 50 hours of practice driv-
ing, including at least 15 hours after sunset, with
an appropriate supervising driver
(See chart “Regional Restrictions for a Junior
Permit” later in this chapter).
For All Other Drivers with Permits
When you take your road test, you must give
the license examiner your photo learner permit,
your 5-hour pre-licensing course completion
certificate (MV-278) or your Student Certificate of
Completion (MV-285).
The Road Test
After you have completed the Safe Driving
Course Requirement, and you feel you are ready
for your road test, you can schedule your road
test appointment using DMV’s Road Test Sched-
uling System online at dmv.ny.gov/roadtest or
by telephone at 1-(518)-402-2100. You must have
your Pre-Licensing Course Completion Certificate
(MV-278) or driver education course Student
Certificate of Completion (MV-285) before you
schedule your appointment. When scheduling
your appointment, you will need to have your
Learner Permit and Safe Driving Course certificate
(MV-278 or MV-285) with you.
You must bring a vehicle to drive during the
road test. The vehicle must be legally registered,
inspected, insured and equipped, and in good
working order. This includes doors and seat belts.
The passenger side seat belt must be available
and clean for use by the examiner. If you drive to
the road test site, you must also bring a supervis-
ing driver who is at least 21 and holds a license
valid for the vehicle you will drive during the road
test. Motorcycle applicants must bring a car or
truck and a licensed driver to transport the license
examiner during the test.
The DMV can cancel road tests because of bad
weather. Check DMV’s website (dmv.ny.gov) for
any cancellation information.
After the Road Test
At the conclusion of the road test, the Examiner
will issue you a receipt of your test results. Any er-
rors you made will be listed on the receipt. Please
follow the Examiner’s instructions, if any.
When you qualify for your original license the
examiner will issue you a printed receipt.
14 | Driver’s Manual
This receipt plus your photo learner permit will be
a temporary driver license valid for 90 days. Your
new photo license will arrive in the mail within
three to five weeks. If you qualified to add anoth-
er license class to your current driver license, you
will need to wait 7 days, then go to a DMV oce
to upgrade your driver license.
When you qualify for a license, you must
continue to be careful and obey the trac laws to
gain experience as a capable driver. Many motor-
ists enroll in a DMV-certified Accident Prevention
Course to help them gain knowledge of safe
driving practices and important highway safety
issues. This course, commonly known as the Point
and Insurance Reduction Program (PIRP), is avail-
able through private companies or corporations in
New York State.
The course is available as a classroom course
or online (called I-PIRP) and reviews time-tested
safe driving tips and provides a summary of the
vehicle and trac laws. If you are eligible for
point reduction, as many as four (4) points can be
reduced from your driving record. (For more infor-
mation on the point system, see The Point System
in Chapter 2.) You can complete this course every
18 months for the purpose of point reduction. You
can also qualify for a minimum 10% reduction in
the base rate of liability and collision insurance
premiums for three years. More information
regarding the Point and Insurance Reduction
Program, including lists of sponsors approved to
provide this course, is available on DMV’s website
at https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-more-about/pirp.
Driving with a Junior License
• You cannot drive with more than one pas-
senger under the age of 21 unless they are
members of your immediate family.
• You and each passenger must wear a seat
belt: one per person. Every child passenger
must use a correct child restraint. (See:
Chapter 8, “Seat Belts, Child Safety Seats,
and Air Bags”)
• Also see “Special Rules for Drivers with
Junior Permits and Licenses,” Chapter 2.
New York State also has additional restrictions
that apply to drivers under the age of 18. Based
on the Graduated Driver Licensing laws, if you
have a Class DJ Driver License (also known as
a Junior Operator License) you are restricted to
where and when and who can be in the car with
you when you drive. These restrictions are based
on where you are driving and are best explained
by the chart on the next page:
Driver’s Manual | 15
You must NOT drive.
New York City (5 Boroughs) Long Island (Nassau & Suolk) Upstate (All Other Counties)
5AM – 9PM 5AM – 9PM 5AM – 9PM
You may drive alone only directly
between your home and employ-
ment, a work-study program, a
course at a college, university, or
registered evening high school, a
driver education course, or while
engaged in farm employment.
You may drive when accompa-
nied by your licensed parent,
guardian, person “in loco paren-
tis”, driver education teacher, or
driving school instructor.
You may drive without being
9PM – 5AM 9PM – 5AM 9PM – 5AM
You must NOT drive. You may drive alone only directly
between your home and a work-
study program, a course at a
college, university, or registered
evening high school, a driver
education course, or while
engaged in farm employment.
You may drive alone only directly
between your home and employ-
ment or a school course.
All other driving must be accom-
panied by your licensed parent,
guardian, or person “in loco
Driving Alone with a Junior License
Please see this important information:
If you hold a Junior License and drive in the coun-
ties of Nassau or Suolk:
You can drive by yourself between home and
your employment, which can include farm work, if
you carry the correct proof of employment. Your
employer can complete a Certificate of Employ-
ment (MV-58A), available from the DMV website
(search under Forms) or at local motor vehicle
oces. In the upstate counties only, instead of an
employment certificate, you can carry a letter from
your employer. The letter must be marked with
a date and signed by your employer, and must
show the business name, address and telephone
number where you work.
It also must list your name, date of birth, driver
license number, job description, and days, hours
and location of employment. The address and
telephone number at which the employer can be
contacted must be included for verification by a
magistrate or police ocer.
When you drive by yourself between your
home and a qualified school course or approved
work-study program, you must carry proof of en-
rollment. This must be a letter, marked with a date
and signed by an appropriate school or program
ocial, on the school or program letterhead. It
must include the address and telephone number
of the ocial for verification by a magistrate or
police ocer. The letter also must include the
date(s), hour(s) and location(s) of the school
course or program activity, your name, date of
birth, and driver license number.
New York City (5 Boroughs) Long Island (Nassau & Suolk) Upstate (All Other Counties)
16 | Driver’s Manual
Motorcyclists and Moped Operators
The restrictions in this manual also apply to
operating a motorcycle or moped. Your learner
permit or junior license (Class M or MJ) does not
allow you to carry any passenger except your
supervising driver. Your supervising driver must
have a driver license valid to operate the same
class motorcycle or moped you are driving, and
must exercise general supervision and control by
remaining within one-quarter mile. It is strongly
recommended that your supervising driver be
able to see you at all times.
NYS Drivers Visiting Other States
You can drive outside New York State with
your learner permit, junior learner permit or junior
license if it is allowed by the laws of the other
state. You must obey that state’s permit, junior
permit and driver license restrictions that may
apply. Ask the police or motor vehicle authorities
in the state you are visiting.
If you change your address you must notify
DMV within 10 days by mail, on a Change-of-Ad-
dress Form (MV-232), or online at the DMV web-
site dmv.ny.gov. You must write the new address
in the space provided on the back of your
driver license.
You are responsible to know when your
driver license expires and to renew it on time. If
the DMV has your current address, you should
receive a renewal notice and instructions in the
mail approximately 45 days before your license
expires. If you do not receive the notice, you can
apply for renewal at a motor vehicle oce. You
can renew your license up to one year before its
printed expiration date.
Beginning October 1, 2020, the federal govern-
ment will require your driver license, permit or ID
card to be REAL ID compliant if you wish to use it
as identification to board a domestic flight (within
the U.S.), or enter military bases and certain
federal facilities. You may also use an Enhanced
driver license, permit, or non-driver ID or valid U.S.
Passport or other identification acceptable to the
federal government. To get a REAL ID, you will
need to go to a DMV Oce on or after October
30, 2017. You cannot get a REAL ID online, by
phone, or through the mail.
To get a Real ID you MUST bring to the oce
the following original or certified proof documents:
• Proof of identity.
• Proof of Social Security Number or Social
Security Number ineligibility.
• Proof of your date of birth.
• Proof of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent
residency or temporary lawful status in
the U.S.
• Two proofs of New York State residence
such as utility bill or mortgage statement
(P.O. Box not acceptable). This address will
be displayed on your card.
• The application process also requires the
DMV to take a new photo.
If you decide you do not want a REAL ID or
Enhanced document, your license most likely can
be renewed through the mail or through the DMV
website, but be advised that any license, permit
or ID card issued after October 30, 2017 will be
marked “Not for Federal Purposes”. If you renew
by mail or through the DMV website you must
prove you have passed an eye test within the past
six months or within one year as determined by a
licensed health care professional before the date
you renew your license. To renew by mail, you
must return to the DMV your renewal application
and a completed Eye Test Report (MV-619) which
documents that you passed the vision test. If you
renew through the DMV website dmv.ny.gov, you
will need information from a completed Eye Test
Report by your health care professional. An Eye
Test Report form is available from the DMV web-
site dmv.ny.gov (search under Forms) or at any
motor vehicle oce. Make sure to renew early if
your license will expire while you are out of state.
If you cannot renew early or a serious illness
Driver’s Manual | 17
prevents you from doing so, contact a DMV Call
If you enter military service, your license can
be automatically extended throughout your active
service and for six months after discharge. You
must notify the department within 60 days of the
entry date into service. You must submit the form,
Notification of Military Service (MV-75), available
from the DMV website (search under Forms) or at
any motor vehicle oce.
If you are a resident of another state or country
and hold a valid driver license there, you can
legally drive in New York State. You should not
apply for a New York driver license unless you
become a resident of this state. Then, to remain
legally licensed, you must apply for a New York
driver license within 30 days after you establish
you are a New York State resident.
If you are a new resident with a valid driver
license issued by a U.S. state, territory or posses-
sion, or a Canadian province or territory, you must
turn in your out-of-state license to get a New York
driver license. You must show additional proof of
name and date of birth (see “Applying for your
First License”), and provide your Social Security
card. You must pass the vision test. If your out-
of-state license has been valid for less than six
months or had expired more than one year ago,
you must also pass the written and road tests and
complete the safe driving course.
If you are a new resident licensed in a country
other than Canada, you must pass the vision
test, complete the safe driving course, turn in
your foreign license, and you must pass a written
and road test. When you pass the road test, you
must give your foreign license to the DMV motor
vehicle license examiner who conducted the
test. Your foreign driver license will be destroyed
unless you provide the examiner a written request
to hold your foreign license on file at a New York
State Department of Motor Vehicles oce. The
license examiner will tell you which DMV District
Oce will hold your foreign license. Your foreign
license will be returned at your request, but only
after you return your New York license.
Drivers from Outside New York State
If you are under age 18 and hold a learner
permit, junior permit or junior driver license from
outside New York State, you must obey the
restrictions described in this publication as well as
the restrictions from your home state. Make sure
your permit or license is valid to drive outside
your home state before you operate a vehicle in
New York. If you are less than 16 years of age, you
cannot drive in New York State even if you have
an out-of-state license.
18 | Driver’s Manual
If you commit a serious trac violation or
several violations that are less serious, you can
lose your driving privilege through suspension or
revocation of your license.
“Suspension” means your license (or privilege
to drive) is taken away for a period of time before
it is returned. You may be required to pay a sus-
pension termination fee.
“Revocation means your license (or privilege
to drive) is cancelled. To get a new license, you
must re-apply to the Department of Motor
Vehicles (DMV) once the revocation period is
over. You may be required to pay a license
re-application fee. Your application may be denied
if you have a poor driving record or refuse to
meet DMV requirements. Revocation periods
may be longer than the minimum periods listed in
this publication.
“Driving privilege” means the courtesy extend-
ed to out-of-state-drivers that allows them to drive
a motor vehicle in New York State. It also refers
to permission from New York State for a person
without a license to get a New York driver license.
A driving privilege can be suspended or revoked
for the same reasons as are New York driver
licenses. Driving with a suspended or revoked
privilege carries the same penalties as driving
with a suspended or revoked license.
Every driver with a junior permit or driver
license could face sanctions and other penalties.
For example, your permit, license or privileges will
be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of
a serious trac violation (three points or more) or
two other violations.
Your junior permit, license or privileges will be
revoked for 60 days if you are convicted of a se-
rious violation (three points or more), or two other
violations within the first six months after you
receive your license or privileges back following
suspension or revocation.
In addition, your junior permit, license or priv-
ileges will be suspended for 120 days when you
are convicted of a texting or cell phone violation.
A junior permit must be held for a minimum
of six months, excluding any time the permit is
suspended or revoked, before a road test can
be scheduled.
If you are 18 or older when you pass your road
test for a driver license, or obtain a license follow-
ing revocation, you will be on probation for
six months.
If you are convicted of DWAI (alcohol),
speeding, reckless driving, following too closely,
participating in a speed contest, or any two trac
violations while on probation, your license will be
suspended for 60 days. Following the end of the
60-day suspension, a new six month probationary
period will begin. If you are found guilty of one of
the above violations or any two trac violations
during this second probationary period, your
license will be revoked for at least six months. If
your license is restored following the revocation,
you will be on probation for another six months.
If you are convicted of a texting or cell phone
violation, your probationary license will be sus-
pended for 120 days.
If you receive a trac ticket, do not delay –
follow the instructions on the ticket for the plea
you want to make. Your driver license will be
suspended indefinitely if you do not answer the
ticket in the time allowed, or pay a fine (other
than parking tickets and fines), surcharge, crime
victim assistance fee or suspension-termination
fee. If you do not respond that you have received
the ticket, you could be found guilty by default
conviction. If you are convicted by default, your
license will be suspended for not paying the fine
and a judgment will be entered against you.
Driver’s Manual | 19
The DMV Trac Violations Bureau (TVB) pro-
cesses the tickets for non-criminal moving trac
violations issued in the five boroughs of New York
City. The TVB system allows the other courts in
these areas to concentrate on criminal cases. This
includes driving oenses like Driving While Intox-
icated (DWI) and driving while suspended or re-
voked. In other areas of the state, trac violations
are processed in the criminal and trac court of
the city, county, town or village where the alleged
oense occurred. No matter what court system
is involved, every motorist who receives a trac
ticket can present a defense and be represented
by a lawyer.
The New York State Department of Motor
Vehicles does not record convictions of moving
trac violations by NYS non-commercial licensed
drivers in other jurisdictions, except trac oens-
es committed in the provinces of Ontario and
Quebec in Canada. Out-of-state trac convic-
tions, except for Ontario and Quebec, are not
added to your New York State “violation point”
driving record.
However, your New York driver license will
be suspended if you fail to answer a ticket for a
moving trac violation in any state except Alaska,
California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon or Wis-
consin. Your license will remain suspended until
you answer the ticket. For clearance of your NYS
driver license or permit you must submit proof
to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles that
the ticket has been satisfied. If you are a driver
from any state, except one of the six states listed
above, you will have your driver license suspend-
ed in your own state if you fail to answer a moving
trac violation summons in New York State.
If you are over 21 years old and are convicted
of an alcohol- or drug-related driving violation
(e.g., DUI) in another state or the provinces of
Ontario and Quebec in Canada, your New York
driver license will be revoked for at least 90 days.
Out-of-state drivers who get tickets in New York
State can contact the motor vehicle department of
their own state or province about how a
conviction aects them.
If you are under 21 years old and convicted of
any alcohol or drug-related violation that occurred
out of state, your New York driver license will be
revoked for at least one year. If you have any
alcohol conviction your license will be revoked for
at least one year or until the age of 21, whichever
is longer.
The New York State Department of Motor
Vehicles records the conviction of any New York
driver for criminal negligence, homicide, or assault
that arises from the operation of a motor vehicle
and which results in death. The driver license or
privilege to drive will be revoked and vehicle
registrations may also be revoked. It does not
matter if the conviction occurred in this state or
another state.
Your driver license or driving privilege can be
suspended or revoked for many reasons. NOTE:
Motorboat and snowmobile operators less than 21
years old who drink alcohol face similar penalties
and sanctions against their privileges to operate a
motorboat or snowmobile. Examples of revoca-
tions and suspensions that are required by law:
Alcohol and Drug Violations (Also see
Chapter 9: Alcohol and Other Drugs)
• Aggravated driving while intoxicated (Agg-
DWI), with .18 of one percent blood alcohol
content (.18 BAC): minimum one-year
• Driving while intoxicated (DWI), with .08
of one percent blood alcohol content (.08
BAC): minimum six-month revocation
• Driving while ability impaired by alcohol
(DWAI): 90-day suspension.
• Driving while ability impaired by drugs
(DWAI-drug): minimum six-month suspen-
• Driving under the influence of alcohol or
drugs out-of-state (DUI): minimum 90-day
to six-month revocation, depending
on conviction.
20 | Driver’s Manual
Chemical Test Refusals (Also see Chapter 9:
Alcohol and Other Drugs)
• Chemical test refusal, drivers over age 21:
minimum one-year revocation
• Chemical test refusal, drivers over age 21,
within five years of a prior refusal revocation
or any alcohol or drug-related violation:
minimum 18-month revocation
• Chemical test refusal, drivers under age 21,
first time: minimum one-year revocation
• Chemical test refusal, drivers under age 21,
second time: Minimum revocation until age
21 or one year, whichever is longer
• Zero Tolerance test refusal: Minimum
one-year revocation
Drivers Under Age 21
If you are under age 21 when arrested,
conviction for any of the alcohol or drug-related
violations listed above will result in a minimum
one-year revocation. A second violation while
under age 21 requires a revocation for one year
or until you reach age 21, whichever is longer.
These penalties apply to youthful oenders, or if
you were arrested or convicted out of state (see
Trac Tickets Received Out-Of-State).
Under the state’s “Zero Tolerance Law,” a driver
under age 21 will have his or her license suspend-
ed for six months if found to have a BAC from .02
to .07. A .02 BAC could occur from only one drink.
For a second Zero Tolerance violation, the driver
license will be revoked for one year or until the
driver turns age 21, whichever is longer.
Speeding and Other Violations
Your driver license will be revoked for at least
six months if you are found guilty of:
• Three speeding and/or misdemeanor trac
violations within 18 months (based on date
of violation, not date of conviction).
• Three “passing a stopped school bus”
violations within three years.
• One violation of “leaving the scene of a
personal injury or fatal accident.
• One “participating in a speed contest” viola-
tion. Conviction of a second speed contest
violation within 12 months results
in a revocation of at least one year.
No Insurance
Your driver license will be revoked for at least
one year if you operate or allow another person
to operate your uninsured vehicle, or if the DMV
receives evidence that you were involved in a
trac crash without being insured. If the insurance
coverage for your vehicle has expired, you must
turn in the license plates and registration to a mo-
tor vehicle oce. If the vehicle is removed from
the road and not being driven, you must return the
plates or you can face civil penalties or registra-
tion suspension and/or license suspension.
Indefinite Suspensions/Revocations
Your driver license will also be suspended
indefinitely if you fail to file an accident report,
submit a bad check or incur a credit card charge
back for DMV fees, fail to pay child support, fail
to pay taxes or fail to fulfill a court judgment that
results from a trac accident. This suspension will
be in eect until you correct the condition that led
to the suspension.
The DMV point system identifies “persistent
violators”, that is, drivers who commit a series of
violations in a short time period. The table in this
chapter lists the point values assigned to various
moving trac violations.* .* Note that trac laws moving trac violations Note that trac laws
which must be obeyed on public highways, roads
and streets also apply to parking lots open to
the public.
While each violation listed alone is not serious
enough to require license suspension or revoca-
tion, the accumulation of several violations on
your driving record can indicate that action must
be taken.
*All V&T Law violations result in fines to the
driver in addition to license sanctions.
Driver’s Manual | 21
Speeding MPH not specified 3
Speeding MPH over
1 to 10
posted limit:
11 to 20 4
21 to 30 6
31 to 40 8
More than 40 11
Reckless driving
Passing a stopped school bus 5
Inadequate brakes 4
Following too closely (tailgating)
Use of mobile telephone or portable electron-
ic device while operating a motor vehicle
Improper passing, unsafe lane change, drove
left of center, or drove wrong direction
Violation involving a trac signal, stop sign
or yield sign
Failing to yield right-of-way
Railroad crossing violation
Leaving scene of incident involving property
damage or injury to domestic animal
Safety restraint violation involving
person under 16
Inadequate brakes (while driving
employer’s vehicle)
Any other moving violation
Note: Insurance companies can have their own point systems. These have no relationship to and should not be confused
with the DMV point system.
The point values charged against your record
are from the date you commit the violation, not
the date you are convicted. If you get 11 or more
points within 18 months, you will be notified by
mail that your driver license will be suspended.
You can request a DMV hearing only to show that
the convictions in question were not yours. You
cannot re-argue the convictions or request
the suspension be waived based on
special circumstances.
You can reduce your point total by up to four
points and save up to 10 percent on your auto lia-
bility and collision insurance premiums by taking
a DMV-approved “Motor Vehicle Accident Pre-
vention Course.” Completion of a point reduction
course cannot prevent a mandatory suspension
or revocation or be applied as a “credit” against
future points, or prevent or reduce a Driver Re-
sponsibility Assessment by the DMV.
At this time, except where required by law,
the term “accident” is frequently replaced by
“crash.” This is because a “crash” can normally be
prevented. If you are involved in a trac crash in
which another person is killed, your license can
be suspended or revoked after a DMV hearing
even if you were not charged with a violation
when the incident occurred.
In most cases, if your driver license has been
suspended for an exact period, like 30 days or 90
days, your license will not be returned until you
pay a non-refundable $50 suspension termination
fee. If your license was suspended as a result of
the Zero Tolerance Law, you will be required to
pay a $125 civil penalty and a $100 suspension
termination fee.
In most cases, if your driver license has been
revoked, you cannot apply for a new license until
you pay a non-refundable $100 fee to reapply for
the license. This fee is not required if your license
was revoked for operating without insurance or
if you were issued a license with conditions or
restricted uses.
After the following revocations, you must pay a
civil penalty to DMV before your application for a
new license can be accepted:
• Operating without insurance or accident
without insurance: $750 civil penalty.
• Chemical test refusal: $500 civil penalty
($550 if while driving a commercial motor
• Chemical test refusal within five years of
an earlier alcohol, drug or refusal-related
revocation: $750 civil penalty.
Speeding MPH over
posted limit:
Speeding MPH over
posted limit:
Speeding MPH over
posted limit:
Speeding MPH over
posted limit:
22 | Driver’s Manual
In addition to any fines, fees, penalties and sur-
charges authorized by law, you may have to pay
a “Driver Responsibility Assessment” for some
violations that result in a conviction or administra-
tive finding. Your learner permit, driver license or
driving privileges will be suspended if you do not
make these payments.
If you are convicted of Aggravated Driving
While Intoxicated (Agg-DWI), Driving While Intoxi-
cated (DWI), Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI),
Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs, DWAI-al-
cohol combined with drugs, or if you refused to
submit to a chemical test, you will be required to
pay a driver responsibility assessment of $250
each year for the next three years.
If you are convicted of one or more trac
violations resulting in six points in any 18-month
period, you will be required to pay $100 each
year for the next three years. For each additional
point you receive during that period, you will be
required to pay another $25 per point every year
for three years. For information about how points
are assessed, see “The Point System” in
this chapter.
This assessment applies to motorists convicted
of violations while driving motor vehicles, and
in some cases, motorboats and snowmobiles.
Completion of a DMV-approved “Motor Vehicle
Accident Prevention Course” will not prevent or
reduce the calculation of points that aect the
Driver Responsibility Assessment.
It is a criminal violation to drive while your
license is suspended or revoked, and there are
mandatory fines from $200 to $5,000. You can
face mandatory imprisonment or probation. The
vehicle being driven could be seized and forfeit-
ed. More severe penalties apply to drivers who
drive while intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or
drugs while their license or privilege are already
under suspension or revocation for a previous
alcohol or drug-related incident. Drivers with 10
or more suspensions for failure to answer trac
tickets or pay fines are also subject to severe
penalties. Drivers with 20 or more suspensions
for failure to answer tickets or pay fines face a
criminal charge, even if you were not driving
when arrested.
Whether you are a vehicle owner or registrant,
or a driver of a vehicle owned or registered by
someone else, it is your responsibility to make
sure it is registered, insured and inspected before
the vehicle operates on a public roadway.
A registration allows a vehicle to be driven
on public roads and highways. A title certificate
proves who owns the vehicle.
You must be at least 16 to register a vehicle.
You can title a vehicle at any age. A new resident
of the state must get a New York registration
within 30 days of establishing residence.
To Register a Vehicle
To register a vehicle, you must prove you own
the vehicle or that the owner authorizes you to
register it, that the vehicle is insured, that the
state and county sales taxes have been paid and
provide any required odometer reading and/or
damage disclosure statement. If the ownership
proofs listed below are not available from the
seller, contact any motor vehicle oce or a DMV
Call Center before you purchase the vehicle.
To apply for registration, you must complete
a Vehicle Registration/Title Application (MV-82).
You must also present proof of name (6 points)
and proof of date of birth. For additional informa-
tion see Registering a Vehicle in New York State
(MV-82.1), available from the DMV website (search
under Forms) or at any motor vehicle oce. When
your vehicle is registered, you will get vehicle
plates, a registration document and a registration
sticker for the windshield or vehicle plates. If you
purchased the vehicle from someone other than
a New York State registered dealership, you will
also receive a 10-day inspection extension sticker
on request when you register the vehicle. You
must then have the vehicle inspected within 10
days from the date of registration. It should have
a valid inspection sticker if you purchased the
vehicle from a New York State registered dealer.
The dealer must have the vehicle inspected within
30 days before they sell the vehicle to you.
Driver’s Manual | 23
When you purchase a new or used vehicle
from a dealer registered with the DMV, the dealer
can register the vehicle for you and give you a
temporary registration and, if you need them,
new vehicle plates. The dealer can charge a
processing fee for this service. It can also charge
registration, vehicle plate and title fees.
Your title certificate will be mailed to you sever-
al weeks after the vehicle is registered.
Proof of Ownership
If you purchase your vehicle from a New York
State registered dealer, the proof of ownership for
a new vehicle will be a Manufacturer’s Certificate
of Origin (MCO) and a dealer’s Certificate of Sale
(MV-50). For a used vehicle, proof of ownership is
the previous owner’s Certificate of Title (MV-999),
the correct odometer and salvage disclosure
statement and the dealer’s Certificate of
Sale (MV-50).
If the dealership does not register the vehicle
for you, make sure it gives you the ownership
documents listed above and a completed Appli-
cation for Registration/Title (MV-82) signed by the
dealer’s representative. Examine the ownership
documents carefully before closing the sale.
If you purchase a used vehicle from a dealer
registered outside New York State – the proof of
ownership is the title certificate or transferable
registration signed over to the dealer by the previ-
ous owner, plus the bill of sale and/or invoice from
the dealer and other proofs from the dealer.
For a used vehicle purchased from a private
seller – the proof of ownership is the “Certificate
of Title” (MV-999), or a transferable registration for
1972 or older models, signed over to you. The sell-
er must complete and you must acknowledge with
your signature, the correct odometer and damage
disclosure statements.
Before you accept the title certificate from any
seller, check the front of the title for the names
and addresses of “lien” holders. A lien indicates
the current owner owes money on a loan for the
vehicle. If a lien is listed on the title, ask the seller
to give you proof the lien has been paid – in most
cases, it is an ocial lien release from the lender.
24 | Driver’s Manual
If proof is not provided and the loan has not been
paid, the lien holder could repossess the vehicle.
A motor vehicle oce will not accept a title cer-
tificate if the correct odometer or damage disclo-
sure statement is not completed, or if information
on the title is adjusted, erased or canceled. This
includes any name or signature.
Disclosure Statements
• If you purchase a vehicle eight model
years old or newer, the DMV will NOT reg-
ister your vehicle or issue you a new title
certificate unless the seller has completed,
and you have signed, both the odometer
and the damage disclosure statements
on the Certificate of Title (MV-999). These
statements indicate whether the new title
certificate should be described as
“Rebuilt Salvage.
• If you purchase a vehicle 10 model years
old or newer, make sure the private seller
has completed the odometer statement on
the back of the Certificate of Title (MV-999).
The damage disclosure statement is not
required for vehicles nine model years old
or older. As the buyer, you must confirm
the odometer statement as shown on the
title certificate by writing your initials next
to the odometer box on the title certificate.
Compare the odometer statement on the
title certificate with the odometer reading
in the vehicle.
IMPORTANT: The DMV must examine every ve-
hicle described as “Rebuilt Salvage, OR SIMILAR
WORDS, for stolen parts before the vehicle can
be registered or titled. If you are to purchase a
vehicle that is registered or titled out-of-state,
contact a DMV Call Center for more information.
Proof of Sales Tax Payment
When you purchase a vehicle from a New York
State registered dealer, the dealer collects the
sales tax.
If you purchase a vehicle from someone other
than a NYS registered dealer, you need to fill out
a Statement of Transaction/Sale or Gift of Motor
Vehicle (DTF-802), which is available at any motor
vehicle oce and from the DMV website dmv.
ny.gov. This form certifies the purchase price and
determines the sales tax you must pay when you
register the vehicle. One side of the form must
be completed and signed by the buyer. The other
side must be signed by the seller if the selling
price is below fair market value or if the vehicle is
being given as a gift from someone who is not a
family member. If the form is not completed by the
seller, you will be charged sales tax based on the
current fair market value of the vehicle. Bring the
completed form to a state or county motor vehicle
oce when you register your vehicle.
Proof of Insurance
When you purchase vehicle liability insurance,
the insurance agent or broker gives you two
insurance identification cards. The name(s) and
vehicle identification number (VIN) on these cards
must exactly match the information on the reg-
istration application. You must present one card
when you register your vehicle. Keep the second
card with the vehicle.
Registrations for most vehicles with a maximum
gross weight of not more than 18,000 pounds
(8,165 kg) are valid for two years, and fees are
based on vehicle weight. There are also vehicle
plate and title fees.
By law, registration fees cannot be refunded if
you use the vehicle plates or registration sticker
on your vehicle even for one day. However, if
your vehicle plates and registration sticker are
returned unused within 60 days after you register
your vehicle, you can receive a full refund, minus
a processing fee. You may receive a refund of the
fee for the second year of a two-year registration,
minus a processing fee, if you use the plates &
registration only during the first year. Make sure
to get a DMV Universal Receipt (FS-6T) to turn in
your plates.
If you transfer a registration from one vehicle
to a replacement vehicle, you will receive credit
for the remaining part of your current registration.
This credit cannot be applied to other vehicles
registered to you.
Trading In or Selling Your Old Car
Before you trade in or sell your old vehicle,
make sure to remove the vehicle plates and the
windshield registration sticker, which shows your
plate number. This can prevent you from being
charged with parking tickets that are not yours.
Most registrations are renewed every two
years. Approximately 45 to 60 days before your
registration will expire, you should receive a
renewal reminder in the mail. If you changed your
address and did not notify the DMV, you will not
receive the reminder. If you did not answer three
or more parking tickets, or if your registration is
suspended or revoked, you will not receive the
reminder. Allow two weeks to process and deliver
the registration. You are responsible to know
when your registration expires and to renew it on
time. This is true even if you do not get a reminder
in the mail.
If the expiration date falls on a weekend or le-
gal state holiday, your registration is automatically
extended to midnight of the next business day.
Make sure you maintain liability insurance on your
vehicle during the extension period.
If you have not received a renewal notice, you
may be able to renew your registration –
By mail: Complete a Vehicle Registration/Title
Application (MV-82), available at any motor vehi-
cle oce and from the DMV website dmv.ny.gov
(search under Forms). If your registration must be
sent to an address that is not the mailing address
you entered on the application form (MV-82),
enclose a separate note that requests the DMV
to mail your registration to the other address. Do
not put this mailing address on form MV-82 unless
you want it to appear on the registration and
your DMV registration record. Reminder – if you
indicate a change of address on your registration,
it will aect ONLY that registration. Use a Change
of Address Form (MV-232) to change all your
DMV records. This form is available at any motor
vehicle oce and from the DMV website (search
under Forms).
Enclose a check or money order for the correct
fee, payable to the “Commissioner of Motor
Driver’s Manual | 25
Vehicles.” If you do not know the exact fee you
must pay, you can determine the fee using the
Schedules of Registration Fees (MV-204A) avail-
able at any motor vehicle oce or through a work
page at the DMV website. Make sure to include
your insurance card with your renewal application
if your insurance company has changed and you
have not responded to a DMV Insurance
Inquiry Letter.
Mail your completed Vehicle Registration/Title
Application and other documents to:
NYS DMV Utica Processing Center, P.O. Box
359, Utica, NY 13503.
Allow two weeks to receive your registration
renewal. If you do not receive it after two weeks,
contact a DMV Call Center or visit any state or
county motor vehicle oce. Allow more time for
overseas mail.
If your name has changed and you have not
notified the DMV, you must visit a DMV oce and
show proofs of your identity. For more informa-
tion, contact a DMV Call Center.
Online at the DMV website dmv.ny.gov:
Online registration renewal requires that you have
not changed your address or insurance company,
and that the registration is for a passenger car,
small commercial truck or a motorcycle that is not
used exclusively o road. Your registration fee,
and any related fees, will be displayed on the
computer screen. In three quick steps, you can
renew your registration online and use your credit
card for payment. Your renewal will be automat-
ically processed and mailed to you. Allow two
weeks for delivery.
In person at a state or county motor vehicle
oce: You must complete and submit a Vehicle
Registration/Title Application (MV-82). Note: An
application brought into an oce by a second
party (someone who is not the registrant) must be
accompanied by the original New York license/
permit/non-driver identification card for the sec-
ond party and either the original or a photocopy
for the registrant. This includes spouses (hus-
bands and wives). The application must be signed
by the registrant, not the person who brings the
form into the oce.
26 | Driver’s Manual
Your vehicle must be covered by liability insur-
ance as long as it is registered, even if you do not
drive it.
Minimum liability coverage is required of
$50,000 against the death of one person and
$100,000 against the death of two or more per-
sons, $25,000 against injury to one person and
$50,000 against injury to two or more persons
and $10,000 against property damage. Insurance
coverage limits refer to death, injury or damage
related to any one incident.
Before your liability insurance expires or is
discontinued, return vehicle plates at any state
or county motor vehicle oce. Be sure to obtain
a DMV Universal Receipt (FS-6T) to turn in your
vehicle plates. If you do not do this, you may have
to pay a civil penalty for each day the vehicle
was not insured or your vehicle registration can
be suspended. If your vehicle is not insured for
90 days, unless you have turned in your vehicle
plates, your driver license will also be suspended.
If you receive a letter from DMV that asks
about your vehicle insurance, read it carefully and
respond as directed in the letter.
Motorcycles must be insured, but you are not
required to turn in the vehicle plate when your
motorcycle insurance is discontinued or expires.
Anyone who drives or permits a vehicle to be
driven in New York State, this includes people
who are not New York residents, must be able
to prove the vehicle has acceptable liability
insurance, (see “Insurance,” above, for minimum
insurance coverage required). If you are convicted
of driving an uninsured vehicle or if you allow an-
other person to drive your uninsured vehicle, your
license or privilege to drive in New York State will
be revoked for at least one year. The same penal-
ty applies if the DMV receives evidence that you
were involved in a trac crash without insurance.
Most vehicles sold in New York State must be
inspected within 30 days of the date of transfer
or sale and must have a certificate of inspection
before delivery. If you purchase a vehicle from
someone who is not a NYS dealer, you must have
the vehicle inspected within 10 days after you
register it. Make sure to request a “Ten-Day Time
Extension for Motor Vehicle Inspection” (VS-1077).
If a person moves to NYS, an inspection certifi-
cate that was issued before is valid until it expires
or one year from the date it was issued,
whichever occurs first.
Under some conditions, vehicles sold at retail
are exempt from the inspection requirement.
These conditions are: transfer to a “welfare to
work” program; transfer of a chassis; transfer of
a vehicle through factory direct delivery; transfer
of a vehicle for registration in another state or
country; transfer of a scrap vehicle; and transfer of
a vehicle to a long-term lessee (lease buyout).
After the first inspection of your vehicle, it
must be inspected at an ocial state-licensed
inspection station before the expiration date on
the current inspection certificate. An inspection is
also required on change of registrant. Inspection
stations have yellow and black “Ocial Motor
Vehicle Inspection Station” signs. Heavy trucks,
buses, tractors and semi-trailers must be inspect-
ed at special “Heavy Vehicle” Inspection Stations
and motorcycles at special Motorcycle
Inspection Stations.
Putting your signature on a registration renewal
form certifies that the vehicle was inspected as
required by law. Keep track of when your annual
inspection is. Schedule a new inspection early, so
you will have time to repair your vehicle if it does
not pass.
After inspection, the vehicle inspector will issue
a sticker for the vehicle to prove it has passed in-
spection. If your vehicle did not pass, the inspec-
tor will give you a rejection notice. In most cases,
your vehicle must be repaired to meet standards
and must be inspected again. A vehicle that is
Driver’s Manual | 27
subject to a high enhanced or OBD II emissions
inspection that fails a first inspection can qualify
for a waiver. An attempt must be made to repair
the malfunction and the cost for repairs must be
at least $450. Many gasoline-powered vehicles
(except motorcycles) must be inspected for
exhaust emissions during the safety inspection.
Exceptions are gasoline-powered vehicles that
are 26 or more model years old, or less than two
model years old, or registered as historic. Those
vehicles are subject to a safety inspection only.
Diesel-powered vehicles that operate in NYS,
even if registered elsewhere, are subject to ran-
dom roadside safety tests by the NYS Police and
the NYS Department of Transportation. Vehicles
with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) more
than 8,500 pounds are subject to a Diesel fuel
emissions inspection.
The DMV regulates motor vehicle dealers,
inspection stations and auto repair shops. These
businesses should be identified by registration or
license certificates and outside signs. Make sure
you are dealing with a registered or
licensed business.
If you have a complaint against one of these
businesses, first try to resolve it with the manage-
ment. If that fails, call (518) 474-8943 between
8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. weekdays. You can also
write to Vehicle Safety Services, DMV, Bureau of
Consumer and Facility Services, Box 2700-ESP,
Albany, N.Y., 12220-0700. By regulation, the DMV
can receive a repair shop complaint only within
90 days or 3,000 miles (4,828 km) of the vehicle
repairs, whichever comes first.
28 | Driver’s Manual
Trac signs tell you about trac rules, special
hazards, where you are, how to get where you are
going and where services are available.
The shape and color of trac signs give indica-
tions to the type of information they provide:
REGULATION SIGNS normally are white rectan-
gles with black letters or symbols, but some are
dierent shapes, and some can use red letters
or symbols.
WARNING SIGNS normally are yellow and dia-
mond-shaped, with black letters or symbols.
DESTINATION SIGNS are green with white letters
and symbols.
SERVICE SIGNS are blue with white letters and
Know the signs shown below and what they
indicate. You will be asked about them on your
written test.
Here are descriptions of common trac signs
and what they indicate.
Stop Sign
COLOR: Red, with white
MEANING: Come to a full
stop, yield the right-of-way to vehicles and pedes-
trians in or heading toward the intersection. Go
when it is safe. You must come to a stop before
the stop line, if there is one. If not, you must
stop before you enter the crosswalk. (See “Stop
Crosswalk Lines” under the “Pavement Markings”
section of this chapter.) If there is no stop line or
crosswalk, you must stop before you enter the
intersection, at the point nearest the intersection
that gives you a view of trac on the
intersecting roadway.
Yield Sign
COLOR: Red and white, with
red letters.
MEANING: Decrease speed
as you reach the intersec-
tion. Prepare to stop and yield the right-of-way
to vehicles and pedestrians in or heading toward
the intersection. You must come to a full stop at
a YIELD sign if trac conditions require it. When
you approach a YIELD sign, check carefully for
trac, and be prepared to stop.
Other Regulation Signs
COLOR: White,
with black and/
or red letters or
These signs give information about rules for trac
direction, lane use, turns, speed, parking and
other special requirements.
Some regulation signs have a red circle with
a slash over a symbol. This indicates that an
action, like a right turn, is not allowed or that some
vehicles are restricted from the road. Rectangular
white signs with black or red letters or symbols
are indications to be alert for special rules.
Driver’s Manual | 29
COLOR: Yellow,
with black letters or
MEANING: You are
approaching a haz-
ardous location or a
location where there
is a special rule, as shown in the sample signs.
Sometimes a warning sign is joined with a yellow
and black “recommended speed” sign. This indi-
cates reduced speed is advised in that area.
Work Area Signs
Orange, with
black letters
or symbols
MEANING: People are at work on or near the
roadway and trac can be controlled by a flag
person. A work area speed limit as low as 25 MPH
(40 km/h) can be posted. Even if no speed limit
is provided, you must drive at a reduced speed
through the work zone and you must always obey
the flag persons. These illustrations show some
signals a flag person will use. Know and
obey them.
COLOR: Green, with white
MEANING: Show the direction and distance to
Route Signs
COLOR: Varied.
MEANING: Indicate interstate, U.S., state
or county routes. The shape tells you the type of
route you are on. The sample signs, left to right,
are for state, U.S., and interstate routes. When you
plan a trip, use a highway map to decide which
routes to take. During the trip, watch for destina-
tion signs so you will not get lost, or have to turn
or stop suddenly.
COLOR: Blue,
with white letters
or symbols
MEANING: Show the location of services,
like rest areas, gas stations, camping or
medical facilities.
Trac Lights
Trac lights are normally
red, yellow and green from
the top to bottom or left to
right. At some intersections,
there are lone red, yellow
or green lights. Some trac
lights are steady, others flash.
Some are round, and some are arrows. State law
requires that if the trac lights or controls are out
of service or do not operate correctly when you
approach an intersection, you must come to a
stop as you would for a stop sign. You must then
continue according to the rules of right-of-way,
unless you are told to continue by a
trac ocer.
30 | Driver’s Manual
Here is what dierent trac lights indicate:
STEADY RED: Stop. Do not go until the light is
green. If a green arrow is shown with the red light,
you can go only toward the arrow and only if the
intersection is clear.
You can make a right turn at a steady red light
after you come to a full stop and yield the right-of-
way to oncoming trac and pedestrians. You can
make a left turn at a steady red light when you
turn from a one-way road into another one-way
road after you come to a full stop and yield the
right-of-way to oncoming trac and pedestrians.
You cannot make a turn at a red light if there is
a NO TURN ON RED sign posted or another sign,
signal or pavement marking prevents the turn.
You are not allowed to turn on a red light in New
York City unless a sign that permits it is posted.
The driver of a school bus containing students
cannot turn right on any red light.
FLASHING RED: Means the same
as a STOP sign: Stop, yield the
right-of-way, and go when it is safe.
RED ARROW: Do not go in the di-
rection of the arrow until the red arrow light is o
and a green light or arrow light goes on. A right or
left turn on red is not permitted at a red arrow.
STEADY YELLOW: Be prepared to
stop. A steady yellow light means
the trac signal is about to turn red.
YELLOW ARROW: The protection of a green
arrow will end. If you intend to turn in the direction
of the arrow, be prepared to stop.
STEADY GREEN: Go, but yield the
right-of-way to other trac at the
intersection as required by law (see
Chapter 5).
GREEN ARROW: You can go in the
direction of the arrow, but you must
yield the right-of-way to other trac
at the intersection as required by
law (see Chapter 5).
Lane Use Control Lights
Special above the pavement lights are sometimes
used to indicate which lanes of a highway can be
used at certain times:
STEADY RED “X”: Do not drive in this lane.
STEADY YELLOW “X”: Move from this lane.
FLASHING YELLOW “X”: This lane can only be
used for a left turn.
GREEN ARROW: You can use this lane.
Lines and symbols on the roadway divide lanes
and tell you when you can pass other vehicles or
change lanes. They also tell you which lanes to
use for turns and where you must stop for signs
or trac signals. The arrows on these illustrations
show the direction of trac.
Edge and Lane Lines
Solid lines along the side of the road tell you
where its edge is – where the travel lane ends
and the shoulder begins. It is illegal to drive
across the edge line, except when told to by a
police ocer or other authorized ocial or when
allowed by an ocial sign. An edge line that
angles towards the center of the road shows that
the road is narrower ahead.
Driver’s Manual | 31
Lines that separate lanes of trac that move in
the same direction are white. Lines that separate
trac that moves in opposite directions are yel-
low. There may be two lines between lanes and
lines can be solid or broken. Read Chapter 6 for
the Rules on how to pass other vehicles.
What some lane lines indicate:
One broken line: You can pass other vehicles
or change lanes if you can do so safely without
interfering with trac.
you reach the stop line,
if there is one, or the
crosswalk. You need
only stop at a stop line
or crosswalk if required
Solid line with broken line: If you are on the side
with the solid line, you cannot pass other vehicles
or go across the line except to make a left turn
into a driveway. If you are on the side with the
broken line, you can pass if it is safe to and you
will not interfere with trac.
Double solid lines: You cannot pass or change
lanes. You cannot go across the lines except to
turn left to enter or leave the highway (e.g. to or
from a driveway or to do a U-turn, see
Chapter 5).
One solid line: You can pass other vehicles or
change lanes, but you can only do so when ob-
structions in the road or trac conditions make
it necessary.
Stop and Crosswalk Lines: At an intersection
controlled by a STOP sign, YIELD sign or
trac light, there can
be a white stop line
painted across the
lane, (called a Stop
Line) and/or two
parallel lines painted
across the road (called
a Crosswalk). When
required to stop be-
cause of a sign or light,
you must stop before
to by a light, sign or
trac ocer, or to yield
to a pedestrian, in-line
skater or scooter at a
marked or unmarked crosswalk. A single stop line
may be placed at intersections to allow room for
larger vehicles (such as tractor-trailers, buses, and
trucks) to turn without forcing other trac to back
up. It’s important that you stop before you reach
this stop line (See “Pedestrians” in Chapter 11).
Arrows: Arrows show which lanes you must use.
In this illustration, for example, you can turn right
only from the right lane. To go straight, you must
use the left lane. You must be in the correct lane
before you reach the solid line that separates
the lanes.
32 | Driver’s Manual
Diamond Symbol: This symbol indicates the lane
is reserved lanes for buses, HOV (High-Occupan-
cy Vehicles) like car-pools and van-pools, bicycles
or other special vehicles. You cannot enter and
use these lanes unless your vehicle complies with
the occupancy or other requirements indicated
by signs for the times the special conditions are
in eect. When used to designate reserved lanes
on city streets, sections of the solid white line that
separates the diamond lanes from the normal
lanes can be replaced by broken white lines. In
these locations, non-HOV can enter the HOV lane
if they make a right turn at the next intersection.
Bus lanes and HOV lanes are to promote the
most ecient use of limited street and highway
capacity. They assure that vehicles with the
highest importance move the fastest.
Directions given by trac ocers take prece-
dence over signs, signals or pavement markings.
If a trac ocer signals you to stop at a green
light, for example, you must stop. If an ocer sig-
nals you to drive through a red light or stop sign,
you must do it.
Among the persons authorized to direct trac
are police ocers, fire police, highway work area
flag persons and school crossing persons.
Before you move on to Chapter 5, make sure
you can identify the signs in this chapter and
know what they mean. Also, make sure you can
answer these questions:
• A regulation sign is normally what shape?
• What is the normal color and shape of a
warning sign?
• What color and shape is a destination sign?
• What must you do at a STOP sign?
• What color and shape is a railroad crossing
warning sign?
• What must you do when you encounter each
of the following: a flashing red light, flashing
yellow light, steady yellow light, a red light
with a green arrow?
• What does it indicate if an edge line angles
in toward the center of the road?
• What do each of these lines indicate: one
broken, one solid, double solid, solid and
broken together?
• If an intersection has crosswalk lines but no
STOP line, where must you stop for a red
light at that intersection?
• What type of pavement marking shows you
which lane you must use for a turn?
• Which of the following must you obey over
the other three: red light, flashing red light,
STOP sign, police ocer?
Most trac crashes occur at intersections when
a driver makes a turn. Many occur in large parking
lots like at shopping centers. To prevent this type
of crash, you must understand the right-of-way
rules and how to make correct turns.
Trac signs, signals and pavement markings
do not always resolve trac conflicts. A green
light, for example, does not resolve the conflict
of when a car turns left at an intersection while
an approaching car goes straight through the
intersection. The right-of-way rules help resolve
these conflicts. They tell you who goes first and
who must wait in dierent conditions.
Here are examples of right-of-way rules:
• A driver who approaches an intersection
must yield the right-of-way to trac that is
in the intersection.
Example: You approach an intersection. The
trac light is green and you want to drive straight
through. Another vehicle, coming from the oppo-
site direction, is already in the intersection making
a left turn. You must let that vehicle complete its
turn before you enter the intersection.
• If drivers approaching from opposite di-
rections reach an intersection at about the
same time, a driver that turns left must yield
to trac that moves straight or turns right.
Example: You want to turn left at an intersection
ahead. A vehicle reaches the intersection from the
opposite direction and moves straight ahead. You
must wait for approaching trac to go through
before you turn. You may enter the intersection to
prepare for your left turn if the light is green and
no other vehicle ahead of you plans to make a
left turn (see “Turns” later in this chapter). When
you enter the intersection, keep to the right of the
center line. Keep your wheels straight to prevent
being pushed into oncoming trac if your vehicle
is hit from behind. When trac headed toward
you clears or stops for a red light, complete your
turn when you can do so safely.
Driver’s Manual | 33
You must also yield to trac headed toward
you when you turn left into a driveway, parking lot
or other area, even if there are no signs or signals
that control the turn.
For any left turn, the law requires you to yield
to any trac headed toward you that is close
enough to be a hazard. The decision about when
trac is too close takes experience and judg-
ment. If you have any concern, wait for trac to
pass before you turn left.
• At intersections not controlled by signs or
signals, or where two or more drivers stop at
STOP signs at the same time and they
are at right angles, the driver on the left
must yield the right-of-way to the driver on
the right.
Example: You are stopped at a stop sign and you
are going to go straight through the intersection.
A driver on the cross road has stopped at a stop
sign on your right and is going to go straight. You
must yield the right-of-way to the other driver.
• A vehicle that enters a roadway from a
driveway, private road or another place that
is not a roadway, must stop and yield the
right-of-way to trac on the roadway and
to pedestrians.
Example: You intend to leave a parking lot and
turn right when you enter a street. A vehicle
approaches from your left. You must stop and wait
for the vehicle to pass before you enter the street.
If you were to turn left, you would have to yield to
vehicles that approach from both directions. If a
pedestrian walked across the parking lot exit, you
would have to wait for that person to go across.
• Drivers must yield to pedestrians who
legally use marked or unmarked crosswalks.
This means you must slow down or stop
if necessary.
Example: You are stopped at a red light. A pedes-
trian steps into the crosswalk, and then the light
turns green. You must wait for the pedestrian to
go across. You must also yield to pedestrians in
crosswalks on your left or right before you turn.
• You cannot enter an intersection if trac is
backed up on the other side and you can-
34 | Driver’s Manual
not get completely through the intersection.
Wait until trac ahead clears, so you do not
block the intersection.
• Be alert to cross-streets or oset intersec-
tions, so that you don’t cause gridlock by
blocking another street.
• A driver who approaches a trac circle or
rotary must yield the right-of-way to drivers
already in the circle. (For more information
on how to drive in a rotary see “How to
Drive Through a Roundabout” in Chapter 8
of this manual.)
You must yield the right-of-way to fire, ambu-
lance, police and other authorized emergency ve-
hicles when they respond to emergencies. They
will display lights that are flashing red, red and
blue or red and white and/or may sound a siren
or air-horn. When you hear or see an emergency
vehicle heading toward your vehicle from any
direction, safely pull over immediately to the right
edge of the road and stop. Wait until the emer-
gency vehicle passes before you drive on. If you
are in an intersection, drive out of the intersection
before you pull over.
You must pull over and stop for an emergency
vehicle even if it is headed toward you in the
opposite lane of a two-lane roadway.
If you hear a siren or air-horn close by but do
not know exactly where the emergency vehicle
is, you must safely pull over to the right-side edge
of the road and stop until you are sure it is not
headed toward you.
An emergency vehicle that uses lights and a
siren or air-horn can be unpredictable. The driver
can legally exceed the speed limit, pass red lights
and STOP or YIELD signs, go the wrong way on
one-way streets and turn in directions not normal-
ly allowed. Although emergency vehicle drivers
are required to be careful, you must be cautious
when an emergency vehicle heads toward you.
Move Over Law
This law requires every driver to exercise care
to avoid colliding with an authorized emergen-
cy or hazard vehicle that is parked, stopped or
standing on the shoulder or any portion of the
highway with its emergency lights or one or
more amber hazard lights activated. Drivers must
reduce speed on all roads when encountering
such vehicles, but on parkways, interstates and
other controlled access roads with multiple lanes,
drivers are further required to move from the lane
adjacent to the emergency or hazard vehicle
unless trac or other hazards prevent doing so
safely. Drivers are also required to move over
for vehicles with blue and green lights which are
described in the next section. Violations of this
law are punishable as a moving violation.
Personal vehicles driven by volunteer fire
fighters responding to alarms are allowed to
display blue lights and those driven by volunteer
ambulance or rescue squad members can display
green lights. Amber lights on hazard vehicles
such as snow plows and tow trucks warn other
drivers of possible dangers. Flashing amber lights
are also used on rural mail delivery vehicles and
school buses to warn trac of their presence. The
vehicles that display blue, green or amber lights
are not authorized emergency vehicles. Their
drivers must obey all trac laws. While you are
not required to yield the right-of-way, you should
yield as a courtesy if you can safely do so.
Always signal before you turn or change lanes.
It is important that other highway users know your
intentions. The law requires you to signal a turn or
lane change with your turn lights or hand signals
at least 100 feet (30 m) ahead. A good safety tip
is, when possible, to signal your intention to turn
before you begin to brake or make the turn. The
proper hand signals are shown on the next page.
Driver’s Manual | 35
Remember these other tips when you prepare
to turn:
• Reduce your speed.
• Be alert for trac on all sides. Take special
caution to check for motorcycles. Most
crashes that involve motorcycles and other
vehicles are caused because the driver
of the other vehicle has failed to see
the motorcycle.
• Keep your wheels straight until you actually
begin to make your turn. If your wheels are
turned, and you are hit from behind, your
vehicle could be pushed into the oncoming
lane of trac.
• Remember that your rear wheels will travel
inside the path of the front wheels, nearer
to the curb (right turn) or to trac headed
toward you (left turn).
• Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and mo-
ped riders, especially on right turns. They
are often dicult to see in trac.
• Be especially alert to individuals in wheel
chairs, people pushing strollers, or some-
one pulling a wheeled suitcase behind
them. They may be closer to the ground
and hidden behind a car.
The following illustrations show the correct
position of your vehicle for turns. These positions
are from requirements in the law and are not just
good advice.
As you prepare to turn, get as far to the right
as possible. Do not make wide, sweeping turns.
Unless signs direct you to do otherwise, turn into
the right lane of the road you enter.
Move into the left lane when you prepare to
turn. If the road you enter has two lanes, you must
turn into its left lane.
Approach the turn in the left lane. As you pro-
ceed through the intersection, enter the two-way
road to the right of its center line, but as close as
possible to the center line. Be alert for trac that
approaches from the road to the left. Motorcycles
are often hard to see, which may make it dicult
to judge their speed and distance from you.
36 | Driver’s Manual
Approach the turn from the right half of the
roadway closest to the center. Try to use the left
side of the intersection to help make sure that you
do not interfere with trac headed toward you
that wants to turn left. Keep to the right of the cen-
terline of the road you enter, but as close as pos-
sible to the center line. Be alert for trac heading
toward you from the left and from the lane you are
about to go across. Motorcycles headed toward
you are hard to see and it is dicult to judge their
speed and distance away. Drivers often fail to see
a motorcycle headed toward them and hit it while
they turn across a trac lane.
Approach the turn from the right half of the road-
way closest to the center. Make the turn before
you reach the center of the intersection and turn
into the left lane of the road you enter.
Approach the turn from the right half of the
roadway closest to the center. Enter the left lane,
to the right of the center line. When trac permits,
you can move out of the left lane.
A “U-turn” is any turn you make so you can
proceed in the opposite direction.
Do not try a U-turn on a highway unless
absolutely necessary. If you must turn around,
use a parking lot, driveway or other area, and, if
possible, enter the roadway as you move forward,
not backing up.
You can make a U-turn only from the left part of
the lane nearest to the centerline of the roadway,
never from the right lane. Unless signs tell you
otherwise, you can make a U-turn when you get
permission to proceed by a green arrow left turn
trac signal, provided it is allowed and you yield
to other trac.
You cannot make a U-turn near the top of a hill,
a curve or any other location where other drivers
cannot see your vehicle from 500 feet (150 m)
away in either direction. U-turns are also illegal in
business districts of New York City and where NO
U-TURN signs are provided. You can never make
a U-turn on a limited access expressway, even if
paths connect your side of the expressway with
the other side. In addition, it is prohibited for a
vehicle to make a U-turn in a school zone.
Unless prohibited, a three-point turn can be
used to turn around on a narrow, two-way street.
You may be required to make a three-point turn
on your road test.
To make a three-point turn:
1. Signal with your right turn signal, then pull over
to the right and stop. Signal with your left turn
signal, then check carefully for trac from
all directions.
2. Turn left, go across the road so you come to
a stop while you face the left curb or edge of
the road.
3. Look again for trac. Turn your steering wheel
as far to the right as possible, then look behind
you as you back up. Stop before you reach the
right curb or any obstacle to the right curb or
edge of the road whichever comes first.
4. Stop, check again for other trac, then turn
your steering wheel all the way to the left and pull
forward to complete your turn when it is safe.
Before you go on to Chapter 6, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• What is the hand signal for a stop?
• A right turn?
• If two drivers enter an intersection from op-
posite directions at the same time, and one
travels straight, the other prepares to turn
left, which must yield the right-of-way?
• If you enter an intersection to make a left
turn, but oncoming trac prevents the turn
immediately, what should you do?
• If you reach an intersection that is not con-
trolled at the same time as a driver on your
Driver’s Manual | 37
right, and both of you prepare to go straight,
who has the right-of-way?
• What must you do if you enter a road from
a driveway?
• You face a green light, but trac on the
other side of the intersection does not allow
you to travel all the way through the inter-
section. May you enter the intersection?
• Does a vehicle prepared to enter a trac cir-
cle or rotary have right-of-way over vehicles
in the circle?
• What should you do if you hear a siren close
by but cannot see where the emergency
vehicle is?
• How far before a turn must you signal?
• When you prepare for a right turn, should
you remain as near the center of the lane
as possible?
• Where must you position your vehicle when
you prepare to make a left turn from a two-
way roadway into a one-way roadway?
38 | Driver’s Manual
The law requires that we drive on the right
side of the road. When we are allowed to pass
other vehicles, we usually pass on the left. You
are permitted to pass on the right only in certain
circumstances and it must be done only when
necessary and safe. When you pass other vehicles
or change lanes to keep away from hazards, do
so with caution and only when necessary. You
must not exceed the speed limit to pass another
When you pass a motorcycle, remember to
give the motorcycle the same full-lane width as
other vehicles are allowed. Never move into the
same lane space as a motorcycle, even if the lane
is wide and the motorcycle is to one side.
The law requires you to use turn signal lamps
or hand and arm signals to indicate your intention
to change lanes at least 100 feet (30 m) before
you make a lane change. You must never pass a
vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk to allow a
pedestrian to go across.
The left lane is normally used to pass other
vehicles. You cannot pass a vehicle on the left if:
• Your lane has a solid yellow center line.
• You cannot safely return to the right lane
before you reach a solid yellow center line
for the right lane.
• You cannot safely return to the right lane
before any oncoming vehicle comes within
200 feet (60 m) of you.
• You approach a curve or the top of a hill on
a two-way road and cannot see around or
over it.
• You are within 100 feet (30 m) of a railroad
crossing on a two-way roadway.
• You are within 100 feet (30 m) of a bridge,
tunnel or viaduct on a two-way road and
your view is obstructed.
• If you try to pass, you will interfere with
oncoming trac.
If conditions are correct to pass, check in your
mirrors and signal your lane change. Before you
pull into the left lane, look quickly over your left
shoulder, through the back side window, to make
sure there is no vehicle close behind you in the
left lane. Never depend on your mirrors when you
prepare to change lanes. Even correctly adjusted
mirrors will leave “blind spots” behind both sides
of your vehicle. If a vehicle is in the blind spot, you
may not see it in your mirrors. Always quickly look
over your shoulder before you change lanes
or pass.
When you pass, move completely into the left
lane. Before you return to the right lane, signal
and look at your interior rear-view mirror and
make sure you can see the front bumper of the
vehicle you passed. Look quickly over your right
shoulder to make sure that you can safely move
into that lane without crowding the vehicle you
passed. Then return to the right lane.
Although you normally pass other vehicles on
the left, some situations allow you to pass on the
right. You can pass a vehicle on the right only in
the conditions listed below and only if you can
pass safely. You cannot drive on or across the
shoulder or edge line of the road unless a sign
allows it or when indicated by a trac ocer (see
Chapter 4). You can pass on the right:
• When a vehicle ahead makes a left turn.
• When you are on a two-way road that is
marked for two or more lanes or is wide
enough for two or more lanes in each
direction and passing is not prohibited by
signs or restricted by parked cars or
other obstructions.
• When you drive on a one-way road that is
marked for two or more lanes or is wide
enough for two or more lanes, and to pass
is not prohibited by signs or restricted by
parked cars or other obstructions.
If you prepare to pass on the right at an inter-
section, check the trac ahead carefully. Make
sure a vehicle that is approaching is not prepared
to turn left into your path, and watch at the right
side of the road for pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line
skaters and moped riders.
Before you pass on the right on multi-lane
roads like expressways, make sure you check
your mirrors, use the correct signals for the lane
change and look over your right shoulder for oth-
er vehicles. After you pass, make sure to quickly
look over your left shoulder and signal before you
return to the left lane.
If another vehicle passes you on the left,
decrease your speed slightly and stay centered in
your lane. When the vehicle has safely passed and
is ahead of you, continue at your normal speed.
If you find that you are being passed on the
right by many vehicles, you should move into the
right lane and allow them to pass you on the left.
When a stopped school bus flashes its red
light(s), trac that approaches from either direc-
tion, even in front of the school and in school
parking lots, must stop before it reaches the bus.
You should stop at least 20 feet (6 m) away from
the bus. You can identify this bus by a “SCHOOL
BUS” sign, the red lights on the top and its unique
yellow-orange color.
Before a school bus stops to load or discharge
passengers, the driver will usually flash warning
lights, which are located on the front and back
of the bus near the roof. When you see them,
decrease speed and be prepared to stop.
When you stop for a school bus, you cannot
drive again until the red lights stop flashing or
when the bus driver or a trac ocer signals
that you can proceed. This law applies on all
roadways in New York State. You must stop for a
school bus even if it is on the opposite side of a
divided highway.
Driver’s Manual | 39
After you stop for a school bus, look for chil-
dren along the side of the road. Drive slowly until
you have passed them.
Safety Tip: Most school bus-related deaths and
injuries occur while children cross the street after
being discharged from the bus, not in collisions
that involve school buses.
Remember that vehicles that transport disabled
persons can be equipped as school buses and
you must stop for them as you would for other
school buses.
The fine when you pass a stopped school bus
ranges from a minimum of $400 for a first viola-
tion to a maximum of $1,500 for three violations in
three years. If you are convicted of three of these
violations in three years, your driver license will
be revoked for a minimum of six months.
Before you go on to Chapter 7, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• Under most conditions, on which side can
you pass another vehicle that is headed the
same direction?
• What should you do before you pass
another vehicle?
• What should you see in your rear-view mirror
before you attempt to return to the right lane
after you pass a vehicle on the left?
• Under what conditions can you pass a
vehicle on the right?
• When can you pass a vehicle stopped at
a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to
go across?
• What action should you take when another
vehicle passes you on the left?
• What do yellow lights going on and o on a
school bus indicate?
• What do red lights going on and o on a
school bus indicate?
40 | Driver’s Manual
Parallel parking takes skill and is part of every
road test. You must know where parking is illegal
STOPPING signs indicate.
Many motorists consider parallel parking the
most dicult part of driving. But practice will
teach you how to back up correctly and to judge
distances and angles.
Some vehicles have additional safety equip-
ment (such as back up cameras and range-de-
tecting sensors) to help the driver back up safely.
Some vehicles can even park themselves (in
certain conditions). Although these can be useful
features, you need to be alert and check the area
behind your vehicle before you back up. YOU –
as the driver – are ultimately responsible for the
safe operation of your vehicle.
The following instructions are general. You must
adjust parallel-parking procedures to the particu-
lar situation. Practice is the only method to
learn correctly.
1. Select a space that is large enough for your ve-
hicle on your side of the road. Check your mirrors
before you stop and signal to warn other drivers.
Stop next to the vehicle in front of the space and
leave about two feet between the other vehicle
and your vehicle.
2. Look behind you over both shoulders to make
sure you will not interfere with pedestrians or on-
coming trac. Back the vehicle slowly and begin
to turn your steering wheel completely toward the
near curb. Look through the rear window, not the
mirrors, when you back up. Look to the side and
front occasionally to make sure you will not touch
the vehicle ahead.
3. When your front wheels are opposite the back
bumper of the vehicle ahead, turn the steering
wheel the other way while you continue to back
up. Make sure you clear the vehicle ahead. Look
back and stop to ensure that you do not bump the
vehicle behind you.
4. Bring your wheels straight and pull forward. Al-
low room for the vehicles ahead and behind you.
In your final parking position, your wheels must be
no more than one foot (30 cm) from the curb.
To get nearer to the curb, alternately pull forward
and back up, and turn the steering wheel first
toward the curb and then quickly straight again.
After parking, remember that you must not open
the door on the road side if it will interfere with
bicyclists and other trac.
After you park on a hill, make sure to set your
parking brake. Put the transmission in “Park” (or,
if your vehicle has a manual transmission, put
the transmission into 1st gear). Turn the wheels
toward the curb or side of the road, so they will
keep your vehicle from heading into trac.
To pull away from a parallel parking space, make
sure your wheels are straight, back up to the
Driver’s Manual | 41
vehicle behind you and turn your wheels away
from the curb.
Six steps to enter safely into trac:
1) Turn your head to look over your right
shoulder and check through the rear-win-
dow for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists
and other vehicles that can become
a hazard;
2) Use your interior rear-view mirror to
help keep an eye on hazards behind
your vehicle;
3 Signal your intentions to move from your
parking space into trac;
4) Check your side mirrors for oncoming vehi-
cles, pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters,
motorcyclists and other highway users;
5) Turn your head to look over your left shoul-
der out through the rear-window and begin
to slowly drive forward. Make sure you can
avoid the vehicle parked ahead when you
enter trac;
6) Turn your head and look over your left
shoulder to look through the rear-window,
drive into the trac lane when it is safe
to do so.
What people understand as “parking” is legally
divided into three categories: parking, stand-
ing and stopping. Parking is when a vehicle is
stopped, occupied or not, other than temporarily
for the purpose of loading or unloading merchan-
dise or passengers. Standing is similar to Parking,
except that it only relates to receiving or discharg-
ing passengers. Stopping is literally that, bringing
the vehicle to a stop (even temporarily).
A NO PARKING sign means you can make a
temporary stop to load or discharge merchandise
or passengers.
A NO STANDING sign means you can only make
a temporary stop to load or discharge passen-
gers. The driver cannot exit the vehicle.
A NO STOPPING sign means you can stop only to
obey a trac sign, signal or ocer or to prevent
conflicts with other vehicles.
Besides parking, standing and stopping rules,
there are statewide rules not always indicated
by signs:
You cannot park, stop or stand:
• Within 15 feet (5 m) of a fire hydrant, unless
a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to
move it in an emergency.
• On the road side of a parked vehicle
(“double parking”).
• On a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
• In an intersection, unless permitted by signs
or parking meters.
• On railroad tracks.
• Next to or opposite road work, construction
or other obstructions if your vehicle
blocks trac.
• Within 30 feet (10 m) of a pedestrian safety
area, unless another distance is marked.
• On a bridge or in a tunnel.
Parking or standing is not allowed:
In front of a driveway.
• Within 20 feet (6 m) of a crosswalk at
an intersection.
• Within 30 feet (10 m) of a trac light, STOP
sign or YIELD sign.
• Within 20 feet (6 m) of a fire station driveway
or within 75 feet (23 m) on the opposite side
of the road.
• Along a curb that is cut, lowered or made for
access to the sidewalk.
You cannot park your vehicle within 50 feet
(15 m) of a railroad crossing.
42 | Driver’s Manual
Parking reserved for persons with disabilities
is a legal requirement. These special parking
spaces for motorists with disabilities ensure safe
and equal access to goods and services, access
which is taken for granted by
many persons. You can park
in reserved spaces only if you
have a permit or vehicle plates
for persons with disabilities
and only when the person who
received the permit or vehicle
plates is in the vehicle.
It is illegal for any vehicle to
park, stop or stand in a space
reserved for the disabled unless it has vehicle
plates for the disabled issued by the DMV, a New
York State Parking Permit for the Disabled issued
by a city, town, county or village or a similar
vehicle plate or permit issued by another state.
The vehicle must be in operation to transport the
disabled person described in the registration or
permit. This law applies to spaces reserved and
provided by local ordinance on streets and high-
ways and those held for special use by state law
in shopping centers that have five or more stores
and 20 or more o-street public parking spaces.
It is a misdemeanor to make a false statement
or give false information on an application for
vehicle plates. If you make a false statement or
provide false information to get a parking permit
for a person with a disability, you face a fine from
$250 to $1,000, plus a mandatory surcharge of
$30 and possible civil penalties from $250 to
$1,000. These penalties apply to the applicant
and to a doctor who provides certification.
To apply for vehicle plates for the disabled or
for a NYS Parking Permit for the Disabled use
the MV-664.1 Instructions and Application for a
Parking Permit or License Plates for People with
Severe Disabilities.
Reserved spaces must be marked with signs
like the one shown above, and also can be des-
ignated with pavement markings. Do not park in
the spaces with diagonal stripes next to reserved
parking areas. These spaces are needed to give
access to those with wheelchairs and vehicles
with special equipment.
The fines for parking violations on a street are
set by municipalities. Unless a municipality sets
higher penalties, the fine for a shopping center
violation is $50 to $75 for a first oense and $75
to $150 for a second oense within two years in
the same municipality. A mandatory surcharge of
$30 will be added to each penalty.
Before you go on to Chapter 8, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• After you have parallel parked, how near to
the curb must your vehicle be?
• May you open a door on the road side of
your vehicle if there is no oncoming trac?
• Before you leave a parking space, what
should you do?
• What does a NO STOPPING sign mean?
• Can you stop to load or drop o passengers
• May you park on a crosswalk in the middle
of a block?
Driver’s Manual | 43
Most drivers are good drivers. But even the
best drivers make errors now and then. Equip-
ment fails, weather conditions can be bad, and
some drivers ignore trac laws or drive in an
erratic manner. To prevent making errors or being
involved in a crash because of someone else’s
error, learn to drive in a defensive manner:
• Be prepared and look ahead.
• Maintain the correct speed.
• Signal before you turn or change lanes.
• Allow space.
• Wear your seat belt.
• Do not drive if you are very weary, are on
medication or have been drinking beverag-
es that contain alcohol.
• Keep your vehicle in good condition.
• Do not use hand held mobile devices
while driving.
You should sit in a comfortable but vertical
position and keep both hands on the steering
wheel. Slouching in the driver’s seat or using only
one hand on the wheel makes it more dicult or
even dangerous to control your vehicle.
Trac conditions change continuously. Always
scan the road ahead. Do not use the road or even
the vehicle ahead as your only points of focus.
Look ahead so you can prevent, or decrease,
possible problems.
Keep your eyes moving, notice what is happen-
ing at the sides of the road, and check behind
you through your mirrors every few seconds.
Anticipate errors by other drivers, bicyclists and
pedestrians and think about what you will do if
an error occurs. Do not assume that a driver who
approaches a STOP or YIELD sign on a side road
is actually going to stop or yield. It is better to
assume the other driver will not stop.
A distraction is anything that takes your
attention away from driving. Distracted driving
can cause crashes, resulting in injury, death, or
property damage. Taking your eyes o the road
or hands o the steering wheel presents obvious
driving risks. Mental activities that take your mind
away from driving are just as dangerous.
When driving:
• Do not use cell phones or text.
• Avoid arguments and stressful or emotional
conversations with passengers.
• Avoid eating while driving.
• Be sure children are properly and
safely restrained.
• Properly secure pets in a pet carrier or por-
table kennel.
You must pay attention to the driving task. You
are responsible for operating your vehicle in a
safe manner.
Aggressive driving includes speeding, which
often leads to following too closely, frequent or
quick lane changes without a signal, passing on
the shoulder or parts of the roadway that are not
paved or being a nuisance to motorists, bicyclists
or pedestrians, who don’t get out of the way.
Aggressive drivers sometimes run stop signs and
44 | Driver’s Manual
red lights, pass stopped school buses, fail to keep
right, drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs
and drive in a reckless manner. Some aggressive
drivers try to cause harm to another driver, and
that is how aggressive driving becomes
road rage.
To prevent road rage, it is sometimes better
not to make eye contact with another driver. The
other driver can take this as being challenged.
When an aggressive driver confronts you:
• Do not make eye contact.
• Remain calm and relaxed.
• Try to move away safely.
• Do not challenge an aggressive driver with
increased speed or try to hold your position
in your travel lane.
• Wear a seat belt and encourage your
passengers to do the same.
• Ignore gestures and shouts and do not
return them.
• Report aggressive drivers to law enforce-
ment authorities and give a vehicle descrip-
tion, location, vehicle plate number and
direction of travel.
• If an aggressive driver is following you, do
not stop or get out of your vehicle. Drive to
the nearest police station.
• If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash,
stop a safe distance from the crash scene.
When the police arrive, report the driving
behavior you saw.
To avoid becoming an aggressive driver:
• Allow enough travel time to reach your
destination on schedule.
• Adjust your schedule to prevent driving
during times with the most highway trac.
• If you are late, call ahead so you can relax.
• Do not drive when you are angry, upset or
very tired.
• Make your vehicle comfortable. Listen to
relaxing music and prevent conditions that
make you anxious.
• When you drive, relax and be aware of how
you sit. Sit back in your seat, loosen your
hold on the steering wheel and do not grind
your teeth.
• Be polite, courteous and forgiving to
other drivers.
• You can control how you react. If another
person drives aggressively, do not do
the same.
If you have the right-of-way, do not think of
it as a complete right. Be prepared to yield the
right-of-way to other highway users. To wait a few
seconds for another driver is far better than to risk
a crash.
What is “road rage”? Road rage is an angry,
hostile state, which can increase into violent
criminal actions or attempts of violent action that
result from the operation of a motor vehicle. Road
rage can include behavior to provoke others or to
make them fearful.
Aggressive driving is not road rage. Howev-
er, aggressive driving can become road rage.
Aggressive driving generally involves the violation
of a trac safety law, while road rage involves the
breaking of a criminal law.
Who can become road raged? It could happen
to anyone when our irritation or anger with others
leads us to behavior that is a threat to ourselves
and to the safety and lives of others on and near
the road or highways. To endanger, threaten or
assault another person is illegal. These behaviors
can result in severe penalties that include fines,
imprisonment and court-ordered probation. They
can also result in revocation or suspension of a
driver license.
Driver’s Manual | 45
Road rage can include many behaviors, such as:
• Shouts, excessive use of a horn or obscene
gestures and threats.
• Driving actions like when you cut o another
vehicle, drive too closely, block another
vehicle so it cannot use a trac lane, chase
another vehicle or run it o the road, or
deliberately slam into a vehicle.
• When you stop a vehicle at the side of the
road, get out to threaten, attack, fight or
injure another motorist or passenger or a
pedestrian, bicyclist or other person.
Research indicates that being in a state of rage
can aect your blood pressure and your ability to
reason and make decisions. As a driver, you will
make more errors. The chance of being involved
in a trac crash will increase.
Aggressive driving and road rage can lead to
revoked or suspended driver licenses, problems
between family members and friends, loss of
employment and legal problems.
Many drivers do not recognize when their own
aggressive driving or road rage is aecting their
ability to drive safely. State law requires every
DMV-approved accident prevention course to
address the hazards and dangers of road rage.
For information about DMV-approved accident
prevention courses, go to the DMV website at
https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-more-about/pirp. You
can also contact one of the program sponsors.
Information is available at any state or county
motor vehicle oce.
You must obey the speed limit. If no limit is
posted, drive no more than 55 mph (88 km/h).
Often, it is common sense to keep your actual
speed below the posted limit. For example, the
legal limit on a slippery or fogged-in expressway
might be 55 mph (88 km/h), or even 65 mph (100
km/h), but the safe speed to drive would be much
lower. Even if you were to drive at 50 mph (80
km/h) on that hazardous highway, a police ocer
could ticket you for a speed “not reasonable” for
the conditions.
To keep a smooth trac flow, some highways
also have minimum speed limits. If you drive slow-
er than the minimum speed you can interfere with
the trac flow and create a dangerous condition.
Even if there is no minimum speed limit, those
driving too slow can be as dangerous as those
who drive too fast.
Know that some cities have speed limits less
than 55 mph (88 km/h) that are not always posted.
For example, the speed limit is 25 mph (48 km/h)
in New York City unless another limit is posted.
Four of every 10 crashes involve rear-end colli-
sions, normally because a person is following too
closely (tailgating). Leave enough room between
your vehicle and the one ahead so you can stop
safely if the other vehicle stops suddenly. Brake
early and gently when you prepare to stop or turn.
It gives drivers behind you plenty of warning that
you plan to decrease your speed.
For a good “space cushion,” use the two-sec-
ond rule: Select an object near or above the road
ahead like a sign, tree or overpass. As the vehicle
ahead passes it, count slowly, “one thousand one,
one thousand two.” If you reach the same object
before you finish the count, you are following too
closely. In bad weather and when following large
trucks, increase the count to at least three or four
seconds for additional space.
If a driver follows you too closely (tailgates),
move to another lane if possible or reduce speed
and pull o the road to let the driver go by. Make
sure to signal when you drive o the road and
when you return to it. Do not press your brakes
suddenly or unnecessarily as this may startle the
motorist behind you and could escalate into
road rage.
In case you must change lanes quickly or pull
over to avoid a hazard, leave some “escape”
room to your left and right.
46 | Driver’s Manual
Seat belts save lives and can prevent serious
injuries in trac crashes. This is why New York
State requires seat belt use by adults in motor ve-
hicles and seat belts, booster seats or child safety
seats for children.
New York is a “primary enforcement” state,
which means a police ocer can pull you over
just because you or one of your passengers isn’t
wearing their seatbelt. A law enforcement ocer
can issue a trac ticket for failure to wear a seat
belt. This law also applies to visitors from outside
New York State. Highlights of the New York State
occupant restraint law:
• In the front seat, the driver and each passen-
ger must be properly restrained, one person
per belt. The driver and front-seat passen-
gers age 16 or older can each face a fine of
up to $50 if they fail to buckle up.
• For vehicles driven by persons with a
Class-DJ learner permit or a Class-DJ driver
license, every occupant, no matter the age
or seating position, must correctly use a
safety restraint.
• The driver must make sure that each pas-
senger under 16 obeys the law. The driver
can face a fine of $25 to $100 and receive
three penalty points on his driver license for
each violation.
• Seat belt use is not required in taxis or
livery vehicles, emergency vehicles, 1964
or older vehicles or by passengers in buses
(except school buses; seat belt use can be
required by a school district). Rural Letter
Carriers are also exempt when they are
delivering mail.
Every passenger under age 16 must use a
safety restraint. If under age 4, persons must be
correctly secured in a government approved child
safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a safe-
ty belt or universal anchorage (LATCH) system.
A child under age 4 who weighs more than 40
pounds can be restrained in a booster seat with
a lap and shoulder belt. A child of age 4, 5, 6 or
7 must use a booster seat with lap and shoul-
der belt or a child safety seat (The child safety
restraint system must meet the height and weight
recommendations of the restraint manufacturer.)
Exception: A child more than 4 feet 9 inches
in height or weighing more than 100 pounds is
allowed to use a seat belt that has both a lap belt
and a shoulder harness. If the seat belt does not
fit correctly, the child must use a booster seat with
a lap and shoulder belt.
When you drive, you must make sure each
person in your vehicle is properly restrained by
a seat belt, child restraint system, or car seat.
During a crash, a person not properly restrained
becomes a flying object and a danger to each
person in the vehicle.
• For added protection, adjust your vehicle
head rest, lock the doors and do not keep
loose, heavy objects in the passenger area.
Put them in the trunk.
• Air bags are meant to work WITH seat belts,
not to replace them. An air bag protects a
front-seat occupant in a head-on crash by
inflating on impact and providing a cushion
so the occupant does not collide with the
steering wheel, dashboard or windshield.
The combination of a seat belt and an air
bag oers maximum protection, partly be-
cause they help the driver maintain control
of the vehicle and help prevent
secondary collisions.
• Air bags engage (expand quickly) from the
steering wheel and/or dashboard. Most adults
who are correctly fastened are safer in a
vehicle with air bags, but the pressure of an
air bag as it opens could injure those who sit
too close to it. You should sit with at least 10
inches between the center of your chest and
the cover of the air bag. Place your hands on
opposite sides of the steering wheel, at the 3
and 9 clock positions, to keep them away if
the air bag engages.
Driver’s Manual | 47
Areas where road work takes place are danger-
ous to drive in -- and to work in. That is why when
you speed in work zones, ticket fines double,
even when the workers or work vehicles are not
there. Expect to find a work zone wherever you
drive – you may have to decrease speed quickly
or even stop. Trac lanes can shift or be com-
pletely closed. Workers and work vehicles can be
on or near your driving lane. When you drive in a
work zone, make it safer because you know what
to do.
Orange signs in the shape of diamonds -- “work
zone” warning signs – are often placed before
road construction projects and other work areas
that can change trac flow. One sign can read:
“flagger ahead.” A flagger is a worker who
motions for you to stop, continue with caution or
change lanes. A flagger has the same authority as
a sign, which indicates you can receive a ticket for
disobeying their directions. Decrease speed! Be
Alert! Obey the signs!
Work Zone Tips:
• Some signs can indicate a detour that allows
you to avoid the work zone. If you know
where a work zone is ahead, you should try
to use a dierent route.
| • As you enter a work zone, flashing signs or
signs with arrows or signs that warn “lane
closed ahead” mean you should merge
your vehicle into the correct lane when it is
safe. Do not speed to the end of the closed
lane and try to get into the other lane. If you
move to the correct lane at first notice, you
will drive in a calmer, more ecient, and
safe manner.
• Decrease your speed when a sign indicates:
“Road Work 1,500 feet,” that means your car,
with a speed of 60 miles per hour, will get
there in 17 seconds.
• The rear-end collision is the most com-
mon crash in a work zone. To avoid being
involved in one, it helps to keep a braking
distance of two seconds or more between
you and the vehicle in front of you. (See
Allowing Yourself Space,” earlier in this
chapter) Keep a safe distance between your
vehicle and trac barriers, trucks, construc-
tion equipment and workers.
• Some work zones are not stationary, like
when workers paint lines, patch roads or
mow. In these cases the size and/or location
of the work zones may change. As work pro-
gresses, the work zone size may increase,
decrease, or move to dierent sections of
the roadway. Workers can be close even if
you do not see them immediately after the
warning signs. Obey the signs until you pass
the one that states the work zone
has ended.
48 | Driver’s Manual
A “roundabout” or “trac circle” is a round
intersection with a small diameter that makes
drivers decrease speed, normally to 30 mph or
less. Vehicles travel counterclockwise around a
raised center island, with entering trac yielding
the right-of-way to trac already circulating in the
roundabout. Studies show a roundabout can re-
duce the number and severity of accidents at an
intersection, compared to intersections controlled
by stop signs or trac signals. Roundabouts, or
rotaries, are now more common in New York State
and other states.
When using roundabouts or trac circles:
• As you get near the roundabout, look for
the street and direction signs you need. This
will help you know which exit to take. These
signs will be provided along the roadside
before you reach the entrance to the
roundabout. Slow down when you enter the
roundabout. A sign, like the one on the left
above, warns of a roundabout.
• When you arrive at the roundabout, yield
the right-of-way to any pedestrians and
bicyclists. You must also yield to any drivers
who were in the roundabout before you.
Sometimes a stop sign or trac signal will
control your point of entry. When the trac
level allows enough space and time, you
can enter the roundabout in a counterclock-
wise direction.
• While inside the roundabout, remain in your
lane until you are ready to exit. Use your
right turn signal to let the other users know
your intention to move from the “inside
path” to the “outside path”, or if you are in
position to exit now. Start to signal at the
exit BEFORE the one you want to take. Do
not change lanes or take an exit before you
check for vehicles that may be continuing
through the roundabout in the lane next to
you or behind you. Expect vehicles to be in
the “blind spots” you cannot see in your mir-
rors. (For more about blind spots see, Large
Vehicles, Chapter 11.)
Driving and sleep do not mix. When you are
behind the wheel of a car or truck, fatigue is
dangerous. If you are tired when driving you are
slower to react, and not as aware as you should
be and your judgment will be impaired. As with
drugs and alcohol, drowsiness can contribute to a
trac crash.
Symptoms of Fatigue
Researchers have found the following symptoms
to be associated with drowsy driving:
• Your eyes close or go out of focus by them-
• You find it dicult to keep your head up.
• You continue to yawn.
• Your thoughts wander and are
• You do not remember driving the last
few miles.
• You drift between lanes, tailgate or miss
trac signs.
• You must jerk the car back into the lane.
• You have drifted o the road and hit the
rumble strips, which produce a loud noise
and vibrations.
Who is Most at Risk? All Drivers who are:
• Deprived of sleep or fatigued.
• Driving long distances without rest breaks.
• Driving through the night or at times when
you are normally asleep.
• Taking medication that increases sleepiness
or drinking alcohol.
• Driving alone.
• Driving on long, rural, or boring roads.
• Frequent travelers, e.g., business travelers
and long-distance commuters.
• Young People – Drowsy driving crashes are
most common for young people, who tend
to stay up late, sleep too little and drive at
• Shift Workers – Drivers who have non-tradi-
tional work schedules have a greater risk of
being involved in a fatigue-related
trac crash.
• People With Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders –
The presence of a sleep disorder increases
the risk of crashes. If you find you are regu-
larly tired in the daytime or experience any
of these symptoms on a regular basis, you
may have a sleep disorder and should seek
medical help.
Eective Countermeasures
Prevention – Before you embark on a trip, you
• Get enough sleep.
• Plan to drive long trips with a companion.
• Schedule regular stops for every 100 miles
or two hours.
• Avoid alcohol and medications (over-the-
counter and prescribed) that may impair
performance. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist about any medication you are
taking. Alcohol amplifies fatigue, increasing
its eects.
• You are not at your best if you are ill or very
tired. Do not drive for at least 15 minutes
after waking from sleep.
Actions for the Drowsy Driver
If you suspect that you are drowsy when driving,
you must:
Driver’s Manual | 49
• Recognize that you are close to sleep and
cannot calculate when sleep may occur.
• Not depend on the radio, open window or
other “tricks” to keep you awake.
• Find a safe place to stop for a break in
response to symptoms of fatigue.
• Pull o into a safe area away from trac and
take a brief nap (15 to 45 minutes).
• Drink coee or another source of caeine to
promote short-term alertness if needed. (It
takes about 30 minutes for caeine to enter
the bloodstream.)
NOTE: See Chapter 9 for more information about
the dangers of driving under the influence of
alcohol and other drugs.
A driver can become distracted from safe
driving by use of a mobile telephone (like a
cellular telephone). In New York State, it is a trac
infraction to speak into or listen to a hand-held
mobile telephone while driving. For a first oense,
you could be required to pay a fine up to $200
and receive five license points. The phone may
be hand-held to activate, begin, or end a call.
Exemptions are provided for calls for emergency
situations, for police and other law enforcement
ocers and for fire department personnel and op-
erators of authorized emergency vehicles in the
performance of ocial duties. In New York State,
a hands-free mobile telephone allows the user to
communicate without the use of either hand. A
driver can use a hands-free telephone at any time.
Penalties for texting, electronic device use
In New York State, it is illegal to use portable
electronic devices, such as cell phones and
smart phones, to send or receive text messages
or e-mails while driving. The penalty for a first
oense is a fine of up to $200. A second oense
(both committed within 18 months) is a fine up to
$250. A third or subsequent oense (all commit-
ted within 18 months) is a fine up to $450. Also,
drivers with probationary and junior licenses who
use a hand-held phone or text while driving will
50 | Driver’s Manual
receive a 120-day suspension for a first conviction
and a revocation of at least one year for subse-
quent convictions within six months of the time a
license is restored after suspension.
New York State Law requires that all vehicles
registered in New York pass an annual safety
inspection, but that does not mean it is the only
time you should have safety equipment checked.
Follow your owner’s manual for routine mainte-
nance. Have problems corrected by a qualified
mechanic as soon as possible. Do not wait until
mechanical problems cause breakdowns
or crashes.
Pay special attention to the maintenance and
repair of the brakes, steering mechanism, lights,
tires and horn. Depend on your owner manual
and an experienced mechanic as keys to a safe
vehicle. It is the operator’s responsibility to ensure
that the vehicle being driven is safe.
Here are some common problems, and some
equipment checks you can do:
BRAKES - Brakes that pull to one side may be
wet or may need to be adjusted or repaired. If
wet, you can dry them riding the pedal lightly. If
this does not help, have your brakes checked by
a mechanic. If you notice any change in the brake
performance, have them checked immediately.
STEERING - There should not be much free
movement in the steering wheel. If your vehicle
has power steering, check the fluid level periodi-
cally. A noise like a whine when you make a sharp
turn can indicate a problem.
LIGHTS - Keep your lights clean and free of dirt,
snow and ice. Broken lenses can cause danger-
ous glare for other drivers, so replace them as
soon as you can. Make sure headlights are adjust-
ed correctly to give you the best view of the road.
TIRES - The law requires that your tires have
at least ⁄nds of an inch (.16 cm) of tread. Most
tires for passenger cars and light trucks have
indicators called “wear bars” that show across the
tire grooves when the minimum tread depth is
reached. You can check your tread depth with a
penny. Hold a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s body
between your thumb and forefinger. Place Lin-
coln’s head first into the deepest looking groove.
Can you see all of his head? If yes, your tires are
too worn – don’t drive on them, and make sure
to get them replaced. It is also illegal to drive with
tires that have cuts down to the cords, bumps or
bulges. Refer to your owner manual or a tire store
about correct tire pressure, and check it often
with a reliable gauge.
GLASS - Keep your windows clean and clear.
Replace worn wiper blades. Keep your defroster
and rear window defogger in good condition and
make sure there is enough windshield fluid in
the reservoir. Any broken or cracked glass must
be repaired or replaced.
HORN - Your horn is important safety equipment
that could become your only means of warning
other drivers or pedestrians of possible problems.
If the horn does not work, get it repaired as soon
as possible. It should be used properly, not to
express anger at other drivers or pedestrians.
Before you move on to Chapter 9, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• Should you always look straight ahead when
you drive?
• If there is no posted speed limit, what is the
fastest you can legally drive in New York
• Is it always safe to drive at the assigned
speed limit?
• What is the purpose of minimum speed
• Who must wear seat belts? Who should
wear them?
• How can you prevent fatigue on a long trip?
• What is road rage? How can you prevent
becoming involved in road rage?
• How should you drive safely through a
work zone? A roundabout?
You have probably heard the facts before –
driving while impaired or intoxicated is a serious
trac safety problem in the United States. In New
York State, more than 20 percent of all highway
deaths involve the use of alcohol or other drugs.
But the facts and statistics do not tell the whole
story. Behind the numbers are thousands of lives
cut short, permanent or disabling injuries, and
families devastated because someone drove
while under the influence of alcohol or
other drugs.
When you drink alcohol or take other drugs,
safe driving is not possible. Not every impaired or
intoxicated driver causes a trac crash, but each
one is dangerous, putting the lives of himself or
herself and those sharing the road at risk.
Young people, who have less experience with
alcohol or drugs and driving are especially at high
risk. Drivers under age 21 are approximately 4
percent of the driving population, but 7 percent of
the impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes. This
is one reason the driver license revocation penal-
ties are more severe for young drivers who drive
under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Because driving “under the influence” is so
dangerous, the penalties for alcohol or drug-re-
lated violations are tough and enforcement is
important. The chance of apprehension and con-
viction are high and New York State law strictly
limits your ability to plea bargain when charged
with an oense related to alcohol or drugs.
Alcohol increases reaction time, reduces your
ability to see clearly, changes your judgment of
speed and distances, often makes you less inhib-
ited and makes you more prone to take chances.
The important skills you need to drive safely are
made weaker.
Because your vision is normally restricted at
night, it is especially dangerous to drink and drive
after dark. Alcohol also reduces your ability to re-
cover from the glare of headlights. When another
vehicle moves toward you, you can be blinded by
its headlights for a long period of time.
Driver’s Manual | 51
You do not have to look or feel intoxicated
for these things to occur. The eects of alcohol
consumption can begin long before you become
intoxicated or even legally impaired and begin
with the first drink.
As alcohol physically limits your ability to drive,
it also makes you less aware of what is happening
to your safe driving abilities. It becomes dicult
for you to judge your condition. You can gain
confidence about driving, when you should not be
driving at all.
During each mile you drive, you make hundreds
of decisions. Your decisions turn into actions that
keep your vehicle controlled and ensure you
avoid crashes. Alcohol makes it dicult to make
correct decisions and to take the safest actions.
For example: You have just stopped at a STOP
sign. You see another vehicle approaching the
intersection. You must quickly make a decision
whether it is safe to go through the intersection.
Under the influence of alcohol, you are more like-
ly to make a wrong decision and “take a chance.
Your slower reaction time, and the bad decision,
could cause a crash.
Drugs, which include many prescription and
over-the-counter medications, can aect your
ability to drive. They can have eects similar to
alcohol or even worse. If you take medication,
even a remedy for colds or allergies that is not
prescribed, check the label for warnings about
its eects. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or
pharmacist about driving while on the medication.
Never drink alcohol while you are taking other
drugs. It could be dangerous, often enhancing
the eects of the alcohol and the other drug. For
example, taking one drink while you are also
using a cold remedy could aect you as much
as several drinks.
52 | Driver’s Manual
It can be a criminal oense to drive while
impaired by the eect of drugs or alcohol and
drugs, illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, LSD,
heroin and opium and by some prescription drugs
like tranquilizers. Drugs can aect your reflexes,
judgment, vision and alertness in ways similar
to alcohol and they may have other dangerous
eects as well.
A combination of alcohol and other drugs se-
verely reduces your ability to drive and can cause
serious health problems, which can include death.
In New York State, you can be arrested for
any of these oenses: aggravated driving while
intoxicated (Agg-DWI), driving while intoxicated
(DWI), driving with a blood alcohol content of .08
percent or more (.08 BAC), driving while ability im-
paired by a drug (DWAI-drug), driving while ability
impaired by alcohol (DWAI), or driving under the
combined influence of alcohol and drugs.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the percentage
of alcohol in your blood and is normally deter-
mined by a chemical test of breath, blood, urine
or saliva. A BAC of more than .05 percent is legal
evidence that you are impaired, a BAC of .08
percent or higher is evidence of intoxication, and
a BAC of .18 percent or more is evidence of aggra-
vated driving while intoxicated.
Many people think chemical test evidence is re-
quired to prove you were intoxicated or impaired.
However, the testimony of a police ocer about
the way you drive, your appearance and behavior
when arrested can provide enough evidence to
convict you, even without a chemical test.
If you are found guilty of any alcohol or drug-re-
lated violation, the court must revoke or suspend
your driver license when you are sentenced. Even
if the court allows you to continue driving for 20
days, your driver license will be taken immediately.
The BAC standards and penalties for commer-
cial drivers are even tougher than those indicated
in this chapter. For complete information, see Sec-
tion 1 of the Commercial Driver’s Manual (CDL-10).
Your blood alcohol content (BAC) depends on:
• How much alcohol you drink.
• How much time passes between drinks.
• Your weight.
Your BAC does not depend on the type of bev-
erage you drink, how fit you are, or how you can
“hold your liquor.
.02 BAC =
5 oz. glass of wine
1 ⁄ oz. liquor 12 oz. (360 ml) 12 oz. wine cooler
12% alcohol
80 proof can of beer 5% alcohol
5% alcohol
Driver’s Manual | 53
Dierent types of drinks do not aect you dier-
ently. It is the amount of alcohol you consume, not
whether it is in beer, wine or liquor that raises your
BAC and reduces your driving ability. These drinks
contain about the same amount of alcohol – 1-1⁄2
ounces of liquor, 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of
beer, and 12 ounces of wine cooler. None is “safer
to drink” than the others.
For a 150-pound male, each one of these drinks
contains enough alcohol to increase his BAC by
about .02 percent. On average, it takes the body
approximately one hour to remove that much
alcohol. Studies indicate that a woman will take
longer to process and remove alcohol from the
blood. This can cause a higher BAC over a longer
period of time.
Compared to the 150-pound male described
above, your body weight can make some dier-
ence in the BAC and the eects of alcohol. No
one has immunity to the eects of alcohol. It is a
simple fact: the more you drink in a given period
of time, the higher your BAC will be and the less
safe you will drive.
It takes only a few drinks to increase your BAC
to levels at which it is illegal to drive. And remem-
ber, the eects of alcohol on your ability to drive
begin at even lower BAC levels after just
one drink.
Eating before or while you drink helps slow the
absorption of alcohol somewhat, but it cannot
prevent intoxication or impairment if you have too
much to drink.
The only method to eectively reduce your
BAC is not to drink over a period of time. Coee,
exercise and cold showers cannot reduce your
BAC and the eects of alcohol. They can help you
remain awake, but it cannot change your BAC or
make you sober.
Chemical tests use blood, breath, urine or saliva
to measure the BAC of a person. If you are ar-
rested for an alcohol or drug related violation, the
police ocer will likely request that you submit to
a chemical test (breath test analyzer). Under New
York’s “Implied Consent” law, when you drive a
car in this state you are considered to have given
your consent to take this type of test.
Chemical test refusal is a separate issue
from whether you were guilty of an alcohol or
drug-related violation. If you refuse to take the
test after being arrested, your driver license will
be suspended when you are arraigned in court
on the alcohol or other drug-related charge. In
addition, the fact that you refused a chemical test
can be brought up in court when you are tried
on the alcohol or drug-related charge. If a DMV
hearing later confirms you refused the test, your
driver license will be revoked even if you are
found not guilty of the alcohol or other drug-relat-
ed violation. For information about driver license
revocations and civil penalties for chemical test
refusals, see Chapter 2.
The table “Penalties for Alcohol/Drug Related
Violations” describes fines, surcharges, license
penalties and possible imprisonment if you are
convicted of an alcohol or drug-related violation.
Impaired or intoxicated driving can also have
other serious results.
Repeat Oenders
Drivers with repeat dangerous driving convic-
tions in New York State face one of the toughest
licensing policies in the nation. These regulations
call for:
Lifetime Record Review by DMV: DMV will
review the lifetime record of all drivers who
apply to have a license reinstated after
a revocation.
Truly Permanent License Revocation for
Persistently Drunk & Dangerous Drivers:
After conducting a lifetime record review, DMV
will deny any application for reinstatement of a
license after revocation if the applicant has:
• Five or more alcohol or drug related driving
convictions in his or her lifetime, or
54 | Driver’s Manual
• Three or more alcohol or drug related
driving convictions in the 25 year look back
period plus at least one other serious driving
oense during that period. A serious driving
oense includes: a fatal crash, a driving-re-
lated penal law conviction, an accumulation
of 20 or more points assessed for driving
violations within the 25 year look back peri-
od or having two or more driving convictions
during the 25 year look back period each
worth five points or more.
Delayed Re-Licensing, Driving Restrictions,
& Interlocks for Other Drivers with Repeated
Alcohol- or Drug-Related Driving Convic-
tions: For those drivers seeking reinstatement
of a license after revocation who have three or
four alcohol- or drug-related driving convic-
tions but no serious driving oense in the 25
year look back period, DMV will:
• Deny their applications for five years beyond
their statutory revocation period if the appli-
cant’s license was revoked for an alcohol- or
drug-related oense; or two additional years
if the applicant’s license was revoked for
a reason other than an alcohol or drug
related oense;
• Restore the applicant’s license after that
additional period as a “restricted” license
limiting the applicant’s driving to, for exam-
ple, travel to and from work or medical
visits; and
• Require an interlock device on the vehicle
driven by the applicant for five years from
the date of the interlock device installation.
End the Reduction of Mandatory Suspension
or Revocation Periods: Previously, repeat
drunk drivers whose licenses had been re-
voked or suspended could get their full driving
privileges back in as little as seven weeks by
completing DMV’s Impaired Driver Program.
DMV’s new regulations will ensure that those
drivers cannot regain their driving privileges
until their full term of suspension or revocation
has ended.
Zero Tolerance for Drivers Under Age 21
The legal purchase and possession age for
beverages containing alcohol in New York State
is 21. Under the state’s “zero tolerance” law, it
is a violation for a person under 21 to drive with
any BAC that can be measured (.02 to .07). After
a finding of violation is determined at a DMV
hearing, the driver license will be suspended for
six months. The driver then must pay a $100 sus-
pension termination fee and a $125 civil penalty
to be re-licensed. For a second Zero Tolerance
violation, the driver license will be revoked for
at least one year or until the driver reaches 21,
whichever is longer.
Illegal Purchase of Beverages
Containing Alcohol
When you use a driver license or Non-Driver ID
card as proof of age to illegally purchase bever-
ages that contain alcohol, state law requires the
suspension of your driver license or privilege to
apply for a license.
Open Container Law
It is a trac infraction for a driver or passenger
in a motor vehicle on a public highway, street or
road to drink a beverage containing alcohol or to
have a beverage containing alcohol. The penalty
for a first conviction is a fine up to $150, a man-
datory surcharge, a crime victim assistance fee,
and possible imprisonment of 15 days. Additional
oenses within 18 months bring higher penalties.
The law exempts passengers in vehicles like
stretch limousines and other vehicles that display
a commerce certificate or permit issued by the
U.S. Department of Transportation or the NYS
Department of Transportation.
Driver’s Manual | 55
AGG-DWI (0.18 and higher Blood Alcohol Content [BAC])
Minimum $1000
Maximum $2500
Up to 1 year Minimum 1-Year
Oense Minimum $1000 Up to 4 years Minimum 18-Month
(Class E Felony) Maximum $5000 Revocation
Within 10 Years
DWI (0.08 and higher Blood Alcohol Content [BAC]) or DWAI-Drug
Oense Minimum $500 Up to 1 year Minimum 6-Month
(Misdemeanor) Maximum $1000 Revocation DWI;
Minimum 6-Month
Suspension (DWAI-D)
Oense Minimum $1000 Up to 4 years (DWI & DWAI-D): Minimum 1-Year
(Class E Felony) Maximum $5000 minimum 5 days jail or 30 Revocation
Within 10 Years days of community service
(for DWI within prior 5 years)
Minimum $500
Maximum $1000
Up to 1 year Minimum 6-Month
Oense Minimum $1000 Up to 4 years Minimum 1-Year
(Class E Felony) Maximum $5000 Revocation
Within 10 Years
DWAI (more than 0.05 up to 0.07 Blood Alcohol Content [BAC])
(Trac Infraction)
Minimum $300
Maximum $500
Up to 15 Days 90 Day Suspension
(Trac Infraction)
Within 5 Years
Minimum $500
Maximum $750
Up to 30 Days Minimum 6-Month
NOTE: Higher fines, longer jail sentences, and increased license penalties (including lifetime revocation) may result from a third or subsequent
conviction within 10 years.
**Conviction fine only, does not include mandatory surcharge or crime victims’ assistance fee.
**The Department of Motor Vehicle determines when your license can be returned. Its return or reinstatement, based on state law or regulation, is
not automatic. You must reapply for your license and may have to pass a test.
NOTE: License actions for those under age 21 are dierent.
Minimum 6-Month
Suspension (DWAI-D)
56 | Driver’s Manual
The Ignition Interlock Program and
Leandra’s Law
Courts must order all persons convicted of
driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while
intoxicated, or of a penal law of which an alcohol
related violation of any provision of section 1192
of the Vehicle & Trac Law is an essential ele-
ment to install and maintain an ignition interlock
on any vehicle owned or operated by such driver
for at least 12 months. (This device, purchased
and installed at the expense of the motorist, is
connected to a motor vehicle ignition system
and measures the alcohol content of the breath
of the driver. The vehicle cannot be started until
the driver provides an acceptable sample breath.)
The 12-month requirement may be waived by
the court if the defendant demonstrates that
the interlock device was installed for at least six
months, unless the court orders the interlock
device to be installed for a longer period of time.
The judge also must order an alcohol assessment
for a repeat oender. If the assessment indicates
alcohol treatment is necessary, the judge may be
required to order the completion of treatment as a
condition of probation.
Drivers who commit these alcohol-related
oenses with a child under 16 years old in the
vehicle may be charged with a class E felony,
punishable by up to four years in prison. (This is
known as Leandra’s Law.)
The law also makes it a felony to drive drunk
with a conditional license, which is a license that
may be issued by the DMV when someone is
convicted of an alcohol-related oense. Such a
license may be used only for driving to and from
essential destinations such as school, work and
medical appointments. The conditional driver
license will be revoked if the motorist does not
comply with the court terms or for a conviction
for any trac oense except parking, stopping
or standing.
• If you kill or cause an injury to another
person because of an alcohol or other
drug-related violation, you can be convicted
of criminally negligent homicide, vehicular
manslaughter or assault. These carry a fine
of thousands of dollars and a maximum jail
term of 15 years.
• If you drive while your license is suspended
or revoked, you face a mandatory fine of
$200 to $1000 and a mandatory jail term or
probation. If impaired or intoxicated when
you are arrested, the maximum mandatory
fine is $5,000 and the vehicle can
be seized.
• Liability insurance may not cover the cost of
injuries and damage from a trac crash. You
could be sued for thousands of dollars and
you would find it dicult and expensive to
buy liability insurance for several years.
• Besides fines and surcharges, you could
also face costly legal fees.
• You could have a criminal record, which
makes it harder to get a job or move forward
in your job.
You are not likely to worry about the results of
your actions while you are impaired or intoxicat-
ed. The time to consider them, and how to
prevent them, is before you become impaired
or intoxicated.
• If you go to events with the same group of
friends, rotate drivers. Each friend takes a
turn being the “designated driver” who does
not drink any alcohol.
• Arrange to remain overnight or ride home
with a friend who does not drink.
• Before you drink, give your car keys to a
friend who does not drink and who will not
let you drive after you drink.
• Call a cab or use public transportation.
• Drink slowly. Alternate between drinks with
alcohol and drinks without any alcohol.
• Do not make alcohol the focus of your event.
• If you have had too much alcohol, stop
drinking several hours before you intend
to leave so your body can begin to lower
your BAC
Before you move on to Chapter 10, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• How does impaired driving rank as a high-
way safety problem?
• What are the eects of alcohol on the skills
you need to drive?
• Which of these drugs could aect your
ability to drive: marijuana, a cold remedy,
a tranquilizer?
• If you take a non-prescription drug, what
must you do before you drive?
• What is a likely eect when you take another
drug while you drink beverages
containing alcohol?
• On what three conditions does your blood
alcohol content (BAC) depend?
• Which of these contains more alcohol than
the other three: 1-1⁄2 ounces (30 ml) of liquor,
five ounces (120 ml) wine, 12 ounces (360 ml)
of beer, 12 ounces (360 ml) of wine cooler?
• On average, how long does it take your
body to remove the alcohol contained in 12
ounces of beer?
• What is the only eective method to reduce
your BAC?
• What happens to your driver license if you
refuse a chemical test?
• Other than fines, action against your driver
license and a possible jail term, what are
some of the results when you drive under
the influence of alcohol or other drugs?
Driver’s Manual | 57
Even under the best conditions, driving requires
your full attention and your best judgment. When
special conditions or hazards occur, attention and
judgment become even more important. To be a
good and safe driver, you must learn how to drive
on expressways, at night, in bad weather and
when an emergency occurs.
A grade crossing is the point at which train
tracks intersect with a roadway and is considered
an intersection. As you approach a crossing,
always expect a train. Trains can run on any track,
at any time, from either direction. Never race a
train to a crossing, never drive around lowered
gates, and do not stop on tracks. (You will learn
later in the section what to do if your vehicle stalls
or gets stuck on a track.) When crossing tracks,
always stay in your lane and in the same gear.
Some grade crossings have flashing red lights
or lowering gates when a train approaches
(“active” grade crossings). When approaching
marked, or active, grade crossings, do not pro-
ceed until the gates are completely raised and
the lights are o. It is illegal and dangerous to go
around lowered gates or to cross while the lights
are still flashing.
Some grade crossings do not have gates or
flashing lights. When approaching unmarked,
or passive, grade crossings, slow down and be
prepared to stop. Before you cross, be sure that a
train is not coming. If you see a train coming, wait
until it passes, and then cross the tracks when it is
safe to do so. If there are multiple tracks, wait until
you can clearly see down all sets of tracks in
both directions for another approaching train
before crossing.
Remember that the train you see is closer and
faster-moving than you think, and be aware that
trains cannot stop quickly.
58 | Driver’s Manual
Railroad Crossing Warning Sign
COLOR: Yellow with black letters
“RR” and “X” symbol.
MEANING: There is a railroad
crossing ahead. Use caution,
and be prepared to stop. If you
are following a bus or truck
approaching a railroad crossing, be careful.
Most buses and some trucks must stop at
railroad crossings.
(See “Railroad Crossing Signals.)
Railroad Crossing Signals
Flashing red
lights, lowered
crossing gates
and/or a bell at a
railroad crossing
indicate that you
must stop, at least
15 feet (5 m) from
the tracks. Do
not go across the
tracks until the
lights and bell have stopped and the crossing
gates are completely up. Do not drive around or
under a gate that is moving up or down.
Yield when you see a
crossbuck sign, which is a sign
shaped like an “X” with “RAIL-
ROAD CROSSING” printed on it
(like the sign above but without
flashing lights). If there are
multiple train tracks, the sign
will show the number of tracks.
Look and listen for trains
before crossing any railroad
tracks. If an approaching train
is near enough or going fast
enough to be a danger, you
cannot go across the tracks,
even if they have no signals or
the signals are not working.
Do not under any circumstances, attempt to
cross any railroad tracks unless you are certain
your entire vehicle will clear all of the tracks at
the crossing. You cannot go across any railroad
tracks unless there is room for your vehicle on the
other side. If other trac prevents you from going
fully across, wait and go across only when there
is room.
School buses with or without passengers, other
buses with passengers on board and vehicles
with explosives or flammable cargo must stop at
all railroad crossings. Remember those rules if
you are following one of these vehicles.
Pavement Markings
Sometimes, grade crossings do
not have flashing red light signals
or gates. Pavement markings
will often show you that a grade
crossing is ahead. Stay behind
the stop line while waiting for a
train to pass.
Stalling on Railroad Tracks
What should you do if you
stall on the tracks, for any
1. GET OUT! (That
includes EVERYONE
in the car, children, babies, an elderly
passenger, etc.)
2. Get away from the tracks, even if you do
not see a train.
3. Locate the Emergency Notification System
sign and call the number provided, telling
them about the stalled vehicle.
Run toward the general direction the train is
coming from. If a train is approaching, run toward
the train but away from the tracks at a 45-degree
angle. If you run “down the track,” in the same
direction as the train, you can be hit with debris
when the train hits your vehicle.
Driver’s Manual | 59
“Expressway” means any divided highway
where trac moves in one direction on two
or more lanes. You normally enter or exit the
expressway on ramps (controlled-access). The
speed limit is normally 55 mph (88 km/h), but can
be posted at 65 mph (100 km/h) in some rural
areas. Examples of expressways are the New
York State Thruway, major interstate routes and
Before you travel on an expressway, identify
your entrance and exit points on a road map.
Know where to get on and o the expressway
and be prepared to get into the correct lanes for
your entrance and exit. If you enter an express-
way going a dierent direction than you intended,
or at the wrong exit, stay on the expressway
until the next exit. After you exit the expressway,
you can figure out where you need to go and
(if necessary) get back on the expressway. IT IS
DANGEROUS to back up on an entrance or exit
ramp, or to try to cross a median.
Unless there is a STOP or YIELD sign or trac
light on the entrance ramp, use the ramp to accel-
erate to expressway speed and blend with trac.
Signal, then look over your shoulder for trac
already on the expressway. If necessary, slow
down to safely merge into trac.
If the entrance lane is too short to allow accel-
eration to expressway speed, the safest method
to enter is to stop and wait for a large space in
trac. Then enter the expressway and accelerate
quickly. To avoid conflicts with other entrance
lane trac, stop when necessary and merge into
expressway trac as soon as possible.
As you drive on the expressway, make sure
to signal all lane changes and check over your
shoulder to make sure you will not cut o any
vehicles behind you. Make sure your directional
signal goes o after you change lanes.
Remain alert for trac that enters ahead. If
possible, move from the right lane when you
approach the entrances to allow more room for
trac entering the expressway from the ramp.
To prevent a last-minute lane change, check the
destination and exit signs and get into the correct
lane for your exit ahead of time. Make sure to
signal your exit at least 100 feet (30 m) before
you reach the exit ramp. When you are on the
exit ramp, decrease your speed. There is often a
lower speed limit for the ramp.
After you leave an expressway, look for speed
limit signs and check your speedometer to be
sure you are within the posted limit. You are not
likely to be on a 55 mph (88 km/h) road.
Expressway driving normally combines higher
speeds with heavy trac. The higher speed and
amount of trac require you to think faster and
handle your vehicle in a more ecient manner
than in most other conditions. On long trips, plan
frequent rest stops. On a bright day, sunglasses
can reduce glare and eye fatigue.
About 90% of your decisions are based on what
you see. At night, you must use extra caution to
make up for reduced visibility. You should also
know that the ability to see well at night decreas-
es with age.
Night driving is more dangerous because the
distance you can see ahead or to the side is
reduced. You should drive slower than you would
in daylight, especially in areas that are not known
or on narrow roads with many curves. Your head-
lights cover about 350 feet ahead. It is important
that you drive at a speed that allows you to stop
safely within that distance. This is called “driving
within the range” of your headlights.
60 | Driver’s Manual
The law requires you to use your headlights
from one-half hour after the sun sets to one-half
hour before the sun rises, when visibility is less
than 1,000 feet (300 m) and when you use your
windshield wipers to clear rain, snow or sleet.
Turn your headlights on at dawn, dusk and in fog.
Even when headlights do not help you see in low-
light periods, they make it easier for other drivers
and pedestrians to see your vehicle. Do not use
parking lights or daytime lights as a replacement.
Headlights do a better job. If an oncoming driver
flashes headlights at you during a period of low
visibility, it means your vehicle was dicult to see
and you should turn on your headlights.
Be considerate when you use your high beams.
Your headlights must be on low beam when you
are within 500 feet (150 m) of an oncoming vehicle
or within 200 feet (60 m) of a vehicle ahead of
you, even if the vehicle ahead is in a dierent lane.
You should also dim your lights for pedestrians
who approach you. Any fog or driving lights your
vehicle has must be arranged, adjusted or operat-
ed to avoid dangerous glare to other drivers.
If an approaching driver does not dim the
headlights, flash your headlights to high beam for
a second, then return to low beam. To help avoid
the glare of approaching high beams, move your
eyes to the right. Use the road edge as a guide
until the approaching vehicle passes by.
To reduce glare from the lights of following
vehicles, switch your inside rear view mirror to the
“night” position.
Light from inside your vehicle or from street
lights makes it harder for you to see the road
ahead. Keep the interior roof light o and dim the
dashboard lights. Adjust your visors to reduce
glare from lights from above.
A dirty windshield increases glare from ap-
proaching headlights. Make sure your lights and
windshield glass are clean for night driving.
A bit of rain, snow or ice makes roads slip-
pery. Wet leaves can be slippery and hazardous.
Reduced speed and increased following distance
improve your safety under these conditions (see
Chapter 8). Take additional care on curves, turns
and expressway ramps.
In heavy rain, your tires can begin to ride on the
water that is on top of the road pavement. This
is called “hydroplaning” and can cause complete
loss of traction and control of steering. Hydroplan-
ing normally occurs at higher speeds, but it also
can occur if your tires are tread worn or not in-
flated properly. When there is heavy rain, it always
makes sense to drive more slowly. If your vehicle
begins to lose traction, decrease your speed even
more. Good tires with deep tread help to
prevent hydroplaning.
Rain, fog or snow make it harder to see through
your windshield, and dicult for other drivers to
see you. New York State law requires you to turn
on your headlights when the weather conditions
require the use of windshield wipers to clear rain,
snow, sleet or fog. “Daytime lights” do not qualify
as headlights.
Headlights on high beams reflect rain, fog and
snow as it falls. This makes it even harder for you
to see. For better visibility during these weather
conditions, keep your headlights on low beam.
Reduce your speed. Signal your turns further
ahead of time to give other drivers and roadway
users more warning. Brake early when you de-
crease speed behind another vehicle or come to
an intersection stop.
Some vehicles have front fog lights or front and
back fog lights, for use when heavy fog or similar
hazardous weather conditions restrict visibility.
In New York State, all fog lights must be correctly
installed and of a type approved by the Commis-
sioner of DMV. Front fog lights can be amber or
white in color. Back fog lights must be red and
can be larger than the normal back lights – they
will give advance warning of the presence of your
vehicle to the drivers behind you. When visibility
improves, you can switch o your fog lights to
reduce the glare that can bother other drivers.
Winter is the most dicult season in which to
drive. In addition to snow and ice on the roads,
there are fewer hours of daylight.
Driver’s Manual | 61
Before winter weather arrives, make sure your
vehicle is in good condition. Make sure your vehi-
cle has good snow tires. Put them on the vehicle
before the first storm. Never combine radial and
non-radial tires on the same vehicle. Tires with
metal studs can be used in New York State only
from October 16 through April 30.
During ice or snow storms, do not drive unless
you must. If you must drive, first clear the ice
and snow from your vehicle. This includes the
headlights and back lights, the windshield wipers
and all of the windows. Make sure the windshield
washer reservoir is filled with a cleaning solution
that resists freezing.
Drive slowly. Even if your vehicle has good trac-
tion in ice and snow, other drivers will travel with
caution. Do not break the flow of trac by driving
faster than other vehicles.
In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, you can normally
feel a loss of traction or the start of a slide. With
a front-wheel drive vehicle, there might not be
a warning. Although front-wheel drive and four-
wheel drive vehicles normally handle better in
ice and snow, they do not have flawless traction;
skids can occur without a warning. Do not let the
ability to better handle a front-wheel drive or four-
wheel drive vehicle make you drive faster than
the conditions dictate.
The best method to recover from a skid is the
same for both front and rear wheel drive vehicles.
If your rear wheels start to skid:
• Turn the steering wheel in the direction the
vehicle is trying to go. If your rear wheels
slide left, steer left. If they slide right,
steer right.
• If your rear wheels start to slide in the other
direction as you recover, turn the steering
wheel toward that side. You might have to
turn the wheel left and right several times to
get your vehicle completely controlled.
• If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes (ABS),
keep your foot with even pressure on the
brake pedal. If your vehicle does not have
ABS, pump the pedal carefully. Pump more
rapidly only as your car slows down. If you
brake hard with regular brakes, it will make
the situation worse.
If your front wheels skid:
• Take your foot o the gas and shift to neutral
or push in the clutch, but do not try to
immediately steer.
• As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow
the vehicle and traction will return. As trac-
tion returns, turn the wheel in the direction
you want to go. Then put the transmission
in “drive” or release the clutch and
accelerate carefully.
To prevent skids on snow and ice, brake early,
carefully and gently. “Press” your brakes in slow,
steady strokes. Allow the wheels to keep turning.
If they begin to lock, decrease pressure on the
brake pedal. As your vehicle decreases speed,
you can also shift into a lower gear.
When sleet, freezing rain or snow begin to fall,
remember that bridges, ramps and overpasses will
freeze first. Also know that slippery spots may re-
main after road workers have removed the snow.
Two-thirds of all deer-vehicle collisions occur
during the months of October, November and
December. This is also the time when deer breed
and when they travel the most. Daily deer activity
is highest at dawn and dusk, which often is the
highest time of travel for motor-vehicle com-
muters. Deer travel in groups – if you see one,
expect more. Areas where there have been many
deer-vehicle collisions often are marked with
62 | Driver’s Manual
deer crossing signs. The New York State Depart-
ment of Environmental Conservation recommends
these precautions motorists can take to reduce
the chance of a deer hit:
• Be careful when you drive at dawn and
dusk; this is when driver visibility is bad and
the deer are most active.
• The risk of deer-vehicle collisions increases
when deer movements increase during
breeding season in October, November
and December.
• Decrease speed when you approach deer
near roadsides. Deer can “bolt” or change
direction at the last minute.
• If you see a deer go across the road, de-
crease speed and be careful. Deer travel in
groups, expect other deer to follow.
• Use emergency lights or flash your head-
lights to warn other drivers when deer are
seen on or near the road.
• Use caution on roadways marked with deer
crossing signs. These signs are put in areas
that have had a large number of deer-
vehicle collisions.
The most important rule in any emergency is
do not panic. You have a better chance in an
emergency if you do not let fear take over. In most
emergencies, you will have a second or two to
think before you act.
Here is what to do in dierent emergency
TIRE BLOWOUT - A thumping sound can be a
warning that a blowout is about to occur. If you
hear it, get safely o the road and check your
tires. If a tire blows out, hold the steering wheel
tight and slowly take your foot o the gas pedal. If
your vehicle skids, handle it as you would on ice
or snow. Do not use your brake until your vehicle
is controlled. Leave the road when it is safe to
do so.
LOSS OF A WHEEL - Handle this as you would
a blowout. A thump or noise in the wheel can be
a warning sound. Leave the roadway and stop.
Then check your vehicle or have it checked.
STEERING FAILURE - If your vehicle suddenly will
not respond when you steer, slowly take your foot
o the gas pedal, turn on your emergency lights
and keep your foot o the brake pedal while it is
safe to do so. The balance of the vehicle will allow
it to continue going straight, but a sudden change
in speed could send it out of control. As the vehi-
cle decreases speed, you can brake very carefully
to bring it to a stop.
BRAKE FAILURE - If your brake pedal suddenly
goes to the floor, try pumping it to increase pres-
sure. If that does not help, use your emergency or
parking brake – but use it gently. If you shift to a
lower gear, it will help your vehicle
decrease speed.
HEADLIGHT FAILURE - If your headlights sud-
denly go out, try your emergency lights, parking
lights and directional signals. These may continue
to work and can give you enough light to leave
the roadway safely. If your headlights begin to
dim, drive to a service station or pull o the road
and go for help.
STUCK GAS PEDAL - Hook your shoe under the
pedal and see if you can free it. If not, shift into
neutral and use the brake to slow your vehicle
and get o the road. Do not turn o the ignition
if your vehicle has power steering or a steering
wheel that has a column that locks, because if
you do, you will lose your power steering or not
have the ability to steer at all.
move o the pavement, do not pull the steering
wheel back. Ease your foot o the gas pedal and
brake gently. When your vehicle has decreased
speed, check for trac behind you, then turn
carefully back onto the pavement.
LANE – Decrease speed, pull over to the right
and sound your horn to warn the other driver.
Do not turn into the left lane. If you do, the other
driver may suddenly recover and pull back into
that lane, causing a head-on collision.
Driver’s Manual | 63
approaches, release your seat belt, leave the
vehicle and get as far away as you can from the
tracks. Run toward the general direction the train
is coming from. If you run “down the track” in the
same direction as the train, you can be hit with
debris when the train hits your vehicle. When you
are completely sure no trains are coming, open
your window to listen for a train and try to start the
engine. If that fails, shift your vehicle into neutral
and push it from the tracks.
GOING INTO WATER - A vehicle will normally
float for a while, and you should have time to
remove yourself before it starts to sink. Release
your seat belt and escape through a window. An
open door would cause water to rush in and the
car could turn over on top of you.
If the vehicle sinks before you can remove
yourself, get into the back seat. An air pocket can
form there as the weight of the engine pulls the
vehicle down front first. When the vehicle settles,
take a breath and escape through a window.
When you rise air pressure will build in your lungs.
Let it out in small breaths through your nose or
lips as you surface. Do not hold your breath tight
or try to blow air out; just allow the air to escape in
a natural way.
FIRE - If you see smoke come from under the
hood, pull o the road and park your vehicle. Turn
o the ignition. Get away from the car and call the
fire department. It is dangerous to try to fight the
fire yourself.
BLOCKED VISION - If your hood opens suddenly
or your vision through the windshield becomes
blocked by some other object or wipers that have
failed, you can open the side window so you can
see. Turn on your emergency lights and carefully
pull your vehicle o the road and park it.
Before you go on to Chapter 11, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• What should you do if you miss an
expressway exit?
• What are expressway entrance ramps
used for?
• What should you do if an entrance ramp
is short?
• When should you signal that you are exiting
an expressway?
• What should you check for when you leave
an expressway?
• Why is expressway driving dierent from
normal driving?
• What is the main reason night driving is
more dicult than daytime driving?
• Driving within the range of your headlights
indicates you can stop your vehicle within
about how many feet?
• What should you do if you are blinded by
the headlights on an approaching vehicle?
• Is it best to keep your headlights on high
beam or low beam when there is fog, rain or
falling snow?
• Which direction should you turn your steer-
ing wheel to get out of a skid?
• How should you use your brake pedal on a
slippery road?
• What is the most important rule to remember
in any emergency?
• What should you do if one of your tires
blows out?
• What is the first thing you should do if your
brakes fail?
• What should you do if your wheels move o
the pavement?
64 | Driver’s Manual
As a driver, you must learn to safely share the
road with a variety of other users. These include,
but are not limited to: large vehicles, motorcycles,
mopeds, pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skat-
ers, roller skaters, skateboarders, slow moving
vehicles, non-motorized scooters and horseback
riders. You should know how to safely manage
the problems they can present and understand
the special rules they must obey.
Pedestrians and skateboarders are at high risk
in trac. The law requires you to be extra careful
to avoid a collision with them.
Look out for children, near schools, bus stops,
playgrounds, parks and ice cream trucks.
When you back up your car or truck, look
through your back window for pedestrians. Do
not rely only on mirrors when children are near.
Before you back into a driveway, or out of it, get
out of the vehicle and check behind your vehicle.
Pedestrians are supposed to walk on the side
of the road and face the trac in the lane nearest
them. When you make a right turn, watch for
those pedestrians on your right. When you make
a left turn, watch for pedestrians on the other side
of the road on your left.
Pedestrians and skateboarders who are legally
crossing the road or street at marked or un-
marked crossings, like at an intersection, always
have the right-of-way. You must decrease your
speed or, if necessary, come to a complete stop.
Elderly and disabled pedestrians can require
additional time to complete their crossings.
A special right-of-way law allows blind pedes-
trians to go across the road with a guide dog or a
white or metal cane. You must always give them
the right-of-way when they are trying to cross at a
marked or unmarked crosswalk even if the trac
signals or other right-of-way rules are not in
their favor.
Remember to move your eyes as you drive.
Look to either side every few seconds to help
you spot pedestrians near or approaching the
The law requires pedestrians and skateboarders
• Obey trac and pedestrian signals, trac
ocers and ocial signs.
• Use the sidewalk when available or face traf-
fic as they walk, as far from the near trac
lane as possible.
• Never stand in the road to hitchhike or
conduct business with motorists.
Bicyclists and in-line skaters have the right to
share the road and travel in the same direction
as motor vehicles. They are often hard to see in
trac and have no protection from a trac crash.
Check your “blind spots” before you make a turn,
parallel park, open a door or leave a curb. Do not
depend only on your mirrors – turn your head to
look for bicyclists, skaters and scooter operators
that may be next to you or approaching.
Give bicyclists and in-line skaters room when
you drive. Reduce speed as you pass them. Air
pressure from a vehicle that passes them quickly
can send them o balance.
Be aware that the bicyclist or in-line skater
near or in front of you can react to road hazards
with sudden changes of speed, direction or lane
The rules of the road and right-of-way apply to
and protect these and other highway users. You
must yield the right-of-way to them just as you
would to another vehicle. And they must obey the
rules of the road just as motor vehicle drivers do.
Driver’s Manual | 65
Bicyclists and in-line skaters must:
• Ride in a bicycle lane, if available. Where
there is none, they must remain near the
right curb or edge of the road or on a right
shoulder of the road, to prevent interference
with other trac. When they prepare for a
left turn or must move left to avoid hazards,
cyclists do not have to remain to the right.
• Come to a full stop before they enter a road-
way from a driveway, an alley or over a curb.
• Never travel with more than two side-by-side
in a single lane.
• Never ride on a sidewalk if it is prohibited by
local laws.
Bicyclists and their passengers and in-line skat-
ers, ages 1 through 13, must wear an approved
helmet. Adults must obey any local laws or regula-
tions about helmet use.
Bicyclists also must:
• Signal turns, lane changes and stops
through the use of the hand signals shown.
A bicyclist can signal a right turn when they
extend the right arm straight out to the
right. Never carry an infant under a year old
as a passenger. It is against the law. Child
passengers ages 1 - 4 must ride in attached
bicycle safety seats.
• Never carry a passenger unless the bicycle
has a passenger seat.
• Keep at least one hand on the handlebars
at all times and do not carry any item which
prevents correct control of the bicycle.
• Any bicycle crash that causes death or seri-
ous injury must be reported to DMV within
10 days of the incident. Bicycle accident
report forms (MV-104C) are available at any
motor vehicle oce.
A bicycle driven on public highways must have
adequate brakes and a horn or bell that can be
heard at least 100 feet (30 m) away. A bicycle
used at night must have a headlight visible from
at least 500 feet (150 m) ahead and a red taillight
visible from at least 300 feet (90 m) behind. One
of these lights must be visible from at least 200
feet (60 m) away on each side. A bicycle sold by
a dealer must have wide-angle, spoke-mounted
reflectors or reflective tires, a wide-angle rear
reflector and pedal reflectors.
66 | Driver’s Manual
As a driver, you share the road with a lot of
other motorists – not all of which are driving cars
or trucks. Motorcycles are common on New
York roads. As a driver, you are responsible to
be aware of motorcycles and understand how to
safely share the road with them.
Motorcycles (which include scooters and mo-
peds) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. New
York State Law defines a motorcycle as “Every
motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use
of the rider and designed to travel on not more
than three wheels in contact with the ground,
but excluding a tractor.” Most motorcycles you’ll
see have either two or three wheels. Examples
include (but are not limited to):
Motorcyclists have the same rights and respon-
sibilities as drivers of other vehicles, and must
follow the same trac laws. However, motorcy-
clists, like pedestrians, bicyclists and skaters, are
less visible to drivers. Though you may often see
motorcycles on the roads in the spring, summer,
or fall – you can encounter motorcycles anytime
and anywhere. Because we don’t see them all
year, we may not actively think about them.
When there is a crash involving a motorcycle
and another vehicle, the rider (and passenger)
have a much higher chance of being seriously
hurt or killed than the driver (and passengers) of
the other vehicle. Though motorcyclists are re-
quired to wear approved helmets and goggles or
a face shield, motorcycles themselves do not oer
the rider the protections that you have with other
types of vehicles. For example, motorcycles don’t
protect the rider with a frame around the rider.
Driver’s Manual | 67
Many drivers who are involved in a crash with
a motorcyclist report that they did not see the
motorcycle. The question is “why not?”
There are several factors that make motorcy-
clists less visible.
Motorcycles, when compared to other
highway users, are smaller. No matter
from which direction you view a motorcycle
(front, back, or side), you’ll find they are
smaller than most other highway users.
Motorcycles may appear to move faster
than other vehicles. A motorcycle’s smaller
size makes it seem much farther away, and
makes it dicult to judge how far away they
are or how fast they are going.
Motorcycles may not take up the entire
lane because they are not as wide as
other vehicles, but an experienced rider
may move around within a lane to avoid
obstacles, or to help them see better. In
addition to using the full lane, two motorcy-
clists are allowed to ride side-by-side in a
single lane, but a motorcyclist cannot pass
or share a lane with another motor vehicle
that is not a motorcycle. If you are overtak-
ing a car/SUV/truck, you might not have
seen the motorcycle in front of that vehicle
until you’re already in the passing lane.
The same holds true if you are entering an
expressway. You may not see a motorcycle
that is driving in the left portion of the lane
you intend to merge into.
Motorcycle lighting is dierent, and often
less obvious, than other vehicles:
Headlights and taillights on motorcy-
cles must be illuminated when driving.
But, with so many vehicles equipped with
daytime running lights (i.e. headlights
that are always on – even in daylight),
motorcycle headlights don’t stand out.
It’s harder to see the brake lights. Tail
lights on a motorcycle are generally
smaller in size than those on other vehi-
cles, and because motorcycle tail lights
are always on, the brake lights don’t
always stand out.
Motorcycles don’t have a tail light
at eye level. Most cars and trucks are
equipped with a “Center High Mount
Stop Light” (CHMSL) which is designed
to be at, or close to, eye level. Most mo-
torcycle brake lights are mounted lower
than eye level, which makes them less
obvious to many motorists.
Turn signals on motorcycles are often
close to the headlight or taillights,
which can make them more dicult to
see. Additionally, on most motorcycles,
the directional signal does not turn o
automatically after a turn, so their turn
signal may be on inadvertently when the
motorcyclist has no intention of turning.
Intersections can be especially dangerous for
motorcycles. It’s human nature to notice large
vehicles first. Motorcycles are smaller than other
vehicles, and they may seem to “blend in.” Num-
bers help tell the story:
• The National Highway Trac Safety Admin-
istration reports that, in 2015, 41 percent of
fatal motorcycle crashes in the US occurred
with “the other vehicle turning left while the
motorcycles were going straight, passing,
or overtaking other vehicles.
• In 2014, there were 4,750 reported motorcy-
cle crashes in New York State. 2,546 of
these crashes involved another vehicle.
That’s 53.6% of the reported crashes.
Another factor is that drivers may not see
motorcycles simply because they don’t look
for motorcycles. It’s human nature to look for
something specific. A new driver may be told to
look for cars (and trucks) before going through an
intersection – and that is precisely what s/he will
look for. All drivers need to train themselves to
look for motorcycles and to share the road safely
with them.
68 | Driver’s Manual
Because motorcyclists must take additional pre-
cautions when they come upon special highway
surfaces, you should know what a motorcyclist
may do:
• The motorcyclist may quickly change speed
or lane position to avoid loose gravel,
debris, seams or grooves in the pavement,
sewer or access covers or small animals.
• When approaching a railroad crossing, a
motorcyclist may decrease speed and rise
o the seat to cushion the rough crossing
and change direction to go across the
tracks at a right angle.
• On steel deck bridges the motorcyclist may
move to the center of the lane to adjust
for the surface that is not even. Stay a
good distance behind a motorcyclist in
this situation.
Drivers need to adjust how they drive around
• Don’t tailgate. Motorcycles can stop in a
shorter distance than cars – under the right
conditions. Also, it may be more dicult to
notice they are slowing or stopping.
• If it’s raining, or dark, give motorcycles even
more space.
• Be careful when you pass a motorcyclist.
Like bicycles, the air pressure created by
vehicles as they quickly pass by can
aect motorcycles.
Limited use motorcycles, often called mopeds,
are low speed, two- or three-wheeled vehicles for
limited use on public highways. There are three
dierent classes of mopeds based on maximum
performance speed. The chart below describes
the requirements for moped operation.
Class A B C
Top speed range mph (km/hr)
31 to 40
(over 48 to 64)
21 to 30
(32 to 48)
20 or less
(32 or less)
Type of license or learner
permit required
Registration required
YES (A Plate)
YES (B Plate)
YES (C Plate)
Headlight to be on
when operating
Helmet & eye protection
required when operating
YES Recommended
Where operation is permitted
Any Trac Lane & Shoulder
Right Hand Lane or
Right Hand Lane or
Mandatory insurance required
Safety responsibility applies
Annual inspection required YES
Title required
1 Except when making a left hand turn
2 If a Class C limited use motorcycle is used in a rental business, insurance is
3 Safety responsibility is the requirement to pay for or post security for damage
or personal injury you may cause in a trac crash.
4 Usual learner permit and junior license restrictions apply.
55 Motorcyclists must wear approved motorcycle helmets, as defined by
USDOT federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS 218). To improve the
motorcyclist’s visibility, the DMV recommends that helmets have at least four
square inches of reflective material on both sides. Motorcyclists must also
wear approved eye protection, even if the motorcycle is equipped with a
windshield. Prescription or made-to-order safety glasses may be used if the
user can present written certification that they meet DMV standards. The eye
protection must be manufactured in conformity with the regulations issued by
the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission (ANSI Z87.1).
Driver’s Manual | 69
Class B and C mopeds can be driven only
in the right lane of trac, as far to the right as
possible. Class A mopeds are allowed to drive in
any lane and any section of a lane. Mopeds are
not permitted on expressways or other controlled
access highways unless posted signs permit it.
When you approach a moped, use the same
precautions you would when you approach
a bicyclist.
In more than 60 percent of all fatal crashes that
involve cars and big trucks, the car driver, not the
truck driver, contributes to the cause of the trac
crash. Four out of five times, it is the car driver
who is killed.
Many of these crashes could be prevented if
motorists know about truck (and bus) limits and
how to steer free from situations that are unsafe
and involve large vehicles.
Large trucks, recreational vehicles and buses
are not big cars. The bigger they are:
• The bigger their blind spots.
• The longer it takes them to stop.
• The more room they need to maneuver.
• The longer it takes for an automobile to
pass them.
Dierent from cars, large vehicles have deep
blind spots behind them. They also have larger
blind spots on both sides. Tractors with long
hoods can have a blind spot of 20 feet in front of
the vehicle. You should avoid these “no zones.
Side Blind Spots
Large vehicles have large blind spots on both
sides. If you drive in these blind spots, you cannot
be seen by the driver. Even if the driver knows
you are there, if you remain next to the vehicle,
it can make it dicult for the driver to avoid a
dangerous situation.
Blind Spots in Back
If you remain in the back blind spot of a large
vehicle, you increase the chance of a crash. The
other driver cannot see your car and your view of
other trac will be blocked.
Distance to Stop
Large vehicles take much longer to stop than
smaller vehicles
that travel at the
same speed. For
tractor trailers, the
dierence comes
from brake delay.
Air brakes use
compressed air
to transmit brake
power to all the
wheels. Compressed
air takes longer to
transmit the brake
power than hydraulic
brakes, and this can
add many feet to the
distance it takes to
stop. Leave plenty of
space between your
car and the truck. If
you are in front of a
truck, indicate your
intention to turn or
change lanes early.
Do not make sudden moves.
Ability to Maneuver
Large vehicles are not as maneuverable as cars.
They take longer to stop and to accelerate and
they often need to move wide to make their turns.
You can reduce the chance of a collision with a
large vehicle if you:
• Do not cut abruptly in front of the large ve-
hicle; when you exit, take a few additional
seconds to decrease speed and exit behind
it; when you pass, do not pull in front of it
unless you can see the whole front of the
vehicle in your mirror.
• Pay close attention to the turn signals.
Because trucks make wide right turns, they
move to the left before they turn right.
Look at the turn signals.
70 | Driver’s Manual
• Do not delay near a large vehicle. You may
not be visible to the driver in the wide area
the truck needs for making a turn.
When you pass
When you pass a large vehicle, it takes a lon-
ger time and requires more space than when you
pass a car. On a two-way road, leave more time
and space when you pass a large vehicle. Make
sure you can see the whole front of the vehicle
before you return to your lane after you pass. A
large vehicle normally loses speed on a grade or
a hill. Look far ahead when you drive. If you need
to pass a large vehicle, be prepared and know
when you are near a grade that can cause the
other vehicle to decrease speed. Also, as your
own vehicle begins a downward grade, the speed
of the other vehicle can increase significantly. This
will increase the time it takes you to pass it.
When a truck is backing up
Never pass close behind a large vehicle that
is backing up. Often a truck driver has to block a
road to back into an area to load or unload goods.
Be patient!
It is far better to wait until the large vehicle has
completed its backup maneuver than to try to
pass. If you try to pass in this situation, it is likely
that you will enter one of the blind spots. This
could make your vehicle invisible to the driver
and increase the risk of a trac crash.
When you approach a truck
Do not underestimate the size and speed of an
approaching tractor-trailer or other large vehicle.
Its larger size will often make it appear to move at
a slower speed than it really is. Also, from a dis-
tance it may not appear to be as large as it really
is. The other vehicle will often reach you before
you expect! When you drive on a two-way high-
way, it is often better to move as far to the right as
possible to make sure your vehicle will not be hit
by an approaching tractor-trailer or other
large vehicle.
When you stop behind a truck
Always leave space when you stop in back of a
truck or bus at a trac light or stop sign, especial-
ly when you face up a hill. The truck or bus could
move backward slightly when it starts. If you leave
enough room between your vehicle and the vehi-
cle ahead, you usually can pull away from behind
and go around it.
*Distance based on a study of average braking distances by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety + reaction
distance recommended by the National Safety Council
Passenger Car
Tractor-Trailer With Cool Brakes
Tractor-Trailer With Hot Brakes
Tractor - Trailer, Empty
Tractor Unit Only
Average Total Stopping Distance at 55 MPH*
The “slow-moving vehicle” symbol, a reflective
orange triangle, must be displayed on the back
of vehicles drawn by animals, most farm vehi-
cles, and construction equipment. The United
States Postal Service also requires these orange
safety-triangles to be displayed on all rural mail
delivery vehicles. Use caution when you approach
a slow-moving vehicle and make sure it is safe
before you pass.
State law allows all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and
snowmobiles to legally go across many state
highways and local roadways. Before they cross,
they must come to a stop and yield to trac. They
must go across at a 90-degree angle to the
road surface.
Horse riders are subject to, and protected by,
the rules of the road. They also must ride single
file near the right curb or road edge or on a right
shoulder, lane or path that can be used.
The law requires you to be careful when you
approach a horse being ridden or walked along a
road. You must drive at an acceptable speed and
at an acceptable distance away from the horse. It
is illegal to sound your horn when you approach
or pass a horse.
Before you go on to Chapter 12, make sure you
can answer these questions:
• How do the blind spots around a large com-
mercial vehicle dier from the blind spots
around a car?
• How does the stopping distance of a large
vehicle with air brakes compare with the
stopping distance of a car?
Driver’s Manual | 71
• After you pass a large vehicle, what should
you make sure of before you return to the
lane of the large vehicle?
• What is the best method to follow when you
approach a large vehicle that is in reverse
as it moves toward a loading area?
• When children are close, what should you
do before you back out of a driveway?
• How can you identify a blind pedestrian to
whom you must yield the right-of-way?
• Where must a pedestrian walk when there
are no sidewalks?
• How must you approach a bicyclist?
• Must a bicyclist obey trac laws and signs?
• Where there is no bicycle lane, where on
the road must a bicyclist ride?
• What equipment must a bicycle have when
used at night?
• What can a driver do to be more aware
of motorcyclists?
• What factors contribute to drivers not being
aware of motorcycles?
• Why are motorcycles harder to see?
• Why is it important for a motorist to be
aware of motorcycles?
• May three motorcyclists ride side-by-side in
a single lane?
• What is the slow moving vehicle symbol?
• Where are you likely to find an ATV, snow-
mobile or horse rider?