Home » Wyoming DMV Driver’s Handbook – Part 10

Wyoming DMV Driver’s Handbook – Part 10

The State of Wyoming DRIVER LICENSE MANUAL

Table of contents


Sharing the road safely

Sharing the road

Drivers of cars and trucks share the road with others. You must know laws that apply to other road users.

Your vehicle and its equipment

You can’t share the road safely without a safe vehicle. Therefore, a police officer has the right to stop you and inspect the equipment on your vehicle. If any equipment is defective, you will be directed to have it repaired immediately. If your vehicle is found to be unsafe you could be fined.

Tire safety

Check tire pressure using the recommended psi (pounds per square inch) found in the vehicle owner’s manual or the driver’s side door jamb of the vehicle. Use a tire pressure gauge to check your psi. If your psi is above the number listed on your door jamb, let air out until it matches. If below, add air (or have a tire professional help you) until it reaches the proper number.

Once a month, or before you embark on a long road trip, check your tires for wear and damage problems. One easy way to check for wear is by using the penny test.

1. Take a penny and hold Abraham Lincoln’s body between your thumb and forefinger.

2. Select a point on your tire where the tread appears to be lowest and place Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves.

3. If any part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that, your car’s ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.

Motorcycles

Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as other users. As a defensive driver, you need to be aware of some special situations and conditions so you can share the road safely with cyclists.

Motorcycles are not easily identified in traffic. Even when seen it’s difficult for some drivers to judge how far away the cyclists are or how fast they are traveling. Be aware of this problem.

Drivers turning left in front of an oncoming cyclist cause a large percentage of car-cycle crashes. These drivers fail to see the cyclist in traffic or they fail to judge the speed of the cyclist. The correct procedure is to look and look again. Make sure you identify the motorcycle as a critical object and know its speed before you make a left turn.

Turn signals do not turn off automatically on most motorcycles. Before pulling into an intersection in front of a motorcycle, be sure the rider is turning and not continuing straight ahead.

Motorcycles are entitled to the same full lane width as all other vehicles. A skilled motorcycle operator is constantly changing positions within that lane to increase his ability to see and be seen and because of objects in or near the road. Never move into the same lane alongside a motorcycle, even if the lane is wide and the cyclist is riding far to one side. It is not only illegal, but it boxes both of you in and does not permit you a way out.

No more than two motorcycles may be driven abreast in the same lane and must be by consent of both motorcycle drivers. A motorcycle shall not overtake and pass any vehicle in the same lane, except another motorcycle.

Bad weather, slippery surfaces, crosswinds, road conditions, railroad grade crossings, metal or grated bridges, and grooved pavement can be hazardous to motorcyclists. Be alert for these conditions so you can prepare yourself for the possible quick change in speed or direction of the motorcycle.

Be aware of motorcycles on the road. Regardless of who is legally at fault in car-cycle crashes, the motorcyclist usually is the loser.

Wyoming offers both Novice Rider (RSS) and Experienced Rider (ERC) Motorcycle Safety Education courses for a nominal fee. Applications and information on courses offered in your area are available at your local driver exam office, on the WYDOT Website at www.dot.state.wy.us or by calling 1-888-570-9904.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians account for nearly 20 percent of all traffic deaths. You are required to yield to pedestrians in a cross-walk area, whether there are pavement markings or not.

Residential and school areas are especially dangerous. Children are fun loving. All too often they forget the dangers of playing near traffic. They can run in front of your vehicle before you realize it has happened. It’s a good idea to slow down and create a larger space cushion when you see pedestrians near a school.

If your vehicle is disabled and you must walk where there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic. At night, wear light-colored clothing to help others see you.

Bicycles

Bicyclists have the right to use all public roadways, and share rights and duties applicable to all drivers of any vehicle. But, unlike motor vehicles, bicyclists must share their lane of traffic. They must ride as close to the right side of pavement as is practical and safe.

While it is legal to drive beside a bicyclist in the same lane, you are safer if you do not. A bicyclist might turn sharply to avoid a sewer grate, something in the road, or a door being opened from a parked car. When you are following or passing a bicyclist, the best advice is: LEAVE PLENTY OF ROOM.

Any bicycle used after dark must have a front light and rear reflectors, but these may be very hard to see. You must watch the side of the road and be alert for them.

Farm and slow-moving vehicles

When you see this symbol on the back of a vehicle ahead, it is a warning to slow down. It means the vehicle cannot travel faster than 25 miles per hour.

Don’t be impatient if you find yourself behind one of these slow vehicles. They have the legal right to be there.

Heavy vehicles (trucks)

Trucks are not large cars. Whether accelerating, braking, climbing a hill, switching lanes or turning onto a side street, tractor-trailer rigs must perform certain maneuvers that drivers of passenger vehicles are generally not familiar with. The motorist is often unprepared to share the road safely with heavy-vehicle traffic. National High-way and Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate most fatal crashes involving a heavy vehicle and one or more other vehicles are caused by the passenger vehicle.

Emergency vehicles

Emergency vehicles may be parked in the roadway or alongside another vehicle. When driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes, upon approaching a parked emergency vehicle whose audible or visual signals are in use, you must merge into the lane farthest from the emergency vehicle, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

When driving on a two-lane roadway, you must slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit, except when otherwise directed by a police officer. Remember: Someone you know may be involved in the emergency situation.

Share with animals

Because of Wyoming’s abundant wildlife population, collisions with animals, and particularly with deer and other “big-game” animals, are real dangers on Wyoming’s rural highways.

Too often they have very negative consequences for the vehicle and its occupants and the wildlife. The animals are often killed, but drivers and passengers can die too. In addition, vehicles can be dam-aged beyond repair. While such crashes can occur at any time of the year, they are most prevalent during the fall and spring, while animals are migrating between their summer and winter habitats.

Although there is no fool-proof way to avoid a vehicle-animal collision, there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of such a crash and lessen the severity of one if it does happen.

Drive cautiously and stay aware and alert by:

• reducing your speed and being particularly cautious in areas where “deer crossing” signs are posted;
• constantly scanning not only the upcoming highway as you drive but the roadside as well;
• using your high-beam lights as often at night as possible in order to better illuminate both the highway and the roadside;
• being very watchful in areas near forests and water;
• staying particularly alert at dusk and dawn, times when animals venture out to feed and also when your visibility is limited; and
• watching for the reflection of your headlights in the eyes of animals ahead.

When you see an animal on or near the roadway, reduce your speed and tap your brakes, to warn other drivers, and sound your horn. Of course, you can brake harder if no one is behind you, but be careful about flashing your headlights because one unintended effect may be to “freeze” the deer or other animal on the road directly ahead.

If a collision seems inevitable, don’t swerve suddenly to avoid the animal. Your risk of personal injury may be greater if you do. Brake as quickly as you safely can, but keep your vehicle under control and on the road.

If a crash occurs, report it to local law enforcement, particularly if the carcass of the struck animal is still on the highway and thus a danger to other vehicles.

Safe driving tips (IPDE)

IDENTIFY: Defensive drivers scan for any person, vehicle, animal or anything else that could cause them to slow down, speed up or turn. They identify any of these things as CRITICAL OBJECTS.

PREDICT: When defensive drivers identify a critical object, they predict what could happen. They predict the worst. For example: if they identify a person entering a parked car 10 to 15 seconds ahead, they predict that the driver will pull out in front of them without looking.

DECIDE: Decisions are based on what can be done to prevent a crash, and not who is right or who is wrong. Defensive driving means that all responses to a critical object are the result of a decision and not a reaction to an unexpected danger.

EXECUTE: The final step in the IPDE Method of defensive driving is to execute the decision in a smooth, predictable manner and in time to avoid a crash.

Driving defensively with IPDE requires that you:

•Scan ahead and to the sides;
•Communicate with other drivers;
•Isolate your vehicle in traffic; and
•Separate risks and compromise space when necessary.

Scan ahead

Most of what you do as a driver is in response to what you see. Defensive drivers scan at least 10 to 15 seconds ahead. It is easy to check how far ahead you normally look. Just pick some fixed object beside the road and count “one thousand and one, one thousand and two,” etc., until you reach the object. If you’re watching far enough ahead, you will count past one thousand and ten before passing the object.

You should also check for weather, traffic and road conditions. Check signs, signals and road markings, as well as vehicles and pedestrians. Check for all objects that are critical and could cause you to slow down, speed up or turn. Drivers who have to react to unexpected traffic situations may not be checking far enough ahead to identify critical objects.

Scan the roadsides

Identify as critical objects persons, vehicles, and animals that could move into your path or that could cause you to change your speed or lane position. For example: if you see a school sign, check for children and identify as critical any child who could run into your path.

Communicate

To communicate means letting other drivers know what you plan to do early enough to prevent a collision. Many collisions happen because a driver fails to identify critical objects or to communicate what he plans to do. You can communicate with other drivers by:

• making eye contact with pedestrians and other drivers at intersections and places where there may be a question of right of way;
• using hand motions to give pedestrians and other drivers the right of way;
• using lane position to let others know what you intend to do;
• giving hand or electrical signals at least four to five seconds before turning;
• touching your brake to turn on your brake lights and to start slowing well in advance of stopping;
• being in the correct lane well in advance of a turn;
• tapping your horn to alert others that you’re there; and
• by avoiding other drivers’ “blind spots” by placing your vehicle where you can be seen.

Isolate your vehicle in traffic

Space cushion: A proven method of defensive driving is to isolate your vehicle from other vehicles with a cushion of space ahead, behind, and to the sides to give you the distance to avoid the mistakes of others.

Following distance: Rear-end collisions caused by following too close are a very common type of crash. One of the easiest ways to tell if you have a large enough space cushion ahead is to use the two-second following distance rule. All you need to do is count off seconds. It is easier to use and is more accurate than trying to judge vehicle lengths.

To use the two-second following distance rule:

• scan ahead for a fixed point such as a pole, shadow, or pavement marking; and
• when the rear bumper of the vehicle ahead passes the fixed point, start counting the number of seconds it takes you to reach the same point. Count, “one thousand and one, one thousand and two.”

If the front of your vehicle passes the fixed point before you count off two seconds, you are too close to the vehicle ahead.

YOU MUST ALLOW AT LEAST TWO SECONDS FOLLOWING DISTANCE FOR EACH 20 FEET OF VEHICLE LENGTH.

If you are driving a car, stay at least two seconds back from the vehicle ahead. Bus drivers should stay at least four seconds back and tractor-trailer drivers at least six seconds back. Towing boats or trailers adds length and weight to your vehicle and therefore requires more following distance. The two-second following distance rule is simple to use and works at all speeds.

It makes sense to INCREASE your following distance by:

• doubling the number of seconds when the roads are wet, when you are carrying a heavier than normal load, or at night (cars, four seconds).
• tripling the number of seconds when the roads are covered with snow and slush (cars, six seconds); and
• quadrupling the number of seconds when ice covers the road (cars, eight seconds).

Tailgaters

The space cushion behind is as important as the space cushion ahead. A driver who tailgates you limits your ability to slow rapidly in case of an emergency ahead. Although the driver behind has more control over the space than you, there are things you can do. You can:

•Communicate with the driver behind by using your turn signals, brake lights, and by placing your vehicle in the proper lane well in advance of turns;
•Provide more time and space ahead to react to emergencies (Increase the following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.);
•Move to the right lane of a multilane highway; and
•Reduce your speed to encourage the driver behind to pass.

Space to the sides

You also need a space cushion to the sides. If there are other motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians or objects in the space on both sides, you are “boxed in.” Your ability to respond to a situation ahead is limited to speeding up or slowing down. To keep a space cushion to your sides, you can:

•Avoid driving next to a bicyclist for prolonged periods of time;
•Avoid driving alongside other vehicles on multilaned streets;
•Keep as much space between yourself and oncoming traffic as possible;
•Avoid driving in other drivers’ blind spots;
•Avoid keeping others in your blind spots; and
•Keep a space between yourself and parked vehicles.

Separate risks

Another defensive driving technique is to separate risks. Take risks one at a time whenever possible. For example, suppose that you identified some joggers running on the edge of the road and an oncoming truck. You PREDICT that you, the oncoming vehicle and the joggers will all meet at about the same time. To separate risks, make a DECISION to speed up or slow down in order to pass the joggers before or after the truck. EXECUTE your deci-sion, and pass the truck and the joggers one at a time. You control the space to the sides by separating the risks. This gives you space to move in case of an emergency.

Compromise space

A final defensive driving technique is compromise. When you cannot separate risks and must deal with two or more at the same time, compromise by giving the most room to the worst danger. For example: if you are on a two-lane street and there are oncoming cars to your left and a child riding a bike to your right. The child is more likely to move suddenly than the oncoming cars, so the child is the greatest danger and you need a larger space cushion to the right. Move closer to the center line to create a bigger space cushion to the right.



Definitions

Alien: any person who is not a citizen of the United States of America.

Authorized Emergency Vehicles: fire, police or ambulance vehicles or others approved by statute.

Bicycle: any vehicle powered solely by human power, upon which any person may ride, having two (2) tandem wheels, except scooters and similar devices. Legally classified as vehicles, bicycles can be ridden on all public roads in Wyoming. While not legally required, a properly fitted and Consumer Product Safety Certified bicycle helmet is highly recommended for protection against serious head injury or death.

Blind Spot: the area near the right and left rear corners of the vehicle which cannot be seen through rearview mirrors. The driver must turn his/her head to view these areas.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC): the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Brakes: device used to stop the vehicle.

Critical Object: any person, vehicle, animal or anything else that could cause a driver to slow down, speed up or turn.

Crosswalk: a place where people may legally cross the street or highway. The crosswalk may or may not be marked. If there are no markings, a crosswalk is considered to be where imaginary lines would connect the sidewalks on each side of the street or highway.

Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT): the state agency responsible for the licensing of drivers in Wyoming.
WYDOT’s address is:
5300 Bishop Blvd., Cheyenne, WY 82009-3340.

Driving While Under the Influence (DWUI): the operation of a vehicle by a person who is under the influence of alcohol or who is under the influence of a controlled substance.

Emancipated Minor: a person at least 17 years of age who is or was married, is in the military service of the United States, or who has been emancipated by the district court. Emancipated minors may have this status put on their Wyoming licenses by making application to the department and paying the required fee.

Gap in Traffic: an opening or space between vehicles in traffic that is large enough for a vehicle to enter safely.

Helmet: protective headgear.

Hydroplaning: when a vehicle’s tires ride on a thin film of water instead of the road.

Intersection: the area where highways or streets join or cross each other.

Lane: a section of roadway for a single line of vehicles.

Median: a barrier of grass, concrete or other material separating two roadways, such as the area between the two roadways on an Interstate highway. It is not legal to ride over, across or on the median.

Merging Traffic: a situation where two moving lanes of traffic come together, such as an entrance ramp on an interstate.

Moped: a vehicle equipped with two or three wheels, foot pedals to allow propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission and a motor with cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, producing no more than two-brake horsepower, whose motor is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum speed of no more than 30 miles per hour on a level road surface.

Motorcycle: a 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 which may have a sidecar to transport a single passenger. For the purpose of registration and titling, “motorcycle” includes motorized bicycles, scooters and recreational vehicles primarily designed for off-road use and de-signed to be ridden astride upon a seat or saddle and to travel on four wheels, but excludes mopeds and off-road three-wheel recreational vehicles.

Motor Vehicle: every vehicle which is self-propelled by some power source other than muscular power and used on public highways for transporting persons or property or both. This includes motorcycles and mopeds.

Moving Violation: an act of control or lack of control by the driver of a motor vehicle while the vehicle is in motion, that results in a conviction, including a conviction for driving in violation of the restriction for corrective lenses and/or outside mirrors.

Multipurpose Vehicle: a vehicle having an identifying number, having at least four wheels, weighing 300 to 3,000 pounds and having a permanent upright seat at least 24 inches from the ground. The vehicle must be registered and plated to be operated on streets and high-ways, but may NOT be operated on interstate highways and is subject to slow-moving vehicle requirements. The holder of any class of driver license may drive a multipurpose vehicle. Drivers who currently hold a “motorcycle” class license with an “R” restriction for an “ATV vehicle only” will not be renewed with this class and restriction, as an ATV is considered a multipurpose vehicle and does not require the “M” or “R” on the license.

No-Zone: an area on either side or directly behind a heavy vehicle in which another vehicle is not visible to the driver.

Off-Road Recreational Vehicle: a recreational vehicle primarily designed for off-road use which is 50 inches or less in width, has an unladen weight of 900 pounds or less and is designed to be ridden astride upon a seat or saddle and to travel on at least 3 low pressure tires.

A “low pressure tire” is a pneumatic tire at least six 6 inches in width, designed for use on wheels with a rim diameter of 12 inches or less and having a manufacturer’s recommended operating pressure of 10 pounds per square inch or less; any unlicensed motorcycle which has an unladen weight of six 600 pounds or less and is designed to be ridden off road with the operator astride upon a seat or saddle and travels on two 2 tires; and any multi-wheeled motorized vehicle not required by law to be licensed and is designed for cross-country travel on or over land, sand, ice or other natural terrain and which has an unladen weight of more than 900 pounds.

Wherever practicable, off-road recreational vehicles shall only be operated off the main traveled portion of the roadway. Crossings of main traveled roadways shall be made at right angles to the roadway or as nearly so as practicable, but, in any case, yielding the right of way to all traffic in the main traveled roadway. If the operator is a minor, or if a minor is a rider, they shall be operated in accordance with all Wyoming helmet laws and be operated only by a person who possesses a valid driver license with a motorcycle endorsement.

Pedestrian Vehicle: any self-propelled conveyance designed, manufactured and intended for the exclusive use of persons with a physical disability. In no case shall a pedestrian vehicle exceed 48 inches in width.

Reinstatement Fee: the fee required to reinstate a per-son’s driver license and/or driving privilege before a suspension or revocation can be lifted and the privilege to drive restored.

Resident: any person who is gainfully employed or engages in any trade, profession or occupation within this state and owns, leases or rents a place of residence or otherwise lives within Wyoming for the purpose of employment or remains in the jurisdiction for a period of 120 days or more; OR any person who is registered to vote in Wyoming; OR any person who has applied for public assistance from Wyoming; OR any person hold-ing a valid Wyoming resident hunting or fishing license.

Revocation: termination of a person’s privilege to drive.

Roadway: that portion of a street or highway ordinarily used for driving.

Shoulder: that portion of the road beside the traveled highway. It may be either hard surfaced or gravel. It is used by stopped vehicles and helps provide proper drainage of the highway.

Space Cushion: the space that isolates your vehicle from other vehicles; a cushion of space ahead, behind and to the side of your vehicle.

Suspension: the TEMPORARY REMOVAL of a person’s privilege to drive. The license may be returned after a specified period of time, and/or after certain requirements have been met.

Total Stopping Distance: the distance a vehicle travels before it comes to a complete stop. It includes the complete distance traveled while deciding to stop, then reacting, and finally after brakes are then applied.


Traffic signals

Red light

You must stop behind the crosswalks or stop line. You can turn right at a RED light unless there is a sign that prohibits the turn. You may turn RIGHT only after STOPPING AND YIELDING to persons and other vehicles. You may also, after stopping and yielding, turn left from a one-way street onto a one-way street.

Amber light

If possible, you MUST stop before entering the intersection. If you can-not stop safely, you should carefully go through the intersection.

Green light

You may enter the intersection when the way is clear. You MUST yield the right of way to other vehicles and persons already in the intersection.

Flashing red light

You must come to a complete stop before entering the intersection. This light has the same meaning as a “STOP” sign.

Flashing amber light

You must use caution. This light warns of a dangerous intersection or location.

Turn arrows

1. A RED arrow prohibits turning in the direction of the arrow. It is used to remind drivers that they must turn in the direction the arrow is pointing when the light turns green.

2. An AMBER arrow may appear after a GREEN arrow and warns you to clear the intersection.

3. A GREEN arrow means that you may turn in the direction shown by the ar-row without stopping if the way is clear.

You MUST yield the right of way to persons and other traffic within the intersection.


Above all else, drive safely

Welcome to the latest edition of Wyoming’s Rules of the Road driver’s manual. This book has been revised to include some of the most recent changes enacted by the Wyoming State Legislature effective July 1, 2014.

You will find information on how to obtain a driver license or ID card, the penalties for drinking and driving, requirements for insurance, what to do in the case of a crash, rules for driving on streets, highways, and railroad crossings, and other driving related subjects. You will also find information on other driver services offered by the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

Safe driving involves obeying traffic rules and regulations, being courteous on the road, driving defensively and making sure that you and your passengers wear a seat belt.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Driver Services at (307) 777-4800 or 4810, or write to WYDOT at Wyoming Department of Transportation, Driver Services, 5300 Bishop Boulevard, Cheyenne, WY 82009-3340.

Also, visit the website at www.dot.state.wy.us!

Traffic signs

The shapes and color of signs have meaning. If fading light, fog, rain, snow or darkness makes it difficult to see the letters, you should still know what to look for or what to do.

Pavement markings provide the driver with important information about the proper position of vehicles on the roadway.

Regulatory signs

These signs tell you what to do. You must always obey them.

Rectangles

Rectangular signs regulate traffic and direct the driver’s speed and direction.

Octagon (eight sides)

This shape is reserved for stop signs. You must come to a complete stop.

Triangle pointing down

This shape requires that you yield the right of way to cross traffic or to merging traffic.

Warning signs

Warning signs alert you to conditions ahead. They are usually diamond shaped and warn you about road hazards, construction sites, schools or other situations which require your special attention. While most warning signs are yellow, construction and maintenance warning signs are orange.

Diamond

These signs are yellow with black letters. They warn of a possible danger ahead.

Pentagon

This sign warns of a school zone ahead or marks a school crossing. The absolute speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph.

Pennant

Pennant-shaped signs are located at the beginning of a no-passing zone.

Round

A round sign warns of a railroad crossing ahead. Instead, a stop line or an “X” with the letters “RR” may be painted on the pavement before a crossing. Or any combination of the above may warn of an upcoming railroad crossing.

Construction

Construction signs have black lettering on an orange back-ground. They warn motorists of temporarily dangerous or unusual conditions on construction or maintenance projects.

Emergency Notification Sign

The ENS (Emergency Notification Sign) is for those emergencies that would require stopping train traffic due to an obstruction on the tracks, or any other problem at the cross-ing like if the lights or gates are not working properly.

Guide signs

Guide signs are very helpful. They tell you where you are, what road you are on and how to get where you want to go. Most guide signs are rectangular. However, guide signs for county roads and route markers on freeways are different in shape. The type of information given determines the color of the sign.


Source: the WY DOT Driver’s Manual, Produced by: the Driver Services Program and Public Affairs Office of the Wyoming Department of Transportation – August 2017.