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Based on the 2024 Driver Handbook

What is a space cushion?


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What is a space cushion?

  1. Head protection in the event of a crash.
  2. A new technology for airbags.
  3. Space to the sides of your vehicle to change lanes.
  4. Empty space all around your vehicle that allows you to react to hazards.

Find the answer to this question and an explanation below. 


This question, or a similar one, may show up on your driver’s license written exam. 

The answer is: D. Empty space all around your vehicle that allows you to react to hazards.

Did you get it right? Learn more about this answer below. 

Explanation: Keeping a Space Cushion

In order to pass your DMV exams and to become a safe driver, it’s important to know the reason why a particular answer on the written test is correct. 

A space cushion describes the empty space to the sides, behind, and in front of your vehicle that gives you more time, space, and options to react to hazards on the road. 

When you identify a hazard, it’s always best to have options to choose from. This could include slowing down, stopping, changing lanes, or swerving. 

Keeping a space cushion around your vehicle gives you access to these options at all times. 

If you drive next to another vehicle on each side of you, you won’t be able to turn, change lanes, or swerve to avoid a collision.

If you don’t allow a vehicle behind you that is following too closely to pass, you run the risk of being hit from behind if you need to stop or slow down quickly.

And if you follow the vehicle in front of you too closely, you’ll have less time and space to stop if necessary.

To give yourself enough time and space to react to hazards and other drivers, try to maintain empty space around your vehicle and a safe following distance at all times.

You can find more information about this topic in the vehicle positioning section of your driver’s handbook.

Use our free study guides to help you understand your state’s official driver’s handbook

Prepare for your written test with questions like this and more with free DMV practice tests from 

Check out more DMV written test questions and answers here.

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