Driver's Handbook


You may not operate your vehicle on public roads and on private property, such as public parking lots, unless you and all of your passengers eight years of age or older, or children who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller are wearing seat belts.


It is illegal to leave a child six years or younger unattended in a motor vehicle. The law requires that children under eight years of age who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller to be properly secured with an appropriate safety belt , or be buckled into a federally- approved child passenger restraint system if under eight years of age and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Solid Red Light

STOP." You can make a right turn against a it after you stop then yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles close enough to be a hazard. Make the right turn only when it is safe. Do not turn if a "NO TURN ON RED" sign is posted.

Red Arrow

STOP." Remain stopped until the green signal or green arrow appears. Do not turn against it.

Flashing Red Signal Light

STOP." After stopping, you may proceed when it is safe.

Solid Yellow Light

CAUTION." The red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously.

Yellow Arrow

the "protected" turning time period is ending. Be prepared to obey the next signal, which could be the green or red light or the red arrow.

Flashing Yellow Signal Light

PROCEED WITH CAUTION." You do not need to stop for one, but you must slow down and be especially alert before entering the intersection.

Solid Green Light

Give the right-of-way to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian in the intersection. This light means "GO." If you are turning left, make the turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before creating a hazard for any oncoming vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Do not enter the intersection if you can- not get completely across before the light turns red. If you block the intersection, you can be cited.

Green Arrow

GO." You must turn in the direction the arrow is pointing after you yield to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian still in the intersection. The green arrow allows you to make a "protected" turn. Oncoming vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians are stopped by a red light as long as the green arrow is lighted.

Traffic Signal Blackout

The traffic signal light is not working. Proceed cautiously as if the intersection is controlled by "STOP" signs in all directions.

No U-turn


No Left Turn


No Right Turn


Stop Sign

make a full "STOP" whenever you see this sign. Stop at the white limit line (a wide white line painted on the street) or before entering the crosswalk. If a limit line or crosswalk is not painted on the street, stop before entering the intersection. Check traffic in all directions before proceeding.

Three Sided Red Yield Sign

you must slow down and be ready to stop, if necessary, to let any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian pass before you proceed.

Do Not Enter Sign

do not enter a road or off ramp where the sign is posted (usually on a freeway off ramp).

Wrong Way Sign

The WRONG WAY sign may or maynot be posted with the DO NOT ENTER WRONG sign. If you see one or both of these signs, drive to the side of the road and stop. You are going against traffic. When safe, back out or turn around and return to the road you were on.

Yellow and Black Circular Sign

you are approaching a railroad crossing.

Railroad Crossing Sign

you must look, listen, slow down, and prepare to stop, if necessary. Let any trains pass before you proceed.

Five Sided Sign

you are near a school. Stop if children are in the crosswalk.

A Four-sided Diamond-shaped Sign

specific road conditions and dangers ahead. Many warning signs are diamond-shaped.

White Rectangular Sign

you must obey important rules.

Warning signs that have a fluorescent yellow-green background.

conditions related to pedestrians, bicyclists, schools, playgrounds, school buses, and school passenger loading zones.

Slippery When Wet


Merging Traffic


Divided Highway


Sharp Turn


Two Way Traffic


Lane Ends


End Divided Highway


Traffic Signal Ahead


Pedestrian Crossing


Added Lane




Stop Ahead


Yield Ahead




T" Intersection


Directional Arrow


Reverse Turn


Winding Road



Always stop for any pedestrian crossing at corners or other crosswalks, even if the crosswalk is in the middle of the block, at corners with or without traffic lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines. Do not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk.Do not drive on a sidewalk, ex- cept to cross it to enter or exit a driveway or alley. When crossing, yield to all pedestrians. Do not stop in a crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.


At intersections without "STOP" or "YIELD" signs, slow down and be ready to stop. Yield to traffic and pedestrians already in the intersection or just entering the intersection. Also, yield to the vehicle or bicycle that arrives first, or to the vehicle or bicycle on your right if it reaches the intersection at the same time as you. When you turn left, give the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching that are close enough to be dangerous. Also, look for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

T Intersections

At "T" intersections without "STOP" or "YIELD" signs, yield to traffic and pedestrians on the through road. They have the right-of-way.


an intersection where traffic travels around a central island in a counter-clockwise direction. Vehicles entering or exiting the roundabout must yield to all traffic including pedestrians.

Mountain Roads

When two vehicles meet on a steep road where neither vehicle can pass, the vehicle facing downhill must yield the right-of-way by backing up until the vehicle going uphill can pass.

Basic Speed Law

you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions.

Maximum Speed Limit

The maximum speed limit on most California highways is 65 mph. You may drive 70 mph where posted. Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph on two- lane undivided highways and for vehicles towing trailers.

Bad Weather

You must drive slower when there is heavy traffic or bad weather. However, if you block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic by driving too slowly, you may be given a ticket.

Around Children

When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted.

Towing Vehicles

When you tow a vehicle or trailer, or drive a bus or three or more axle truck, you must drive in the right hand lane

School Buses

When the bus flashes red lights (located at the top front and back of the bus), you must stop from either direction until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing.

Blind Intersections

The speed limit for a blind inter- section is 15 mph. An intersection is considered "blind" if there are no stop signs at any corner and you can- not see for 100 feet in either direc- tion during the last 100 feet before crossing.


The speed limit in any alley is 15 mph.

Railroad Crossings

The speed limit is 15 mph within 100 feet of a railroad crossing where you cannot see the tracks for 400 feet in both directions. You may drive faster than 15 mph if the crossing is controlled by gates, a warning signal, or a flag man.

Light Rail Transit Vehicle Crossings

The same rules apply to light rail transit vehicle crossings as to train crossings. Do not proceed across the tracks until you can see clearly in both directions and are sure there are no light rail transit vehicles or trains coming. Do not go around or under any lowered gate.

Near Streetcars, Trolleys, or Buses

The passing speed limit, when safe to pass, is no more than 10 mph.

Business or Residential Districts

The speed limit is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted.

Near Animals

If you see animals or livestock, slow down and follow directions from the person in charge of the animals. If you see a stray animal in your path, slow down or stop, if it is safe.


At 55 mph, it takes about 400 feet to react and bring the vehicle to a complete stop. At 35 mph, it takes about 210 feet to react and bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

Solid Yellow Lines

the center of a road used for two-way traffic.

Broken Yellow Lines

you may pass if the broken line is next to your driving lane.

Double Solid Yellow Lines

no passing. Never drive to the left of these lines unless you are: In a carpool lane, Instructed by construction or other signs to drive on the other side of the road because your side of the road is closed or blocked, to enter or exit a driveway, make a U-turn, or into or out of a private road.

Two sets of solid double yellow lines spaced 2 feet or more apart (Barriers)

Do not drive on or over this barrier or make a left turn or a U-turn across it except at designated openings.

Solid White Lines

traffic lanes going in the same direction, such as one-way streets.

Broken White Lines

separate traffic lanes on roads with two or more lanes in the same direction.

Double White Lines

lane barrier between a regular use and a preferential use, such as a carpool/HOV lane. Never change lanes while in these lanes; wait until a single broken white line appears.

Left Lane

The left or "fast" lane is called the "Number 1 Lane."To drive faster, pass, or turn left, use the left lane.

Right Lane

The lane to the right of the "Number 1 Lane" is called the "Number 2 Lane."When you choose to drive slowly or enter or turn off the road, use the right lane. Pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving, however, If there are only two lanes in your direction, pick the right lane for the smoothest driving.

Carpool/high-occupancy vehicles (hov) lanes

You may use a carpool/HOV lane or on-ramp if your vehicle carries the posted minimum number of people required for the carpool lane, or you drive a low-emission vehicle displaying a special DMV- issued decal.

Center left turn lanes

you must use it to prepare for or make a left turn, or to prepare for or make a permitted U-turn. You may only drive for 200 feet in the center left turn lane. This lane is not a regular traffic lane or a passing lane.

Turnout Areas and Lanes

Pull over into these areas to allow cars behind you to pass. Some two-lane roads have passing lanes. If you are driving slowly on a two-lane highway or road where passing is unsafe, and five or more vehicles are following you, drive into area or lane to let the vehicles pass.

End of Lane Markings

Will usually be marked by large broken lines painted on the pavement. Also, look for a sign that tells you to exit or merge, etc.

Shared Roadway Bicycle Markings (Sharrows)

Lanes that bicyclists are lawfully allowed to occupy. They are used to assist bicyclists with positioning on a shared roadway. They also alert motorists of the location a bicyclist may occupy within the traveled roadway.

Bike Lanes

designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner. Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically 3 to 4 feet.

Left Turns

To make a left turn, drive close to the center divider line or into the left turn lane. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your left shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look left, then right, then left again, and make the turn when it is safe. While waiting to turn left, keep your wheels pointed straight ahead until it is safe to start your turn. A left turn against a red light can only be made from a one-way street onto a one-way street.

Right Turns

To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of theroad. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your right shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look both ways and turn when it is safe. Right turn against a red light, you may turn right if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light.

Legal U-Turns

You may make a legal U-turn: Across a double yellow line when it is safe and legal. In a residential district: If there are no vehicles approaching you within 200 feet. Whenever a traffic sign, light, or signal protects you from approaching vehicles. At an intersection on a green lightor green arrow, unless a "No U-turn" sign is posted.On a divided highway,only if an opening is provided in the center divider.

Parking on a Hill

Headed downhill,turn your front wheels into the curb, and set the parking brake. Headed uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb and let your vehicle roll back a few inches, then set the parking brake.

Parallel Parking

Look for a space at least 3 feet longer than your vehicle to safely park in the space, and signal your intention to park. Pull your vehicle along side the vehicle in front of your space, if any, 2 feet away from it and bumpers aligned. Keep your foot on the brake and put the vehicle in reverse. Lift your foot off the brake. Begin to back up while turningthe wheel hard toward the curb; begin turning the steering wheel away from the curb, and straighten out.

White Curb

Stop only long enough to pick up or drop off passengers or mail.

Green Curb

Park for a limited time. Look for a posted sign next to the curb for time limits, or locate the time limit painted on the curb.

Yellow Curb

Stop no longer than the time posted to load or unload passengers or freight.

Red Curb

No stopping, standing, or parking. (Buses may stop at a red zone marked for buses.)

Blue Curb

Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or a driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or a special license plate for disabled persons or disabled veterans. Placard abuse results in the loss of special parking privileges. It is also a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, or both.

A Crosshatched (diagonal lines) Area Adjacent to a Designated Disabled Parking Space

no parking area.

Illegal Parking

Where a "No Parking" sign is posted, On a marked or unmarked crosswalk, sidewalk, partially blocking a sidewalk, or in front of a driveway, in front of or on a curb that provides wheelchair access to a sidewalk, In a disabled person parking space, In a space designated for parking or fueling zero-emission vehicles, In a tunnel or on a bridge, except where permitted by signs, Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or a fire station driveway, On a freeway, or On or within 71/2 feet of a railroad track.


Arm left is left turn, arm up is right turn, and arm down is slowing or stopping. Signal: before every lane change, at least five seconds before you change lanes on a freeway, before pulling next to the curb or away from the curb, when you change directions, enven when you do not see other vehicles


Look at the steering wheel as a clock face and place your hands at 9 and 3 o'clock or slightly lower at around 8 and 4 o'clock. your hands should be placed on the lower half of the steering wheel, with your knuckles on the outside of the wheel, and your thumbs stretched along the rim of the steering wheel. Use pull-push steering for most turning maneuvers. Pull down with one hand and push up with the other. Use hand-over-hand steering when steering movements are critical, such as when: Parking,Performing sharp right turns, or Correcting a skid. Use one-hand steering for: Backing maneuvers that do not require full left or right turns, or When operating vehicle controls for information, safety, or comfort.


Use your horn only when necessary, to avoid collisions or to try to get "eye contact" with other drivers. You may tap your horn to alert another driver who might turn in front of you and cause a collision or on narrow mountain roads, where you cannot see at least 200 feet ahead of your vehicle.


Use your headlights when it is cloudy, raining, snowing, or foggy. If weather conditions require you to use your windshield wipers, you must turn on your low-beam headlights, it's the law. On frosty mornings, when other drivers' windows may be icy or "fogged."Any time conditions (clouds, rain, snow, dust, smoke, fog, etc.) prevent you from seeing other vehicles. Other drivers may have trouble seeing you, too. On small country or mountain roads, even on sunny days. This helps other drivers see you and may help you avoid a head-on collision. When necessary to get another driver's attention.

Emergency Signals

If you can see a collision ahead, warn the drivers behind you by turning on your emergency flashers or tapping your brake pedal quickly three or four times. You can also use the hand signal when slowing and stopping. Never stop on the road, unless necessary for safety or to obey a law. f you experience vehicle trouble, and need to stop, follow these rules: Pull off the road away from all traffic, if possible. If you cannot get completely off the road, stop where people can see you and your vehicle from behind. Do not stop just over a hill or just around a curve. Turn on your emergency flashers if you are not moving. If your vehicle doesn't have emergency flashers, turn signals may be used instead.If it is safe, lift the hood to signal an emergency. Place emergency flares or triangles 200-300 feet behind the vehicle.

Texting and Cellphones

It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communication device. Although hands-free devices are permitted (except for minors), drivers should minimize distractions to focus on safe driving practices. Minors may not use a cell phone except in certain emergencies.

People who Present Danger to Drivers

Increase your following distance and allow a bigger space cushion for drivers who may be potentially dangerous. Drivers who cannot see you because their view is blocked by buildings, trees, or other cars. Drivers backing out of driveways or parking spaces.Drivers who pass you when there is a curve or oncoming vehicle(s) ahead. Drivers about to be forced into your lane to avoid a vehicle, a pedestrian, a bicyclist, an obstruc- tion, or because of fewer lanes ahead. Pedestrians with umbrellas in front of their faces or hats pulled down over their eyes.

Merging In and Out of Traffic

Whenever you enter traffic, signal and be sure you have enough room to safely enter the lane. You have to share space with traffic already on the road, and you must know how much space you need to merge with traffic, cross or enter traffic, and exit out of traffic. Enter the freeway at or near the speed of traffic. do not stop before merging into freeway traffic, unless it is absolutely necessary. Freeway traffic has the right-of-way. Any time you merge with other traffic, you need a gap of at least four seconds.

Space to Cross or Enter

Whenever you cross or enter city or highway traffic from a full stop, you will need a large enough gap: Half a block on city streets, or a full block on the highway.

Space to Exit

Signal, look over your shoulder, and change lanes one at a time, until you are in the proper lane to exit the freeway. Signal your intention to exit for approximately five seconds before reaching the exit. Be sure you are at the proper speed for leaving the traffic lane not too fast (so you remain in con- trol) and not too slow

Passing other traffic

Always signal before passing. Do not pull out to pass unless you know you have enough space to pull back into your lane. Avoid passing other vehicles on two-lane roads, it's dangerous. When you pass a bicyclist, be patient. Slow down and pass them only when it is safe, allowing for a minimum of three feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist. At highway speeds of 50-55 mph, you need a 10-12 second gap in oncoming traffic to pass safely. do not pass: If you are approaching a hill or curve and you cannot see if there is another vehicle approaching, or Within 100 feet of an intersection.

Space to Return

Before you return to your driving lane, be sure you are not danger- ously close to the vehicle you have just passed. One way to do this is to look for the vehicle in your inside rear view mirror. When you can see both headlights in your rear view mirror, you have enough room to return to your driving lane.

Large trucks and RVs

Large trucks take longer to stop than vehicles traveling at the same speed. Do not move in front of a large truck and suddenly slow down or stop. Generally speaking, if you cannot see the truck driver in his or her side mirror, he or she cannot see you. These blind spots are often called the "NO ZONE."When you follow a big rig, look at its turn signals before you start to pass. If the truck appears to be turning left, check the turn signals again; the driver may actually be turning right but first swinging wide. Large trucks have longer stopping and starting distances. These vehicles must be driven in the right hand traffic lane or as close as possible to the right edge of the roadway.

Things to avoid around trucks

Cutting off a truck in traffic or on the highway to reach an exit or turn. Do not speed up to pass a truck, so you can exit the roadway. Take a moment to slow down and exit behind the truck. Lingering alongside a truck when passing. Always pass a large truck on the left side, and after you pass the truck, move ahead of it. Do not linger. Following too closely or tailgating. When you follow so closely behind a truck that you cannot see the truck driver's side view mirrors, the trucker cannot see you and has no way of knowing you are there. Underestimating the size and speed of an approaching tractor-trailer.

Buses, Streetcars, and Trolleys

Do not drive through a safety zone. This is a space set aside for pedestrians, and marked by raised buttons or markers on a roadway. When a bus, streetcar, or trolley is stopped at a safety zone or at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a peace officer or traffic signal, you may pass at no more than 10 mph. Do not overtake and pass any light rail vehicle or streetcar on the left side, whether it is moving or standing. Exceptions: When you are on a one way street, when the tracks are so close to the right side that you cannot pass on the right, or when a traffic officer directs you to pass on the left.

Light Rail vehicles

Never turning in front of an approaching light-rail vehicle. Looking for approaching light- rail vehicles before you turn across the tracks. Complete your turn only if a signal indicates you may proceed.

Emergency Vehicles

You must yield the right-of-way to any police vehicle, fire engine, ambulance, or other emergency vehicle using a siren and red lights. Drive to the right edge of the road and stop until the emergency vehicle(s) have passed. However, never stop in an intersection. If you are in an intersection when you see an emergency vehicle, continue through the intersection and then, drive to the right as soon as it is safe and stop. You must obey any traffic direction, order, or signal given by a traffic or peace officer, or a firefighter even if it conflicts with existing signs, signals, or laws. It is against the law to follow within 300 feet behind any fire engine, police vehicle, ambulance, or other emergency vehicle with a siren or flashing lights. If you drive for sight-seeing purposes to the scene of a fire, collision, or other disaster, you may be arrested.

Slow Moving Vehicles

Farm tractors, animal-drawn carts, and road maintenance vehicles usually travel 25 mph or less. Slow- moving vehicles have an orange/ red triangle on the back of the vehicles. Look for these vehicles and adjust your speed before you reach them.

Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) and Low Speed Vehicles (LSV)

You may have seen lanes marked or signs posted for NEV use ONLY or NEV ROUTE on roadways in some California towns, especially those near retirement communities and golf courses. When you see these signs or markings, watch out for slow-moving vehicles in the roadway. The NEV and LSV vehicles reach a maximum speed of 25 mph.

Animal Drawn Vehicles

Horse-drawn vehicles and riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. It is a traffic offense to scare horses or stampede livestock. Slow down or stop, if necessary, or when requested to do so by the riders or herders.


Allow a four-second following distance. You will need this space to avoid hitting the motorcyclist, if he or she brakes suddenly or falls off the motorcycle. Allow the motorcycle a full lane width. Although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe. Never try to pass a motorcyclein the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle.


Bicyclists: Are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. Have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle and motorcycle drivers. Must obey all traffic signals and stop signs. Are lawfully permitted to rideon certain sections of roadway in rural areas where there is no alternate route. Must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it. When passing a bicyclist in the travel lane, you should allow at least three feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist, unless doing so would cause a hazard. Don't try to pass a bicyclist just before making a turn. Merge safely where it is allowed, then turn. Don't drive in a bike lane unless initiating a turn at an intersection or driveway, and not more than 200 feet in advance.

Safe Driving around the Visually Impaired

Pedestrians using guide dogs or white canes with or without a red tip must be given the right-of-way at all times. When a blind person pulls in his or her cane and steps away from the intersection, this gesture usually means they are not ready to cross the street and for you to go. Do not stop in the middle of a crosswalk. This forces the blind pedestrian to go around your vehicle and into traffic outside of the crosswalk. At a stop light or sign, do not stop your vehicle more than 5 feet from the crosswalk, un- less there is an advance stop bar (line). Do not give the blind pedestrian verbal directions.

Road Workers and Work Zones (Cone Zones)

Cones, drums, or other barriers will guide you through the work zone. Reduce your speed and be prepared to slowdown or stop for highway equipment. Obey special signs or instructions from workers (flaggers). Driving carefully through work zones improves safety for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and road workers. Certain roads are designated as "Safety Enhanced Double Fine Zones." Fines for violations are doubled in these zones and also in highway construction or maintenance zones when workers are present.

Move Over and Slow Down

Drivers are required to move over a lane, if safe to do so, or slow down when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle or tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a Department of Transportation (CalTrans) vehicle displaying emergency flashing or amber warning lights while it is stopped on the side of a state highway or freeway.

Vehicles with Hazardous Loads

A diamond-shaped sign on a truck means that the load on the truck is potentially dangerous (gas, explosives, etc.). Vehicles which display these signs are required to stop before crossing railroad tracks.

Dealing with Traffic Congestion

Avoid the following driving behaviors:• Rubbernecking-slowing down to look at collisions or virtually anything else out of the ordinary.• Tailgating-following too closely.• Unnecessary lane changes, weaving in and out of freewaylanes.• Inattention-eating, grooming, talking on a cell phone, text messaging, reading the newspaper, etc.• Operating a poorly maintained or malfunctioning vehicle or running out of fuel.

Dealing with Aggressive Drivers or Road Rage

To avoid aggressive driving and road rage situations: Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.Do not cut off other drivers. Do not drive slowly in the left (fast) lane. Do not tailgate. Do not make gestures to other drivers. Use your horn for emergencies only. Avoiding eye contact with an angry driver. Giving an angry driver plenty of space.

Driving in Heavy Traffic

As a general rule, drive more slowly: In parking lots and downtown areas. On roads with heavy traffic.When you see the brake lights of several vehicles ahead of you. Over narrow bridges and through tunnels. Through toll plazas. Near schools, playgrounds, and in residential areas.

Driving Hazards

Slow down when there is a lot of water on the road. In a heavy rain at speeds of 50 mph or more, your tires can lose all contact with the road and then your vehicle will be riding on water or "hydroplaning." If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, slow down gradually do not apply the brakes. Wet road: go five-ten mph slower. Packed snow: reduce your speed by half. Ice: slow to a crawl. In snowy whether: When you cannot see any farther than 100 feet, you cannot safely drive faster than 30 mph. You may have to stop from time to time to wipe mud or snow off your wind- shield, headlights, and taillights.

Driving in the Fog

The best advice for driving in the fog is DON'T. You should consider postponing your trip until the fog clears. However, if you must drive, then drive slow, turn on your windshield wipers, and use your low beam headlights. Never drive with just your parking or fog lights.

Driving at Night

Use your low-beam headlights at night when it rains. do not drive using only your parking lights. Use your high beam headlights whenever possible in open country or dark city streets, as long as it is not illegal. Do not blind other drivers with your high-beam headlights. Dim your lights when necessary. If another driver does not dim his or her lights: Do not look directly into the oncoming headlights. Look toward the right edge of your lane. Watch the oncoming vehicle out of the corner of your eye. Do not try to"get back"at the other driver by keeping your bright lights on. If you do, both of you may be blinded. Drive as far to the right as possible, when a vehicle with one light drives toward you. It could be a bicyclist or motorcyclist, but it could also be a vehicle with a missing headlight.

Driving in Hill Country or Curves

You must drive slowly enough to stop. Any time your view is blocked by a hill or a curve, you should assume there is another vehicle ahead of you. Only pass the vehicle if a hill or curve is at least one-third of a mile away, because you need at least that much room to pass safely. Do not drive on the left side of the road when coming to a curve or the top of a hill, because you cannot see far enough ahead to know if it is safe to pass.

Traffic Breaks

Traffic breaks are used by law enforcement to: Slow or stop traffic to remove hazards from the roadway. Conduct emergency operations. Or prevent traffic collisions in heavy fog or unusually heavy traffic. During a traffic break, the officer turns on the rear emergency lights, slows the vehicle, and drives across the lanes of traffic in a serpentine manner. Activate your emergency flash- ers to warn other drivers there is a hazard ahead. Slowly begin to decrease your speed. Do not slow abruptly unless it is necessary to avoid a collision. Slow to the same speed as the officer while keeping a safe distance from the patrol vehicle ahead of you. Do not attempt to drive past the patrol vehicle. Do not accelerate until the patrol vehicle has turned off its emergency lights and traffic conditions ahead allow the return to normal speeds.

Clean Windows and Mirrors

Keep your windshield and side windows clean inside and outside. Clear off ice, frost, or dew from all windows before you drive. Make sure you can see and be seen.

Adjust Seat and Mirrors

Adjust your seat before you put on your seat belt. You should sit high enough to see the road. If you still cannot see, use a seat cushion. Adjust your rear and side mirrors before you start driving. If your vehicle has a day/night mirror, learn how to use it. The night setting reduces the headlight glare from the cars behind you and helps you see well.

What Drivers Should do During an Enforcment Stop

Acknowledge the officer's presence by turning on your right turn signal. Move your vehicle to the right shoulder of the road. Do not move onto the center median. Do not stop in the center median of a freeway or on the opposite side of a two-lane roadway. On a freeway, move completely onto the right shoulder, even if you're in the carpool/HOV lane. Stop in a well lit area when possible. Pull your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible. End your cell phone conversation and turn off your radio. Remain inside your vehicle unless otherwise directed by the officer. Place your hands in clear view, including all passengers' hands such as on the steering wheel, on top of your lap, etc.

Skids on Slippery Roads

Ice and packed snow on the road can cause your vehicle to skid, especially if you are driving too fast or going downhill. If you start to skid: Ease off the gas pedal, Stop braking, and Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. If you cannot control your vehicle on a slippery surface, try to find something to stop the skid. Try to get a wheel on dry pavement or on the shoulder of the road. To prevent skidding on slippery surfaces: Drive slowly and stay farther behind the vehicle ahead of you. Slow down as you approach curves and intersections. Avoid fast turns.Avoid quick stops. "Pump" the brakes to slow or stop. (Do not pump antilock brakes.) Shift to low gear before going down a steep hill. Avoid especially slippery areas, such as ice patches, wet leaves, oil, or deep puddles. If the brakes get wet, dry them by lightly pressing the gas pedal and brake pedal at the same time so that the vehicle drives against the pressure of the brakes. Perform this light pressing only until the brakes dry.

Acceleration Skids

An acceleration skid usually happens when the drive wheels lose traction on the road surface. To maintain control of a skidding vehicle, do not apply the brakes. Ease off the gas pedal and straighten the front wheels as the vehicle begins to straighten itself out.

Locked Wheel Skids

This type of skid is usually caused by braking too hard at a high rate of speed and locking the wheels. The vehicle will skid no matter which way the steering wheel is turned. Take your foot off the brake to unlock the wheels. Then, straighten the front wheels as the vehicle begins to straighten out. Slow the vehicle gradually until you are at a safe speed to continue driving.

Accelerator Malfunctions

If your accelerator becomes stuck you should: Shift to neutral. Apply the brakes. Keep your eyes on the road. Look for an alternate route away from traffic or look for a way out. Warn other drivers by honking and turning on your emergency lights. Try to drive the car safely off the road. Stop and turn off the ignition. Turning the ignition off while the vehicle is mov- ing may lock the steering wheel; you will not have control of the steering.

Steering Wheel Locking Device

Never turn your vehicle's ignition to the "lock" position while it is still in motion; the steering will lock and you will lose control of your vehicle.

Causes of Collisions

The most common causes of collisions are: Driver distractions. Unsafe speed. Driving on the wrong side of the road. Improper turns. Violating the right-of-way rules. Violating stop signals and signs.

Involvement in collisions

You must stop. Someone could be injured and need your help. If you do not stop, you may be convicted of "hit and run" and could be severely punished. Call 9-1-1, if anyone is hurt.Move your vehicle out of the traffic lane if no one is injured or killed. Show your driver license, registration card, evidence of financial responsibility, and current address to the other driver, persons involved, or peace officer.You(or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative) must make a written report to the police or CHP within 24 hours of the collision if someone is killed or injured. You(or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative) must make a written report to the DMV within 10 days. If you hit a parked vehicle or other property, leave a note with your name, phone number, and address in or securely attached to the vehicle or property you hit. If your parked car rolls away and hits another vehicle, try to find the owner and report the incident to authorities. If you kill or injure an animal, call the nearest humane society, the police, or CHP. Do not try to move an injured animal or leave an injured animal to die.

Reporting a Collision

When you have a collision, report it to the DMV within 10 days if: More than $750 in damage was done to the property of any person. Anyone was injured (no matter how slightly) or killed. Each driver (or the driver's insurance agent, broker, or legal representative) must file a report with the DMV whether or not you caused the collision, even if the collision occurred on private property.Your driving privilege will be suspended: If you do not make this report, for up to four years, if you did not have proper insurance coverage.

Saftey tips

If your vehicle becomes disabled on the freeway: Safely pull to the right shoulder. Ideally, park the vehicle next to a call box, if possible. If you must exit the vehicle, exit on the right side of your vehicle, away from traffic. Stay inside your vehicle with the seat belt on until help arrives. The California Highway Patrol's Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) provides free emergency roadside services during commute periods.

Alcohol and Drugs

If an officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs, the officer can legally require you to take a blood or urine test. The use of any drug (the law does not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs) which impairs your ability to drive safely is illegal. Any drug that "may cause drowsiness or dizziness" is one you should not take before driving. Make sure you read the label and know the effects of any drug you use. You must not drink any amount of alcohol in any vehicle.A container of liquor, beer, or wine carried inside the vehicle must be full, sealed, and unopened. Otherwise, it must be kept in the trunk of the vehicle or in a place where passengers do not sit. Keeping an opened alcoholic drink in the glove compartment is specifically against the law. In a bus, taxi, camper, or motorhome, this law does not apply to non-driving passengers.

Alcohol Possession Under 21

If you are under 21 years of age: You may not carry liquor,beer,or wine inside a vehicle unless you are accompanied by a parent or other person as specified by law and the container is full, sealed, and unopened. If you are caught with an alcoholic beverage in your vehicle, the vehicle may be impounded for up to 30 days. The court may fine you up to $1,000, and either suspend your driving privilege for one year or require the DMV to delay the issuance of your first driver license for up to one year, if you are not already licensed. Your driving privilege will be revoked for one year, if you are convicted of either driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.01% or higher or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs. On the first offense you will be required to complete the educational portion of a licensed DUI program. A subsequent offense may require a longer DUI program and you will not have a restricted driver license to attend the DUI program. You may carry alcoholic beverages in closed containers, while working for someone with an off-site liquor sales license.

All Drivers

It is illegal to drive after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in any form (including medications such as cough syrup), or taking any drug (including prescription medications), or using any combination of alcohol or drugs that impairs your ability to drive.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limits

It is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle with a: BAC of 0.08% or higher, if the person is age 21 or older. BAC of 0.01% or higher, if the person is under age 21. BAC of 0.01% or higher at any age, if the person is on a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) probation. BAC of 0.04% or higher, in any vehicle requiring a commercial driver license (CDL)—with or without a CDL issued to the driver.

Admin Per Se

When you drive in California, you consent to have your breath, blood or, under certain circumstances, urine tested if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. If you are convicted of DUI of either alcohol and/or drugs or both, and you have an excessive BAC level, you may be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail and pay afine between $390—$1,000 (plus about three times the fine in pen- alty assessments) the first time you are convicted. Your vehicle may be impounded and is subject to storage fees.

Designated Driver Program

This program encourages one individual to abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages during an outing, so he or, she can be responsible for transporting other person(s) safely. To participate as a designated driver, an individual:Should be at least 21 years of age and must possess a valid driver's license. Must be part of a group of two or more persons and verbally identify himself or herself as the designated driver to the server. Must abstain from consuming alcoholic beverages for the duration of the outing. Must not be an otherwise impaired driver.Must understand that management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone at any time.

Additional Laws