Driving in California can be a real pleasure, with stretches of breathtaking countryside, coastal roads, as well as vibrant cities to explore. However, whether you are just visiting or live in the area, it is essential to ensure that you pay attention to the rules of the road and drive safely at all times. Here are some tips to keep you safe on California roads.
Inner city driving
Make sure you pay attention to Carpool/HOV lanes. In the bigger cities, for example, one or more lanes are usually dedicated High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. They have a diamond symbol painted on the pavement to indicate them, and it is vital that you have the correct number of passengers (usually a minimum two) to drive in them.
Toll lanes. Some toll lanes on the freeway are only for people with a transponder in their car, so make sure you are in the right lane before you get to the toll.
Alcohol. DUI Laws are strict in California, and you may see sobriety checkpoints in inner city areas near clubs and bars. Driving under the Influence is illegal and carries severe penalties if you are charged.
Traffic can become congested in inner city areas particularly during busier periods, especially on the freeways (as you’ve likely heard). It is important to stay calm even if it is frustrating to reduce the chance of road rage incidents.
Plan your journey in advance. It can be easy to take a wrong turn and get lost in built-up areas. Planning your journey and knowing your route in advance can help you avoid this and lower your risk of getting confused or annoyed because you can’t find your destination.
The scenic route
California offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and with it, long, winding roads that can be a delight to drive. However, some of these roads can be treacherous, especially during poor weather. The stunning scenery can also be distracting when trying to navigate hairpin turns and sheer drops along the shoulders. Those who are nervous of heights may also wish to avoid these roads as there is no way to get off some routes such as Scenic Route 1 until you get back down to sea level.
Another thing to be aware of when taking the scenic route is that you may end up behind a slow driver with no possibility to overtake safely for miles and miles. This can be frustrating, but it is essential to stay calm and only pass when it is entirely safe to do so.
Bad weather driving
The weather in California can vary wildly, and in the winter months, rain, sleet, fog, and snow can make the roads more dangerous to drive. Prepare for snow by having an emergency kit in your car, taking food and water with you on longer journeys, always telling someone where you are going and the route you plan to take, and charging your cell phone before you go. It’s also important to make sure that your car is in excellent condition to drive.
If the weather is bad, you should drive more slowly, keep a longer distance between you and the driver in front of you, brake more gently, and avoid cruise control to make sure you remain in control of your vehicle at all times.
- Stick to the speed limit. Make sure you are aware of the speed limit at all times.
- Don’t talk on your cell phone while driving unless using a hands-free kit.
- Keep right and change lanes safely. The general rule is to stay on the right unless overtaking. If you are changing lanes on the freeway, do so carefully and cautiously.
- Keep yourself visible by turning on your headlights when visibility is poor and staying out of blind spots of other vehicles.
- Take breaks if you feel tired
- Avoid distractions such as loud music, eating and drinking, and noisy passengers to ensure you can keep your attention entirely on the road.
If you are hurt in a car accident or have been charged with violating traffic laws, you should consult with a lawyer who can offer you advice and protect your rights. For a free consultation call the professional, experienced lawyers and Karlin & Karlin, please call our Main Office: 213-365-1555 or Toll free: 888-365-1555, or via our contact us form .