Department of Motor Vehicles

To save time, make an appointment online at or call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours.

At an intersection where traffic is not controlled by traffic signal lights, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within any crosswalk, marked or unmarked.

When a traffic signal light changes to green or “WALK,” look left, right, and then left again, and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection before the traffic signal light changes.

If there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic.

At night, make yourself more visible by:
Wearing white, light, or reflective material clothing.
Carrying a flashlight.

You and all passengers must wear a seat belt, even if have air bags.


Solid Red: you can make a right turn against a red traffic signal light after you stop.

Red Arrow–A red arrow means “STOP.” Remain stopped until the green signal or green arrow appears. Do not turn against a red arrow.

Flashing red: After stopping, you may proceed when it is safe.

Solid Yellow–A yellow traffic signal light means “CAUTION.” The red traffic signal light is
about to appear. When you see the yellow traffic signal light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously.

Flashing yellow: you do not need to stop

Solid green: Do not enter the intersection if you cannot get completely across before the traffic signal light turns red. If you block the intersection, you can be cited.

Green arrow: Oncoming vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians are stopped by a red traffic signal light as long as the green arrow is lighted

Traffic Signal Light Not Working (Blackout)–The traffic signal light is not working and/or no lights are showing on the signal. Proceed cautiously as if the intersection is controlled by “STOP” signs in all directions.

A sign that has a red circle with a red line through it always indicates “NO.” The picture inside the circle shows what you cannot do. The sign may be shown with or without words.

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 signal lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks. Although pedestrians have the right-of-way, they also must abide by the rules of the road. A pedestrian should not suddenly leave a curb, or other place of safety, and cross into the path of a vehicle as this creates an immediate hazard. Furthermore, a pedestrian must not stop unnecessarily or delay traffic while in a crosswalk.

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.

While waiting to turn left, keep your wheels pointed straight ahead until it is safe to start your turn. If your wheels are pointed to the left, and a vehicle hits you from behind, you could be pushed into oncoming traffic.

Roundabouts: Travel in a counter-clockwise direction. Do not stop or pass.

Mountain roads: When 2 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. The vehicle facing downhill has the greater amount of control when backing up the hill.

California has a “Basic Speed Law.” This law means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you may be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.”

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 a two-lane undivided highway and for vehicles towing trailers.

Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on:
The number and speed of other vehicles on the road.
Whether the road surface is smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow.
Bicyclists or pedestrians on or crossing the roadway.
Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty

All speed limits are based on ideal driving conditions. Construction zones usually have reduced speed zones.

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.

Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph.

For the crossing guard’s safety, allow him or her to safely get to the side of the road before driving ahead.

Stopped school buses and children crossing the street. 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. The law requires you remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing.

If the school bus is on the other side of a divided or multilane highway (two or more lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop.

Blind intersection: 15 mph

Alley: 15 mph

Railroad: 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.

Watch for vehicles that must stop before they cross train tracks. These vehicles include buses, school buses, and trucks transporting hazardous loads.

Do not go under lowering gates or around lowered gates. Flashing red warning lights indicate you must stop and wait. Do not proceed over the railroad tracks until the red lights stop flashing, even if the gate rises. If the gates are lowered and you do not see a train approaching, call the posted railroad emergency toll-free number or 9-1-1. Be ready to give a detailed description of your location.

Light-rail transit vehicles are very quiet and accelerate more quickly than trains.

Scanning: Scanning your surroundings (keeping your eyes moving) includes keeping a safe distance around your vehicle. When another driver makes a mistake, you need time to react. Give yourself this reaction time by keeping enough space on all sides of your vehicle. This space will give you room to brake or maneuver if necessary.

To avoid last minute moves, scan the road 10–15 seconds ahead of your vehicle so you can see hazards early.

Before changing lanes, look into your rear view mirror for nearby vehicles and over your
shoulder to check for blind spots.

Check your rear view mirrors every 2–5 seconds so you know the position of vehicles near you.

To avoid tailgating, use the “3 second rule”: when the vehicle ahead of you passes a certain point, such as a sign, count “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two, one-thousand-three.” This takes approximately 3 seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.

You should allow for 4 or more seconds or when:

A tailgater is behind you. Allow extra room ahead and do not brake suddenly. Slow down gradually or merge into another lane to prevent a collision with the tailgater!

Driving on slippery roads.
Following motorcyclists or bicyclists on wet or icy roads, metal surfaces (e.g., bridge
gratings, railroad tracks, etc.), and gravel. Motorcyclists and bicyclists can fall easily on
these surfaces.

The driver behind you wants to pass. Allow room in front of your vehicle so the driver
will have space to move in front of you.

If something is in your path, you need to see it in time to stop. Assuming you have good tires, good brakes, and dry pavement:
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.

Turn on your lights during the day, if it is hard to see or you cannot see at least 1,000 feet ahead of you.

You may turn left across a single set of double yellow lines 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 are considered a barrier. Do not drive on or over this barrier, make a left turn, or a U-turn across it, except at designated openings (see diagram).

Double white lines are two solid white lines that indicate a lane barrier between a regular use and a preferential use lane, such as a carpool/HOV. Never change lanes while in these lanes; wait until a single broken white line appears. You may also see these parallel lines in or near freeway on and off ramps.
Traffic lanes are often referred to by number. The left or “fast” lane is called the “Number 1 Lane.” The lane to the right of the “Number 1 Lane” is called the “Number 2 Lane,” then the “Number 3 Lane,” etc.

On a sloping driveway, turn the wheels so the vehicle will not roll into the street if the
brakes fail.

Headed downhill, turn your front wheels into the curb or toward the side of the road. Set
the parking brake.

Headed uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb and let your vehicle roll back a
few inches. The wheel should gently touch the curb. Set the parking brake.

Headed either uphill or downhill when there is no curb, turn the wheels so the vehicle
will roll away from the center of the road if the brakes fail. Always set your parking
brake and leave the vehicle in gear or in the “park” position.

Parallel parking:

1. Find a space. Look for a space at least 3 feet longer than your vehicle. When you find a space, signal that you intend to park.

2. Pull your vehicle alongside the space or vehicle in front of where you intend to
park. Leave approximately 2 feet between the vehicle or space next to you and stop once your rear bumper is aligned to the front of the space where you want to park.

Check your rear view mirror and look over your shoulder for approaching vehicles. Keep your foot on the brake and put the vehicle in reverse. Maintain the signal.

3. Lift your foot off the brake. Before backing up, check your mirrors and look over your
shoulder for any hazards. Begin to back up, at approximately a 45 degree angle.

4. Straighten out. Begin turning the steering wheel away from the curb when your rear
wheel is within 18 inches from the curb. You may need to pull forward and backward to
straighten out. Your vehicle should now be parallel and no further than 18 inches from
the curb.

Lines on curb:

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

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

Yellow–load or unload passengers or freight. Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are usually required to stay with the vehicle.
Red–No stopping, standing, or parking. (Buses may stop at a red zone marked for buses.)

Blue–Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or special license plate for disabled persons or disabled veterans.

Disabled people with
a placard or special plates may park in special areas for unlimited periods of time, regardless of time restrictions. A crosshatched (diagonal lines) area adjacent to a designated disabled parking space is a no parking area.

Examples of disabled placard/plate abuse:
Using a placard/plate after it has been reported lost or stolen w/out reporting found
Loaning your placard/plate to friends or family members (disabled or not).
Interchanging placards with friends or family members.
Using a placard/plate when the person it was issued to is not in the vehicle with you
Using a deceased person’s placard/plate.

Illegal parking
Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or a fire station driveway.
On or within 7½ feet of a railroad track

Always signal when turning left or right, changing lanes, slowing down, or stopping; it lets other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians

If you think of the steering wheel as the face of a clock, place your hands at 9 and 3 o’clock, or slightly lower at 8 and 4 o’clock.

To reduce face, arm, and hand injuries in the case of a deployed air bag, you should grip the outside of the steering wheel, with your knuckles

During the last 100 feet before reaching the turning point (left or right turn).
CAUTION!— Even though you signal, do not assume that the space you want to occupy is clear.
Before every lane change. Check your mirrors, look over your shoulder, and check your blind spot before changing lanes.
At least 5 seconds before you change lanes on a freeway.
Before pulling next to the curb or away from the curb.
When you change directions.
Even when you do not see other vehicles. A vehicle you do not see may suddenly appear and hit you.
If you plan to turn beyond an intersection, start signaling when you are in the
intersection. If you signal too early, the other driver may think you plan to turn into the
intersection and he or she may pull out in front of you.

There is no one correct way to steer a vehicle safely, but here are a few steering methods recommended by NHTSA:
Hand-to-Hand Steering
Hand-over-Hand Steering–
One Hand Steering

Use Your Horn
Only when necessary, to avoid collisions.
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.
On narrow mountain roads, where you cannot see at least 200 feet ahead of your vehicle.

Don't Use Your Horn
If a driver or bicyclist is moving slowly, and you want him or her to drive faster or get out of your way. The driver or bicyclist may not be able to safely go faster due to illness, being lost, intoxication, or mechanical problems with the vehicle.
To alert other drivers that they made a mistake. Your honking may cause them to make more mistakes or to become angry and retaliate.
Because you may be angry or upset.
To honk at pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists unless necessary to avoid a collision.
Remember that your horn sounds much louder outside a vehicle.

If you can see a collision ahead, warn the drivers behind you by turning on your emergency flashers or tapping your brake pedal quickly 3 or 4 times. You can also use the hand signal when slowing and stopping.

When it is cloudy, raining, snowing, or foggy.

If weather conditions require you to use your windshield wipers, you are required to 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.

Persons Who Present Dangers to Drivers
Increase your following distance and allow a bigger space cushion for drivers who may be potentially dangerous. Persons who present dangers are:
Drivers who cannot see you because their view is blocked by other cars.
Drivers backing out of driveways or parking spaces.
Drivers about to be forced into your lane to avoid a vehicle, pedestrian, bicyclist,
obstruction, or because of fewer lanes ahead.
Pedestrians with umbrellas in front of their faces or hats pulled down over their eyes.
Distracted people, such as:
Delivery persons.
Construction workers.
Distracted pedestrians, such as those on the phone or texting.
Children, who often run into the street without looking.
Drivers talking on cell phones or speaking to their passengers.
Drivers taking care of children, eating, or looking at maps while driving.
Confused people, such as:
Tourists, often at complicated intersections.
Drivers looking for a house number or who slow down for no apparent reason.

Splitting the Difference
Sometimes there will be dangers on both sides of the road at the same time. For example, there will be parked cars to the right and oncoming cars to the left. In this case, the best thing to do is “split the difference.” Steer a middle course between the oncoming cars and the parked cars.

If one danger is greater than the other, give the most room to the most dangerous situation.

Suppose there are oncoming cars on your left side and a child on a bike on your right side. The child is more likely to make a sudden move. Therefore, slow down and, if safe, use as much of your lane to the left as possible until you pass the child.

Enter the freeway at or near the speed of traffic. (Remember that the maximum speed allowed is 65 mph on most freeways.)

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 4 seconds, which gives both you and the other vehicle only a 2 second following distance. When it is safe, go back to following the “3-second rule
Do not try to squeeze into a gap that is too small.
Watch for vehicles around you. Use your mirrors and turn signals. Turn your head to look quickly over your shoulder before changing lanes or merging in traffic.
Leave 3 seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Make sure you can stop safely, if necessary.

If you need to cross several freeway lanes, cross them one at a time. If you wait until all of the lanes are clear, you may cause traffic delays or a collision.

Whenever you cross or enter city or highway traffic from a full stop, you will need a large
enough gap (from vehicles approaching in either direction) to get up to the speed of other vehicles. You need a gap that is about:
Half a block on city streets.
A full block on the highway.

Exiting a freeway
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 5 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 control) and not too slow (so the flow of traffic can still move freely).

Do not pass:
If you are approaching a hill or curve and you cannot see if there is other traffic

Do not pass within 100 feet of an intersection.

You may pass on the right only when:
An open highway is clearly marked for two or more lanes of travel in your direction.
The driver ahead of you is turning left and you do not drive off the roadway to pass.

Never pass on the left if the driver is signaling a left turn.

Always signal before passing. You may also lightly tap your horn, or briefly flash your lights, to let the other driver know you intend to pass. Do not pull out to pass unless you know you have enough space to pull back into your lane.

Avoid passing other vehicles, including motorcycles and bicycles, on two-lane roads; it is dangerous. Every time you pass, you increase your chances of having a collision.

However, when you pass a bicyclist, be patient. Slow down and pass the bicyclist only when it is safe, allowing for a minimum of 3 feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist where possible. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road.

At highway speeds of 50–55 mph, you need a 10–12 second gap in oncoming traffic to pass safely. At 55 mph, you will travel over 800 feet in 10–12 seconds; so will an oncoming vehicle. That means you need over 1,600 feet (about ? of a mile) to pass safely. It is harder to see and

Before you return to your driving lane, be sure you are not dangerously 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 may have enough room to return to your driving lane. Do not count on having enough time to pass several vehicles at once or that other drivers will make room for you.

Large trucks take longer to stop than vehicles traveling at the same speed. The average passenger vehicle traveling at 55 mph can stop within 400 feet. However, a large truck traveling at the same speed can take almost 800 feet to stop. Do not move in front of a large truck and suddenly slow down or stop. The truck driver will not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid crashing into you.

Passenger vehicle drivers incorrectly assume that a trucker can see the road better because he or she is higher off the road. While truckers do have a better forward view and bigger mirrors, they still have large blind spots and your vehicle can get lost in those blind spots. If you stay in those blind spots, you block the trucker’s ability to take evasive action to avoid a dangerous situation.

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.”

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.

Emergency vehicles often use the wrong side of the street to continue on their way. They sometimes use a loud speaker to talk to drivers blocking their path.

If you drive for sight-seeing purposes to the scene of a fire, collision, or other disaster, you may be arrested. Casual observers interfere with the essential services of police, firefighter, ambulance crews, or other rescue or emergency personnel.

2. To make a right turn at the corner, you:
a. May not enter the bicycle lane.
b. Should only merge into the bicycle lane if you stop before turning.
c. Yes. Must merge into the bicycle lane before turning.

When you enter traffic from a stop (away from the curb), you:
a. Should drive slower than other traffic for 200 feet.
b. Yes. Need a large enough gap to get up to the speed of traffic.
c. Should wait for the first two vehicles to pass, then drive into the lane.

6. You consent to take a chemical test for the alcohol content of your blood, breath, or urine:
a. Only if you have been drinking alcohol.
b. Yes. Whenever you drive in California.
c. Only if you have a collision.

3. Dim your headlights for oncoming vehicles or when you are within 300 feet of a vehicle:
a. Yes. You are approaching from behind.
b. Approaching you from behind.
c. You have already passed.

8. When driving at night on a dimly lit street, you should:
a. Yes, Drive slowly enough so you can stop within the area lighted by your headlights.
b. Turn on your high beam headlights to better see the vehicles ahead of you.
c. Keep the instrument panel lights bright to be more visible to other drivers.

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. adjust your speed before you reach them.

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

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.

Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers

Allow a 4 second following distance. You will need this space to avoid hitting the
motorcyclist, if he or she brakes suddenly or falls off the motorcycle. Motorcycles
generally can stop faster than passenger vehicles.
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 motorcycle in the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicle and motorcycle drivers, including:
Obeying all traffic signs and traffic signal lights.
Riding in the same direction as traffic.
Signaling when changing lanes or turning.
Yielding to pedestrians.
Wearing a helmet (if under 18 years old).

When you cannot change lanes to pass a bicyclist, allow at least 3 feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist.

Pedestrians using guide dogs or white canes with or without a red tip must be given the right-of-way at all times. These pedestrians are partially or totally blind.

At a stop light or sign, do not stop your vehicle more than 5 feet from the crosswalk, unless there is an advance stop bar (line). Blind pedestrians rely on the sound of your vehicle to become aware of your vehicle’s presence; so, it is important that you stop your vehicle within 5 feet of the crosswalk.

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 freeway lanes.
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.

The following are examples of common behaviors that can lead to aggressive driving and how to avoid them:

Lane Blocking–Don’t block the passing lane. Stay out of the far left lane if other traffic wants to drive faster, and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to pass.
Tailgating–Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you are being tailgated, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Signal Lights–Always use your signals when changing lanes, and avoid changing lanes too close to the other vehicles. After you have changed lanes, turn your signal off.
Gestures–If you must gesture to another driver, do so in a way that will not be interpreted as hostile or obscene.
Horn–Avoid using your horn to say “hello” to a pedestrian. The driver in front of you might think you are honking at them.
Failure to Turn–Unless otherwise posted, right turns are allowed after a complete stop at a red light. Choosing to wait for the green light may frustrate the drivers behind you, but is not illegal.
Parking–Do not take more than one parking space. Do not park in the disabled parking space if you do not have a disabled parking placard or plates.
Headlights–If you use your high-beam headlights, dim your lights for oncoming traffic and when approaching a vehicle from behind; do not retaliate to oncoming high beams with your own.
Merging–When traffic permits, make room to allow vehicles to merge into your lane.

On curves, there is a strong outward pull on your vehicle, which is especially dangerous when the road is slippery. Rain, mud, snow, ice, and gravel make the road slippery. If a speed limit is not posted before a curve, you must judge how sharp the curve is and adjust your speed accordingly. Slow down before you enter the curve; you do not know what may be ahead (stalled vehicle, collision, etc.). Braking on a curve may cause you to skid.

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.

Collisions are more likely to happen when one driver goes faster or slower than the other vehicles on the road.
If you drive faster than other traffic, you increase your chances of being involved in a collision.
Speeding does not save much time.

Driving slower than other vehicles or stopping suddenly can be just as dangerous as speeding, if not more dangerous, because you may cause a rear end collision or cause other drivers to swerve to avoid hitting your vehicle. If you are in the fast lane and you notice vehicles moving to the right lane to pass you, or a line of vehicles is forming behind you, the best thing to do is move into the right lane, when it is safe, and let the vehicle(s) pass.

Water on the Road
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.” A slight change of direction or a gust of wind could throw your vehicle into a skid. If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, slow down gradually—do not apply the brakes.

Slippery Roads
Slow down at the first sign of rain, especially after a dry spell. This is when many roads are the most slippery, because oil and dust have not washed away. A slippery road will not give your tires the grip they need. Drive more slowly than you would on a dry road.

Adjust your speed as follows:
Wet road–go 5 to 10 mph slower.
Packed snow–reduce your speed by half.
Ice–slow to a crawl.

Some road surfaces are more slippery than others when wet and usually have warning signs posted. Here are some clues to help you spot slippery roads:
On cold, wet days, shade from trees or buildings can hide spots of ice. These areas freeze first and dry out last.
Bridges and overpasses tend to freeze before the rest of the road does. They can hide spots of ice.
If it starts to rain on a hot day, the pavement can be very slippery for the first several minutes. Heat causes oil in the asphalt to come to the surface. The oil makes the road slippery until the rain washes the oil off the surface of the road.

High Winds
High winds can be a hazard while driving, especially to larger vehicles, trucks, campers, and vehicles with trailers. Some precautions for driving in high winds include:
Reduce your speed. Slowing down gives you better control over the vehicle and will give you more time to react in the event your vehicle gets hit by a strong gust of wind.
Maintain a firm hand position on the steering wheel. Strong wind gusts are
unpredictable, and if you are not holding the wheel properly, gusts can be strong enough to cause the steering wheel to be jerked out of your hands.
Be alert. Look well ahead and watch for any debris on the road. High winds can cause debris to litter the highway or can even throw debris directly into your path. By looking ahead you give yourself more time to react to road hazards.
Do not use cruise control. You can maintain maximum control of the gas pedal when unpredictable gusts of wind occur.
Be proactive. Wait for the storm to blow over. It may be safer to pull over and take a break.

Driving in Hill Country or Curves
You never know what is on the other side of a steep hill or a sharp curve. When you come to a hill or curve, slow down so you can stop for any hazard. 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 ? 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.

Driving with Sun Glare
Glare from the sun can be very dangerous while driving. The following tips may help you manage sun glare:
Keep the inside and outside of your windshield clean.
Make sure your windshield wipers are in good working order and your wiper fluid level is full.
Wear polarized sunglasses.
Maintain enough space between your vehicle and the vehicles around you. Your car visor should also be free of anything that would restrict use and be in good working order.
Be extra cautious of pedestrians. You may have difficulty seeing them.
Try to avoid driving during sunrise and sunset.

Driving in Darkness
Drive more slowly at night because you cannot see as far ahead and you will have less time to stop for a hazard. Make sure you can stop within the distance lighted by your headlights.

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.

When you drive at night, remember:
Pedestrians and bicyclists are much harder to see at night; stay alert for them.
Motorcycles are also harder to see at night because most have only one taillight.
Highway construction can take place at night. Reduce your speed in highway
construction zones.
When you leave a brightly-lit place, drive slowly until your eyes adjust to the darkness.
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

Driving in Rain or Snow
Many road pavements are the most slippery when it first starts to rain or snow because oil and dust have not yet washed away. Slow down at the first sign of rain, drizzle, or snow on the road.

Turn on your windshield wipers, low-beam headlights, and defroster.
In a heavy rainstorm or snowstorm, you may not be able to see more than 100 feet ahead of your vehicle. 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 windshield, headlights, and taillights.

If you drive in snowy areas, carry the correct number of chains and be sure they will fit your drive wheels. Learn how to put the chains onbefore you need to use them.

Green Driving
Green driving, or “smart” driving, is a set of activities and techniques that maximize vehicle fuel efficiency and lower emissions by improving driving habits and keeping up with vehicle maintenance. There are many benefits, including improved gas mileage, reduced fuel costs, greater safety, and less stress.

Easy-to-remember activities that you can use for green driving:
Behavior–accelerate and slow down smoothly, and maintain a steady average speed.
Maintenance–keep your vehicle in good shape by regularly inflating tires, getting oil changes, and checking filters.
Weight–get rid of extra weight in your vehicle by clearing out the trunk, or removing luggage racks off the roof.

What You Should Do During an Enforcement Stop
Acknowledge the officer’s presence by turning on your right turn signal. Activating your
signal lets the officer know that you recognize his or her presence. An officer may become alarmed if you fail to recognize him or her, and might perceive that you have a reason to avoid yielding or that you might be impaired.

Move your vehicle to the right shoulder of the road. The officer will guide you using his or her patrol vehicle. 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. This places both the driver and the officer in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic.

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.

When it is dark look for locations that have more light, such as areas with street or freeway lights, near restaurants, or service stations.

End your cell phone conversation and turn off your radio. The officer needs your full
attention to communicate with you to complete the enforcement stop in the least amount of time needed.

Remain inside your vehicle unless otherwise directed by the officer. Never step out of your vehicle, unless an officer directs you to do so. During an enforcement stop, the officer’s priorities are your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the officer’s own personal safety.

In most situations, the safest place for you and your passengers is inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle without first being directed by an officer can increase the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle and/or increase the officer’s level of feeling threatened.

Place your hands in clear view, including all passengers’ hands such as on the steering
wheel, on top of your lap, etc. During an enforcement stop, an officer’s inability to see the hands of the driver and all occupants in the vehicle increases the officer’s level of feeling threatened.
Most violent criminal acts against a law enforcement officer occur through the use of a person’s hands, such as the use of a firearm, sharp object, etc. If your windows are tinted, it is recommended that you roll down your windows after you have stopped your vehicle on the right shoulder of the roadway and before the officer makes contact with you.

Skids on Slippery Surfaces
A road that is normally safe can become dangerous when it is slippery. 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.
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. You may have to edge slowly into a snow bank or bushes to stop the vehicle.

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.

Driving Off of the Pavement
If your wheels drift off the pavement onto the shoulder, grip the steering wheel firmly, ease your foot off the accelerator (gas) pedal, and brake gently. After checking for traffic behind you, gently steer back onto the pavement. Do not pull or turn your steering wheel suddenly to correct your steering. This may cause you to drive into oncoming traffic.

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. If your vehicle is not equipped with anti-lock brakes and you enter a locked wheel skid, step on the brake gradually until you are at a safe speed to continue driving. However, if you press the brake pedal and it sinks to the floor, quickly pump the brake pedal to build pressure.

As you’re pumping the breaks, down shift your vehicle into a lower gear or neutral to slow down. Then try using your emergency or parking brake to stop. Slow the vehicle gradually until you are at a safe speed to continue driving.

Accelerator Malfunction
If your accelerator becomes stuck you should:
1. Shift to neutral.
2. Apply the brakes.
3. Keep your eyes on the road.
4. Look for an alternate route away from traffic or look for a way out.
5. Warn other drivers by honking and turning on your emergency lights.
6. Try to drive the car safely off the road.
7. Stop and turn off the ignition.

WARNING: Turning the ignition off while the vehicle is moving may lock the steering wheel; you will not have control of the steering.

Involved in a Collision
If you are involved in a collision:
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 DL, vehicle registration card, evidence of financial responsibility, and current address to the other driver, persons involved, and peace officer.
You (or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative) must make a written report to the police or California Highway Patrol (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 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. Report the collision to the city police or, in unincorporated areas, to the CHP.
If your parked car rolls away and hits another vehicle, try to find the owner and report the incident to authorities as mentioned above.
If you kill or injure an animal, call the nearest humane society, police, or CHP. Do not try to move an injured animal or leave an injured animal to die.

When you drive in California, you consent to have your breath, blood or, under certain
circumstances, urine tested if you are arrested for DUI of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.

Drivers of All Ages
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.

Carrying Alcohol in a Vehicle
The law is very strict about carrying alcohol in a vehicle, whether the vehicle is on or off the highway. 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.

Alcohol/Drugs and Driving Is Dangerous
Alcohol and/or drugs impair your judgment. Impaired judgment or good sense affects how you react to sounds and what you see. It is also dangerous to walk in traffic or ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Much of what has been said about alcohol also applies to drugs. California’s drunk driving law is also a drugged driving law. It refers to “DUI of alcohol and/or 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. Drivers who refuse these tests are subject to longer DL suspensions and revocations.

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. Check with your physician or pharmacist and read the warning label if you are not sure that taking the medication will affect your driving. Here are some facts:
Most drugs taken for colds, hay fever, allergy, or to calm nerves or muscles can make a person drowsy.
Medicines taken together or used with alcohol can be dangerous. Many drugs have unexpected side effects when taken with alcohol.
Pep pills, “uppers,” and diet pills can make a driver more alert for a short time. Later, however, they can cause a person to be nervous, dizzy, and not able to concentrate. They can also affect the vision.
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.

Drowsy driving prevention:
Rolling down the window.
Drinking/eating caffeine or sugar.
Turning on or turning up the radio.
Turning on the air conditioning.
Talking to passengers or talking over the phone.
Exercising, eating, or relaxing without napping/sleeping.

What will prevent drowsy driving:
Getting enough sleep before driving, and do not drive until you are rested.
Driving with a passenger, and switch drivers when you start to feel drowsy.
Pulling over safely and take a 10-20 minute nap.
Calling a ride service or a friend to pick you up and take you to your destination.

Signs that may identify if you or another driver are driving while drowsy:
Yawning or rubbing eyes repeatedly.
Slower reaction time.
Falling asleep for a fraction of a second.
Blurry vision.
Crossing the center line or changing lanes unpredictably.
Inconsistent speed.
Erratic braking.
Missing an exit, turn, or lane.

According to the CHP, if your vehicle becomes disabled on the freeway:
Safely pull to the right shoulder.
If you must exit the vehicle, exit on the right side of your vehicle, away from traffic.
Once you arrange for assistance, return to your vehicle, get back into the vehicle from the right side (away from traffic), and put on your seat belt.
Stay inside your vehicle with the seat belt on until help arrives.

The CHP Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) provides free emergency roadside services during commute periods. If FSP cannot start your vehicle, it will be towed free of charge to a location approved by CHP. FSP will also contact additional assistance for you. CHP will notify an auto club or towing service.

If you get stuck on the freeway because your vehicle stops running, FSP will:
Offer you a gallon of gas if you run out.
Jump start” your vehicle if the battery is dead.
Refill your radiator and tape hoses.
Change a flat tire.
Report any collision to CHP.
The FSP program will not:
Tow your vehicle to a private repair service or residence.
Recommend tow service companies or repair and body shops.
Tow motorcycles.
Assist vehicles which have been involved in a collision

Things You Must Not Do:

Do not smoke at any time when a minor is in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $100

Do not dump or abandon animals on a highway. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, 6 months in jail, or both.

Do not operate a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device (minors, refer to the “Minors and Cell Phones” section for pertaining information).

Do not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to write, send, or read text-based communications.

Do not wear a headset or earplugs in both ears while driving.

Do not drive a vehicle so loaded, either with property or people, that you cannot control it, or see ahead or to the sides of your vehicle.

It is illegal to drive any vehicle with an unsafe, unsecured load
Unsecured loads (ladders, buckets, and loose items in the back of pickup trucks) can cause danger for other motorists, especially motorcycles, when they fall onto the road.

Do not carry anything in or on a passenger vehicle which extends beyond the fenders on the left side or more than 6 inches beyond the fenders on the right side. Cargo extending more than 4 feet from the back rear bumper of the vehicle must display a 12-inch red or fluorescent orange square flag or 2 red lights at night.

Do not allow anyone to ride on any part of your vehicle not intended for passengers.

Do not allow anyone to ride in the trunk of your vehicle. Convictions will result in
penalties for both the driver and the person(s) riding in the trunk.

Do not allow a person to ride in the back of a pickup or other truck, unless the vehicle is equipped with seats and the person uses both the seat and a safety belt.

Do not transport animals in the back of a pickup or other truck unless the animal is properly secured; this prevents the animal from falling, jumping, or being thrown from
the vehicle.

Do not leave a child or an animal unattended in a hot vehicle

Do not tow anyone who is riding a bicycle, in a wagon, on roller skates, roller blades, skis, sled, toy vehicle, skateboard, etc.

Do not litter the roadside. The fine is $1,000 and you may be forced to pick up what you threw away. Littering convictions show on your driving record.

Do not wear eyeglasses with temples wide enough to keep you from seeing clearly to the sides.

Do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor, if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle information, global mapping displays,
external media player (MP3), or satellite radio information.

Do not honk your horn unless it is a safety warning to avoid a collision.

Do not throw any cigarette, cigar, or other flaming or glowing substance from your vehicle.

Do not shoot firearms on a highway or at traffic signs.

Do not block your view by putting signs or other objects on the front windshield or the back side windows. Do not hang objects on the mirror. Windshield/window stickers, etc., are permitted in these locations only:
A 7 inch square on either the passenger’s side windshield lower corner or the
lower corner of the rear window.
A 5 inch square on the lower corner of the driver’s side window.
The side windows behind the driver.
A 5 inch square located in the center uppermost portion of your windshield for an
electronic toll payment device.

Do not drive any motor vehicle into a designated wilderness area

Do not drive with illegally tinted safety glass. If you have sun-sensitive skin, you may use removable sun screens during daylight travel, provided you have a letter from your physician.

Do not block or hinder a funeral procession. Vehicles taking part in a funeral procession have the right-of-way, and if you interfere, obstruct, or interrupt the funeral procession, you are subject to a citation (CVC §2817). A funeral procession is led by a traffic officer. All vehicles taking part in the procession have windshield markers to identify them and have their headlights on.

Do not ride, or allow a child to ride, a "pocket bike" on a public street or highway. These vehicles are not manufactured or designed for highway use, and they do not meet federal safety standards.

Do not operate a vehicle that has a visual or electronic product or device that obscures the reading or recognition of the license plate.

Do not alter a license plate in any manner.

Things You Must Do:

You must drive as far to the right as reasonably possible on narrow mountain roads. If you cannot see at least 200 feet ahead, honk your horn.

You must use your headlights 30 minutes after sunset and leave them on until 30 minutes before sunrise.

You must dim your lights to low beams within 500 feet of a vehicle coming toward you or within 300 feet of a vehicle you are following.

You must turn on your headlights if snow, rain, fog, dust, or low visibility (1,000 feet or less) requires the use of windshield wipers.

If you are involved in a collision, you must move your vehicle out of the traffic lane (unless it is disabled) when it is safe to do so. Law enforcement may tow or impound your vehicle if it is left in an unsafe area and causes safety concerns.