8 Traffic Laws to Know Before Driving in California
November 11 2020
Millions of visitors flock to California by car every year for road trips and to enjoy theme parks and beaches. Although most state’s traffic laws are similar, it’s important to know the traffic laws pertaining to any new state you find yourself driving in.
Whether you live in California or are just visiting, there are 8 traffic laws you need to be aware of.
1. Speed Limits – As in every state in the United States, the speed limits in California are posted in miles per hour (mph). Freeway speeds in this state are lower than most states, generally 65 mph.
2. Eyes-on-the-Road Laws – In California it is against the law to write, send or read text messages while driving. If you choose to speak on the phone while operating a vehicle, you must use a hands-free device. Although you may drive with headphones, you must not have them in or over both ears.
3. Carpool Lanes – Many of California’s freeways have carpool lanes, marked by the diamond pattern painted on the lane’s surface. These lanes typically require at least two people in the vehicle, including the driver.
4. Traffic Stop Protocol – If you get pulled over for a traffic violation in California, you must produce a drivers’ license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. You do, however, have rights. You have the right to say no if an officer asks your permission to do something. An officer may also ask for the identification of any passengers in the vehicle.
5. Immigration Status – California traffic laws prohibit police officers from asking any drivers or passengers about immigration status. Only federal law enforcement officers have that ability. You can refuse to answer any questions about immigration status during a traffic stop.
6. Pedestrian Laws – Under California Law, pedestrians have the right-of-way even in unmarked crosswalks. When you are driving, be aware of pedestrians at intersections and even in roundabouts.
7. Passengers in the Back of a Truck – it is illegal in California to transport people in the back of a pickup truck. The one exception to this law is if the back of the truck is equipped with seats and seatbelts, and the passenger is properly seated and buckled in. It is also against the law to transport animals in the back of a vehicle unless they are properly secured.
8. Headlights – The law states that headlights must be turned on 30 minutes after the sun goes down and left on until 30 minutes before sunrise.
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