California Traffic Laws Every Driver Should Know

by sem on May 8, 2013

Ins-and-outs-california-traffic-laws

The law can be a tricky concept. While common sense usually provides us with the basics (don’t drive with your head hanging out the sunroof), there are lots of things that we may not think of as dangerous or reckless, but in fact are outlawed. Here are a few rules that fall into that gray area.

 IT’S ILLEGAL TO DRIVE BAREFOOT

VERDICT: FALSE

Have you ever spent the day at the beach, only to walk back to your car, feet covered in sand? Sure, you could spend a few minutes dusting them off, and you’d get most of it, but still your feet would be a little sandy. And you have a shower at home that you were going to jump into anyway, but you’re not quite sure what would happen if you got pulled over. There are thousands of miles of beaches in California, so you can imagine the number of people who have faced a similar dilemma. Well, rest assured, it’s perfectly legal. You can even ride a motorcycle without shoes, if you’re so inclined. Of course, it’s not a terribly smart thing to do…

 IT’S ILLEGAL TO PLAY THE RADIO IN YOUR VEHICLE

VERDICT: TECHNICALLY, YEAH, SOMETIMES

Are you going to get in trouble for quietly listening to your favorite song in the privacy of your own car? Of course not. But there is a law saying that it’s illegal to play “any sound amplification system” so loud that it can be heard 50 feet away from the vehicle. Most people obey this law simply because breaking it is obnoxious and rude. But I bet most of you have pulled up alongside a car that you could “feel” from the bass reverberation alone. It doesn’t even matter what genre, I’ve seen this behavior with everything from classical to country to rap.

Unfortunately, it’s not very heavily enforced, so the clueless people who think it’s okay to blare their music very rarely get ticketed.

 IT’S ILLEGAL TO ATTACH A GPS DEVICE IN YOUR VEHICLE

VERDICT: DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU ATTACH IT

The laws regarding placement of GPS systems fall into the category of “common sense,” too, but apparently it was a problem for some. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a need for the law. According to the Official California Legislative Information website, you can attach a unit to your windshield, but only to the lower corners of either side. Placing it in the middle (AKA “blocking your view of the road”) is against the law.

 IT’S ILLEGAL TO NOT USE HEADLIGHTS WHEN WINDSHIELD WIPERS ARE ON

VERDICT: FALSE

If it’s rainy or foggy in California (and yes, it’s occasionally rainy and foggy in California), you probably want to turn headlights on in addition to your windshield wipers. That being said, you don’t always have to do it. The law says it’s entirely up to you, unless the wipers are “in continuous use due to rain, mist, snow, fog, or other precipitation or atmospheric moisture.”

 IT’S ILLEGAL TO USE YOUR CELL PHONE OR TEXT WHILE DRIVING

VERDICT: TRUE—UNLESS…

Yes, it’s true. No, you may not text, email, or talk on the phone while driving—unless, of course, you can do it without your hands. Thanks to a new law that went into effect January 1, 2013, voice-activated and hands-free texting and talking is legal in the state of California. All the more reason to upgrade your Android or iPhone…

If you’re interested in finding out all the updates to California traffic laws, or you’re just looking for a way to keep your driving skills polished, consider taking an California-trafficschool-online.com  course. A little effort beforehand could save thousands of dollars, and even some lives, down the road!

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