Exploring Overlooked Traffic Regulations in California

Navigating California’s Lesser-Known Traffic Laws

California boasts an extensive list of rules governing vehicle operation, some well-known, while others slip under the radar. Whether you’re a seasoned driver with decades of experience or a newly licensed individual, there’s no harm in revisiting these lesser-known regulations to ensure safer roads for everyone. Below, we’ll explore five California traffic laws you might not know, shedding light on their significance and implications for motorists.

Law #1: Flashing High Beams – What You Need to Know

One of California’s lesser-known traffic laws revolves around using high beams. According to California law, it’s illegal to flash your high beams when approaching a vehicle within 500 feet or following within 300 feet of another vehicle. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) explains that while drivers may have good intentions, such as warning others to turn on their headlights, any flashing within these specified distances is considered illegal. High beams should only be used when visibility is less than 1,000 feet. Low beams, on the other hand, should be used during adverse weather conditions or when driving near other vehicles.

Law #2: The Red Light Dilemma – Patience is Key

Running a red light violates California Vehicle Code 21453, even if it feels like it is taking an eternity to turn green. The only exceptions are when directed by an authorized traffic director or law enforcement officer. The Sacramento Police Department (Sac PD) emphasizes that motorists should not take matters into their own hands. If a traffic signal is malfunctioning, drivers are advised to roll back over the sensor and, if necessary, make a legal right turn after ensuring the path is clear. Running a red light without valid justification can result in a citation.

Law #3: Lap Dogs and Driving – A Hazardous Combination

While California law doesn’t explicitly prohibit driving with an animal on your lap, it can pose a significant hazard. According to California Vehicle Code 22350, drivers must operate their vehicles at a reasonable speed while maintaining a clear view. The CHP suggests that it could be argued that driving with an animal in your lap equates to a speed of zero miles per hour, potentially violating the basic speed law. Motorists caught with their furry companions in their laps may face citations.

Law #4: Distracted Driving – Beyond Just Cellphones

Distracted driving encompasses a wide range of activities, including cellphone use. This includes eating, applying makeup, rubbernecking, and driving with your pet on your lap. According to the DMV, distracted driving is any situation where you divert your attention away from the road, whether by taking your eyes off it, your hands off the steering wheel, or your mind off driving. First-time violators of these laws may face a minimum fine of $162. Additionally, other distractions can lead to reckless driving or speeding violations, as highlighted by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

Law #5: The Red Light on a One-Way Street – Deciphering the Rules

Turning left at a red light on a one-way street in California is permissible, but it depends on the type of traffic signal. Drivers are legally allowed to turn left at a red light when transitioning from one one-way street to another, provided there is a circular red light and no “no turn on red” sign, as outlined by the DMV’s driver’s handbook. It’s crucial to distinguish between a circular red light and a red arrow; turning on a red arrow is prohibited.

California Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Understanding and adhering to California’s traffic laws, both well-known and lesser-known, is vital for safe and responsible driving. By respecting these regulations, you contribute to the safety of all road users. In the unfortunate event of a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, our injury attorneys are here to help. If you have suffered injuries in an accident, call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for a free consultation. We are dedicated to ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.

Watch the video below to learn how our law firm can help your injury claim if you have been hurt in a traffic accident in California.

Photo by Mark Boss on Unsplash

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