As the most populous state in the United States, you can imagine how dense and congested traffic can get. Even if you’re already an experienced driver, if you’ve never been to California before (and specifically never in the big cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, or San Francisco) then you’ve never really experienced California traffic, have you? (Image Credit: Free Photos/Pixabay)
California currently ranks 22 for the number of traffic deaths and accidents in a year, which may not be the highest in the country (fortunately) but still may not be comforting for some people. That’s why learning some basic tips on how to drive safely in the dense traffic areas of the state will be to your benefit.
Here are the top five safety tips for driving safely for the first time in California:
Safety Tip #1 – Follow The Speed Limit
“Well, duh,” you might initially think. But you need to be extra careful when you are driving in California, because in the areas above the city there are aircraft closely monitoring your driving speeds. Excessive speeds will be quickly detected and radioed into a nearby police vehicle, which will go after you and pull you over.
As with other areas in the United States, there are also roadside cameras to detect speeds as well, so you need to be vigilant in keeping yourself at or under the speed limit at all times. You can install a GPS tracker for car to detect unsafe driving such as speeding or harsh braking.”
Safety Tip #2 – Keep Your Eyes on the Road
It is illegal in California to write, read, or send text messages while driving, and this is strictly enforced. When speaking on the phone, make sure that you are using a hands free device.
In other words, practice safe driving tips such as keeping both hands on the steering wheel and your eyes glued to the road. If you need to make a phone call or send a text, pull over to somewhere safe first.
Safety Tip #3 – Handle Carpool Lanes Safely
Also known as diamond lanes, carpool lanes are a diamond shape pattern lane that are located on freeways with the heaviest traffic. You can quickly identify them by the black-and-white signs that include details on the days and times of enforcement, which is usually during the peak rush hour times.
In order to drive in a carpool lane, you must have a minimum of two people in the vehicle (including the driver, obviously), or otherwise, if you are in San Francisco you will need o have three people. Also be aware that these lanes can charge you, and sometimes the fees are enormously high at three to four hundred dollars.
Safety Tip #4 – Know When You Can Do U-Turns
In California, there are only a few specific instances in which you can do U-Turns: there must be a double yellow line, there must be no vehicles approaching you from within two hundred feet if you are in a residential area, there must be no signs explicitly prohibiting U-Turns, and there must be an opening in the center divider if you are on a divided highway.
Safety Tip #5 – Be Wary About Turning and Passing Other Cars
In California, you can only pass on the right hand side on any open highway if the highway has been marked for a minimum of two lanes of travel in your direction. You can never pass on the left if the driver ahead of you is signaling a left turn.
If two vehicles are on a road where neither vehicle is able to pass, the vehicle facing downhill will have to yield the right of way by backing up, until the vehicle that is heading uphill can pass by.
For turning, you can also only make a left turn on a red light if you are on a one way street that leads to another one way street, and you can also only make a right turn at a red light if there are no signs explicitly prohibiting it.
Driving Safely In California
Driving within California will be fun when you’re on open roads or along the coast, in which case it can be a road trip lover’s dream. But things get a bit more complicated when you head into the denser cities with the infamous California traffic jams, and you’ll want to put the top safety tips that we have covered here today to the ultimate test.