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California Parking Laws & Rules

California Parking Laws & Rules

Most California parking laws and rules are regulated at a local level, so every city is a little bit different. However, this guide covers general parking laws in California.

Laws For Parking On A Hill In California

When you park:

  • 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.

California Parking Laws
Down Hill                      Up Hill             No Curb, Up Hill or Down Hill

Always set your parking brake and leave the vehicle in gear or in the “park” position.

Parallel Parking Laws In California

How to parallel park safely:

  1. Find a space. Look for a space at least 3 feet longer than your vehicle to safely park in the space without striking another vehicle or object. When you find a space, signal your intention to park.
  2. Pull your vehicle alongside the vehicle in front of your space, if any, 2 feet away from it and bumpers aligned. Check your rearview mirror and look over your shoulder for approaching vehicles. You can brake gently so approaching vehicles behind you will see the brake lights and stop to allow you to park. Keep your foot on the brake and put the vehicle in reverse. Maintain the turn signal.
  3. Lift your foot off the brake. Check your mirrors and look over your shoulder to make sure the street is clear of traffic before you begin to back up. Look over your shoulder at the space to make sure it is clear of any objects, pedestrians, animals, etc. Begin to back up while turning the wheel hard toward the curb; you want the angle to be sharp but not too sharp.
  4. Once the back of your seat is aligned with the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of the empty space, begin turning the steering wheel away from the curb.
  5. Straighten out. Your vehicle should now be about 6 inches from and parallel the curb. You might have to adjust your vehicle forward or backward before you put your vehicle in park and turn off the engine. Check your mirrors and look over your left shoulder for oncoming traffic or bicyclists before you exit.

How to Parallel Park Properly

Step 1

Bring your car to a stop alongside the car at the front of the space.
California Parking Laws

Step 2

Reverse into the space with an S motion.
California Parking Laws

Step 3

Once the car is parallel with the curb, pull forward to center your car within the space.
California Parking Laws

Parking At Colored Curbs In California

Painted colored curbs have the following special parking rules:

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–Stop no longer than the time posted to 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.)

California Parking Laws

Blue–Parking is permitted only for a disabled person or a driver of a disabled person who displays a placard or a 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. No one other than a disabled person or a driver of a disabled person may park there. A crosshatched (diagonal lines) area adjacent to a designated disabled parking space is a no parking area. Qualified persons may apply at any DMV office or visit the DMV website atwww.dmv.ca.gov to obtain a form for a parking placard or special plates. An identification card will be issued to holders of disabled person or disabled veteran license plates.

Example of crosshatched (diagonal lines) area
California Parking Laws

NOTE:Placard abuse results in the loss of special parking privileges. It is also a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, or both.

Examples of placard abuse:

  • Using a placard after it has been reported lost or stolen without reporting that the placard was found.
  • Loaning your placard to friends or family members (disabled or not).
  • Interchanging placards with friends or family members.
  • Using a placard when the person it was issued to is not in the vehicle with you (disabled child, family member, disabled employer, etc.).
  • Using a deceased person’s placard.

NOTE: Disabled plates and/or a placard must be surrendered or returned to the nearest DMV within 60 days of the death of the disabled person. The plates and/or placard can also be mailed to the following address:

DMV
PO Box 942869 MS D238
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

Illegal Parking In California

Never park or leave your vehicle:

  • Where a “No Parking” sign is posted.
  • On a marked or unmarked crosswalk, sidewalk, partially blocking a sidewalk, or in front of a driveway.
  • Within 3 feet of a sidewalk ramp for disabled persons or in front of or on a curb that provides wheelchair access to a sidewalk.
  • In a disabled person parking space, unless you are disabled and display a placard or special plates.
  • In the space next to a disabled person parking space, if it is painted in a crosshatched (diagonal) pattern (CVC §22507.8(c)(2)).
  • In a space designated for parking or fueling zero-emission vehicles which display an identifying decal.
  • In a tunnel or on a bridge, except where permitted by signs.
  • Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or a fire station driveway.
  • On or within 7½ feet of a railroad track.
  • Between a safety zone and the curb.
  • “Double parked.” (Parking in the street when all legal parking places at the curb are taken.)
  • On the wrong side of the street.
  • At a red curb.
  • On a freeway, except:
    • In an emergency, or
    • When an officer or device requires a stop, or
    • Where a stop is specifically permitted. A vehicle (even if disabled) that is stopped, parked, or left standing on a freeway for more than four hours may be removed (CVC §22651(f)).

NOTE: If you must stop on a freeway, park completely off the pavement and stay in your vehicle with the doors locked until help arrives. Leave enough space for other vehicles to freely pass by your vehicle. Your vehicle should be visible for at least 200 feet in each direction.

Special Parking Rules In California

  • When you park alongside a curb on a level street, the front and back wheels must be parallel and within 18 inches of the curb. Park parallel to the street if there is no curb.
  • Never leave your vehicle while the engine is still running; stop the engine and set the parking brake.
  • When you are ready to exit your vehicle, look carefully for passing vehicles, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Do not open the driver’s side door unless it is safe to do so and you do not interfere with traffic. Do not leave the door open any longer than necessary.

Laws For Legal Turns While Driving In California

Laws For Legal Turns While Driving In California

Left turns–To make a left turn, drive close to the center divider line or into the left turn lane. Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your left shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look left, then right, then left again, and make the turn when it is safe. When you turn left, do not turn too soon and “cut the corner” of the lane belonging to the vehicles coming towards you.

Example of a left turn

California Turns

Safety suggestion: 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.

A left turn against a red light can only be made from a one-way street onto a one-way street. Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the marked limit line. If there is no limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. You may turn left into a left-moving, one-way street if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light.

Right turns–To make a right turn, drive close to the right edge of the road. If there is a bike lane, drive into the bike lane no more than 200 feet before the turn. Watch for bicyclists or motorcyclists who may get between your vehicle and the curb.

Begin signaling about 100 feet before the turn. Look over your right shoulder and reduce your speed. Stop behind the limit line. Look both ways and turn when it is safe. Do not turn wide into another lane. Complete your turn in the right lane.

Example of a right turn

California Turns

Right turn against a red light–Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the marked limit line. If there is no limit line, stop before entering the crosswalk. If there is no crosswalk, stop before entering the intersection. You may turn right if there is no sign to prohibit the turn. Yield to pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light.

No turn against a red arrow–You may not turn right or left against a red arrow.

Examples Of Right and Left Turns

The numbers on the cars in the diagrams refer to the numbered sentences on this page. Always use your turn signals.

1. Left turn from a two-way street. Start the turn in the left lane closest to the middle of the street. Complete the turn, if safe, in either lane of the cross street (shown by the arrows). Use the center left turn lane if one is available. A left turn may be made from the other lane, if permitted by signs or arrows.

California Turns

2. Right turn. Begin and end the turn in the lane nearest the righthand curb. Do not swing wide into another lane of traffic. Watch for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists between your vehicle and the curb. Sometimes, signs or pavement markings will let you turn right from another lane as shown by the graphic 2.

3. Left turn from a two-way street into a one-way street. Start the turn from the lane closest to the middle of the street. Turn into any lane that is safely open, as shown by the arrows.

California Turns

4. Left turn from a one-way street into a two-way street. Start the turn from the far left lane. Turn into either of the lanes that are safely open, as shown by the arrows.

5. Left turn from a one-way street into a one-way street. Start the turn from the far left lane. Watch for pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists between your vehicle and the curb because they can legally use the left turn lane for their left turns. Turn into any lane that is safely open, as shown by the arrows.

California Turns

6. Right turn from a one-way street into a one-way street. Start the turn in the far right lane. If safe, you may end the turn in any lane. Sometimes, signs or pavement markings will let you turn right from another lane, as shown by the graphic 6.

7. Turn at a “T” intersection from a one-way street into a two-way street. Through traffic has the right-of-way. You may turn either right or left from the center lane. Watch for vehicles, motorcyclists, and bicyclists inside your turn.

California Turns

Legal U-Turns In California

A U-turn is turning your vehicle around in the street to go back the way you came. To make a U-turn, signal and use the far left lane or the center left turn lane. You may make a legal U-turn:

  • Across a double yellow line when it is safe and legal.
  • In a residential district:
    • If there are no vehicles approaching you within 200 feet.
    • Whenever a traffic sign, light, or signal protects you from approaching vehicles.
  • At an intersection on a green light or green arrow, unless a “No Uturn” sign is posted.
  • On a divided highway, only if an opening is provided in the center divider.

Illegal U-Turns In California

Never make a U-turn:

  • At or on a railroad crossing.
  • On a divided highway by crossing a dividing section, curb, strip of land, or two sets of double yellow lines.
  • Where you cannot see clearly 200 feet in each direction because of a curve, hill, rain, fog, or other reason.
  • Where a “No U-Turn” sign is posted.
  • When other vehicles may hit you.
  • On a one-way street.
  • In front of a fire station. Never use a fire station driveway to turn your vehicle around.
  • In business districts. Areas with churches, apartments, multiple dwelling houses, clubs, and public buildings (except schools) are also considered to be business districts. Turn only at an intersection, unless a sign prohibits it, or where openings are provided for turns.

Lane Control Laws In California

Lane Control Laws In California

Lane control laws in California are similar to most other states. However, in this guide we’ll cover some of the specific laws and regulations.

Examples of lane markings

No passing when solid yellow line is on your side of roadway.   No passing with solid double yellow lines.   OK to pass when it is safe and the broken yellow line is on your side of the roadway.

(1) Solid yellow line: No passing if solid yellow line is on your side.
(2) Double solid lines: DO NOT pass.
(3) Broken yellow line: May pass if movement can be made safely.

Driving & Roadway Line Colors In California

Solid yellow lines mark the center of a road used for two-way traffic.

Broken yellow lines indicate that you may pass if the broken line is next to your driving lane.

Two solid yellow lines indicate no passing. Never drive to the left of these lines unless you are:

  • In a carpool lane/High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane that has a designated entrance on the left.
  • Instructed by construction or other signs to drive on the other side of the road because your side of the road is closed or blocked.

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 or make a left turn or a U-turn across it except at designated openings (see diagram).

California Lane Control Laws 4

Solid white lines mark traffic lanes going in the same direction, such as one-way streets.

Broken white lines separate traffic lanes on roads with two or more lanes in the same direction.

Double white lines are two solid white lines that indicate a lane barrier between regular use and a preferential use, such as a carpool/HOV lane. 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.

Properly Choosing A Lane

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.

Example of numbered traffic lanes
California Lane Control Laws 5

Drive in the lane with the smoothest flow of traffic. If you can choose among three lanes, pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving. To drive faster, pass, or turn left, use the left lane. When you choose to drive slowly or enter or turn off the road, use the right lane.

If there are only two lanes in your direction, pick the right lane for the smoothest driving.

Do not weave in and out of traffic. Stay in one lane as much as possible. Once you start through an intersection, keep going. If you start to make a turn, follow through. Last-minute changes may cause collisions. If you miss a turn, continue until you can safely and legally turn around.

Laws For Changing Lanes In California

Changing lanes includes:

  • Moving from one lane to another.
  • Entering the freeway from an on-ramp.
  • Entering the road from a curb or the shoulder.

Before changing lanes, signal, look in all your mirrors, and:

  • Check traffic behind and beside you.
  • Glance over your left or right shoulder to make sure the lane you want is clear.
  • Check for vehicles, motorcyclists, and bicycle traffic in your blind spot.
  • Be sure there is enough room for your vehicle in the next lane.

Laws Regarding Passing Lanes In California

Before you pass, look ahead for road conditions and traffic that may cause other vehicles to move into your lane.

Never drive off the paved or main-traveled portion of the road or on the shoulder to pass. The edge of the main-traveled portion of the road may have a painted white line on the road’s surface. Passing other vehicles at crossroads, railroad crossings, and shopping center entrances is dangerous.

Pass traffic on the left. 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.

Laws For Carpool / High-Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) Lanes In California

An HOV lane is a special lane used only for carpools, buses, motorcycles, or declared low-emission vehicles. You may use a carpool/HOV  lane or on-ramp if your vehicle carries the posted minimum number of people required for the carpool lane, or you drive a low-emission vehicle displaying a special DMV-issued decal. If you operate a low emission and/or hybrid vehicle, you may be exempt from all toll charges on high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Motorcycle riders may use designated carpool/HOV lanes unless otherwise posted.

California Lane Control Laws 6

Signs at the on-ramp or along the freeway tell you the minimum number of people per vehicle required for the carpool/HOV lane(s). These signs also list the days of the week and the hours when the carpool/HOV requirement applies. The pavement in this lane is marked with a diamond symbol  and the words “Carpool Lane.” These lanes are also known as high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. Do not cross over double parallel solid lines to enter or exit any carpool/HOV lane except at designated entry or exit places.

Laws For Center Left Turn Lanes In California

A center left-turn lane is located in the middle of a two-way street and is marked on both sides by two painted lines. The inner line is broken and the outer line is solid. If a street has a center left-turn lane, you must use it to prepare for or make a left turn, or to prepare for or make a permitted U-turn (CVC §21460.5 (c)). You may only drive for 200 feet in the center left-turn lane. This lane is not a regular traffic lane or a passing lane. To turn left from this lane, signal, look over your shoulder and drive completely inside the center left-turn lane. Do not stop with the back of your vehicle blocking traffic. Make sure the lane is clear in both directions and then turn only when it is safe. Look for vehicles coming toward you in the same lane, preparing to start their left turn.

California Lane Control Laws 7

When turning left from a side street or driveway, signal and wait until it is safe. Then you may drive into the center left turn lane. Enter traffic only when it is safe.

Laws For Turnout Areas and Lanes In California

Special “turnout” areas are sometimes marked on two-lane roads. Drive into these areas to allow cars behind you to pass. Some two-lane roads have passing lanes. If you are driving slowly on a two-lane highway or road where passing is unsafe, and five or more vehicles are following you, drive into the turnout areas or lanes to let the vehicles pass.

End-of-Lane Markings In California

Freeway lanes, as well as some city street lanes, which are ending will usually be marked by large broken lines painted on the pavement. If you are driving in a lane marked with these broken lines, be prepared to exit the freeway or for the lane to end. Look for a sign that tells you to exit or merge, etc.

Califonria Lane Control Laws 8

Shared Roadway Bicycle Markings (Sharrows) In California

Sharrows are used to indicate lanes that bicyclists are lawfully allowed to occupy.

California Lane Control Laws 9

Sharrows are used to assist bicyclists with positioning on a shared roadway. They also alert motorists of the location a bicyclist may occupy within the traveled roadway.

Laws For Bicycle Lanes In California

A bicycle lane is a designated traffic lane for bicyclists, marked by a solid white line, typically breaking into a dotted line ending before it reaches the corner. Different from a simple white line showing the edge of the road, a bicycle lane follows specific width requirements and is clearly marked as a bike lane.

  • Treat a bicycle lane the same as other traffic lanes.
  • Do not turn into the lane if there is a bicyclist in the bike lane.
  • Do not obstruct bicycle traffic by reducing the width required for safe bicycle passage, typically 3 to 4 feet.

When you are making a right turn and are within 200 feet of the corner or other driveway entrance, you must enter the bicycle lane only after ensuring there is no bicycle traffic, and then make the turn. Do not drive in the bicycle lane at any other time.

You may park in a bicycle lane if your vehicle does not block a bicyclist and/or there is not a “No Parking” sign posted.

Drivers of motorized bicycles should use bicycle lanes carefully to avoid collisions with bicyclists.

Understanding Your Surroundings While Driving

Understanding Your Surroundings While Driving

Safe driving demands more than just staring out the front window. You should always be looking around and aware of your surroundings. In this guide, we’ll cover some tips and tricks for being aware of your surroundings while driving.

Scanning By Keeping Your Eyes Moving While Driving

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 time by keeping a “space cushion” on all sides of your vehicle. This space cushion will give you room to brake or maneuver if you need the space.

Looking Far Ahead While Driving

To avoid last minute moves, scan the road 10–15 seconds ahead of your vehicle so you can see hazards early. Constantly staring at the road just in front of your vehicle is dangerous. As you scan ahead, be alert for vehicles around you.

Where is the green vehicle headed?

Knowing Your Surroundings

Use your mirrors. Allow enough space between you and the vehicle ahead to give yourself an “out.” Mistakes cause collisions. In the city, 10–15 seconds is about one block. On the highway, 10–15 seconds is about a quarter of a mile.

Take in the whole scene – If you only look at the middle of the road, you will miss what is happening on the side of the road and behind you

Scanning helps you to see:

  • Cars, motorcycles, bicyclists, and people that may be in the road by the time you reach them.
  • Signs warning of problems ahead.
  • Signs giving you directions.

The shaded areas are your blind spots.

Knowing Your Surroundings

Before changing lanes, look into your rear view mirror for nearby vehicles and also over your shoulder to check for blind spots. Blind spots can hide a motorcyclist, a vehicle or a bicyclist. Watch for things about to happen, like a ball rolling into the street or a vehicle door opening.

Watch for hazards–Look beyond the vehicle ahead of you. Do not develop a “fixed stare.” Keep scanning. Check your rear view mirrors every two – five seconds so you know the position of vehicles near you.

On the freeway, be ready for changes in traffic conditions. Watch for signals from other drivers. Expect merging vehicles at on-ramps and interchanges. Be prepared for rapid changes in road conditions and traffic flow. Know which lanes are clear so you can use them if necessary.

Do not be a tailgater! Many drivers follow too closely (tailgate) and are not able to see as far ahead as they should because the vehicle ahead blocks their view.

The more space you allow between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead, the more time you will have to see a hazard, and stop or avoid that hazard.

Most rear end collisions are caused by tailgating. To avoid tailgating, use the “three-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.” Counting these numbers takes approximately three seconds. If you pass the same point before you finish counting, you are following too closely.

You should allow a four-second or more cushion when:

  • Being crowded by a tailgater. Allow extra room ahead, do not brake suddenly. Slow down gradually or merge into another lane to prevent being hit from behind by the tailgater!
  • Driving on slippery roads.
  • Following motorcyclists on wet or icy roads, on metal surfaces (e.g., bridge gratings, railroad tracks, etc.), and on gravel. Motorcyclists can fall more 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.
  • Towing a trailer or carrying a heavy load. The extra weight makes it harder to stop.
  • Following large vehicles that block your view ahead. The extra space allows you to see around the vehicle.
  • You see a bus, school bus, or a placarded vehicle at railroad crossings. These vehicles must stop at railroad crossings; so, slow down early and allow plenty of room.
  • Merging onto a freeway.

If you follow too closely and another driver “cuts” in front of you, just take your foot off the gas. This gives you space between your vehicle and the other driver, without having to slam on your brakes or swerve into another lane.

Know What Is At Your Side

Any time you come to a place where people may cross or enter your path or one line of traffic meets another, you should look to the left and right sides of your vehicle to make sure no one is coming. Always look to each side of your vehicle at intersections, crosswalks, and railroad crossings.

At intersections:

  • Look both ways even if other traffic has a red light or a stop sign:
    • Look to the left first, since vehicles coming from the left are closer to you than vehicles coming from the right.
    • Look to the right.
    • Take one more look to the left in case there is a vehicle or a pedestrian you did not see the first time.
  • Do not rely on traffic signals. Some drivers do not obey traffic signals so before you enter an intersection, look left, right, and ahead for approaching traffic.

To maintain a space cushion on each side of your vehicle:

  • Do not stay in another driver’s blind spot. The other driver may not see your vehicle and could change lanes and hit you.
  • Avoid driving directly alongside other vehicles on multilane streets with or without traffic in the opposite direction. Another driver might crowd your lane or change lanes without looking and crash into you. Drive either ahead of or behind the other vehicle.
  • If possible and when safe, make room for vehicles entering freeways even though you have the right-of-way.
  • At freeway exits, do not drive alongside other cars. A driver may decide to exit suddenly or swerve back onto the freeway.
  • Keep a space between your vehicle and parked cars. Someone may step out from between them, a vehicle door may open, or a vehicle may pull out suddenly.
  • Be careful when driving near motorcyclists or bicyclists. Always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and any motorcyclists or bicyclists.

Know What Is Behind You

It is very important to check behind you before you:

  • Change lanes. Look over your shoulder to make sure you are not getting in the way of vehicles in the lane you want to enter.
  • Reduce your speed. Take a quick glance in your mirrors. Also check your mirrors when you are preparing to turn into a side road or driveway and when you are stopping to pull into a parking space.
  • Drive down a long or steep hill. Watch for large vehicles because they can gather speed very quickly.
  • Back up. Backing up is always dangerous because it is hard to see behind your vehicle. When you are backing out of a parking space:
    • Check in front and behind the vehicle before you get in.
    • Know where your kids are. Make sure they are away from your vehicle and in full view before moving your vehicle.
    • If other children are nearby, make sure you can see them before backing up.
    • Do not depend only on your mirrors or only looking out a side window.
    • Turn and look over your right and left shoulders before you begin backing. As a safety measure, also look over your right and left shoulders again while backing.
    • Back slowly to avoid collisions.

Check traffic behind you often to know if you are being tailgated (another driver is following too closely). If you are being tailgated, be careful! Brake slowly before stopping. Tap your brakes lightly a few times to warn the tailgater you are slowing down.

“Lose” the tailgater as soon as you can. Change lanes and allow the tailgater to pass you, or slow down to allow enough “cushion” between you and the car in front of you. If this does not work, pull off the road when it is safe and let the tailgater pass.

Know Your Stopping Distance

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.

Adjust your driving speed to the weather and road conditions (refer to the “Basic Speed Law” in the “Speed Limits” section). 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.

California Speed Limit Laws In 2021

California Speed Limit Laws In 2021

Speeding tickets are the most common type of traffic violation in California. Here are some updated speed limit laws in California for 2021.

Speed Limits In California

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 could be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.”

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 walking on the road’s edge or crossing the street.
  • Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty.

Maximum Speed Limit In California

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 two-lane undivided highways and for vehicles towing trailers.

Other speed limit signs are posted for the type of roads and traffic in each area. All speed limits are based on ideal driving conditions. Construction zones usually have reduced speed zones.

High speed increases your stopping distance. The faster you go, the less time you have to avoid a hazard or collision. The force of a 60 mph crash is not just twice as great as a 30 mph crash; it’s four times as great!

Reduced Speeds

Below are some reasons you’ll need to reduce your speed below the posted speed limit.

Heavy Traffic or Bad Weather

You must drive slower when there is heavy traffic or bad weather. However, if you block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic by driving too slowly, you may be given a ticket. If you choose to drive slower than other traffic, do not drive in the “Number 1 lane” (the fast lane) (refer to “Choosing a Lane”). When traveling below the speed limit and another driver is close behind you and wishes to drive faster, always move to the right.

Towing Vehicles, Buses, or Large Trucks

When you tow a vehicle or trailer, or drive a bus or three or more axle truck, you must drive in the right hand lane or in a lane specially marked for slower vehicles. If no lanes are marked and there are four lanes or more in your direction, you may only drive in either of the two lanes closest to the right edge of the road.

Driving Around Children

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. Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas because children may suddenly dart into the street. Also, many children have not yet developed the ability to judge speeds and distances well enough to cross streets safely when cars are moving fast.

All vehicles must stop

California School Bus Stopped

Near schools, look for:

  • Bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • School safety patrols or school crossing guards. Be sure to obey their directions. 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. Some school buses flash yellow lights when preparing to stop to let children off the bus. The yellow flashing lights warn you to slow down and prepare to stop. 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 (CVC §22454). If you fail to stop, you may be fined up to $1,000 and your driving privilege could be suspended for one year. 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.

California Speed Limit Laws For Blind Intersections

The speed limit for a blind intersection is 15 mph. An intersection is considered “blind” if there are no stop signs at any corner and you cannot see for 100 feet in either direction during the last 100 feet before crossing. Trees, bushes, buildings, or parked cars at intersections can block your view to the side. If your view is blocked, edge forward slowly until you can see.

Speed Limit Laws For Alleys In California

The speed limit in any alley is 15 mph.

Speed Limit Laws When Driving Near Near Railroad Tracks In California

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.

At railroad or train crossings:

California Railroad Crossing
  • Look in both directions and listen for trains. Many crossings have multiple tracks; so, be ready to stop before crossing, if necessary. Cross railroad tracks only at designated crossings and only when it is safe to do so.
  • Expect a train on any track at any time traveling in either direction. If you need to stop after crossing the tracks, wait until you can completely cross the tracks before proceeding. Make sure your vehicle clears the tracks before you stop.
  • Never stop on the railroad tracks. Remember that a train cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way. If you are on the tracks, you risk injury or death.
  • Watch for vehicles that must stop before they cross train tracks. These vehicles include buses, school buses, and trucks transporting hazardous loads.
  • Remember that flashing red lights mean STOP! Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from the nearest track when the crossing devices are active or a person warns you a train is coming. Stop if you see a train coming or you hear the whistle, horn, or bell of an approaching train.
  • Do not go under lowering gates or around lowered gates. Flashing red lights indicate you must stop and wait. Do not proceed over the crossing 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 Vehicle Crossings

The same rules apply to light rail transit vehicle crossings as to train crossings. Do not proceed across the tracks until you can see clearly in both directions and are sure there are no light rail transit vehicles or trains coming. Do not go around or under any lowered gate.

NOTE: Light rail transit vehicles are very quiet and accelerate more quickly than freight trains.

Near Streetcars, Trolleys, or Buses

The passing speed limit, when safe to pass, is no more than 10 mph. This speed limit applies at a safety zone or an intersection where a streetcar, trolley, or bus is stopped and traffic is controlled by a peace officer or traffic signal. A safety zone is marked by raised buttons or markers on the road and is set aside for pedestrians. You will most often see safety zones in areas where street cars or trolleys and vehicles share the roadway.

California Speed Limit Laws For Business or Residence Districts

The speed limit is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted.

Speed Limit Laws For Driving Near Animals In California

If you see animals or livestock, slow down and follow directions from the person in charge of the animals. If you see a stray animal in your path, slow down or stop if it is safe.

California Right Of Way Laws In 2021

California Right Of Way Laws In 2021

This guide will cover the California right of way laws in 2021.

General Information About Right Of Way In California

Right-of-way rules, together with courtesy and common sense, help to promote traffic safety. It is important to respect the right-of-way of others, especially pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and bicycle riders. Never assume other drivers will give you the right-of-way. Yield your right-of-way when it helps to prevent collisions.

Respecting the right-of-way of others is not limited to situations such as yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, or watching carefully to ensure the right-of-way of bicyclists and motorcyclists. Motorists must respect the right-of-way of others by not violating traffic laws, such as failing to stop at a stop sign or traffic light, speeding, making unsafe lane changes, or illegal turns. Statistics show that right-of-way violations cause a high percentage of injury collisions in California.

California Right Of Way For Pedestrians

Pedestrian safety is a serious issue. A pedestrian is a person on foot or who uses a conveyance such as roller skates, skateboard, etc., other than a bicycle. A pedestrian can also be a person with a disability using a tricycle, quadricycle, or wheelchair for transportation.

In California, pedestrian deaths occur in approximately 22 percent of all traffic fatalities. Drive cautiously when pedestrians are near because they may suddenly cross your path.

Pedestrians may be at risk walking near hybrid and electric vehicles because these vehicles are virtually silent while operating. Use extra caution when driving near pedestrians.

  • Respect the right-of-way of pedestrians. 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 lights, whether or not the crosswalks are marked by painted lines.
  • Do not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk. A pedestrian you cannot see may be crossing the street. Stop, then proceed when all pedestrians have crossed the street.
  • Do not drive on a sidewalk, except to cross it to enter or exit a driveway or alley. When crossing, yield to all pedestrians.
  • Do not stop in a crosswalk. You will place pedestrians in danger.
  • Remember, if a pedestrian makes eye contact with you, he or she is ready to cross the street. Yield to the pedestrian.
  • Allow older pedestrians, disabled pedestrians and pedestrians with young children sufficient time to cross the street.

Important: 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. Drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles must remain especially aware that the lack of engine noise may cause a blind pedestrian to assume there is not a vehicle nearby. Follow this cue:

California Laws Regarding Right Of Way In Crosswalks

A crosswalk is the part of the roadway set aside for pedestrian traffic. Most intersections have a pedestrian crosswalk whether or not lines are painted on the street. Most crosswalks are located at corners, but they can also be located in the middle of the block. Before turning a corner, watch for people about to cross the street. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

Crosswalks are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. Most often, crosswalks in residential areas are not marked.

Some crosswalks have flashing lights to warn you that pedestrians may be crossing. Look for pedestrians and be prepared to stop, whether or not the lights are flashing.

Laws & Regulations For Right Of Way For Intersections In California

An intersection is any place where one line of roadway meets another roadway. Intersections include cross streets, side streets, alleys, freeway entrances, and any other location where vehicles traveling on different highways or roads join each other.

Driving through an intersection is one of the most complex traffic situations motorists encounter. Intersection collisions account for more than 45 percent of all reported crashes and 21 percent of fatalities according to the Federal Highway Administration.

  • 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.
  • At “T” intersections without “STOP” or “YIELD” signs, yield to traffic and pedestrians on the through road. They have the right-of-way.
  • When you turn left, give the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching that are close enough to be dangerous. Also, look for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

    Safety suggestion: 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.

  • When you turn right, be sure to check for pedestrians crossing the street and bicyclists coming up behind you on the right.
  • On divided highways or highways with several lanes, watch for vehicles coming in any lane you cross. Turn either left or right only when it is safe.
  • When there are “STOP” signs at all corners, stop first then follow the rules listed above.
  • If you have parked off the road or are leaving a parking lot, etc., yield to traffic before reentering the road.

Right Of Way For Roundabouts In California

A roundabout is an intersection where traffic travels around a central island in a counter-clockwise direction. Vehicles entering or exiting the roundabout must yield to all traffic including pedestrians.

When you approach a roundabout:

  • Slow down as you approach the roundabout.
  • Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the roadway.
  • Watch for signs and/or pavement markings that guide you or prohibit certain movements.
  • Enter the roundabout when there is a big enough gap in traffic.
  • Drive in a counter-clockwise direction. Do not stop or pass other vehicles.
  • Use your turn signals when you change lanes or exit the roundabout.
  • If you miss your exit, continue around until you return to your exit.

Multiple and single-lane roundabout

Roundabout

For roundabouts with multiple lanes, choose your entry or exit lane based on your destination as shown in the graphic. For example, to:

  • Turn right at the intersection (blue car), choose the right-hand lane and exit in the right-hand lane.
  • Go straight through the intersection (red car), choose either lane, and exit in the lane you entered.
  • Turn left (yellow car), choose the left lane, and exit.

Right Of Way Rules On Mountain Roads In California

When two 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 Traffic Control Light Laws & Rules

California Traffic Light Laws

This guide will go over the laws and rules regarding California traffic control lights.

Traffic Signal Lights In California

Solid Red– A red signal light means “STOP.” You can make a right turn against a red light after you stop then yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles close enough to be a hazard. Make the right turn only when it is safe. Do not turn if a “NO TURN ON RED” sign is posted.

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– A flashing red signal light means “STOP.” After stopping, you may proceed when it is safe. Observe the right-of-way rules.

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

Yellow Arrow– A yellow arrow means the “protected” turning time period is ending. Be prepared to obey the next signal, which could be the green or red light or the red arrow.

Flashing Yellow– A flashing yellow signal light warns you to “PROCEED WITH CAUTION.” You do not need to stop for a flashing yellow light, but you must slow down and be especially alert before entering the intersection.

Flashing Yellow Arrow– This signal means turns are permitted (unprotected), but you must first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.

Solid Green–Give the right-of-way to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian in the intersection. A green light means “GO.” If you are turning left, make the turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before creating a hazard for any oncoming vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. Do not enter the intersection if you cannot get completely across before the light turns red. If you block the intersection, you can be cited.

Green Arrow–A green arrow means “GO.” You must turn in the direction the arrow is pointing after you yield to any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian still in the intersection. The green arrow allows you to make a “protected” turn. Oncoming vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians are stopped by a red light as long as the green arrow is lighted.

Traffic Signal Blackout– The traffic signal light is not working. Proceed cautiously as if the intersection is controlled by “STOP” signs in all directions.

California Driving Laws For Occupants

California Driving Laws For Occupants And Passengers 2021

Did you know that some driving laws in California apply to occupants and passengers? If you are a passenger in a vehicle within the state of California, here are the rules you need to follow.

Passenger Seat Belt Laws In California

Seat belts, both the lap belt and shoulder harness, must be in good working order. You may not operate your vehicle on public roads and on private property, such as public parking lots, unless you and all of your passengers eight years of age or older, or children who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller are wearing seat belts; and children younger than eight years old or who are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall are seated in a federally-approved child passenger restraint system. You and all passengers must wear a seat belt or, you and/or your passenger(s) may be cited. If the passenger is under 16 years of age, you may be cited if he or she is not wearing his or her seat belt.

Always use your seat belts (including the shoulder harness) even if the vehicle is equipped with air bags. You can have shoulder harnesses or seat belts installed in older vehicles. Even if you wear only a lap belt when driving, your chances of living through a collision are twice as high as someone who does not wear a lap belt. If you wear a lap and shoulder belt, your chances are three to four times higher to live through a collision.

Pregnant women should wear the lap belt as low as possible under the abdomen, and the shoulder strap should be placed between the breasts and to the side of the abdomen’s bulge.

WARNING: Using seat belts reduces the risk of being thrown from your vehicle in a collision. If you do not install and use a shoulder harness with the seat (lap) belt, serious or fatal injuries may happen in some collisions. Lap-only belts increase the chance of spinal column and abdominal injuries—especially in children. Shoulder harnesses may be available for your vehicle, if it is not already equipped with them.

Mistaken Beliefs About Seat Belts

Many studies and actual crash tests have proven safety belts can reduce injuries and deaths. Have you heard these myths?

MYTH: “Seat belts can trap you inside a vehicle.” Research shows it actually takes less than a second to take off a seat belt. This myth often describes a vehicle that caught fire or sank in deep water. A seat belt may keep you from being “knocked out.” Therefore, your chances to escape are better if you are conscious

MYTH: “Seat belts are good on long trips, but I don’t need them if I’m driving around town.” More than half of all traffic deaths happen within 25 miles of home. Do not take chances with your life or the lives of your passengers. Buckle up every time you drive regardless of travel distance.

MYTH: “Some people are thrown from a vehicle in a crash and walk away with hardly a scratch.” Research shows your chances of surviving a collision are five times better if, upon impact, you are not thrown from the vehicle. A seat belt can keep you from being thrown into the path of another vehicle.

MYTH: “I’m only going to the store. My little brother or sister doesn’t need to be secured in a safety seat.” Research shows car collisions are the number one preventable cause of death for children. The law requires that children under eight years of age who are 4 feet 9 inches tall or taller to be properly secured with an appropriate safety belt or be buckled into a federally-approved child passenger restraint system if under eight years of age and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall.

The following graphic illustrates what can happen in a collision. If you are struck from the side, the impact could push you back and forth across the seat. Seat belts and shoulder harnesses keep you in a better position to control the vehicle and may minimize serious injuries.

When you collide, your vehicle stops, but you keep going at the same speed you were traveling, until you hit the dashboard or windshield. At 30 miles per hour (mph) this motion is equivalent to hitting the ground from the top of a three-story building.

Occupant Impact

California Laws Regarding Child Restraint System and Safety Seats

Any child who is under eight (8) years old must be secured in a federally-approved child passenger restraint system and ride in the back seat of a vehicle.

EXCEPTION: A child who is under eight (8) years old and who is at least 4 feet 9 inches tall may instead use a properly secured seatbelt.

A child who is under eight (8) years old may ride in the front seat of a vehicle in the following instances:

  • There is no rear seat or the rear seats are either side-facing jump seats or rear-facing seats.
  • The child passenger restraint system cannot be properly installed in the rear seat.
  • All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of seven (7) years.
  • A medical reason requires the child to ride in the front seat.

A child may not ride in the front seat of an airbag-equipped vehicle if the child:

  • Is less than one (1) year of age.
  • Weighs less than 20 lbs.
  • Is riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.

Children eight (8) years of age and older, but under 16 years old must be properly secured with an appropriate seatbelt.

Proper child passenger restraint system installation can be checked by contacting local law enforcement agencies or fire departments that may provide this service or refer you to a child passenger safety technician in your area. As your child grows, check with these agencies to confirm that the car seat is the correct size for your child.

California Air Bag Regulations

Most people can take steps to eliminate or reduce air bag risk without turning off air bags. The biggest risk is being too close to the air bag. An air bag needs about 10 inches of space to inflate. Ride at least 10 inches (measured from the center of the steering wheel to your breastbone) from the air bag cover, if you can do this while maintaining full control of the vehicle. If you cannot safely sit 10 inches away from the air bag, contact your vehicle dealer or manufacturer for advice about additional ways of moving back from your air bag.

Passengers should also sit at least 10 inches away from the passengerside air bag.

Side-Impact Air Bags

Side-impact air bags can provide extra safety benefits to adults in side-impact crashes. However, children who are seated next to a side air bag may be at risk of serious or fatal injury. Since side air bags are different in design and performance, you should consider the benefits and risks associated with the use of side air bags if you transport children. Studies have shown that children who are leaning against a side air bag when it inflates are at risk of serious injury. These studies also show that children who are traveling in a correctly installed child restraint system appropriate to age and weight are not at risk of serious injury. These children are usually not in the path of a side air bag when it inflates.

California Laws Regarding Unattended Children In Motor Vehicles

It is never a good idea to leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

It is illegal to leave a child six years or younger unattended in a motor vehicle.

The court may fine a violator and require him or her to attend a community education program. Also, DMV and court penalties for leaving an unattended child in a vehicle are more severe if the child is injured, requires emergency medical services, or dies.

NOTE: The child may be left under the supervision of a person 12 years of age or older.

Hot Weather Risks

As stated in the “Unattended Children in Motor Vehicles” section above, it is against the law to leave unattended minor children in a vehicle (CVC §5620). Additionally, and equally important, it is dangerous and deadly to leave children and/or animals in a hot vehicle. After sitting in the sun, even if a window is slightly opened, the temperature can rise rapidly inside a parked vehicle. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise approximately 40-50 degrees higher than the outside temperature.

Dehydration, heat stroke, and death can result from overexposure to the heat. Remember if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for children and pets.

How To Change Information On Your California Driver’s License

How To Change Information On Your California Driver's License

While a bit inconvenient, it is possible to change information on your California driver’s license. In this guide, you’ll learn about the changes you can make and how to make them.

To Replace A Lost/Stolen Or Damaged Driver License

If your driver’s license is lost, stolen, or damaged, you must go to a DMV office, complete the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form, and pay a fee for the replacement. You should also present photo identification. If the DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary driver’s license.

If you are a minor, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the (DL 44) form. If both parents/guardians have joint custody, both must sign.

Once a replacement driver’s license is issued, the previous driver’s license is no longer valid. Destroy the old driver’s license if you find it later.

How To Make Name Changes On A California Driver’s License

When you legally change your name because of marriage or other reasons, be sure to change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) before coming into the DMV.

Bring your driver’s license to the DMV in person, along with your marriage certificate or other acceptable verification of your “true full name” (refer to Obtaining a Driver License section). You must complete the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form and pay the applicable fee. The DMV will electronically verify your name, birth date, and social security number (SSN) with the SSA.

A new picture, fingerprint, and signature will be taken. Your old photo DL/ID card will be invalidated and returned to you.

California Driver’s License Renewals

The DMV sends a renewal notice to your address of record about two months before your driver’s license expires. Follow the instructions on the renewal notice. If you do not receive a renewal notice, go online or call to make an appointment to renew your driver’s license (refer to the DMV Information page for details on appointments).

Qualified drivers may be eligible to renew their driver license online at DMV’s website at the www.dmv.ca.gov or by mail.

The DMV may issue a driver license for five years. The driver license expires on your birthday in the year shown on the driver license, unless otherwise indicated. It is against the law to drive with an expired driver license.

A driving test may be required as part of any driver license transaction. Driving tests are not required simply because of age.

If the DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary driver license.

For other types of driver, licenses refer to the California Commercial Driver Handbook (PDF), Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook, or California Motorcycle Handbook.

California Driver’s License Renewal By Mail, Internet, Or Telephone

If you have not received two consecutive five-year driver license extensions, you may be eligible to renew by mail, Internet, or telephone without taking a law test, if:

  • Your current driver license expires before age 70.
  • You do not have a probationary driver license (CVC §14250).
  • You have not violated a written promise to appear in court or to pay a fine within the last two years.
  • You are not suspended for driving with an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level, or refusing or failing to complete a chemical or preliminary alcohol screening test within the last two years.
  • You do not have a total violation point count greater than one point.

NOTE: If you renew by telephone, you must have the Renewal Identification Number (RIN) available when you call. This can be found on your renewal notice.

California Driver’s License Extension

If you are away from California (up to one year), you may request a free one-year extension before your driver license expires. Mail your request to DMV, PO Box 942890, Sacramento, CA 94290-0001. Include your name, driver license number, birth date, California residence address, and out-of-state address. Limited term drivers are not eligible for this extension.

When Must You Have A Driver’s License In Your Possession?

You must always have your driver’s license with you when you drive. Show it to any police officer who asks to see it. If you are in a collision, you must show it to the other driver(s) involved (refer to the “Involved in a Collision” section).

Making Address Changes On Your California Driver’s License

When you move, you must give the DMV your new address within 10 days. There is no fee to change your address. You may notify the DMV of your address change for your driver license, identification card, and vehicle(s) online at www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also download a Change of Address (DMV 14) form and mail it to the address on the form, or call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133, and request a DMV 14 form be mailed to you.

A new driver license or identification card is not issued when you change your address.

You may type or write your new address on a small piece of paper, sign, and date the paper and carry it (do not use tape or staples) with your driver license or identification card.

If you change your address at a field office, the DMV representative will give you a Change of Address Card (DL 43) to complete and carry with your driver license or identification card.

Reminder: The U.S. Postal Service forwards some DMV correspondence; however, it is your responsibility to ensure the DMV has your correct mailing address on record.

California DMV Vision Examinations

DMV screens all drivers to measure vision with or without corrective lenses. If you do not meet DMV’s vision standard (20/40), you will be required to visit a vision specialist. The DMV representative will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form to have completed by the vision specialist. If your vision is not worse than 20/70, DMV may issue you a 30-day temporary driver license to allow you time to have your vision checked.

California Medical Information Card

Call 1-800-777-0133 to obtain a Medical Information Card (DL 390) to list your blood type, allergies, name of physician, and other medical information. It can be carried with your DL/ID card.

Making Organ and Tissue Donation Changes In California

You may sign up to donate your organs and tissue for transplantation after your death. When you apply for or renew your driver license or ID card, check the “YES! Add my name to the donor registry.” box on the renewal form to place your name on the Donate Life California Organ Tissue Donor Registry. If you need additional information, check the “I do not wish to register at this time.” box and call Donate Life California where Donate Life California representatives can answer any questions you may have about organ and tissue donation. You may also use the renewal form to financially contribute to the registry by checking the “$2 voluntary contribution to support and promote organ and tissue donation.” box.

If you are older than 13, and under 18 years of age, you may register with Donate Life California, provided your parent(s) or guardian(s) authorize the donation.

For more information about the donor registry, adding restrictions to your gift, and the donation process, visit the Donate Life California website at donateLIFEcalifornia.org, or call 1-866-797-2366. You may consent to the organ and tissue donation on their website; however, a new driver license or identification card with a pink dot will not be issued until you check “YES! Add my name to the donor registry.” box on a driver license or identification application form and DMV processes the new transaction (replacement, renewal, change of name, etc.).

California Veteran Benefit Changes

Have you ever served in the United States Military? The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), CalVet Connect program, would like you to receive information regarding benefits, such as employment, housing, education, and health care services, for which you may be entitled. Check the “I have served in the United States Military and I want to receive veteran benefits information.” box on the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form. The DMV will transmit your name and mailing address to the CalVet for them to forward you benefits information.

To locate a CalVet office near you, refer to your local government listing in your telephone book, or visit the CalVet’s website at www.CalVet.ca.gov or the DMV’s website at www.dmv.ca.gov.

Unlicensed Drivers In California

It is against the law to loan your vehicle to a person who is unlicensed or whose driving privilege has been suspended. If an unlicensed person is caught driving your vehicle, it may be impounded for 30 days (CVC §14607.6).

No person of any age may drive on a highway or in a public parking facility unless he or she has a valid driver license or permit. The law also states that you must not employ, permit, or authorize any person to drive your vehicle on a public street or highway, unless he or she is licensed to drive that class of vehicle.

A person must be at least 21 years old to drive most commercial vehicles for hire in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials or wastes.

Diplomatic Driver Licenses In California

Nonresidents who possess a valid diplomatic driver license issued by the U.S. Department of State are exempt from California driver licensing requirements.

California Identification (ID) Cards

The DMV issues ID cards to eligible persons of any age. To obtain an original ID card, you must present a birth date/legal presence verification document and provide your social security number refer to the “Obtaining a Driver License” section). The ID card is valid until the sixth birthday after the issue date. The fee for an ID card may be reduced, if you meet certain income requirements for specific public assistance programs refer to the FFDL 6 Requirements for a California Identification Card brochure for additional information..

Note: Governmental or non-profit organizations determine whether an individual meets the requirements for a reduced-fee ID card.

If you are age 62 or older, you may obtain a free senior citizen ID card that is good for 10 years.

Free ID Cards For Physical And Mental (P&M) Conditions In California

Drivers with physical or mental (P&M) conditions may need to be reexamined from time to time by a physician or be retested more often than every five years by a DMV examiner to obtain a limited-term driver license.

Drivers who are no longer able to drive safely because of a P&M condition may be eligible to exchange their valid driver license for a no-fee ID card, if certain guidelines are met. Go online at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133 for additional information.

Identification (ID) Card Renewal by Mail or Internet

Customers who are eligible to renew their ID cards by mail or Internet will receive a Renewal by Mail or Internet Notice approximately 60 days before the expiration of their current ID card. Reduced-fee ID cards cannot be renewed by mail or Internet.

There is a fee for regular ID cards (customers under 62 years of age); there is no charge for senior citizen ID cards (customers 62 years of age or older), if applying for a senior citizen ID card.

Finding Driving Schools In California

When learning to drive, you should seek qualified instruction, either with a public or private high school or a state licensed professional driving school.

The DMV licenses professional schools and instructors in California that meet rigid qualifying standards. Schools must carry liability insurance, hold a bond, and maintain complete records for the DMV inspection. Vehicles are subject to an annual inspection. Instructors must pass a written examination every three years or show proof of continuing education in the traffic safety field. If you use the services of a professional driving school, ask to see the instructor’s identification card. Go online at www.dmv.ca.gov or refer to the Selecting a Driving School (FFDL 33) Fast Facts brochure for additional information.

The 4 Best Online Driver’s Ed Courses In California

Mature Driver Programs In California

The Mature Driver Program is an eight-hour course for drivers 55 and older. This course covers a variety of topics of special interest to the mature driver and is available from the DMV-approved course providers.

Your insurance company may offer discounts for those who complete the class and receive a completion certificate­. The certificate is valid for three years and can be renewed by completing a four-hour course.

The 4 Best California Online Traffic Schools

Pedestrian Responsibilities In California

Pedestrians (including joggers) should be aware of traffic conditions. Watch out for drivers before assuming that you have the right-of-way when crossing a street.

Be aware that hybrid and electric vehicles are virtually silent when running on electric power and you may not hear them approaching an intersection.

Yield the right-of-way to vehicles when you cross a street between intersections and in areas with no pedestrian crosswalks or signals.

Remember: Making eye contact with a driver does not mean the driver will yield the right-of-way.

Do not suddenly leave a curb or other safe place, and walk or run into the path of a vehicle close enough to be a danger to you. This is true even though you are in a crosswalk. The law states that drivers must always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, but if the driver cannot stop in time to avoid hitting you, the law will not prevent you from being hit.

Avoid distractions as a pedestrian. Do not use your mobile phone or electronic device while moving. To avoid becoming a hazard to vehicles and other pedestrians, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Always obey traffic signals. Whether the intersection has pedestrian signals or traffic lights, you must obey the pedestrian rules. At an intersection where traffic is not controlled by signals, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within any crosswalk, marked or unmarked.

When a signal first 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 changes.

If the signal begins blinking or changes to “DON’T WALK,” or to an upraised hand after you have gone part way across a divided street, you may continue across the street.

Do not stop or delay traffic unnecessarily while crossing a street.

Pedestrians are not permitted on any toll bridge or highway crossing, unless there is a sidewalk and signs stating pedestrian traffic is permitted.

If there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic (see graphic). Do not walk or jog on any freeway where signs tell you that pedestrians are not allowed. Do not walk or jog in a bike lane unless there is no sidewalk.

Pedestriams waking along a roadway.

At night, make yourself more visible by:

  • Wearing white, light, or reflective material clothing.
  • Carrying a flashlight.

Special Traffic Violations For Minors In The State Of California

Traffic Violations For Minors In The State Of California

Nearly 50 percent of the drivers between 15 – 19 years of age are convicted of a traffic violation in their first year of driving.

The most common violation is for speeding, which often results in the loss of vehicle control and accounts for about 50 percent of all teen traffic convictions.

When you violate traffic laws, you increase your chances of having a collision.

Teenage Traffic Deaths

Drivers 15–19 years old have the highest traffic conviction, collision, and injury rates of any age group. Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers. If you are under 18 years old, your risk of a fatal collision is about 2½ times that of the “average” driver. Your risk of an injury collision is three times higher than the average driver’s risk.

Actions Against The Provisional Driver License

Teenagers as a group average twice as many collisions as adult drivers, while driving only half as many miles. The teenage collision rate per mile is four times greater than the adult driver collision rate per mile.

Studies show that the traffic deaths of new drivers are deadly combinations of their inexperience driving, lack of familiarity with the vehicle, and their need to push themselves and the vehicle to the limit.

Keeping Your Provisional Driver License

The DMV will track your driving record and take actions based upon any collisions or violations as follows:

  • If you get a traffic ticket and fail to appear in court, the DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you appear in court.
  • If you get a traffic ticket and fail to pay the fine, the DMV will suspend your driving privilege until you pay the fine.
  • If you have one “at fault” collision or conviction within 12 months, the DMV will send you a warning letter.
  • If you have a second “at fault” collision or conviction (or combination of both) within 12 months, you cannot drive for 30 days, unless accompanied by your licensed parent or other licensed adult who is at least 25 years of age.
  • If you have a third “at fault” collision or conviction (or any combination) within 12 months, you will be suspended for six months and placed on probation for one year.
  • If you have additional “at fault” collisions or point count convictions while on probation, you will be suspended again. (Traffic law violations resolved in Juvenile Court are also reported to the DMV.)
  • If you are convicted of using alcohol or a controlled substance and you are between 13 – 21 years of age, the court orders the DMV to suspend your driver license, for one year. If you do not have a driver license the court orders the DMV to delay your eligibility to apply for a driver license. You may also be required to complete a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) program.

Any restriction, suspension, or probation will continue for its full term past your 18th birthday.

Other, stronger actions may be taken if your driving record justifies them. Remember, if your driving privilege has been suspended or revoked, you may not drivein California.

Habitual Truant—Persons 13 – 18 Years of Age

The court will suspend, restrict, delay, or revoke your driving privilege for one year if you are convicted of being a habitual truant from school.

Minors and Cell Phones

  • It is against the law for a minor to use a cell phone while driving. If your cell phone rings, do not answer the call or respond to the text message.
  • Convictions for violations of this law are subject to fines.

Exceptions: You may use a cell phone to contact law enforcement, a health care provider, the fire department, or another emergency entity in an emergency situation.