How to Stay Safe as a California Driver

California is one of the country’s finest driving states, especially in the area around beautiful Orange County. Whether you’re driving through beautiful Irvine or taking a scenic jaunt through Laguna Canyon, here’s how to stay safe while you do.

Keep to the right

An important rule of California’s highway code is that cars should always stay in the right-hand lane unless they are actively passing another vehicle. Once you’ve passed another car, be sure to go back to the right lane.

Sitting in the left lane compromises everyone’s safety and the flow of traffic. It also needlessly irritates other drivers and makes it harder to predict traffic patterns.


Be as visible as possible

Be aware of when conditions require you to have your headlights on. California has rules that regulate this. On some of the state’s mountain roads, you’ll see signs telling you to use daylight headlights. This means if your car has daytime running lights, you must use them. If your car doesn’t have them, just turn your regular lights on.

California law also requires you to have your headlights on any time you use your windshield wipers. You must also use your headlights when it’s cloudy, snowing, or foggy. If the morning is cold and windshields are icy, you must use your headlights. Finally, if there is smoke, smog, or dust that makes it difficult to see, you should always use your headlights.


California has serious criminal penalties for those caught driving under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit is 0.08 percent, but if you cause an accident and have any alcohol in your blood at all, you can be charged. If you’ve been injured by someone you suspect was driving under the influence, be sure to contact an Irvine car accident attorney right away.

Watch out for the school bus

No matter which side of the road a school bus might be on, if it is flashing red lights, all drivers must stop and remain stopped until the red lights are no longer flashing. Some jurisdictions enforce this more strictly than others, but it is the law everywhere.

Keep alert

Never drive when you’re tired, distracted, or angry. Things can happen fast, and California is densely populated with both people and animals. This means other drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, pets, and wild animals can enter a street at any moment. In addition, like all roads, there are pot holes and some very sharp curves, so being alert at all times is crucial for your safety.

Don’t speed

Speeding is a temptation for us all, but it can be a very dangerous habit to get into. When you speed, your reaction time to any obstacles must be faster in order to stay safe. If there is an accident, the consequences will be far more catastrophic at higher speeds.

Watch out of the weather

In California, the weather can change in an instant. Always remember to drive in response to the weather conditions. When things are slick and foggy, always leave more distance between your car and the car ahead of you. Slow down, be extra careful when merging, and be aware that it will take more room to come to a stop.

In rainy conditions, remember that hydroplaning is a danger, especially in the first few minutes of a rainstorm. If your car starts to hydroplane, let off the gas slowly and steer straight until you get control of the car again. Resist the urge to steer hard in either direction.

Drive safely to arrive safely. If you’re involved in an accident, don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need to protect your rights and navigate California law.

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