If you are moving to California or you will be visiting and intend to drive while you are in town, what do you need to know about driving?
You Need a Hands-Free Phone to Legally Drive and Talk in Calfornia
You cannot legally drive and talk on your phone in California, unless you use hands-free device allowing you to keep both hands on the steering wheel when the vehicle is in motion. Authorities are cracking down on distracted driving all over the country, so this should not come as a surprise to anyone new in town.
Unfortunately, especially if you are visiting the area, you might need to contact people while on the road. Make sure you use the speaker device on your phone or a Bluetooth if you plan to talk and drive. And obviously, never text while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
Depending on your usual driving area, you may find drivers in California to be more reckless than what you have seen in the past. There are reckless drivers everywhere, but large populations and traffic congestion exacerbate the problem.
If you are a small-town driver, a new driver, or just someone who does not do a lot of driving, prepare yourself for a little craziness. Pay close attention to drivers around you, especially on highways. Anticipate people changing lanes and turning, even if they do not bother signaling. It is also important to know that motorcycles are legally allowed to split lanes in most parts of the state, so be aware of any bikes driving in your area.
Both drivers and passengers, including backseat passengers, are required to wear safety belts. This can also help you feel a bit more secure when you encounter aggressive drivers.
Turn, Turn, Turn
California drivers are permitted to make u-turns at intersections, as long as there are no signs restricting the practice. It is also legal to make a right turn during a red light, as long as you come to a complete stop before proceeding, the turn can be made safely, and the right-of-way is yielded to oncoming traffic. Turning left against a traffic signal is never permitted, unless the red light is flashing.
One final tip for new drivers in California: the majority of gas stations throughout the state require you to pay before pumping fuel. This can be done with a credit card, but if you are paying cash, you will need to make a trek into the cashier before you gas up. This means a return trip might be needed if your pump accidentally goes over your pre-purchased amount.
If you need auto insurance in California, use our free search tool to help you find the best rates.