Driving in California can be a delight when you are cruising along a coastal highway. It can also be frustrating if you are caught in the infamous traffic jams in urban areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco. No matter where in this vast state you are driving, it’s always good to be aware of driving rules and regulations. Here are some to be aware of for your road trip in 2019 or beyond.
California Rules and Regulations
Overtaking and Turns
- Drive on the right and pass on the left.
- You may pass on the right if an open highway is clearly marked for two or more lanes of travel in your direction. Or the driver ahead of you is turning left and you are going straight. Never pass on the left if the driver is signaling a left turn.
- 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.
- A left turn on a red light can only be made from a one way street onto another one way street.
- Right turns are allowed after stopping at a red light unless there are signs that prohibit it.
- If you are driving on a narrow mountain road you must drive as much as is reasonably possible to the right and sound your horn if you can’t see more than 200 feet in front of you.
- You must use your headlights 30 minutes after sunset and until 30 minutes before sunrise.
- Always turn on your low-beam headlights when you are using your windshield wipers due to weather conditions.
- If using high beams while driving on a two-lane highway outside city limits, be sure to switch them to low beams when you see an oncoming vehicle.
You can do a U-turn in the following circumstances:
- 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 or 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 U-turn” sign is posted.
- On a divided highway, only if an opening is provided in the center divider and there are no signs prohibiting U-turns.
Other rules and regulations
- It is illegal to drive a vehicle if your blood alcohol content is 0.8% or higher. You can only use your cell phone while driving if you are using a hands-free device or you have to call for help in an emergency.
- At “T” intersections without “STOP” or “YIELD” signs, yield to traffic and pedestrians on the through road. They have the right-of-way.
- Make sure you have your driver’s license with you at all times.
Unless stated otherwise, the following speed limits are generally true with a few exceptions. If you are 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. If you are driving within 100 feet of a railroad crossing where you cannot see the tracks for 400 feet in both directions, the speed limit is 15 mph. Additionally, the maximum speed limit is 55 mph for vehicles towing trailers.
|Business and residential districts||25 mph|
|Two-lane undivided highways||55 mph|
|Highways or interstates||Between 65 – 70 mph|
Car Rental with Sixt Rent a Car
Sixt offers many different rental options for travelers, families, and those traveling for business. If you’re looking for fast, reliable and affordable car rental services, Sixt delivers. There is so much to see in California, depending on what part of the state you would like to see. You can take a road trip to San Francisco and drive over the famous Golden Gate bridge, see the San Francisco Bay or drive north to see the famous sequoia trees. If visiting Los Angeles, check out Santa Monica, famous for its pier and 50 miles of coastline and beaches. If you have time, take side trips to Yosemite National Park in the north, or San Diego in the south, with its famous beaches and zoo.
No matter what type of vehicle you’re looking for, rentals can be booked in advance or upon arrival to provide you with reliable transportation when you need it the most.
Passionate about travel, Katie likes to eat her way through as many different countries as possible.