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CHAPTER 3: WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD

SECTION 6: USE AND MAINTENANCE OF SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Everyone has a safety stake in maintaining their vehicle. But did you know you have a financial stake as well?
Most new-vehicle warrantees are voided if maintenance schedules are not kept, potentially costing you
hundreds in lost maintenance fees that you must now pay yourself. Plus, older, un-maintained vehicles break
down far more often and catastrophically than maintained vehicles, costing you potentially thousands of
dollars in repairs and towing expenses.
So consider yourself lucky that the State of California requires that you
maintain and operate a safe vehicle. To be intoxicated is to feel
sophisticated but not be able to say it.The State sets the standards for
that safety, and you must abide by the standards.

A. Lighting

1. Purpose – See and Be Seen

The first condition of safe driving is that you can see. The second
condition – equally important – is that your fellow drivers can see you.
Never underestimate the value of having others see you; because turn
signals, brake lights, back-up lights, and emergency flashers
communicate to others what you intend to do. Notice that 'community'
and 'communication' come from the same root word. To maintain a
safe community of drivers, you must have the means to communicate.

• High Beam-Low Beam: Your headlights are composed of a high beam lamp and a low beam lamp,
which refers to their intensity and the direction in which they are aimed at the roadway. You toggle back-and-
forth between high beam and low beam by a variety of methods particular to your vehicle (learn them). High
beams are excellent for driving at night on deserted or semi-deserted roadways that are not otherwise lighted
by external sources
Simple Maintenance (e.g., streetlamps). Because high beams cast their light higher
Keeps You Safe and farther on the roadway, however, they tend to create glare
for other drivers. Use high beams sparingly. (See CVC below.)
Tires: If your vehicle tends
Low beams cast down and to the right to illuminate the
to drift or dive to one side of
roadway adequately for normal nighttime driving. High beam-
the road or the other, you
low beam lights are white.
may need to fill or align your
tires. If you have trouble
• Taillights: Taillights are red. They alert drivers behind you
holding the road, you may need to check
to your presence. When the headlights are turned on, the
them for wear or tire pressure.
taillights automatically light as well.
• Keep your tires inflated to the
pressure specified on the sidewall of
the tire. • Brake Lights: Brake lights communicate to drivers behind
• Check tires frequently for cuts, you that you are slowing and/or stopping. They are red, and
punctures, sidewall- and tread-wear. activate when you depress the brake pedal.
• Replace your tires when the tread is
less the 1/32nd of an inch deep. • Back-up Lights: Back-up lights are activated when your
• Rotate your tires four times a year. vehicle is in reverse gear. They are white, and usually found
beneath the taillights on the rear of your vehicle. These
Belts: If you hear a whining coming from lights illuminate the area behind you when you back, and alert
the engine compartment, or your vehicle others to your intention.
begins to overheat, your fan belt could be
loose or broken. If your dash lights begin to • Turn Signals: Turn signals are found on the front and rear
dim, your generator belt could be loose or corners of your vehicle as an element of your head- and
broken. taillight assemblies. They may be amber or white on the front
• Your belts should be tight...they and amber or red on the rear of the vehicle. When activated by
should not deflect more than a half- the turn-signal stem on your vehicle's steering column, they
inch when you press on them. indicate that you intend to turn or merge, as well as the
• Check belts for cuts or direction of the intended maneuver.
wear.
• Emergency Flashers: Emergency flashing lights are also an
Oil element in your head- and taillight assemblies. They are
• Check oil dipstick when essentially all 4 turn signals blinking together. These lights are
gassing your vehicle to activated by a switch located on your steering column or,
make certain your oil alternately, on the dashboard. These flashers should be
level is proper. activated to warn others that you have an unusual situation
• The oil on the dipstick should be (mechanical failure or collision ahead). You can also activate
yellow-to-brown in color. Change your them if you are impeding traffic or in very hazardous weather
oil if it is black-colored or smells conditions. However, beware of confusing others by activating
burned. them for situations that are not truly emergencies.
• Check under and around your vehicle
for oil, which could indicate an oil leak. • Parking Lights: Parking Lights are defined as "side, cowl, or
fender lamps" or any lamps mounted on the front of the
Brakes: Be aware of changes in the vehicle designed to be displayed primarily when the vehicle is
pressure or distance required when you parked. It is illegal to drive with only the parking lights lighted.
depress your brake pedal to the floor. If the Parking lights may only be on if they are being utilized as turn
brakes feel 'spongy,' or the pedal seems to signal lamps or when headlights are also lighted.
travel farther than usual, you may be
leaking brake fluid. 2. Hours of Use
• Check the brake fluid reservoir,
usually in a plastic bottle on the side of Headlights (and taillights) are required to be activated during
the engine compartment. "darkness," which is defined as any time from one-half hour
• Be aware of uneven braking, or of the after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise and any other time
brakes 'grabbing' when you depress when visibility is not sufficient to render clearly discernible any
the pedal. Have your brakes checked person or vehicle on the highway at a distance of 1000 feet.
by your mechanic for wear on the pads You can also use head- and taillights during daytime to allow
every 10,000 miles or so. others to see you better. However, keep them on low-beam.

Fluids and Hoses: Top-off battery fluid 3. Visibility Requirements


levels, anti-freeze levels, and transmission
fluid levels at least twice a year at the onset When you are driving with your high beam headlights, dim
of winter and the onset of summer. Check them within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle; dim them at
any hoses for cuts or wear. least 300 feet behind another vehicle when approaching it
from the rear. Note, new for 2005: Headlamps must be
operated during darkness or whenever weather conditions
prevent a driver from clearly discerning a person or other
motor vehicle on the highway from a distance of 1000 feet, or
when driving in conditions that require windshield wipers to be
in continuous use..

4. Maintenance and Precautionary Measures

Again, some maintenance and precautionary measures are not


just a good idea; they are the law. Begin your driving task by
walking around your vehicle.
• Clean head- and taillights, since dirt and film reduce overall
visibility. Check your head- and taillights, and turn signals,
brake lights, back-up lights, and emergency flashers to make
sure they are working. Also, check the small light that
illuminates your license plates to make sure that it is in
working order.
• Behind the wheel, check your instrument panel for warning
lights that indicate that a headlamp is burned out or a wire
broken.
• Periodically have your headlight 'throw' (the distance and
angle at which your lights illuminate the roadway) checked and
adjusted.

California Vehicle Code (CVC or VC): Lighting - Lighting During Darkness (24250 VC)

During darkness, a vehicle shall be equipped with lighted lighting equipment…

Lighting Distance Requirements (24251 VC)

…any lighting equipment shall render a person or vehicle visible...during darkness, directly ahead upon a
straight, level unlighted highway, and under normal atmospheric conditions…

Lighting Equipment Requirements (24252 VC)

All lighting equipment of a required type installed on a


vehicle shall at all times be maintained in good working
order.

Headlamps and Auxiliary Lamps

• Headlamps on motor vehicles (24400 VC):


During darkness, every motor vehicle other than a
motorcycle, shall be equipped with at least two lighted
headlamps, with at least one on each side of the front of
the vehicle, and…they shall be located directly above or
in advance of the front axle of the vehicle. The headlamps
and every light source in any headlamp unit shall be
located at a height of not more than 54 inches nor less
than 22 inches.

• Auxiliary driving and passing lamps (24402


VC): Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to
exceed two auxiliary driving lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less than 16 inches nor more than
42 inches. Driving lamps are lamps designed for supplementing the upper beam from headlamps and may not
be lighted with the lower beam…Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two auxiliary passing
lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less than 24 inches nor more than 42 inches. Passing lamps are
lamps designed for supplementing the lower beam from headlamps and may also be lighted with the upper
beam.

• Fog lamps (24403 VC): Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two fog lamps which
may be used with, but shall not be used in substitution of, headlamps. Fog lamps shall be mounted on the
front at a height of not less than 12 inches nor more than 30 inches…

• Multiple beams (24406 VC): …the headlamps, or other auxiliary driving lamps, or a combination
thereof, on a motor vehicle during darkness shall be so arranged that the driver may select at will between
distributions of light projected to different elevations, and the lamps may, in addition, be so arranged that the
selection can be made automatically.

• Upper and lower beams (24407 VC): Multiple-beam road lighting equipment shall be designed and
aimed as follows:
(a) There shall be an uppermost distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed and of such
intensity as to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead for all
conditions of loading.
(b) There shall be a lowermost distribution of light, or composite beam so aimed and of sufficient
intensity to reveal a person or vehicle at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead. On a straight level
road under any condition of loading none of the high intensity portion of the beam shall be
directed to strike the eyes of an approaching driver.
• Use of multiple beams (24409 VC): Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated during darkness, the
driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient
intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following
requirements and limitations:
(a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, he shall
use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected
into the eyes of the oncoming driver. The lowermost distribution of light specified in this article
shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times regardless of road contour.
(b) Whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within 300 feet to the rear, he shall
use the lowermost distribution of light specified in this article.
• Single beams (24410 VC): Headlamps arranged to provide a single distribution of light not
supplemented by auxiliary driving lamps are permitted on motor vehicles manufactured and sold prior to
September 19, 1940, in lieu of multiple-beam road lighting equipment if the single distribution of light
complies with the following requirements and limitations:
(a) The headlamps shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is not loaded none of the high-
intensity portion of the light shall at a
distance of 25 feet ahead project higher than
a level of five inches below the level of the
center of the lamp from which it comes, and
in no case higher than 42 inches above the
level on which the vehicle stands at a
distance of 75 feet ahead.
(b) The intensity shall be sufficient to reveal
persons and vehicles at a distance of at least
200 feet.

Rear Lighting Equipment

• Tail lamps (24600 VC): During darkness every


motor vehicle…shall be equipped with lighted tail lamps
mounted on the rear as follows:
(a) Every vehicle shall be equipped with one
or more tail lamps.
(b) Every vehicle, other than a motorcycle, manufactured and
first registered on or after January 1, 1958, shall be equipped
with not less than two tail lamps,…
(d) When two tail lamps are required, at least one shall be
mounted at the left and one at the right side respectively at
the same level.
(e) Tail lamps shall be red in color and shall be plainly visible
from all distances within 500 feet to the rear except that tail
lamps on vehicles manufactured after January 1, 1969, shall
be plainly visible from all distances within 1,000 feet to the
rear.
(f) Tail lamps on vehicles manufactured on or after January 1,
1969, shall be mounted not lower than 15 inches nor higher
than 72 inches…

• Stop lamps (24603 VC): Every motor vehicle…shall at all times be equipped with stop lamps mounted
on the rear as follows:
(a) Every such vehicle shall be equipped with one or more stop lamps.
(b) Every such vehicle, other than a motorcycle, manufactured and first registered on or after
January 1, 1958, shall be equipped with two stop lamps…
(c)…stop lamps on vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 1969, shall be mounted not
lower than 15 inches nor higher than 72 inches...
(e) Stop lamps on vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 1979, shall emit a red light. Stop
lamps on vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1979, shall emit a red or yellow light. All stop
lamps shall be plainly visible and understandable from a distance of 300 feet to the rear both
during normal sunlight and at nighttime…
(f) Stop lamps shall be activated upon application of the service (foot) brake and the hand
control…brakes. In addition, all stop lamps may be activated by a mechanical device designed to
function only upon sudden release of the accelerator while the vehicle is in motion.
• Back-up lamps (24606 VC): (a) Every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle…shall be equipped with
one or more backup lamps...
(b) Backup lamps shall be so directed as to project a white light illuminating the highway to the
rear of the vehicle for a distance not to exceed 75 feet…
• Red Fog Tail Lamps (Amendment to CVC 26402): This bill amends the minimum height
requirement for red fog tail lamps to not lower than 12 inches (previously 15 inches) or higher
than 60 inches.

Signal Lamps and Devices

• Turn signal system required (24950 VC): Whenever any motor vehicle is towing a trailer coach or a
camp trailer the combination of vehicles shall be equipped with a lamp-type turn signal system.
• Turn signal system (24951 VC): (b) The following vehicles shall be equipped with a lamp-type turn
signal system [capable of clearly indicating any intention to turn either to the right or to the left].
(1) Motortrucks, truck tractors, buses and passenger vehicles, other than
motorcycles, manufactured and first registered on or after January 1, 1958.
(4) Motorcycles manufactured and first registered on or after January 1, 1973,
except motor-driven cycles whose speed attainable in one mile is 30 miles per hour
or less.
(c) Turn signal lamps on vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 1969, shall be mounted not
lower than 15 inches.
• Visibility requirements of signals (24952 VC): A lamp-type turn signal shall be plainly visible and
understandable in normal sunlight and at nighttime from a distance of at least 300 feet to the front and rear
of the vehicle…
• Turn signal lamps (24953 VC): (a) Any turn signal system used to give a signal of intention to turn
right or left shall project a flashing white or amber light visible to the front and a flashing red or amber light
visible to the rear.

B. Brakes

1. Purpose

• Vehicular Control: Brakes do not control your vehicle. Rather, they control your tires…making them
rotate more slowly or stop rotating altogether. Keep in mind that the extent to which your brakes and tires
work together to control your vehicle depends on several factors, including: tire condition; road condition;
road grade; vehicle speed; vehicle size and weight; and stopping time (see below), etc.

• Stopping Requirements: If you are driving at 20 mph, your brakes must be able to stop your vehicle
within 25 feet.

2. Required Systems

All vehicles are required by law to have two separate braking systems: 1.) the hydraulic brake - or foot-brake -
system that applies braking to all four wheels, and; 2.) the parking or emergency brake system that controls
only the rear two brakes. The emergency brake system is usually cable-operated independently of the foot-
brake.

3. Maintenance and Precautionary Measures

Brakes must be kept in top condition and should be checked when your vehicle is being serviced and when
tires are being replaced or rotated. Remember that the size and weight of your vehicle determine brake wear.
Large sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may need new brakes after 8,000 miles of driving, whereas smaller vehicles
may travel 30,000 miles or more on a set of brakes.

One indicator of brake fluid loss is a 'spongy' feel to the brake pedal when you press on it, or the pedal
traveling more than an inch or so toward the floorboard. Check for fluid leaks. The brake fluid receptacle is
usually a small plastic container mounted on or near the top of the engine. Brake fluid is bluish. Keep this fluid
topped-off. If the fluid needs frequent topping off, it could indicate a leak in the system. The older you get, the
better you realize you were. Meanwhile, if your vehicle tends to slide to a stop rather than stopping crisply, or
if you hear what sounds like a 'metal-on-metal' screeching when you apply your brakes, you definitely need
new brake pads. Check the brake pads when changing or rotating tires.
California Vehicle Code: Brakes - Required Brake System
(26450 VC)

Every motor vehicle shall be equipped with a service brake


system and every motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, shall
be equipped with a parking brake system. Both the service
brake and parking brake shall be separately applied.

Parking Brake System (26451 VC)

The parking brake system of every motor vehicle shall comply


with the following requirements:
(a) The parking brake shall be adequate to hold the
vehicle or combination of vehicles stationary on
any grade on which it is operated under all
conditions of loading on a surface free from snow,
ice or loose material. In any event the parking
brake shall be capable of locking the braked wheels
Your brakes and your tires work together to to the limit of traction.
keep your (b) The parking brake shall be applied either by the
vehicle on the road, and slowing and driver's muscular efforts, by spring action, or by
stopping under other energy which is isolated and used exclusively
control. If any element of the brake system for the operation of the parking brake or the
or your tires combination parking brake and emergency
fail, you might as well be flying an airplane. stopping system.
(c) The parking brake shall be held in the applied
position solely by mechanical means.

Condition of Brakes (26453 VC)

All brakes and component parts thereof shall be maintained in good condition and in good working order. The
brakes shall be so adjusted as to operate as equally as practicable with respect to the wheels on opposite
sides of the vehicle.

Control and Stopping Distance (26454)

(a) The service brakes of every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles shall be adequate to
control the movement of and to stop and hold such vehicle or combination of vehicles under all
conditions of loading on any grade on which it is operated.
(b) Every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles, at any time and under all conditions of
loading, shall, upon application of the service brake, be capable of stopping from an initial speed
of 20 miles per hour according to the following requirements:
Maximum Stopping Distance (feet)
(1) Any passenger vehicle 25
(2) Any single motor vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000
30
lbs.
(3) Any combination of vehicles consisting of a passenger vehicle or any motor vehicle with a
manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of less than 10,000 lbs. in combination with any 40
trailer, semi trailer or trailer coach
(4) Any single motor vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or
40
more or any bus
(5) All other combinations of vehicles 50

C. Windshields and Mirrors

Your windshield and mirrors are your lenses on the driving environment. Calibrate and care for these lenses
as well as you would a pair of eyeglasses.

1. Purpose

• Visibility: Your windshield allows you to see and make assessments about the driving environment
outside your vehicle. If you fail to maintain a clean windshield both inside and out, you limit your ability to
identify important traffic clues.

• Screening: Your windshield also screens you from weather and road debris.

2. Requirements to Aid Vision

Windshields should:

• Be free from cracks and holes


• Be installed with safety glazing or shatter proof glass
• Have two windshield wipers that are self-operating and are in good condition
• Be free from hanging objects on the rear view mirror
• Have two mirrors with a view to the rear
• Have decals located only in the lower corners of the windshield

3. Prohibited Equipment or Devices

• It is illegal to place any transparent material on a windshield, side, or rear window that alters the color or
reduces light into the windshield.
• A driver may not have any object on the rear view mirror or anywhere that may affect a driver's vision.
This includes handicap placards.
• Decals can only be placed in a limited area on the windshield

4. Maintenance

The windshield should be free from damage such as cracks and holes. Both the outside and inside of the
windshield should be cleaned regularly.

California Vehicle Code: Windshields (26700 VC)

...a passenger vehicle, other than a motorcycle, and every…motor truck...shall be equipped with an adequate
windshield.
Windshield Wipers (26706 VC)

(a) Every motor vehicle, except motorcycles, equipped with a windshield shall also be equipped
with a self-operating windshield wiper.
(b) Every new motor vehicle first registered after December 31, 1949, except motorcycles, shall
be equipped with two such windshield wipers, except that any motor vehicle may be equipped
with a single wiper so long as it meets the wiped area requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards Governing Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems.

Condition and Use of Windshield Wipers (26707 VC)

Windshield wipers…shall be maintained in good operating condition and shall provide clear vision through the
windshield for the driver. Wipers shall be operated under conditions of fog, snow, or rain and shall be capable
of effectively clearing the windshield under all ordinary storm or load conditions while the vehicle is in
operation.

Materials Obstructing or Reducing Driver's View (26708


VC)

(a)...(1) No person shall drive any motor vehicle


with any object or material placed, displayed,
installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or
side or rear windows.
(2) No person shall drive any motor
vehicle with any object or material
placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or
applied in or upon the vehicle which
obstructs or reduces the driver's clear
view through the windshield or side
windows.
Watch what you put in your windshield and
where you put it.
If you are obstructing your view under the
law, you will be cited.
(b) This section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Rearview mirrors.
(2) Adjustable nontransparent sun visors which are mounted forward of the side
windows and are not attached to the glass.
(3) Signs, stickers, or other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the
lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver, signs, stickers, or
other materials which are displayed in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the
rear window farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other materials
which are displayed in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest
the driver.
(4) Side windows which are to the rear of the driver....
(6) Rear window wiper motor....
(10) Sun screening devices installed on the side windows on either side of the
vehicle's front seat, if the driver or a passenger in the front seat has in his or her
possession a letter or other document signed by a licensed physician and surgeon
certifying that the person must be shaded from the sun due to a medical condition,
or has in his or her possession a letter or other document signed by a licensed
optometrist certifying that the person must be shaded from the sun due to a visual
condition. The devices authorized by this paragraph shall not be used during
darkness.
(c)…transparent material may be installed, affixed, or applied to the topmost portion of the
windshield if the following conditions apply:
(1) The bottom edge of the material is at least 29 inches above the undepressed
driver's seat when measured from a point 5 inches in front of the bottom of the
backrest with the driver's seat in its rearmost and
lowermost position with the vehicle on a level
surface.
(2) The material is not red or amber in color.
(3) There is no opaque lettering on the material
and any other lettering does not affect primary
colors or distort vision through the windshield.
(4) The material does not reflect sunlight or
headlight glare into the eyes of occupants of
oncoming or following vehicles to any greater
extent than the windshield without the material.
(d)… clear, colorless, and transparent material may be installed,
affixed, or applied to the front side windows, located to the
immediate left and right of the front seat if the following
conditions are met:
(1) The material has a minimum visible light
transmittance of 88 percent.
(2) The window glazing with the material applied meets all requirements of…
specified minimum light transmittance of 70 percent and the abrasion resistance of
AS-14 glazing, as specified in that federal standard.
(3) The material is designed and manufactured to enhance the ability of the existing
window glass to block the sun's harmful ultraviolet A rays.

Sunscreening Devices: Requirements (26708.2 VC)

Sun screening devices permitted…shall meet the following requirements:


(a) The devices shall be held in place by means allowing ready removal from the window area,
such as a frame, a rigid material with temporary fasteners, or a flexible roller shade.
(b) Devices utilizing transparent material shall be green, gray, or a neutral smoke in color and
shall have a luminous transmittance of not less than 35 percent.
(d) The devices shall not have a reflective quality exceeding 35 percent on either the inner or
outer surface.
Mirrors (26709 VC)

(a) Every motor vehicle registered in a foreign


jurisdiction and every motorcycle subject to
registration in this state shall be equipped with a
mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of
the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to
the rear of such vehicle.

Every motor vehicle subject to registration in this


state, except a motorcycle, shall be equipped with
not less than two such mirrors, including one affixed
to the left-hand side.

Defective Windshields and Rear Windows (26710 VC)

It is unlawful to operate any motor vehicle upon a highway when


the windshield or rear window is in such a defective condition as
to impair the driver's vision either to the front or rear. This hat obstructs both the mirror and the
view out the
In the event any windshield or rear window fails to comply with windshield. Also, the red arrow indicates a
this code the officer making the inspection shall direct the driver crack in the
to make the windshield and rear window conform to the windshield..
requirements of this code within 48 hours…

D. Horn

Think of the roadway as a hallway crowded with people trying to get somewhere. Think of the horn as your
voice. You might modulate your voice to get through a hallway, giving a low 'excuse me' to get past
somebody, or perhaps a sharp but polite 'ahem' to somebody who is about to run into you. You wouldn't
scream at someone, however. That would be rude and, worse, counterproductive… rather than proceeding
swiftly down the hallway, you might very likely end-up in a time-consuming altercation. Well, don't blast your
horn, either.
1. Purpose

The purpose of horn is to communicate vital information to other


vehicles, pedestrian, and animals.

• Warning Devices: Your horn is basically a safety device, and


should be used as one. When you need to warn others of developing
hazardous situations, sound your horn.

2. Use

Tap the horn lightly once or twice to alert the other driver to slow or
stop. Always think in terms of using your horn and brakes together,
e.g.: If another driver is backing out of a parking space with a
partially obstructed view of your vehicle, tap once or twice on your
horn, slow, and be prepared to stop.

3. Audible Distance

Every motor vehicle should be equipped with a horn in good working You may only use your horn to warn
condition and should be audible of a distance of not less than 200 others
feet. of imminent danger. If you use your
horn inappropriately, you will be cited.

4. Maintenance

Your horn must be in good working order working order.

California Vehicle Code: Horns or Warning Devices (27000 VC)

(a) Every motor vehicle, when operated upon a highway, shall be equipped with a horn in good
working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of
not less than 200 feet, but no horn shall emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound…

Use of Horn (27001 VC)

(a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give
audible warning with his horn.
(b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as
specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085)…

Prohibitive Amplification

This prohibition applies to sound systems, stereo speakers, etc. It is unlawful for a driver to operate a sound
amplification system audible outside the vehicle for more than 50 ft.

E. Tires
1. Purpose

• Vehicular Control: Tires make contact with the road


surface and control the direction of your vehicle. When you think
about vehicle control, remember that a very small point on each
tire – about the size of a person's palm - contacts the road at any
given moment...so keep your tires in good condition. Tires also
act to channel surface-water backward through their treads,
keeping contact points on semi-dry pavement.

• Traction: The most important role of your tires is their


ability to grip and hold the road surface. This is known as
'traction.' Traction is the beginning of all the other roles your
tires play, such as turning and stopping. Since gripping and
holding the road depends on the condition of your tire tread, you
must keep your tires in good shape.

2. Required Condition, Inflation, and Tread

Tires with less than maximum tread provide proportionately less traction. Especially on wet roads, worn tires
are ineffective at executing turns and stopping. Also, tread depth is responsible for channeling water away
from the contact points and keeping you on dry road. Thus, your tires must be free of cuts, bulges, punctures,
or excessive wear. Keep all tires inflated to the specifications found on the sidewalls of the tires. Finally, your
tread-depth must be a minimum of 1/32nd of an inch.

3. Maintenance

All newer tires have some sort of tread-wear indicators that appear when the treads are dangerously worn.
Any tire showing a wear bar should be replaced immediately. Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.
Likewise, when a tire shows extreme wear on the sidewalls, replace it. Low air pressure in tires is the leading
cause of tire wear and blowouts. Too little air pressure also makes steering and vehicle control more difficult.
Particularly if a vehicle has not been driven recently, you should check tires for proper air pressure.

• Walk around your vehicle before getting in, checking for cuts, nails, bulges, or tire damage;

• Check air pressure while your tires are cold;

• Don't overload your vehicle;

• When buying tires, only buy the size of tire recommended by the manufacturer;

• Rotate your tires on a regular basis (every 5,000 miles or so) to avoid irregular tire wear.

California Vehicle Code: Tires - Tread Depth of Pneumatic Tires (27465 VC)

(a) No dealer or person holding a retail seller's permit shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, or
install on a vehicle axle for use on a highway, a pneumatic tire when the tire has less than the
tread depth specified in subdivision (b).
(b) No person shall use on a highway a pneumatic tire on a vehicle axle when the tire has less
than the following tread depth, except when temporarily installed on a disabled vehicle…
(1) One thirty-second (1/32) of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at
any location of the tire....
(3) Six thirty-second (6/32) of an inch tread depth at all points in all major grooves
on snow tires used in lieu of tire traction devices in posted tire traction device
control areas.
(c) The measurement of tread depth shall not be made where tie bars, humps, or fillets are
located.

F. Safety Belts

The initial impact of a collision sets in motion a chain of impacts. Following the initial contact, passengers are
thrown around, or thrown out of the vehicle(s). It is these secondary collisions that cause the most damage.

1. Purpose

• Reduce Injury and Fatalities: Safety belts reduce the severity of the secondary collisions inside of their
vehicle by securing the driver and passengers in place.

2. Use

Everyone in your vehicle is required by law to wear a safety belt. Drivers must wear both the seatbelt and
harness if they are separate. Drivers can be cited for allowing passengers under age 16 to ride unbelted. Taxi
drivers are exempt from this law. When strapping in, make certain that the belt is snug over the lap, and that
the clasp is fully engaged. The metal clasp should 'click' into the metal lock. Lap belts secured too low or high
on a person are ineffective and can cause injury. Make certain the belt(s) are free of kinks. Neither the driver
nor the passengers should disengage available shoulder harnesses.

3. Maintenance

Seat belts should be free from dirt and grease. Vehicles should never be driven with the belt stuck in the door,
since this prevents the pring or ratchet system to secure the belt during a collision.

California Vehicle Code: Safety Belts - Requirements (27315 VC)

(d) (1) No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway unless that person and all
passengers 16 years of age or over are properly restrained by a safety belt…
(e) No person 16 years of age or over shall be a passenger in a motor vehicle on a highway
unless that person is properly restrained by a safety belt…
(f) Every owner of a motor vehicle...operated on a highway shall maintain safety belts in good
working order for the use of occupants of the vehicle. The safety belts shall conform to motor
vehicle safety standards established by the United States Department of Transportation…
(h) … any violation of subdivision (d), (e), or (f) is an infraction punishable by a fine…

Child Passenger Restraints: Requirements (27360 VC)


(a) A parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 27315, may
not permit his or her child or ward to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without
(1) properly securing the child or ward (2) in a rear seat in a child passenger restraint system
meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child or ward is (3) one of
the following:
(1) Six years of age or older.
(2) 60 pounds or more.
(b) (1) A driver may not transport on a highway a child in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section
27315, without (2) properly securing the child in a rear seat in a child passenger restraint system
meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, unless the child is (3) one of the
following:

(1) Six years of age or older.


(2) 60 pounds or more.

(2) This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the parent or legal guardian of the child is also
present in the vehicle and is not the driver.
(c) (1) For purposes of subdivisions (a) and (b), and except as provided in paragraph (2), a child
or ward under the age of six years who weighs less than 60 pounds may ride in the front seat of
a motor vehicle, if properly secured in a child passenger restraint system that meets applicable
federal motor vehicle safety standards, under any of the following circumstances:

(A) There is no rear seat.


(B) The rear seats are side-facing jump seats.
(C) The rear seats are rear-facing seats.
(D) The child passenger restraint system cannot be installed properly in the rear seat.
(E) All rear seats are already occupied by children under the age of 12 years.
(F) Medical reasons necessitate that the child or ward not ride in the rear seat. The court may
require satisfactory proof of the child's medical condition.

(2) A child or ward may not ride in the front seat of a motor vehicle with an active passenger
airbag if the child or ward is one of the following:

(A) Under one year of age.


(B) Less than 20 pounds.
(C) Riding in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system.

Child Passenger Restraint System: Safety Belts: Requirements (27360.5 VC)

(a) No parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle, as defined in


Section 27315, may permit his or her child or ward who is six years of age or older,
but less than 16 years of age, or who is less than six years of age and weighs 60
pounds or more to be transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without (1)
properly securing the child or ward in an appropriate child passenger restraint
system or safety belt meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Tips for Securing Children

• Children are more likely than adults to be too close to an air bag when it deploys. Under
current manufacturing standards, air bags are designed to inflate at speeds of up to 200 mph.
This blast of energy can severely hurt or kill children too close to the air bag. Infants riding in
rear facing safety seats should never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger
side air bag.
• The safest place for any child 12 years old and younger is in the back seat.
• The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants ride in the rear facing safety seats until
they are at least 20 pounds and one (1) year old. This is the safest place in your vehicle since it is
the point farthest removed from front, rear, and side impact collisions. Make absolutely certain
the child safety seat is properly installed and don't forget to buckle in the child! Once strapped
in, the child seat must have no more than about an inch of wiggle room in any direction.
• Children must be harnessed into safety seats until they are six years of age, or sixty
pounds. Be aware that this replaces the old rule of 'four years or forty pounds.'
• Never use a second-hand child safety seat. If your child's safety seat has been in collision,
replace it with a new seat.

G. Kaitlyn's Law

It is illegal for a parent or guardian or other person responsible for a child under the age of six (6)
to leave that child in the vehicle without the supervision of a person at least 12 (twelve) years-
old, when the vehicle engine is running or the key is in the ignition. This law was written in
response to the tragic death of a young girl – Kaitlyn – who was left in a locked vehicle in 100є
temperatures and died of heat exposure.

Additionally, the law states that it is illegal to leave a child under 6 alone in a vehicle where there
are conditions that present a significant risk to the child's health or safety, and when the
vehicle's engine is running or the vehicle's keys are in the ignition, or both.

It is against the law for a person to smoke any tobacco product in a motor vehicle when a
minor is present in the vehicle, whether the vehicle is at rest or in motion. An infraction
is a secondary enforcement, and is punishable by a fine.
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SECTION 7: TRAFFIC SIGNS, SIGNALS, AND CONTROLS

Traffic signs, signals, and controls communicate to drivers, regulating them, guiding them, and giving
them information through combinations of visual cues. These cues include words, colors, shapes, and
placements of the devices. You must learn their methods of communication and their meanings in
order to drive safely and legally.

Obedience of Driver to Official Traffic Control Devices (21461 VC)


(a) It shall be unlawful for any driver of a vehicle to fail to obey any sign or signal
erected or maintained to indicate and carry out the provisions of this code or any local
traffic ordinance or resolution adopted pursuant to a local traffic ordinance, or to fail to
obey any device erected or maintained pursuant to Section 21352.

Obedience to Traffic Control Signals (21462 VC)

The driver of any vehicle, the person in charge of any animal, any pedestrian, and the motorman of
any streetcar shall obey the instructions of any official traffic signal applicable to him and placed as
provided by law, unless otherwise directed by a police or traffic officer or when it is necessary for the
purpose of avoiding a collision or in case of other emergency, subject to the exemptions granted by
Section 21055.

A. Recognizing Traffic Control Signals and Pavement Markings

Traffic control signals and pavement markings are recognizable by their colors and placement.

1. Purpose of Traffic Controls

Signs, signals, and markings fill in the blanks between your general driving skills and general
knowledge, giving you specific information about local driving conditions.

• Regulation: Such signs are almost always rectangular in shape, with black letters on a white
background or field. An important example of this kind of sign is the posted speed limit sign. The
exception to the shape and color of most regulatory signs are the 'Stop (red field; white letters),'
'Wrong Way (red field; white letters),' 'Yield (yellow field; black letters),' and 'Do Not Enter' signs.

• Warning: Yellow in color with a diamond shape, these signs warn drivers about a change in
normal driving conditions, such as 'right lane ends,' or 'curve.' These signs are usually placed well
ahead of the change.

• Information: Information signs are either blue or brown, depending on the type of information.
Blue signs indicate upcoming private facilities, such as food, camping, hospital, scenic area, or rest
stop. Brown signs indicate a public sites of interest, such as historic sites or national parks.
• Guide: Signs with green fields and white lettering provide information about such topics as
distance to the next city, upcoming exits, etc.
• Construction and Maintenance:: These signs are usually orange and have a rectangular shape.
They warn motorists that there may be work crews in the roadway up ahead. Always be prepared to
reduce speed when you see these signs and to obey any instructions of any flag persons. And
remember: traffic fines may be doubled in a construction zone!
2. Meaning of Traffic Control Signals

• Traffic lights: Tri-colored signal light are used to direct traffic flow at intersections. The duration
of each red, green, and yellow phase of a traffic light is set to the traffic patterns for various times of
the day at each intersection.
California Vehicle Code: Traffic
Control Devices

Official Traffic Control Signals (21450 VC)

(a) Whenever traffic is controlled


by official traffic control signals
showing different colored lights,
color-lighted arrows, or color-
lighted bicycle symbols,
successively, one at a time, or in
combination, only the colors
green, yellow, and red shall be
used, except for pedestrian
control signals, and those lights
shall indicate and apply to drivers
of vehicles, operators of bicycles,
and pedestrians as provided in
this chapter.

Signal at Other Places (21455 VC)

When an official traffic control signal is erected


and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this article shall be applicable
except those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be
made at a sign or crosswalk or limit line indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence
of any such sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal.
• Circular Lights
• green light: The intersection is clear and you can proceed with caution.
• yellow light: The signal is about to change from green to red. If you are
already in the intersection, proceed with caution; otherwise stop.
• red light: Come to a complete stop.
• right-turn-on-red: Drivers may make a right turn at a red light after
stopping, if it is safe. However, watch for signs prohibiting a right turn on
red.
• Arrows
• green arrow: Proceed in the direction of the arrow when safe.
• yellow arrow: Be prepared to stop.
• red arrow: Do not proceed in the direction indicated. A common mistake
is a driver making a right turn after a complete stop against a red arrow.
That is illegal as is proceeding against a red arrow when a circular green is
also illuminated. Remember: it is illegal to proceed against a red arrow in
the direction of that arrow - period.

Circular Green or Green Arrow (21451 VC)


(a) A driver facing a circular green signal shall
proceed straight through or turn right or left or
make a U-turn unless a sign prohibits a U-turn. Any
driver, including one turning, shall yield the right-of-
way to other traffic and to pedestrians lawfully
within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
(b) A driver facing a green arrow signal, shown alone
or in combination with another indication, shall enter
the intersection only to make the movement
indicated by that green arrow or any other
movement that is permitted by other indications
shown at the same time. A driver facing a left green
arrow may also make a U-turn unless prohibited by a
sign. A driver shall yield the right-of-way to other
traffic and to pedestrians lawfully within the
intersection or an adjacent crosswalk.
(c) A pedestrian facing a circular green signal,
unless prohibited by sign or otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as
provided in Section 21456, may proceed across the roadway within any marked or
unmarked crosswalk, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the
intersection at the time that signal is first shown.
(d) A pedestrian facing a green arrow turn signal, unless otherwise directed by a
pedestrian control signal as provided in section 21456, shall not enter the roadway.

Circular Yellow or Yellow Arrow (21452 VC)

(a) A driver facing a steady circular yellow or yellow arrow signal is, by that signal,
warned that the related green movement is ending or that a red indication will be shown
immediately thereafter.

(b) A pedestrian facing a steady circular yellow or a yellow arrow signal, unless
otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section 21456, is, by
that signal, warned that there is insufficient time to cross the roadway and shall not
enter the roadway.

Circular Red or Red Arrow (21453 VC)

(a) A driver facing a steady circular red signal alone shall stop at a marked limit line, but
if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none,
then before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication to
proceed is shown, except as provided in subdivision (b).
(b) Except when a sign is in place prohibiting a turn, a driver, after stopping as required
by subdivision (a), facing a steady circular red signal, may turn right, or turn left from a
one-way street onto a one-way street. A driver making that turn shall yield the right-of-
way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to any vehicle that has
approached or is approaching so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard to the
driver, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that vehicle until the driver can
proceed with reasonable safety.
(c) A driver facing a steady red arrow signal shall not enter the intersection to make the
movement indicated by the arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make a
movement permitted by another signal, shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if
none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then
before entering the intersection, and shall remain stopped until an indication permitting
movement is shown.
(d) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in Section
21456, a pedestrian facing a steady circular red or red arrow signal shall not enter the
roadway.
• Flashing signals:
• A flashing red light means the same as a stop sign. Come to a full stop,
and proceed with caution.
• A flashing yellow light requires the driver to slow down, check for cross
traffic, and proceed with caution.
• Blacked Out Lights: When approaching an intersection that has traffic control signals that
are inoperative, drivers must stop at the intersection, and may proceed with caution only when it is
safe to do so. This also applies to traffic control signals that become inoperative because of battery
failure. In other words, should you encounter an intersection where the traffic signals are not
operating, treat the intersection as you would a 4-way stop. Vehicles should proceed only after
making a complete stop, in the order of arrival, and only when safe. If 2 vehicles arrive at the same
time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.

Flashing Signals (21457 VC)

Whenever an illuminated flashing red or yellow light is used in a traffic signal or with a traffic sign, it
shall require obedience by drivers as follows:
(a) Flashing red (stop signal): When a red lens is illuminated with rapid intermittent
flashes, a driver shall stop at a clearly marked limit line, but if none, before entering the
crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then at the point nearest the
intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the
intersecting roadway before entering it, and the driver may proceed subject to the rules
applicable after making a stop at a stop sign.
(b) Flashing yellow (caution signal): When a yellow lens is illuminated with rapid
intermittent flashes, a driver may proceed through the intersection or past the signal
only with caution.
• Designated lane signals: Lane signals are sometimes used on freeways or city streets to
control traffic during heavy commutes. These signals are mounted over individual lanes.
• A green arrow over a lane means that the lane is open to all traffic.
• A red 'X' over a lane indicates that it is closed. If you see a steady yellow
light, move out of that lane.
designated lane
green-yellow-red solid traffic signals green-yellow-red arrows
signal
Lane Use Control Signals (21454 VC)

When lane use control signals are placed over individual lanes, those signals shall indicate and apply
to drivers of vehicles as follows:
(a) Green indication: A driver may travel in any lane over
which a green signal is shown.
(b) Steady yellow indication: A driver is thereby warned
that a lane control change is being made.
(c) Steady red indication: A driver shall not enter or travel
in any lane over which a red signal is shown.
(d) Flashing yellow indication: A driver may use the lane
only for the purpose of making a left turn to or from the highway.

3. Intersection Safety

• Scan for traffic controls and prohibitive signs: Ease off


the gas pedal as you approach an intersection, and check for signs.
Keep in mind that the particular traffic control may be time-
specific, such as prohibiting turning at some intersections during
certain hours of the day.

Women like silent men...they think they're listening.

• Scan for potential hazards: All intersections are dangerous, so even when you have the
green light, scan thoroughly before proceeding.

• Entering an intersection on a yellow light: A potential hazard is created each time you
enter an intersection on a yellow light. Basically, don't enter an intersection on a yellow light if you
can safely stop prior to the limit line.

• Controlled intersections: Controlled intersections are intersections with stop or yield signs,
or traffic signals directing the right-of-way.
• signal lights: Signal lights are placed at major intersections to control
cross-traffic. Occasionally, a traffic signal may be placed on a lightly-
traveled street or near a school. Be alert.
• flashing signal lights: Flashing signal lights are activated in the early
morning hours.
• circular arrows: You may make a turn in the intersection when it is safe
to do so only in the direction that the arrow is pointing
• right-turn-on-red: If you are stopped at a red light at an intersection, and
you wait until it is safe (no cross traffic or pedestrians in the crosswalk)
you may turn right against a red light unless there is a sign posted
prohibiting such a turn. If you are entering an intersection on a green light,
beware of others making this maneuver without clearance.
• designated lanes: Be alert to the ever-growing number and variety of
designated traffic lanes, including those for bicycle lanes, 'must-turn' lanes,
diamond lanes, etc.

California Vehicle Code: Special Stops Required

Stop Required (22450 VC)

(a) The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the entrance to, or within, an
intersection, or railroad grade crossing shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise
before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection. If there is no limit line
or crosswalk, the driver shall stop at the entrance to the intersecting roadway or railroad
grade crossing.

B. Pavement and Curb Markings – Purpose and Meaning

1. Yellow Centerline Marking

Yellow line markings separate traffic approaching from opposite directions.

• Two-laned roadway/broken line: You may cross these lines for passing, after assessing
safety.
• Two-laned roadway/solid line next to a broken line: If the lines are yellow, and the
broken line is on your side of the roadway, you may pass over these lines. If the solid line is on your
side of the roadway, do not pass.
• Two-laned roadway/double solid lines: While passing over double solid centerlines is illegal, a
driver may turn left over these lines at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway. A driver
may also make a U-turn over these lines, under the rules governing that turn.
• Four-laned roadway/double solid lines: Obviously, on a 4 lane road there would be no need to
pass over double solid lines. However, as stated above, a driver may turn left over these lines (from a
legal lane farthest left) at an intersection or onto a private road or driveway. A driver may also make
a U-turn (from a legal lane farthest left) over these lines, under the rules governing that turn.
• Divided Highways: Some highways are marked by intermittent barriers a dividing section that is
described by double parallel lines that are not less than 2 feet apart. It is illegal to drive over, upon or
across such an area unless there is a break specifically designed to accommodate a left or U-turn.
• Two-Way Left Turn Lanes: These special lanes are located down the center of the street and
they consist of parallel double yellow lines, interior line dashed and exterior line solid, on each side of
the lane. They are used to shelter vehicles preparing to turn left off of the street and vehicles
attempting to turn on to the street. It is illegal to drive more than 200 feet in these lanes. In other
words, you may only use them to accelerate up to the prevailing speed for merging, or slowing down
in preparation to make a left turn out of the lane.

Double Lines (21460VC)

(a) When double parallel solid lines are in place, no person driving a vehicle shall drive
to the left thereof, except as permitted in this section.

(b) When the double parallel lines, one of which is broken, are in place, no person
driving a vehicle shall drive to the left thereof, except as follows:

(1) That the driver on that side of the roadway in which the broken line is in
place may cross over the double line or drive to the left thereof when
overtaking or passing other vehicles.

(2) As provided in Section 21460.5.


(c) Either of the markings as specified in subdivision (a) or (b) does not prohibit a driver
from crossing the marking when
(1) turning to the left at any intersection or into or out of a driveway or
private road, or (2) making a U-turn under the rules governing that turn,
and either of the markings shall be disregarded when authorized signs
have been erected designating off center traffic lanes as permitted under
Section 21657.

(d) Raised pavement markers may be used to simulate painted lines described in this
section when the markers are placed in accordance with standards established by the
Department of Transportation.
• Two-way left-turn lanes: Two-way left-turn lanes consist of parallel double yellow lines,
interior line dashed and exterior line solid, on each side of the lane. It is illegal to drive in a
designated two-way left-turn lane except when preparing for or making a left turn from or into a
highway or when preparing for or making a U-turn. You may not drive for more than 200 feet while
preparing for and making the turn or while preparing to merge into the adjacent lanes of travel. A left
turn or U-turn shall not be made from any other lane where a two-way left-turn lane has been
designated.

Two-way Left Turn Lanes (21460.5 VC)

A two-way left-turn lane is a lane near the center of the highway set aside for use by vehicles making
left turns in both directions from or into the highway.
(b) Two-way left-turn lanes shall be designated by distinctive roadway markings
consisting of parallel double yellow lines, interior line dashed and exterior line solid, on
each side of the lane. The Department of Transportation may determine and prescribe
standards and specifications governing length, width, and positioning of the distinctive
pavement markings.
(c) A vehicle shall not be driven in a designated two-way left-turn lane except when
preparing for or making a left turn from or into a highway or when preparing for or
making a U-turn when otherwise permitted by law, and shall not be driven in that lane
for more than 200 feet while preparing for and making the turn or while preparing to
merge into the adjacent lanes of travel. A left turn or U-turn shall not be made from any
other lane where a two-way left-turn lane has been designated.
(d) This section does not prohibit driving across a two-way left-turn lane.
(e) Raised pavement markers may be used to simulate the painted lines described in
this section when those markers are placed in accordance with standards established by
the Department of Transportation.

2. White Line Marking

• Broken: Broken white lines divide lanes for traffic moving in the same direction on multi-
laned roads, and can be crossed to pass or change lanes.
• Solid: Solid white lines may appear near an intersection. Bold white broken lines indicate that
a 'Turn Only' lane is approaching. When these lines transition to a bold solid line, you are required to
turn.
• Lines with arrows: An arrow in a lane indicates that you must turn in the direction of the
arrow.

3. Curb Marking

• Purpose: Driving in an urban area, you often see the curbs painted different colors. You tend
to find these marked curbs in commercial areas. They limit where you can stop or park your vehicle,
and for how long.
• Color:
• white: You can stop only long enough
to pick up or drop off passengers or
mail.
• green: You can park for a limited
time. The time is usually shown on a
sign next to the green zone, or painted
on the curb.
• yellow: You can stop here only long
enough to load or unload passengers
or freight – and no longer than posted.
Drivers of noncommercial vehicles are
usually required to stay with their
vehicles.
• red: No stopping, standing, or parking Colored curb markings
(a bus may stop at a red zone marked
for busses).
• blue: Disabled parking only. To use
the space, your vehicle must display a
DMV-issued placard or license plate
identifying a person with disabilities.
• Placement: These markings can appear at any point along the block,
depending on which business establishment requests the control.

Curb Markings (21458 VC)

(a) Whenever local authorities enact local parking regulations and


indicate them by the use of paint upon curbs, the following colors only
shall be used, and the colors indicate as follows:
(1) Red indicates no stopping, standing, or parking,
whether the vehicle is attended or unattended, except
that a bus may stop in a red zone marked or signposted
as a bus loading zone.
(2) Yellow indicates stopping only for the purpose of
loading or unloading passengers or freight for the time as
may be specified by local ordinance.
(3) White indicates stopping for either of the following
purposes:
(A) Loading or unloading of passengers for the time as may be
specified by local ordinance.
(B) Depositing mail in an adjacent mailbox.
(4) Green indicates time limit parking specified by local ordinance.
(5) Blue indicates parking limited exclusively to the vehicles of disabled
persons and disabled veterans.
(b) Regulations adopted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be effective on days and
during hours or times as prescribed by local ordinances.

C. Other Pavement Marking

• Edge-of-pavement lines are solid white lines on the outside margins of the roadway that
indicate the edge of the roadway.
• Limit lines are single thick white lines found at intersections. You must stop your vehicle
behind these lines.
• Pedestrian crosswalks are indicated by parallel white lines, usually found at intersections.
Yellow crosswalks are found near schools.
• Railroad crossings are often marked by a white 'X' on the pavement just prior to the
crossing.
• School warnings are marked by 'school xing' on the pavement around schools.

Distinctive Roadway Markings (21459 VC)

(b) The distinctive roadway markings shall be employed to designate any portion of a
highway where the volume of traffic or the vertical or other curvature of the roadway
renders it hazardous to drive on the left side of the marking or to indicate no driving to
the left as provided in Section 21460, and shall not be employed for any other purpose.

D. Intersections or Crossings that Require Special Stops


1. Railroad Crossings

Especially in rural areas, where railroad crossings are not always well marked, proceed with caution
at railroad crossings. Most are marked by signs on the approach to the tracks, although there are
seldom crossing gates. Thus, stop before crossing the tracks, look, and listen. Do pediatricians play
miniature golf on Wednesdays? Do not proceed until you are certain you have plenty of time. Never
stop on the tracks.

a. Controls
• Flashers: Red flashing
lights at a railroad crossing
mean that a train is
approaching. If there is no
gate preventing your
crossing, you may cross on
a red flashing light,
provided you carefully
scan the tracks for sight of
the train first.
• Crossing gate: There
may also be a crossing
gate that blocks entrance
onto the tracks. Once the
gate begins to descend,
stop behind it. If you
attempt to beat a gate
that is going down and
don't make it, you can
become trapped on the
tracks between the gates.
If this happens get yourself
and your passengers out
of the vehicle immediately. Look for all train crossing indicators...because
Move away from the even if the engineer is looking for you, by the
tracks. Say goodbye to time he spots you it's too late for him to stop.
your vehicle, because the
train will not be able to
stop.
• Stop sign: You must
stop if there is a stop sign
at the crossing, whether
you see or hear a train
coming or not. Stop, look,
listen, and proceed with
caution.
b. Rail crossing safety: High speed commuter trains now travel through busy cities.
Remember, commuter trains travel at higher speeds and are much quieter than freight
trains. Pedestrians and vehicles should never cross a guard gate that is down.
Stops for Train Signals (22451 VC)

(a) The driver of any vehicle or pedestrian approaching


a railroad or rail transit grade crossing shall stop not less
than 15 feet from the nearest rail and shall not proceed
until he or she can do so safely, whenever the following
conditions exist:
(1) A clearly visible electric or mechanical
signal device or a flagman gives warning of
the approach or passage of a train or car.
(2) An approaching train or car is plainly
visible or is emitting an audible signal and,
by reason of its speed or nearness, is an
immediate hazard.
(b) No driver or pedestrian shall proceed through, around, or under any railroad or rail
transit crossing gate while the gate is closed.

Railroad Crossings (22452 VC)

(a) Subdivisions (b) and (c) apply to the operation of the following vehicles:
(1) Any bus or farm labor vehicle carrying passengers.
(2) Any motortruck transporting employees in addition to those riding in
the cab.
(3) Any school bus and any school pupil activity bus transporting school
pupils....
(d) No stop need be made at any crossing in the following circumstances:
(1) Of railroad tracks running along and upon the roadway within a
business or residence district.
(2) Where a traffic officer or an official traffic control signal directs traffic to
proceed.
(3) Where an exempt sign was authorized by the Public Utilities
Commission prior to January 1, 1978.
2. School Buses

• At school crossings: It is illegal to


proceed through an intersection
when a crossing guard is in the
crosswalk. The law also requires that
you reduce your speed to 25 mph
around schools anytime school is in
session and children are present
outside fenced areas. However, even
if a school is not officially in session,
schools are gathering places for a
variety of after-school activities.
Anytime you are around a school,
If you are approaching any school bus with a stop watch for students. And keep in mind
sign that traffic fines are enhanced
extended or its red lights flashing from the front (doubled) in school zones, which
means it will cost you more money if
or the rear, you
you get a ticket where children might
must stop immediately before passing the bus on
be present. Why? You're putting the
any undivided road
lives of innocent children in danger.
• When school bus lights are flashing: When the red traffic control lights on a
school bus are flashing, or the stop sign is swung out perpendicular to the body of the
bus, this means that children could soon be exiting and crossing the street in front of
the bus. A flashing yellow light on a school bus means that you should slow and proceed
with caution. A flashing red light means that - if you and the bus are traveling a laned-
road without center dividers - you must stop immediately before passing the bus
(regardless of whether you are approaching from the front of rear), and remain stopped
until the traffic control devices are no longer operating.

The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway or multiple-lane highway need not stop
upon meeting or passing a school bus that is upon the other roadway (traveling in the
opposite direction). A multiple-lane highway is any highway that has two or more lanes
of travel in each direction. But a driver traveling in the same direction as the school bus
on a divided or multiple-lane highway is still required to stop.

School Bus (22454 VC)

(a) The driver of any vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any
school bus equipped with signs as required in this code, that is stopped for the purpose
of loading or unloading any schoolchildren and displays a flashing red light signal and
stop signal arm, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 25257, if
equipped with a stop signal arm, visible from front or rear, shall bring the vehicle to a
stop immediately before passing the school bus and shall not proceed past the school
bus until the flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, if equipped with a stop signal
arm, cease operation.
(b) .(1) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway or multiple-lane highway need
not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is upon the other roadway.
(2) For the purposes of this subdivision, a multiple-lane highway is any
highway that has two or more lanes of travel in each direction.

E. Understanding Pictorial Messages as Instant Communication

Traffic signs give early warning to potential problems that may be ahead. Learn to identify them by
color and shape immediately.

1. Regulatory – Red, Black, or Red on White

• Stop, yield, or a prohibition: Regulatory signs deliver instructions


that must be followed under penalty of law. In color, they can be a red field
with white lettering, white field with black lettering.

2. Guide – Green
• Movement permitted or directional guidance.

3. Warning – Yellow
• General warning: Begin exercising caution immediately. Depending
on the type of warning, cover your brake, reduce speed, look for hazards.

4. Construction - Orange
• Warning and guidance, information for construction and
maintenance zone operations: Slow down, look for men and/or machines
and material obstructing the roadway.

5. Service – Blue
• An indicator of motorists services, such as food, gas, and rest
areas.

6. Recreational – Brown
• Public recreation and cultural interest guides that point out
historical, cultural, and recreational areas of interest.

7. Shapes
Most signs are recognizable by their distinctive shape and can be understood from a distance.

Shape Meaning
Octagon Stop
Triangle Yield
Round Railroad crossing
Vertical rectangle Regulatory
Pentagon School
Pennant No passing
Diamond Warning
Horizontal rectangle Information and guide

Take note of this fact: Racecar drivers know that a basic mistake can be their last. That's
true for you and me, too.

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