California Driver Handbook - Additional Driving Laws/Rules

Things You Must Not Do:

  • Do not smoke at any time when a minor is in the vehicle. You can be fined up to $100.
  • Do not dump or abandon animals on a highway. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail, or both.
  • Do not operate a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device (minors, refer to the “Minors and Cell Phones” section for pertaining information).
  • Do not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to write, send, or read text based communications.
  • Do not wear a headset or earplugs in both ears while driving.
  • Do not drive a vehicle so loaded, either with property or people, that you cannot control it, or see ahead or to the sides of your vehicle.
  • It is illegal to drive any vehicle with an unsafe, unsecured load that is a safety hazard (CVC 24002(a)). Unsecured loads (ladders, buckets, and loose items in the back of pickup trucks) can cause danger for other motorists, especially motorcycles, when they fall onto the road.
  • Do not carry anything in or on a passenger vehicle which extends beyond the fenders on the left side or more than 6 inches beyond the fenders on the right side. Cargo extending more than 4 feet from the back of the vehicle must display a 12-inch red or fluorescent orange square flag or two red lights at night.
  • Do not allow anyone to ride on any part of your vehicle not intended for passengers.
  • Do not allow anyone to ride in the trunk of your vehicle. Convictions will result in penalties for both the driver and the person(s) riding in the trunk.
  • Do not allow a person to ride in the back of a pickup or other truck, unless the vehicle is equipped with seats and the person uses both the seat and a safety belt.
  • Do not transport animals in the back of a pickup or other truck unless the animal is properly secured; this prevents the animal from falling, jumping or being thrown from the vehicle.
  • Do not leave a child or an animal unattended in a hot vehicle (refer to the to the "Unattended Children in Motor Vehicles" section “Hot Weather Risks” section).
  • Do not tow anyone who is riding a bicycle, in a wagon, on roller skates, roller blades, skis, sled, toy vehicle, skateboard, etc.
  • Do not litter the roadside. The fine is $1,000 and you may be forced to pick up what you threw away. Littering convictions show on your driving record.
  • Do not wear eyeglasses with temples wide enough to keep you from seeing clearly to the sides.
  • Do not drive a vehicle equipped with a video monitor, if the monitor is visible to the driver and displays anything other than vehicle information, global mapping displays, external media player (MP3), or satellite radio information.
  • Do not honk your horn unless it is a safety warning to avoid a collision.
  • Do not throw any cigarette, cigar, or other flaming or glowing substance from your vehicle.
  • Do not shoot firearms on a highway or at traffic signs.
  • Do not block your view by putting signs or other objects on the front windshield or the back side windows. Do not hang objects on the mirror. Windshield/window stickers, etc., are permitted in these locations only:
    • A seven-inch square on either the passenger’s side windshield lower corner or the lower corner of the rear window
    • A five-inch square on the lower corner of the driver’s side window.
    • The side windows behind the driver.
    • A five-inch square located in the center uppermost portion of your windshield for an electronic toll payment device.
  • Do not drive any motor vehicle into a designated wilderness area (CVC §38301.3).
  • Do not drive with illegally tinted safety glass. If you have sun-sensitive skin, you may use removable sun screens during daylight travel, provided you have a letter from your physician.
  • Do not block or hinder a funeral procession. Vehicles taking part in a funeral procession have the right-of-way, and if you interfere, obstruct, or interrupt the funeral procession, you are subject to a citation (CVC §2817). A funeral procession is led by a traffic officer. All vehicles taking part in the procession have windshield markers to identify them and have their headlights on.
  • Do not ride, or allow a child to ride, a "pocket bike" on a public street or highway. These vehicles are not manufactured or designed for highway use, and they do not meet federal safety standards.
  • Do not operate a vehicle that has a visual or electronic product or device that obscures the reading or recognition of the license plate.
  • Do not alter a license plate in any manner.

Things You Must Do:

  • You must drive as far to the right as reasonably possible on narrow mountain roads. If you cannot see at least 200 feet ahead, honk your horn.
  • You must use your headlights 30 minutes after sunset and leave them on until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • You must dim your lights to low beams within 500 feet of a vehicle coming toward you or within 300 feet of a vehicle you are following.
  • You must turn on your headlights if snow, rain, fog, dust, or low visibility (1,000 feet or less) requires the use of windshield wipers.
  • If you are involved in a collision, you must move your vehicle out of the traffic lane (unless it is disabled) when it is safe to do so. Law enforcement may tow or impound your vehicle if it is left in an unsafe area and causes safety concerns.

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