Driver Education – Defensive Driving

Hi ,

Here are some defensive driver education guidelines specific to California DMV:

  1. Zero Tolerance for Alcohol and Drugs: In California, the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for drivers under 21 years old is 0.00%. For drivers over 21, it’s 0.07%. However, it’s important to understand that any level of alcohol or drugs can impair your driving abilities, so the only safe limit is 0.00%. Driving under the influence of any substance is not only unsafe but also illegal. Tip: Safe, impaired and illegal BAC limits are different things. For drivers over 21, 0.00% is safe limit, 0.01% to 0.07% is impaired and 0.08% and above is illegal.
  2. Limit Earplug Use: It is both dangerous and illegal to wear earplugs in both ears while driving in California. Hearing is a crucial sense for driver awareness and safety, so it’s important to be able to hear sirens, horns, and other auditory signals on the road.
  3. Use Turn Signals Properly: Signal your intent to change lanes at least 200 feet before making the turn. Signaling well in advance allows other drivers to anticipate your actions and helps to prevent accidents caused by sudden lane changes.
  4. Avoid Driving in Bike Lanes: In California, it is illegal for motor vehicles to drive in bike lanes except under certain circumstances. Only cross the bike lane when necessary to make a turn or enter a driveway, and make sure to yield to cyclists. Tip: Drive no more than 100ft in a bike lane.
  5. High Beams: Dim high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. This helps improve visibility for both you and other drivers, making the roads safer.
  6. Observe Speed Limits: Always adhere to posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions. Speeding is a leading cause of accidents and can result in serious consequences.
    • California Basic Speed Law: The California Basic Speed Law states that you must drive at a speed that is safe and reasonable for the current road and weather conditions, regardless of the posted speed limit. This means you should adjust your speed when driving in adverse weather, heavy traffic, or other hazardous conditions to maintain control of your vehicle and avoid accidents. Tip: Do not drive above speed limit instead adjust down for road and weather conditions.
  7. Following the Basic Speed Law ensures that you are driving at a speed that allows you to react to potential dangers on the road promptly. It’s essential to consider factors such as road conditions, visibility, and traffic flow when determining a safe and appropriate speed.
  8. Remember, the speed limits posted are designed for ideal driving conditions, and it’s your responsibility to drive at a speed that is safe for the current situation. Be mindful of the Basic Speed Law and prioritize safety over speed to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of all road users. For example, during fog, actual speed should be much lower than the posted speed limit.
  9. Use Seat Belts: Always wear your seat belt, and ensure that all passengers do the same. Seat belts significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a collision. This is highest rated safety requirement.
  10. No Texting or Handheld Devices: It is illegal to use a handheld device while driving in California. This includes texting, making calls, or any other use that requires holding the device. Use hands-free technology or pull over in a safe location if you need to use your phone. Tip: No phone calls allowed with a provisional license even if it is hands-free.
  11. Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to allow enough time to react in case of sudden stops or emergencies. Remember 3-second rule.
  12. Be Mindful of Pedestrians and Bicycles: Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and be cautious of cyclists on the road. Always give them enough space and be attentive to their movements.

Remember, safe driving is not only a legal responsibility but also a moral obligation to protect yourself and others on the road. Follow these tips and practice defensive driving to contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone.

Drive Safe,
The Learn and Permits Support Staff 

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