On behalf of all of us at Rapid Traffic School, thank you for caring about safety on California’s roads. Our state has a vast range of urban and rural driving environments that each require a nuanced focus on safety. Here are some tips straight from our course:

  1. On highways:
  • You can reduce your chances of collision by being mindful of other driver’s blind spots or “no zones”. Blind spots are usually to the close rear on either side of a vehicle. Bigger vehicles, like large trucks and vans have bigger blind spots. Be mindful of driving in these no zones and speed up or slow down to get out of them as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid driving in clusters, with vehicles on both sides of you, in front and behind. This creates little space for you to brake in the event of an emergency. Steer clear, pass by, or slow down and create some distance between you and any highway clusters you see.
  • Avoid passing on two-lane highways when you can’t see oncoming traffic for any reason. This includes in advance of tunnels, bridges, hills, and curves. Wait until you have a clear view to pass.
  • Try using the center lane to go at a moderate pace and avoid merging traffic. The center lane is a great place to be while you wait for an exit… you can deftly avoid clusters and pass on both the right and left side.
  1. On freeways:
  • Watch for changing speed limits, vehicles on the shoulder, and the brake lights of other vehicles. Traffic flow on freeways in Los Angeles and San Francisco can change on a dime. Be ready to slow down!
  • Avoid eating, drinking, personal hygiene, and cellphone use (this applies to all types of roads). Distracted driving causes a lot of fatal accidents in California and even a quick phone tap or swipe can cause a collision, especially at freeway speeds.
  • When merging onto a freeway, use the on-ramp to match your speed to traffic, signal, shoulder check, and merge carefully.
  • Always look for ‘outs’ in case of an emergency. Which way will you steer/drive if the car in front of you suddenly brakes or the car behind you looks like it could collide with you?
  1. On residential streets:
  • Be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians. Keep a 3-feet distance when passing cyclists. Be aware of both marked and unmarked crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right of way as they cross your path.
  • Slow down in school zones and when school buses are present.
  • If your view at an intersection is obstructed by parked cars, trees, or buildings, you can carefully inch forward until you are able to see. These are known as ‘blind intersections’
  • Speed limits in alleyways is 15 mph. Pay attention to uneven road conditions and objects/parked vehicles as you pass by, especially in narrow alleys.
  • U-turns are typically allowed in residential areas unless otherwise posted.
  1. In adverse weather conditions:
  • Use your low beam head lights in rain, fog, dust/smoke, and snow.
  • Slow down to avoid sliding/skidding.
  • Keep extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you so that you have room to brake in the event of an emergency.
  • Know whether you have an Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and brake accordingly in slippery conditions.
  • Your clear vision of the road ahead is extra important. Stay focused and use your windshield de-fog and wipers as needed. Do not be tempted by distractions even at slower speeds.
  1. Before you drive:
  • Check your fuel gauge and other alerts.
  • Adjust your seat and rearview mirrors.
  • Fasten your seatbelt and ensure your passengers fasten theirs.
  • Make sure you have your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and proof of registration all up to date and in the vehicle.