We're All In This Together
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We're All In This Together
(Click the movie Play button to play the movie.)
A pedestrian is a person on foot or using a conveyance propelled by human power (skates, skateboard) other than a bicycle; and also includes disabled persons who may be using powered devices.
Disabled persons using self-propelled wheelchairs, tricycles, or quadricycles are not able to move about as easily as pedestrians. These persons should be given the same rights as any other pedestrian. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents are the leading cause of death for ages 8 through 14. Pedestrian safety is a serious issue. One in six traffic fatalities is a pedestrian.
Pedestrians lose in any accident, regardless of who had the right-of-way. Drive cautiously when pedestrians are near and may cross your path.
Children under the age of 15 account for about 29% of pedestrian victims and about 28% of bicycle victims.
Most of the time you are a pedestrian, not a driver. There are both rights and responsibilities you should know to insure your safety when you are not driving your vehicle.
When walking on the side of the roadway, you should use the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, you may walk on the roadway, but must face oncoming traffic and as far to your left as possible.
You are not permitted on any toll bridge or highway crossing, or in any tunnel unless there is a sidewalk more than three feet wide, with signs telling you that pedestrians are permitted to use it.
Wear bright or reflective clothing, day and night, when walking along a roadway that does not have a sidewalk.
Don’t walk or jog on any freeway where signs tell you that pedestrians are not allowed. A significant cause of accidents is pedestrians walking on roadways while intoxicated, wearing headphones, or otherwise not paying attention to traffic. It is dangerous to wear headphones while walking on roadways because you cannot hear approaching vehicles. It is dangerous to walk on railroad tracks. Joggers, runners, rollerbladers, and skateboarders must also obey all pedestrian rules.
Rollerbladers and skateboarders may be prohibited from using sidewalks by local authority, but must otherwise obey all pedestrian rules. It is illegal to stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any vehicle (hitchhiking).
Pedestrians are not allowed to walk, jog, or run in bicycle lanes when there are sidewalks.
You can make yourself more visible at night by wearing white or light-colored clothing and retro-reflective materials and by wearing or carrying some sort of light such as a flashlight. Wearing only white clothing does not always guarantee your safety.
Pedestrians may only cross roadways at intersections using crosswalks. Pedestrians should not stop or delay traffic unnecessarily when crossing a street.
Some special signs are used only for pedestrians. The crosswalk is that part of the pavement where the sidewalk lines would extend across the street and are areas set aside for people to cross the street.
Every street where streets and sidewalks meet “at about right angles” has a crosswalk for pedestrians to cross the street even though there may be no painted lines. A crosswalk may be marked by white lines at an intersection but if not marked, one exists and is the extension of sidewalks across the streets unless pedestrian crossing is prohibited by signs.
Although most crosswalks are marked with white lines, Yellow lines may be painted for school crossings. Although most crosswalks are at corners, they are sometimes in the middle of the block. Some crosswalks, especially in residential areas, are not marked.
Although pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks, they must only cross when it is safe to do so. You must always obey traffic signals as a pedestrian. Many intersections have signals which show the words “ WALK “ and “ DON’T WALK “ or show a person walking in white and a raised hand in orange. Whether it has these signals or the usual traffic lights, you must obey the pedestrian rules.
The “WALK” or walking person appears when it is legal to start crossing. When the “DON’T WALK” or raised hand appears, you may not start across the street.
In order to operate pedestrian signals, you may need to push a button one time to receive the “WALK” or walking person signal. When a signal first changes to “WALK” or the walking person for you, look left, right, and then left again before crossing the street. Yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection before the signal changed.
Flashing “DON’T WALK” or raised hand signals mean you should not begin to cross because you may not have enough time to make it to the other side of the street before vehicles start moving across your path. If the flashing “DON’T WALK” or raised hand signals appear after you have already started to cross the roadway, you may finish crossing the street.
Remember that you must obey all traffic signs and signals when crossing the street. Check for vehicles that appear to be unlikely to stop and never forcibly claim the right-of-way from a vehicle. At signal-controlled intersections where there are no pedestrian signals, pedestrians must obey the red, yellow, or green signal lights.
When crossing at an intersection controlled by stop signs, you should make sure that drivers see you before you attempt to cross the roadway. Don’t assume that other drivers will stop just because one vehicle has stopped for you. Take turns with approaching vehicles, only crossing the street when all other vehicles have stopped for you.
You must not suddenly leave a curb or other safe place and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is close enough to be a danger to you. This is true even if you are in a crosswalk.
At an intersection where traffic is not controlled by signals or signs, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to you within any crosswalk, marked or unmarked. However, you must give the driver a chance to yield to you and not just step off the curb when oncoming vehicles are nearby.
Making eye contact with a driver does not mean that the driver will see you or yield the right-of-way. The law says that any driver must take care for the safety of any pedestrian-- but if the driver can’t stop in time, the law won’t help you.
Crossing a roadway between intersections when a crosswalk is not present is called “jaywalking.” If you “jaywalk” across a street between intersections, where no pedestrian crosswalks are provided, you must yield the right-of- way to all vehicles. Jaywalking is both dangerous and illegal. It is also a significant cause of accidents .
It is illegal to ski, snowboard, or sled on or across any roadway in such a manner as to interfere with the movement of vehicles thereon. Cities, towns, and counties are allowed to adopt local ordinances regulating pedestrians, skateboards, skates, and rollerblading on highways, sidewalks, and roadways.
The driver of a vehicle has the responsibility to exercise care and caution for the safety of a pedestrian on any roadway. It is a good driving practice to always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway, regardless of who legally has the right-of-way.
You should stop for the safety of anyone crossing the street on foot. Just because you make eye contact with a pedestrian doesn’t mean that he or she will yield the right-of-way to you.
You should drive slower when you see bicyclists riding or pedestrians walking near the edge of the road. Give them plenty of room when passing.
Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks. They also have the right-of-way to cross at corners, regardless of whether crosswalks are painted by white or yellow lines.
If you stop in the crosswalk, you put pedestrians in danger. Those pedestrians will often have to get into the traffic lanes to avoid being hit by you because you have violated their right-of-way.
Always stop for a pedestrian at corners and intersections, and at crosswalks which are at places other than a corner. You must not pass a vehicle from behind that has stopped at a crosswalk. A pedestrian hidden from your view may be crossing.
Always look to the side at intersections, crosswalks, and railroad crossings. It is illegal to park in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) or on a sidewalk. Look for school safety patrols or school crossing guards when you see a crosswalk near a school.
You must obey their instructions and can be cited for not doing so. You must allow crossing guards to get safely to the side of the road before driving ahead.
You must stop behind the limit line at a stop sign or stop signal and must not intrude into the crosswalk.
At yield signs, you must also give the right-of-way to pedestrians and bicyclists using the traffic lane.
At a green light, you must first let all vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians remaining in the intersection get through before entering the intersection.
Make a left turn only if you have enough space to complete the turn before any oncoming vehicle, bicycle, or pedestrian becomes a hazard. Before turning a corner, watch for people who are about to cross the street.
Remember, if you have a green light, the light is also green for them.
Never drive on a sidewalk unless you are crossing a sidewalk to enter or exit a driveway or alley.
When crossing a sidewalk, stop for any pedestrian: pedestrians always have the right-of-way on sidewalks.
Do not park on a sidewalk, even if your vehicle is partially in a driveway.
Watch for pedestrians and drive slower near:
Be especially careful when you encounter pedestrians with umbrellas in front of their faces or hats pulled down over their eyes.
Look for signs indicating that pedestrians are likely to be near or crossing the roadway such as school zone and pedestrian crossing signs.
Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, and parks because children may suddenly dart into the street. Near a school, the speed limit is 25 MPH when children are outside or crossing the street.
No matter what the speed limit sign states, you should never drive faster than 25 MPH when the school ground has no fence and children are outside.
Sometimes lower speed limit signs are placed near schools, so look for them. Watch for bicycles and pedestrians near parks and schools.
School buses must activate red lights at all stops to load or unload students, may activate flashing amber lights when approaching loading stops, and may activate an automatic stop sign. Look for stopped school buses and be prepared for children crossing the street.
Flashing yellow lights on a stopped school bus warn you to prepare to stop because children are going to be leaving the bus. Flashing red lights on a school bus indicate that children will be entering or exiting the bus.
School children may be crossing the road to or from the school bus. The flashing red lights are located at the top front and top back of the school bus.
If you see flashing red lights on a stopped school bus on your side of the road, you must stop until the lights stop flashing. If you see flashing red lights on a stopped school bus on the other side of the road, you must stop until the lights stop flashing, unless the roadway is divided by a median or wall, or if there are two or more lanes of traffic traveling in each direction.
You must obey hand signals and instructions from school bus operators. If you fail to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights, you may be fined up to $1,000 and your license can be suspended for a period of 1 year.
Be cautious when encountering a school bus, even when its red lights are not flashing. Be courteous to the school bus driver. Give school busses the right-of-way.
Avoid causing a school bus to make abrupt maneuvers, such as by cutting it off. You should increase the cushion of space in front of your vehicle to at least 4 seconds when you see a bus or school bus ahead.
Do not drive faster than 25 miles per hour near school bus stops if there are children present.
Watch for children who may dart out before the school bus arrives or after school bus has departed.
Be aware that school buses and other large vehicles that carry passengers must stop at railroad crossings, whether or not a train is approaching.
If you are following a school bus, slow down early to allow plenty of room for the bus to stop when approaching railroad crossings.
A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels.
As you may recall, the definition of a pedestrian did not include bicycles. This is because bicycles are
legally considered to be vehicles in California. Therefore, bicyclists are required to obey most of the same laws and have most of the same rights as do automobile drivers.
The motor vehicle code addresses issues associated with the registration, necessary equipment, and operation of bicycles on the roadway.
Over 100 bicyclists are killed each year in California. Every six hours a bicyclist is fatally injured in the US.
49% of all bicyclist deaths occur to youths age 16 or younger. 86% of all bicycle accidents involve an automobile or truck. Motorists failing to yield the right-of-way to a bicycle cause 42% of bicycle-related accidents. 39% of bicycle accidents occur because cars make turns without noticing bicyclists. 87% of bicyclists in California who die in an accident were not wearing a safety helmet.
Bicycles must follow many of the same rules as motor vehicles including:
However, there are some differences between the laws for motorists and those for bicyclists. For example, bicyclists in certain age groups must wear helmets, and there are special signs that bicyclists must follow that automobiles do not.
Responsibilities of a Bicyclist
As a bicyclist, you should know the rules of the road and be able to apply them to bicycle riding. You should also know how to ride safely to avoid collisions with automobiles, pedestrians, fixed objects, and other bicyclists.
Riding on the left side of the street, against traffic, is one of the most dangerous things a bicyclist can do. About 33% of all car-bicycle accidents involved wrong way bicycle riders and most occur at intersections and involve turning or crossing motorists.
By riding against traffic, bicyclists approach intersections and driveways from a direction that is unexpected to motorists and out of their normal sight pattern. By riding against traffic, cyclists may not see traffic control devices that apply to them. Therefore, bicycles must travel in same direction as other traffic, not against it.
Bicycles must ride on the roadway, not the sidewalk. However, they must use bicycle lanes, when available. Bicyclists should normally ride in a straight line as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as is practical, but always a car-door's length away from parked vehicles.
Bicyclists can legally move left from the right edge of the roadway to turn left, pass a parked or moving vehicle or bicycle, and to avoid hitting animals, debris, or other road hazards. Bicyclists may also ride near the left curb or edge of the roadway on one-way streets.
Bicyclists may ride side-by-side (two abreast) on roadways, but they must ride single file when being overtaken by other vehicles. Bicyclists may only travel more than two abreast on a shoulder, bike lane or bike path intended for bike use if there is sufficient space. However, they must be in single file when passing vehicles, pedestrians, or other bicyclists.
The purpose of a bike lane is to provide a protected area for bicyclists so as to reduce the probability of accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles. A bicycle lane is marked by a solid white line along either side of the street that is at least 4 feet from curb. This line will usually be a broken ine near corners of intersections, but not always. The words BIKE LANE are painted in white on the pavement at various locations in this lane.
Bicyclists are required to use bicycle lanes, when they are present on a roadway. However, they may exit these lanes to pass, make turns, or avoid a collision.
Bicyclists should be especially alert at intersections. Most of the accidents involving bicyclists that occur at intersections are due to the motorist’s failure to see and yield to cyclists. Be alert for motorists pulling out, crossing, turning left or turning right in front of you.
Bicyclists must obey all traffic signals and signs. Bicyclists make left and right hand turns in the same way that drivers do, using the same turn lanes as other traffic. Bicyclists may make left turns as either motorists or pedestrians do. To make a pedestrian left turn, the bicyclist should continue straight across the intersecting road, obey the traffic signals, turn left at the corner, and proceed as usual. Bicyclists may also dismount and walk in the crosswalks of the two intersecting roads.
Hand signals for turns are the same for bicyclists as for vehicles, except a right turn signal may be given by extending right arm straight out.
Bicyclists must use hand signals before they change lanes, turn, or stop. Bicyclists are permitted to signal a right-hand turn by extending their right arm horizontally or extending their left arm bent upward at the elbow. A left hand turn is to be indicated by extending one’s left arm out horizontally. A stop is indicated by extending the left hand down.
Bicycles must stop before exiting driveways. Bicycle-vehicle accidents often happen when the bicyclist doesn’t stop at the end of the driveway to look for cars or when they are crossing a driveway on a sidewalk and a vehicle pulls in front of them.
It is illegal to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Bicyclists must submit to a test of the BAC level. Bicyclists can be fined up to $250.
Bicycles are required to have front and rear lights and reflectors when ridden at night.
Persons under 18 years of age are required to wear approved safety helmets whenever they are riding a bicycle (or as a passenger on one) on a street, bikeway, or other public path or trail.
You can be cited for exceeding the speed limit or riding faster than is safe for conditions on a bicycle.
Bicyclists must yield the right of way to emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and approaching vehicles.
It is illegal for a bicyclist to operate on the highway wearing more than one earphone attached to a radio tape player or other audio device.
Driver Responsibilities to Bicyclists
Bicyclists are not out of place on the roadway-- they are part of the normal traffic flow and share the road with other drivers.
It is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law and common courtesy are the foundation for this respect.
Be careful when driving near bicycles. A bicycle rider could be seriously hurt in an accident. Always leave plenty of room between your vehicle and any bicycle. Watch carefully for bicycles before turning.
When driving near bicyclists, make sure to look for hand signals from the rider indicating that he or she is turning left or right, or is stopping.
Make sure to check your blind spots before turning or making lane changes. Bicycles and motorcycles are small and can easily be hidden in your blind spots.
Vehicles must not drive in a bike lane unless they are turning right at a corner or other entrance such as a driveway, or to exit such a corner or entrance. When making a right turn under these circumstances, you must enter the bike lane to start your turn, but no sooner than 200 feet from point at which you will make your turn . Watch for bicycles before entering the bicycle lane.
When parked with a bike lane along the left side of your car, you must be particularly cautious in opening a door on the left side of the car, and in general, always check for bicycles and motorcycles before opening a left side door.
Drivers of motorized bicycles (mopeds) should use bicycle lanes carefully to avoid accidents with bicycle riders.
You may park in a bike lane unless otherwise posted.
It is dangerous to rapidly overtake a bicycle. Driver must be careful when driving close to bicyclists. Allow a minimum of three feet of space between the side of your vehicle and the bicycle when passing. When you want to pass a vehicle or bicycle going in your direction, pass on the left.
Before passing a bicyclists in a narrow traffic lane, wait until the traffic is clear in the opposite lane and then change lanes to pass the bicyclist. Do not attempt to squeeze past the bicyclist. Avoid passing other vehicles, including motorcycles and bicycles on two-lane roads.
Before you pass other vehicles, look ahead for people and bicyclists near the road that may cause other vehicles to move over into your lane.
Be patient when passing a bicyclist. Slow down and pass only when it is safe. Do not squeeze the bicyclist off the road.
While making a right hand turn you should merge in behind a bicycle rather than cutting in ahead of the bicycle regardless of whether there is a bike lane.
When turning left, make sure to look for motorcyclists and bicyclists. Watch for bicyclists between your vehicle and the curb because they can legally use left turn lanes for their left turns.
When turning right, get close to the right edge of the road and watch for bicycles or motorcycles between you and the curb. Drivers should look carefully for bicyclists before turning right and merge safely toward the curb or into the bicycle lane.
Do not overtake a bicyclists just before making a right turn. Merge towards the right first, then turn. Do not make U-turns when a bicycle (or any vehicle) coming from the opposite direction is close enough to be a hazard.
More from the DMV...
For more about sharing the road with bicycles, see this DMV video on YouTube: California DMV - Sharing the Road with Motorcycles & Bicycles (not required for course completion).
Horse-drawn vehicles and riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with you. You also need to know what to do should you encounter stray or wild animals on or near the roadway. Persons riding or driving an animal upon a roadway have all the rights and responsibilities of automobile drivers .
Yellow warning signs are often posted along roadways where animals are likely to enter the road. Slow down and be prepared
to react to animals on the road when you see these signs.
When encountering animals in or along the side of the road, slow down and stop if necessary and follow the orders of the persons in charge of the animal(s). When passing horses or horse-drawn vehicles, drive slowly and do not make any sudden moves with your vehicle. It is dangerous to scare animals on or near roadways by honking horn. It is against the law to scare horses or stampede livestock.
If you see a stray animal in your path, slow down or stop if it is safe to do so.
Many animals are most active around dusk and dawn, so you should be particularly careful when driving during these times. Look for animals that may enter the road as you approach.
Animals may not be transported in the load space or a pickup or other truck unless properly secured to prevent them from falling out of the vehicle.
A collision with a large animal can result in extensive damage to a vehicle and serious injury or death to the occupants of a car. Depending on the size of the animal you are about to hit and your speed, it may be more dangerous to you and your passengers to avoid a collision by slamming on the brakes, swerving into oncoming traffic lanes, or attempting maneuvers that may cause you to lose control of your car.
If you accidentally kill or injure an animal, you should: (a) pull over, (b) try to locate the owner, (c) call the humane society, police, or CHP, (d) never leave the injured animal to die, and (e) never try to move an injured animal
Animal Abandonment Law
CVC Sections 1666.5 and 21376 . These sections require the Department of Transportation to place and maintain on major state highways entering the state, as specified, a sign that states that the abandonment or dumping of any animal is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, or by confinement in a county jail for up to six months, or both.
Don’t linger alongside a truck when passing. Remember that large trucks have an extensive blind spot on their right side. Always pass large trucks on the left side and after you have passed the truck, move ahead of it.
If you linger alongside a large truck while passing, you make it very difficult, if not impossible, for the trucker to take evasive action if an obstacle appears in the road ahead.
Do not follow a large truck too closely or tailgate. When you follow behind a truck and you cannot see the truck driver’s side mirrors, the trucker has no way of knowing you are there.
Tailgating a truck, or any vehicle, is dangerous because you take away your own cushion of safety in front of your vehicle. You have to consider where you will maneuver when the truck in front of you stops quickly. Give yourself a four-second or more cushion of space in front of your vehicle when following large vehicles that block your view of the road ahead.
You need the extra room to see around the vehicle and to the sides and to stop in case of an emergency situation. Many passenger vehicle-large truck accidents take place at intersections because the passenger vehicle driver did not realize how close the truck was or how quickly it was traveling. A large truck often appears to be traveling at a slower speed because of its large size.
Never underestimate the size and speed of an approaching large truck or tractor-trailer. Think twice before turning left or right in front of a large truck.
Who is the most likely to lose if you are wrong about your judgment of the truck’s speed?
Diamond-shaped signs on vehicles mean that the load on the truck is dangerous and tell you what the danger is . Vehicles which display these signs must stop before crossing railroad tracks. If you are following a vehicle marked with one or more of these placards and railroad crossing is approaching, be prepared for the vehicle to stop.
Some hazardous materials have codes which may be on signs on the vehicle carrying them so that emergency personnel know quickly what to do if there is a spill or fire. When following one of these vehicles, give yourself at least a four-second cushion of space in front of your vehicle. You do not want to rear-end a vehicle carrying hazardous materials. A hazardous materials endorsement is need to transport materials which require this placard.
Sharing With Slow-Moving Vehicles
Some vehicles have trouble keeping up with the speed of traffic. Examples include:
These vehicles usually travel at 25 MPH or lower.
Slow moving vehicles may have an orange-colored triangle signs on the back to warn you that the vehicle travels slower than other traffic.
You should adjust your speed or change lanes before reaching a slow-moving vehicle. Some slow moving vehicles, such as garbage trucks, make frequent stops on the roadway.
These vehicles often have signs on them which indicate that the vehicle makes frequent stops. Do not follow these vehicles too closely and be prepared to stop if the vehicle does.
Watch for large trucks and small, under-powered cars, because on long or steep hills they lose speed quickly. When entering traffic they take longer to get up to speed.
A work zone is any type of road work that may impede traffic conditions. Many work zones involve lane closures. They may also be on the shoulder or in the median. Moving work zones such as sweepers or snowplows are also quite common. There are a number of events that make up a work zone. They can be long term projects or short term actions. A work zone can also exist at anytime of year.
It is up to you to ensure both your own and the workers' safety by driving slowly through work areas. The highway worker's life is in your hands .
Avoid road work zones altogether by using alternate routes, when you can. And, if you know can't avoid them, follow the tips presented in this unit to make your travels through work zones safer.
If you know there is going to be road construction on a route you must travel, allow extra time for your trip. Travel during non-peak traffic hours. Share a ride or car pool to reduce congestion in the work zones.
Areas where traffic is entering or leaving work zones are most dangerous because that's where drivers are jockeying for position.
The common theme among work zones is the color orange. Work zone materials such as cones, barrels, signs, large vehicles, and orange lights give you an indication that you are either approaching a work zone or in a work zone. Workers who must be on highways try hard to warn you of their presence by using orange equipment and wearing orange clothing. When you see orange on or near the roadway, you must be prepared for people and slow moving equipment on the road.
Road obstructions in work zones may be marked with permanent warning signs, cones, sawhorses, and various types of barriers. Watch for flaggers or signal persons near construction sites. You must obey instructions from signal persons at road construction sites and the instructions on orange warning signs. For his or her safety, allow them to get to the side of the road before driving ahead.
You should allow an extra cushion of space around your vehicle when driving near construction workers because they are likely to be distracted by their work and may step out in front of your vehicle.
Vehicles used to maintain the highways, such as bulldozers, often move slowly on or next to the roadway. Be prepared to slow down or stop for them. Be watchful for construction vehicles moving in and out of work zones.
When you see the color orange, remain alert. You are approaching or traveling through a work zone. Proceed with caution.
Remember that normal driving conditions do not exist in and around work zones. Anticipate events and be ready to respond quickly. Proceed with extreme caution, and keep an eye out for the unexpected.
When you are inside of a work zone, there are usually signs that direct motorists through the work zone safely. Look for signs that tell you if there are other unusual events, such as uneven pavement or no shoulder. You should obey all work zone signs. Do not become oblivious to work zone signs when the work is long term or widespread.
Work zone hazards include uneven pavement, narrow lanes, concrete barricades, heavy or slow-moving equipment, loose gravel, and vehicles making sudden stops.
Drive at the posted speed, which often has been decreased through the work zone. The penalty for speeding violations in a work zone is a fine equal to twice the amount that would normally be assessed.
Do not change lanes or pass other vehicles in work zones, unless instructed to do so by signs or signal persons.
Leave plenty of room between your car and the one in front of you. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones. Keeping at least three to four seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front is a good rule to follow. Also keep a safe distance between your vehicle and traffic barriers, trucks, construction equipment and workers.
Pay attention and stay calm. Work zones are not intended to disrupt your schedule. They are there to improve the road and help everyone stay on schedule.
Give full attention to the driving task. A roadway work zone is not the time to pick up and dial your cell phone, change the CD, look at the map or read the newspaper.
Don't stop or slow down to watch road work. Keep your eyes scanning the road ahead until you have completely moved through the work zone area.
Be extra cautious at night when moving through work zones, when obstacles such as barrels or road cones could be lying in the roadway.
Fines are doubled for certain violations committed in highway construction or maintenance zones when workers are present and/or traffic is regulated or restricted by Caltrans or local authorities.
The most common winter work vehicles are snowplows. There are many things to remember when approaching a snowplow. Snowplows travel at reduced speeds. Slow down when approaching a snowplow.
Stay behind the snowplow at least 300-500 feet. If you follow too closely to a snowplow when it is sanding or salting the roadway, your vehicle may get pelted with sand and salt.
Never pass a snowplow. Snowplows create artificial snow clouds that may be very dangerous because of various debris that is found in them. It is also difficult to determine which side of the plow is down. If your vehicle strikes the plow, it may cause serious damage to you and/or your vehicle.
Never drive between snowplows. When you see more than one snowplow together it creates an opportunity to clear the roadway faster and safer. But your chances of being in a crash with a snowplow is greatly increased when trying to drive between these teams of snowplows. Remember that each loaded snowplow weighs 50,000 pounds. An average vehicle weighs 3,000 pounds. Do not tempt fate.
Always yield to snowplows. The easiest way to convince yourself to yield to a snowplow is the fact that driving conditions behind a snowplow are much better than conditions ahead of it.
There is a lot of work that is done off of the roadway. Guardrail repair, litter pickup, and drainage repair are just a few examples. Make sure you are always aware of what is going on around you. Stay alert and prepare to stop when approaching any kind of work being done on or off the roadway.
Whenever anything unusual is happening off the roadway anticipate slowdowns due to drivers unnecessarily watching the work. When approaching a work zone off of the roadway, continue at the posted speed and fight off the urge to slow down and look. This will help in keeping the roadway moving.
There have been 149 Caltrans employees who have been killed in the line of duty. One of the biggest hazards is from motorists who do not exercise caution while driving where highway workers are present.
In the last 5 years, in California, there have been 30,000 collisions, 16,000 injuries and nearly 300 deaths due to inattentive drivers crashing in highway work zones.
In the last 10 years, 98% of all people who have died in work zone crashes have been motorists. More motorists are killed and injured in work zone crashes than highway workers. Motorists are more likely to crash into other motorists than the construction workers.
The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision due to tailgating. One in three crashes in work zones is a rear-end collision. The two other major reasons for work zone crashes: Speeding and inattentive driving.
In any given year, over 600 people die and an additional 1,300 or more are seriously injured in highway-rail grade crossing collisions. Over 1,000 people are injured or killed while trespassing on railroad rights-of-way and property each year.
A trains strikes a pedestrian or vehicle about once every two hours. The impact of a train with a vehicle has the same ratio as a vehicle running over an aluminum can.
There are approximately 260,000 public, private, and pedestrian at-grade crossings in the United States. Nearly 50% of collisions at public grade crossings occur where active warning devices (gates, lights, bells) exist.
Train and pedestrian or motor vehicle crashes are very severe. A motorist is 40 times as likely to die in a collision with a train as in all other types of motor vehicle accidents. More people die in highway-rail collisions each year than in commercial airline crashes in an average year.
The majority of vehicle-train crashes occur when the train is traveling less than 30 miles per hour. Trains cannot stop quickly.
The stopping distance for a freight train of approximately 6,000 tons, traveling at 55 mph, is 5,280 feet -- one mile. At that
distance, the train crew cannot see you on the tracks. An average freight train traveling at 30 mph, or an eight-car passenger train traveling at 60 mph, requires 2/3 of a mile (3,500 feet) to stop. An eight-car passenger train traveling at 79 mph requires 1- 1/8 miles (6000 feet) to stop.
Because a train cannot swerve from the rails and requires a much longer stopping distance than a highway vehicle, motorists must always yield to trains.
Don't misjudge a train's speed and distance. Because of the large size of trains and the viewing angle at which you see them, they appear to move much slower than you think. If you have any doubts, stop and wait for the train to pass.
The most common place for vehicles and railroad trains to meet is at railroad-highway crossings. Railroad-highway crossings are a special type of intersection. Like other intersections, they may be grade-separated, meaning that you must drive over a raised portion of the roadway to cross railroad tracks.
Approach railroad crossings with the caution you would use when approaching any intersection. Be prepared to yield to the train.
Signs warn you that you are approaching a railroad crossing. A circular yellow sign containing a large "X" means you are approaching a RR crossing. When you see this sign you should look and listen for trains in both directions. Be ready to stop, if necessary.
You should expect a train on any track at any time. Freight trains do not travel on a regular schedule, and passenger train schedules change several times a year. Be cautious at a grade crossing at any time of the day or night.
Never race a train to a crossing. Even if you tie, you still lose.
Watch for vehicles that must stop before crossing railroad tracks. Be prepared to stop when you are following buses, school buses, and large trucks carrying hazardous loads, whether or not there is an approaching train at the crossing.
If during the last 100 feet approaching the crossing, you cannot see the track for at least 400 feet in both directions, you may not cross the tracks at a speed faster than 15 MPH. You may go faster than 15 MPH if the crossing is controlled by gates, a warning signal, or a flagperson.
It is very important to be careful near railroad crossings at night. In the darkness, it is particularly difficult to judge speed and distance of approaching trains. If you have any doubts, it is always better err on the side of caution and wait for the train to pass.
It is illegal to pass another vehicle by driving in lanes of oncoming traffic on or within 100 feet of a railroad crossing .
You may not park within 7.5 feet of a railroad track.
A court may suspend your license for up to 6 months for failing to stop at a railroad crossing when you are required to do so.
Railroad crossings in some jurisdictions are equipped with automated(photographic) enforcement systems similar to the type used to catch red-light runners. These systems can be legally used to give tickets to motorists who fail to stop for trains as long as there are signs warning motorists on each side of the crossing.
Railroad crossings are equipped with signs. They also may have pavement markings and signals and controls such as bells, lights, and gates. You should stop at least 15 feet from railroad tracks when:
Railroad crossbuck signs are present at almost all public railroad crossings. Treat them the same as a yield sign. You should slow down and stop if a train approaches the crossing. You may continue once the crossing is clear. If there is more than one track, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.
You may also see pavement markings, consisting of a large white X, the letters RR and a stop line, painted white on the pavement in front of a railroad crossing. Always stay behind the painted limit line while waiting for a passing train. At railroad crossings that do not have limit lines, you must stop at the entrance to the crossing.
Many grade crossings have flashing red light signals combined with crossbuck signs. Some also have bells which ring to warn of approaching trains. You must treat these devices the same way you would a red traffic light. Always stop when the lights begin to flash and/or the bell rings; this means a train is coming. If there is more than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before crossing. Do not continue through the railroad crossing until it is clear and the lights stop flashing.
Remember that flashing red lights at a railroad crossing always mean to stop completely and immediately at least 15 feet before the tracks.
Gated crossings are a further refinement of flashing light signals. They mean the same as ordinary flashing red light signals and are more likely to be placed on busy roadways. Stop when the lights begin to flash and before the gate begins to lower across your road lane. Do not attempt to cross until the gates are raised and the lights have stopped flashing. Do not attempt to drive around the gates. Do not stop directly on a gated crossing where there is the risk of getting trapped on it by lowered gates.
Do not drive around or under closed railroad gates; it’s illegal and deadly. Wait for the gates to rise and the red lights to stop flashing before proceeding. Cross only when it is safe and you can see clearly in both directions.
Light rail vehicles, or trolleys, have the same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as other vehicles. Although everyone must follow the same traffic laws, trolleys, because of their size, require exceptional handling ability. To safely share the road with trolleys, you should be aware of where trolleys operate and what their limitations are. Remember that trolleys differ from trains in many ways. In particular, they are very quiet and move more quickly than do freight trains.
Some traffic signals are used to control traffic for trolleys and light rail trains only. The lights on these signals are marked with a "T" and are used to control trolley and light rails train traffic only. Trolleys can interrupt traffic signals, so do not proceed forward until the signal light indicates you may.
The same rules apply to trolley and light rail crossings that apply to train crossings. You should always yield the right-of-way to these vehicles when they cross the roadway. Do not cross trolley or light rail tracks until you can see clearly in both directions and you are sure that no other trolley, light rail vehicle, or train is approaching.
Do not go around or under a closed trolley or light rail crossing gate.
A safety zone is a space set aside for pedestrians boarding, entering, and waiting for trolleys and light rail vehicles. They are indicated by marked by raised buttons or markers on the roadway near where these vehicles stop to pick up or let off passengers. You will most often see safety zones in areas where there are street cars or trolleys using the same streets as vehicle traffic, such as in San Francisco.
Do not drive through or otherwise enter a safety zone for any reason. When people are boarding or leaving a streetcar where there no safety zone, stop behind the nearest door or vehicle platform of the trolley or light rail and wait until the people have reached a safe place.
When a bus or streetcar is stopped at a safety zone or at an intersection where traffic is controlled by a police officer or traffic signal, you may pass as long as it is safe to do so and at no faster than 10 MPH .
You may not park in a safety zone or between a safety zone and the curb. Do not park on trolley or light rail tracks. Do not overtake and pass on the left of a trolley, streetcar, or light rail vehicle, whether it is moving or standing, except when you are on a one-way street, when the tracks are so close to the right side of the road that you cannot pass on the right, or when a traffic officer directs you to pass on the left.
Look for approaching trolleys and light rail vehicles before you turn across the tracks. Complete your turn only if a signal (if installed) indicates you may proceed.
Never turn in front of an approaching trolley or light rail vehicle. Let them pass before making your turn.
Trolleys and light rail vehicles are difficult to handle and have significant blind spots. Be aware that buildings, trees, and other objects cause blind spots for the operator.
Maintain a safe distance from the trolley or light rail vehicle if it shares a street with vehicular traffic. In many cases, you may drive in the same lane as a trolley or light rail vehicle. Motorcyclists and bicyclists should be very careful to not get their wheels caught in the tracks when doing so.
Carpooling and bus riding are useful ways to save fuel and reduce the number of vehicles using highways in heavy commute traffic. The benefits of carpooling include:
Car ownership is not required to carpool. You can carpool with other people who are looking for passengers to share commute expenses. You should check your insurance coverage if you decide to carpool. Some policies offer rate reductions for ridesharing.
Some freeways have special lanes and on-ramps for carpools. Using a carpool lane requires a minimum of 2 or 3 people in a vehicle, including the driver. Signs at the on-ramp or along the freeway tell you the number of people needed to use the lane and the days and hours that the requirement applies.
The pavement of carpool lanes is marked with white diamond symbols and the words " CARPOOL LANE ." Some freeways may have special lanes for buses only, or for buses and carpools only. This lane is also marked by the diamond symbol.
One or more sets of parallel solid yellow lines are used to separate carpool lanes from normal traffic lanes. Do not cross over these lines to enter or exit the carpool lane. Wait until the lines are broken or for some other designated place to enter or exit the lane.
Unless otherwise posted, motorcyclists may use designated carpool lanes.
Carpool lanes cover 925 lane miles of the California state highway system and plans are underway to double this system over the next 20 years.
For successful carpooling, you should:
In high-density traffic areas, you may sometimes see an entire street, or a few traffic lanes on a street, marked with cones. The cones indicate that a lane or street is being used differently. For example, to help relieve congestion at a concert, sports, or other cultural event, entire streets or a few lanes will be used for traffic going in the opposite direction from what is "normal" until the traffic congestion is cleared.
You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.
You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.
*Check with your California insurance agent for eligibility details. Every licensed California Driver must have auto insurance to drive a vehicle in California. Proof of insurance must be provided to the California DMV when you obtain your drivers license (not your learners permit).