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5 Driving Tips to Remember in Orange County

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Driving in California can be a bit overwhelming – the traffic congestion moves at a snail’s pace, one-way streets often going in the direction you don’t need to go, and sudden name changes on street signs make navigating the area difficult.

Different rules exist for different counties. Although heavy traffic in California seems to be a statewide forgone conclusion, Orange County appears to have that problem under control, more so than Los Angeles. Except for your normal rush hour traffic, navigating Orange County is fairly easy. Of course, there are a few rules that will make your life on the road more manageable.

If you were recently in a car accident near the Santa Ana area, contact our experienced Orange County car accident lawyers today.

1- Don’t Use Your Cell Phone While Driving

In California, using your cell phone without a hands-free connection is against the law. If you’re using your phone for your GPS, set the destination before you hit the road. Even picking up your phone to look at it can land you with a traffic violation. When using your GPS, you must mount it in either the lower left or lower right-hand corner of your windshield. It mustn’t obstruct your view and the only way you may touch your phone is to swipe or touch your screen with one finger.

2 – Use HOV and Carpool Lanes When Possible

Traffic in Orange County can be heavy at times. When traveling on the freeway, carpool lanes help traffic flow move more quickly. Remember these tips when moving into the HOV lane. First, there is a two-person per vehicle minimum in the carpool lanes, and you should only cross over when you see a broken line or opening. Failure to do so will result in a traffic violation.

3 – Don’t Drink and Drive

In any part of California, it is unlawful to drive with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08%. However, if you’re deemed impaired, an officer can charge you, even if your BAC is below the limit. You may see sobriety checkpoints on the road from time to time after an event. If you are traveling with an open container of alcohol, it needs to be in the trunk of your car.

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Orange County can have severe consequences. In fact, Orange County has tougher rules than the rest of the state. Depending upon the case, a DUI in Orange County can lead to criminal and administrative penalties. It may also include heavy fines, jail time, community service, and the loss of your driver’s license. For a commercial driver or a driver under 21, the penalties are more stringent.

4 – Watch for Motorcycles – and Know Lane Splitting Laws

In California, motorcycles can cross into your lane and share it with you. Being aware of this law and watching out for motorcyclists can help prevent accidents.

5 – Know the Laws on Smoking and Littering

Did you know that smoking is a punishable offense if there’s a minor in your vehicle? It’s largely due to the dangers of secondhand smoke. In California, the penalty is punishable by a fine that can go up to $100.

And if you’re a smoker, don’t even think about throwing your lit cigarette butt out the window. It’s no surprise that littering is against the law in Orange County or anywhere in California. Be aware that this offense is punishable with a $1,000 fine.

You should be able to navigate your way around Orange County pretty easily, without any problems. Just be aware of heavy traffic times and soon you’ll learn the easiest and safest routes to get to your destination.