The Importance of Following Driving Laws

Safe driving is a matter of life and death. Following California driving laws can make the difference between reaching your destination unharmed and with your passengers unharmed and spending years or even a lifetime coping with an extreme injury or fatality in the tragic aftermath of a serious car crash.

There are 3,000 traffic fatalities each year on average in California. Some accidents may be beyond the control of drivers involved. However, the majority of collisions occur due to preventable wrong actions by one or more drivers.

By practicing the basic precautions discussed below, you contribute to the overall safety of travelers and pedestrians around you on the roadways. Every driver has the responsibility of simply getting to your destination without causing undue danger to other people or to property.

Control Your Driving Speed.

Speeding is defined as driving faster than allowed by law. Speeding is a form of aggressive driving often combined with other driving offenses that endanger persons or property. The higher the speed a vehicle is moving, the more difficult it can be to avoid extreme damage and injuries if a collision occurs.

Even small increases in vehicle speed create great increases of the force of impact, especially in the combined force of two moving vehicles in a head-on collision. This additional force accounts for the much higher rates of extreme injuries and fatalities resulting from head-on crashes compared to other types of auto accidents.

Traveling over the speed limit can be especially dangerous in bad weather conditions. In California car crashes where there was ice or snow on roads, a majority of the accidents also involve at least one car traveling at excessive speed for the conditions. So, it makes sense that the California Basic Speed Law requires driving at speeds that are safe for prevailing conditions.

  • Adjust your driving speed based on weather conditions.
  • Take extra precautions when cyclists and pedestrians in the area.
  • Adjust speed according to the amount and speed of traffic.
  • Make speed adjustments for narrow or rough road surfaces.

Use your Seatbelt.

California law requires all drivers, and passengers 8 years of age and older, to wear seatbelts. Taking a moment to buckle your seatbelt is the easiest, quickest, and single most effective precaution you can take to drive more safely.

Using a fastened seatbelt protects the body against the sometimes otherwise devastating effects of inertia in a sudden stop. Without a seatbelt, the body is thrown forward at the speed of travel until it impacts the dashboard, which can result in severe injury, or even death in some cases.

Do Not Permit Yourself to Be Distracted While Driving.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that around 80% of collisions in the state occur as a result of distracted driving. All drivers are susceptible to making this potentially deadly error. Discipline yourself to reject the temptation to indulge in distractions such as:

  • Using handheld devices while driving
  • Reaching for objects inside your car
  • Eating
  • Looking at objects or incidents off the roadside
  • Applying makeup
  • Changing the radio station
  • Looking at roadmaps

Never Drive While Intoxicated.

Driving while impaired due to any drug or alcohol consumption is illegal in California, and it creates an extreme hazard to passengers and other drivers. California state law prohibits knowingly driving under the influence of any substance that can impair your sobriety, including prescription drugs.

Before you undertake driving a motor vehicle on a road in California, you must be fully aware of whether or not your state of sobriety is entirely intact and your concentration is sufficiently clear for operating a motor vehicle. Never allow yourself to drive, regardless of circumstances, if you have any doubt about your ability to fully concentrate throughout the entire distance you plan to travel.

Use Appropriate Child Safety Restraints.

Failure to properly manage the safety needs of small passengers can lead to severe injuries, even in cases of comparatively minor auto accidents. Children under age 8, or under 4 feet 9 inches tall must be secured by a federally-approved child safety restraint system, according to California law. Children who are too small to be effectively secured by use of standard seatbelts, must be placed in child safety seats, using systems that appropriately fit their individual bodies.


Even if you do not experience a collision due to breaking driving laws—by driving unsafely, you can unexpectedly create a distraction, confusion, or other problem for another driver or a pedestrian. Such emergent circumstances can cause them to have a serious accident that can permanently impact their lives and the lives of their families.

Keep perspective that driving is a privilege that comes with serious responsibility for the safety of people property around you. Obeying simple, practical laws can lead you and people sharing the roadways with you to a lifetime of driving free from car accidents in California.

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