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Managing Your Speed

About Basic Speed Law

In California, you may never drive faster than is safe for the current road conditions < Basic Speed Law

Speed should also depend on:

  • Number of vehicles on the road
  • Speed of other vehicles on the road
  • Road surface – smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, narrow
  • Bicyclists or pedestrians on or crossing the road
  • Weather – Rain, fog snow, wind or dust

Speeding or driving faster than other traffic and posted speed limits does not save you time.

Speed Limits are posted on most roadways

Two-Lane Undivided Highway55
Blind Intersections15
Business or Residential Areas25
School Zones25
Railroad Crossing15
Street Cars10

The Speed Limit & Weather Conditions

It’s the Law

  • Use your headlights 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise
  • Dim your headlights to low beams within 500 feet of a vehicle coming toward you
  • Dim your headlights to low beams within 300 feet of a vehicle you are following


You are responsible for adjusting your speed for road conditions or any other situation that could affect the safe operation of your vehicle.

Speed limit & Curves

Limited visibility

  • Assume there is a vehicle on the other side.


  • Judge the sharpness of the turn

Weather Conditions

  • Slow down and adjust speed

Turning and Passing

Choosing a Lane

Pass or turn leftEnter or exit trafficExit traffic on freeway

When Passing

You must judge whether you have enough space to pass whenever you approach

  • Oncoming vehicle
  • Hill or curve
  • Intersection
  • Road obstruction
  • Bicyclist

Do Not Pass

  • If you cannot see if other traffic is approaching
  • Within 100 feet of an intersection, bridge, tunnel, railroad crossing, or other area that may be hazardous

When Passing

  • Plan to pass other vehicles on the left
  • Signal that you plan on passing
  • Check your blind spot
  • Drive into the passing lane
  • Speed up to pass the vehicle
  • Return to your original lane

Never drive off the paved or main-traveled part of the road to pass. Do not try to pass unless you know you have enough space to return to your lane.

You may pass on the right only when:

  • An open highway clearly has two or more lanes going in your direction
  • The driver ahead of you is turning left
  • You are on a one-way street

If a vehicle is passing you or signals that they plan on passing you, allow the vehicle to pass. Maintain you lane position. Do not try to go faster to avoid being passed.


Left Turn Lanes

  • Drive into the left turn lane
  • Start signaling
  • Look over your left shoulder
  • Stop behind the limit line
  • Look left, right, and left again
  • Make the turn when safe

Right Turn Lanes

  • Drive close to the right edge of the road
  • Check for bicyclists and pedestrians in your blind spot
  • Begin signaling
  • Look over your right shoulder
  • Stop behind the limit line
  • Look both ways and turn when it is safe
  • Complete your turn in the right lane

Right-of-Way Rules

The person who can go first has the ‘right-of-way’. Other vehicles and bicyclists must wait for the person who has the right-of-way. Never assume that other drivers will give you the right-of-way.


Any person who is on foot — it also include a person with a disability using a tricycles, quadricycle, or wheelchair for transportation.

When there is a pedestrian crossing a roadway with or without a crosswalk, you must use caution, slow your speed, or stop to allow the pedestrian to safely finish crossing. Allow enough time for pedestrians to cross the street.


A crosswalk is the part of the roadway set aside for pedestrians. Always use additional caution when near a crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

Right-of-Way: Intersections

If there is no traffic control

  1. Slow down
  2. Be ready to stop

Those already in the intersection have the right-of-way.

  • The vehicle that gets to the intersection first have the right-of-way.
  • If a vehicle or bicycle gets to the intersection at the time as you, give right-of-way to the vehicle or bicycle on your right.

T Intersections

At a ‘T’ intersection without stop or yield signs, the traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the road continuing to go straight have the right-of-way.

Stop Signs at all Corners

  • Yield the right-of-way to any traffic already in the intersection
  • Then yield to any traffic who arrived before you
  • Finally yield to any traffic to you right if you arrived at the same time

Right-of-Way: Turning

  • Give the right-of-way to any approaching vehicle that is close enough to be dangerous
  • Always check for motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians
  • When turning right check for pedestrians crossing the street and bicyclists riding next to you

Right-of-Way: Divided Highways

Yield to traffic before entering and watch for vehicles coming in any lane you will cross or enter.

Right-of-Way: Mountain Roads

The vehicle facing uphill has the right-of-way. The vehicle facing downhill should back up until the vehicle going uphill can pass.

Alcohol & Drugs

It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or any drug that affect your ability to drive safely. They can all affect your ability to drive safely and react to what you see and hear.

No matter what age you are, it is illegal to drive after:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in any form. This includes medications like cough syrup
  • Taking any drug that affects your ability to drive. This includes prescription or over-the-counter medications
  • Using any combination of alcohol or drugs that decreases your ability to drive safely.

California’s drunk driving laws apply to drugs.

It is illegal to drink or eat these thing while you are a passenger in a vehicle

It is illegal to drink alcohol or to smoke or eat cannabis while you are driving

When carrying alcohol while driving:

  • Must be full, sealed & unopened
  • In the trunk
  • DO NOT have open container of alcohol in your glove box
  • It is illegal to carry an open container of cannabis or cannabis product when you are driving

Defense driving techniques cannot compensate for the impairment of driving while under the influence.

When you drink alcohol, traces of it enter your bloodstream. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures how much alcohol is present in your bloodstream.

Driving a passenger for hire0.04%

These laws also apply to driving on the water. It is illegal to drink alcohol and/or take drugs when you are operating a boat, jet ski, water skis, aquaplane, or other vessels.

CA law requires immediate suspension of your driver’s license if you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both.

When you drive in CA you consent to a breath, blood, or urine test if a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence. If you refuse to take a requested test. DMV will suspend or revoke your driving privilege. Even if you change your mind later and decide to take the test, DMV can still suspend your driving privilege.

New Laws in 2020

Courts cannot delay, suspend, revoke, or restrict a license for someone convicted of a non-driving offense or offenses such as possession, purchase, sale, or transportation of cannabis.

If you have already agreed to preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) test, you may still have to take a blood or urine test to detect the presence of drugs.

If you get arrested the law enforcement officer may take your driver’s license and give you a temporary driver’s license for 30 days.

Consequences of DUI

  • Law enforcement officer may charge you with driving under the influence
  • DMV may suspend or take away your driving privilege and prevent you from driving
  • The court may require you pay a fine, serve jail time, or complete a DUI program

Protecting Yourself and other Passengers

The law requires you and your passengers to wear seat belts. You can get a citation if you do not. If your passenger is under 16 years old, you can also get a citation if they are not wearing their seat belt.


  • You would first be thrown against the driver’s side door
  • You would then ‘rebound’ and be thrown toward the passenger side door

Child Restraint System & Safety Seats

Children who are 8 years old or older, or who are at least 4 feet 0 inches tall may use a properly secured safety belt that meets federal standards.


It is best to ride at least 10 inches from the airbag cover, as long as you can do this and maintain full control of your vehicle. Passengers should also sit at least 10 inches away from passenger side airbag

  • It is illegal to leave a child who is 6 years old or younger unattended in a vehicle
  • A child may be left under the supervision of a person who is at least 12 years old

90 = 110

It is illegal to drive any vehicle with an unsecured load that is a safety hazard.

Law Enforcement Stops

Failure to stop when instructed by a law enforcement officer can result in your arrest

What to do during an enforcement stop

  1. Turn on your right turn signal
  2. Move your vehicle to the right shoulder
  3. Pull your vehicle out of the path traffic
  4. Stop in a well-lit area
  5. End any phone conversation and turn off radio
  6. Roll your windows down
  7. Places your hands in clear view


If the law enforcement officer asks your permission to do something you have the right to say no. However, if you say no and the officer says they are going to do it anyway, you do not have a right in interfere with their actions.

Providing Identification

  • Driver’s License
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Vehicle Registration

If a drier does not produce these documents, officers may conduct a limited search for them.

An officer may also request the names or identification of passengers

  • Passengers can decline that request
  • Clearly say if they do not want to produce their identification

Passengers should not interfere with the officer’s duties in conducting the traffic stop. During a traffic stop, an officer can legally require the driver and all passengers to exit or stay inside the vehicle. If you are told to exit the vehicle or stay inside, you must do so.

Recording Interactions

  • Do not interfere with the officer’s duties during the enforcement stop
  • Do not reach into concealed areas to retrieve your recording device without the officers permission
  • You can deny a request to ‘unlock’ a cellular phone or provide a password to it.
  • An officer cannot confiscate your recording device, delete the recording or destroy the device.
  • No government employee can retaliate against you just because you recorded something in public.
  • Do not engage in physical resistance or violence against the officer
  • You can voice you objection
  • Your safety and the officer’s safety could be jeopardized if the situation escalates with physical resistance or violence

Everyone has the right to be safe during a traffic stop. You have the right to file a complaint against officer or law enforcement agency. You have a right to be free from discrimination. When you file a complaint, the agency that hires the officer must investigate.

A Promise to Appear

When you go to traffic court, you have a choice: You may plead guilty or not guilty, or you may pay the citation fine. IT is up to you to make sure you appear on the future date indicating on the citation at the traffic stop.


Regulatory signs tell you whether you should go, stops, or slow down. They tell you what direction you can go, which lane you can use, which lane you cannot use, and whether a turn is allowed.


  • Come to a complete stop
  • Check traffic in all directions before proceeding


  • Approach the yield sign
  • Slow and prepare to stop
  • Look for others approaching
  • Look both ways again
  • Then you may proceed


  • Drive to the side of the road
  • Stop
  • When it is safe, back out or turn around