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A Guide to Driving in California for the First Time

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Whether you are visiting a friend in Oakland or attending a conference in San Francisco, you will need to be prepared for a road trip to the Golden State. While driving in California is no different from driving in any other state, you need to consider unique traffic rules and ordinances. Moreover, drivers who have been long-time residents of the state might catch you off guard.

You should also consider the landscape you are driving in. With a mix of open roads and congested avenues, California has a lot to surprise you with as you drive towards your destination. To make the experience less hectic (especially if you are new to the State’s roads), consider these tips:

Know the blood alcohol limits

It’s never a good idea to drink and drive, but if the alcohol in your blood doesn’t exceed a certain amount, then you are in less trouble. In California, the ABV (or alcohol by volume) limit is 0.08%. The limit is lower at 0.01% if you are under the age of 21.

You should refrain from drinking even a small amount of alcohol before or while operating a vehicle. Under state law, you will be given a one-year suspension on your first offense. As an out-of-state driver, you may be able to request a DMV hearing to appeal your suspension within ten days of your DUI arrest.

Check the speed limits

The best part about driving through California is experiencing the breathtaking landscapes of the state’s highways, most notably California Route 66. However, you should know when to speed up and slow down as you drive along major thoroughfares. On Route 66, the speed limit is 55mph on two-lane undivided highways, but there are sections where you are allowed to drive fast up to 65 mph.

As you enter cities and municipalities, you should be able to slow down to 25mph or even lower. In Los Angeles, the city council has recently voted to reduce the speed limit in at least 2% of the city’s streets by 5 mph. You should be able to keep up with how fast these regulations are changing.

Locate the best parking spots

Finding a good spot for parking shouldn’t be difficult if you are on the outskirts. In L.A., however, it can be challenging to find free parking zones as both garage and street parking are heavily regulated.

Added to this are hefty fines you will have to pay, especially if you are parking in areas that are scheduled for street cleaning. Accumulating too many citations could also put your vehicle at risk of getting booted. You may have to pay $150 along with your pending citations to remove the boot.

Research goes a long way, so before you make your way into L.A. or any other major Californian city, you should use a platform that lets you locate free parking spaces. WhereiPark, for instance, helps you locate ideal parking spaces at the best rates if you are planning to stay in the state for more than a month.

Is it your first time driving through California? You shouldn’t leave home without keeping these tips in mind.