crime and punishment

Basic rules for driving in Los Angeles

driving (photo by why kei on Unsplash)

(photo by why kei on Unsplash)

Almost everyone has a car in Los Angeles, and traffic in the city is notoriously bad. When you first begin driving in Los Angeles, keep these basic traffic rules in mind to avoid costly traffic tickets and reduce your risk for an auto accident.

Stick to Speed Limits

Avoid exceeding the posted speed limit even if you have the best speeding ticket lawyer on retainer. When you don’t see a speed limit sign, the laws in Los Angeles default to 25 miles per hour in residential areas and 65 mph on the highway.

Pay Attention to Pedestrians

As in most U.S. cities, pedestrians have the right of way. This is true in L.A. even when the intersection does not have painted crosswalks. In addition, cars may not turn right on red at intersections with a no turn on red sign; otherwise, you must full stop and check for those crossing the street before proceeding.

Stay Out of the Carpool Lane

If you’re traveling solo on L.A. highways, steer clear of the carpool lane. Most freeways in the city reserve the far left lane for high-occupancy vehicles with either two or three passengers. You may not enter the HOV lane if you are towing a trailer. Look for diamond markings on the pavement if you’re not sure whether the particular road has a carpool lane. Some carpool lanes are also toll lanes with Fastrak, which means you must be enrolled in the Fastrak program to take advantage of that lane.

Steer Clear of Cyclists

Los Angeles requires drivers to provide cyclists with at least three feet of space. Slow down and respect bikers in your lane to avoid a serious auto accident. If you are involved in a collision with a person on a bicycle, seek advice from a traffic defense attorney Los Angeles.

Be Aware of Sobriety Checkpoints

In Los Angeles, sobriety checkpoints are commonly established to discourage motorists from driving under the influence. If you encounter a sobriety checkpoint, you are required to stop, so make sure to carry proof of driver’s license and insurance at all times. When a driver is arrested for DUI at a checkpoint, the court can impound his or her vehicle for 30 days. Although the legal limit in LA is .08%, drivers who are obviously impaired can receive a DUI charge even with a lower blood alcohol level.

Stay Off Your Cellphone

If you need to make a phone call while you’re driving in Los Angeles, you can receive a significant fine if you fail to use a hands-free device. As in most municipalities, texting and otherwise using your device behind the wheel is not only extremely dangerous, but legally prohibited.

Stop on Yellow

Los Angeles relies on red light cameras to catch drivers who just miss the yellow. If you are approaching a yellow light, slow down and stop completely to avoid getting caught by the camera. If you do get a ticket in the mail, protect your rights by consulting with an experienced red light camera lawyer.

Driving in L.A. can be tricky at first, especially if you come from a less populated area. Drive defensively and keep traffic regulations in mind to reduce your risk for traffic tickets and potential collisions.

1 reply »

  1. Paying a red light cam ticket in LA is voluntary. If you ignore the ticket, nothing will happen to you. (My definition of ignore: You do not contact the Court to take an extension, or to set up a court date, or to set up a payment plan.) This advice applies to cam tickets issued in or by any city in LA County, including the City of LA, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Commerce, Covina, Hawthorne, Montebello, and West Hollywood. Or, near the Metro/MTA busway and tracks. For more info, do a search on red light camera voluntary.

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