Many Orange County residents are taking the opportunity to stretch the Thanksgiving holiday into a four-day weekend. If you are among them and plan to travel long distances on the state's freeways this weekend, consider the following safety tips. They can help minimize a driver's chances of being involved in an accident.
Do not drive so slowly that you interfere with the normal flow of traffic.
If you must drive slowly, use the right-hand lane or stay as far to the right as is safely possible.
You must not block drivers attempting to pass you, even though you believe you're driving at the maximum safe speed.
Enter the freeway at or near the speed of traffic.
Don't stop before merging with freeway traffic unless necessary. Freeway traffic has the right-of-way.
Use your signals to alert other drivers to your moves. Watch for their signals as well.
Don't drive when upset. Anger, worry and daydreams are drivers enemies. So are drugs.
Allow yourself enough time for unexpected delays.
Practice courtesy: use your signals, dim your headlights to oncoming traffic, yield to others, keep right, take your time and keep a pleasant attitude.
Look around; turn your head. Check your mirrors often. Always know positions of the vehicles near you. Train yourself to observe signs and signals, not just look at them.
Look well beyond vehicles ahead of you.
Don't blind other drivers with your headlights. Use high beams only in open country away from other cars.
Use your car horn only as a safety warning.
Drivers must not wear headsets or cover their ears.
Right-of-way rules are an aid to safe and smooth traffic flow. They apply to all road users. However, if other drivers are not following the rules, let them have the right of way, even if it belongs to you. You'll help revent accidents and make driving more pleasant.
Don't pass on the right by passing off the paved portion of the road. Don't use the emergency lane on the right as a passing lane.
Use your signals to change lanes. Signal your intention for at least five seconds before making the lane change and be sure to allow a safe distance between cars.
Because mirrors have blind spots, turn your head before changing lanes.
If an emergency vehicle is approaching, move to the extreme right.
It is against the law to follow within 300 feet of an emergency vehicle that is answering a call. Pull to the right side of the road and stop.
Don't litter the roadside--you'll be fined. Littering convictions are part of your driving record.
Don't weave. Stay in one lane as much as possible.
Turn signals off after changing lanes.
Don't follow too closely. The California Highway Patrol suggests that the vehicle ahead should be three seconds away from your vehicle.
Don't drive in the center lane of a three-lane surface road unless you are making a turn or passing a vehicle. When using it as a passing lane, make sure it is clear for a safe distance, or make sure its markings clearly show that it is for vehicles going in the same direction in which you are going.
Don't drive in bike lanes.
Source: William Gengler, public information officer, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, Sacramento Clipboard researched by Rick VanderKnyff, Dan Crump, Nancy Reed, Henry Rivero, Deborrah Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times