Ever wondered if pregnant women can use the carpool lane? Or if you can roadtrip with your pet goat? Perhaps you've pondered whether or not the car driving toward you without its headlights on is actually a gang waiting to perform an initiation murder?
You are not alone. Here are the answers from the California Highway Patrol to some of those burning questions.
I'm pregnant. Can I use the carpool lane?
In the words of CHP: "California law requires that in order to utilize the HOV lane, there must be two (or, if posted, three) separate individuals occupying seats in a vehicle. Until your 'passenger' is capable of riding in his or her own seat, you cannot count them."
I just need to make a quick call while I'm driving. That's okay, right? If I'm really quick?
If you're over 18 and using a wireless, handsfree device, like a bluetooth headset, then yes. If you're under 18, then no — not even if you're using a handsfree device and not even if you're really, really quick. This is due to the two law.
I don't want people to see into my car. Can I tint my windows?
According to CHP, the main requirements for legal window tinting in California are:
- The windshield and front driver's side and passenger's side windows cannot receive any aftermarket tinting.
- If the rear window of a vehicle is tinted, the vehicle must have outside rearview mirrors on both sides.
Okay then... I'll just hang a T-shirt across the window. That's allowed, right?
CHP says: The law prohibits any person from driving any motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed, installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield or side or rear windows, with certain limited exceptions.
Those exceptions are: specified clear, colorless, and transparent material that is installed, affixed, or applied to the front driver and passenger side windows for the specific purpose of reducing ultraviolet rays.
But: If, as, or when this material becomes torn, bubbled or otherwise worn, it must be removed or replaced.
I have an open-carry license from another state and want to bring my gun with me on my road trip to California. Cool?
CHP explains: California law does not recognize concealed weapon permits from other states; therefore, they would not be held valid. If you wish to transport a handgun during your California visit, it should be carried unloaded in a locked container. In the absence of a suitable container, you may secure the unloaded handgun in the locked trunk of a passenger car. Ammunition may be kept in the same container or trunk, but the handgun must remain unloaded with no rounds in the cylinder and no loaded magazines in the magazine well.
I picked up a friend on my travels — a goat. Can I bring him with me into California?
You'll need to check the animal entry requirements from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The car heading toward me is driving without its headlights on. I would usually flash mine to let the driver know... but what if it's a gang initiation ceremony and they're planning to kill the first person who does that?
This is actually a pretty common question, says CHP: The California Highway Patrol has received many inquiries from people who have seen this message on the Internet. The simple answer is, it is not true. Of course, as a law enforcement agency we would caution people not to do anything in their vehicles which could anger or upset other drivers. But to our knowledge, nothing of this sort has taken place.
I'm going to Tahoe. It's snowing. What is this "chains requirement" thing I'm hearing about?
If you're going to be navigating difficult roads in heavy snow, the California Department of Transportation may declare a chain requirement. First, check online at www.dot.ca.gov to see if and what kind of requirement has been established.
"R" ratings on snowy roads indicate chain requirements for various conditions. Some vehicles may not be required to use chains under all conditions, but all vehicles must carry chains. Most vehicles come equipped with snow tires. Look for M+S (mud and snow), All Season, or All Terrain, on the side of the tire.
R-1 chains required except for vehicles with snow tires (chains required for any vehicle pulling a trailer)
R-2 chains required except for 4-wheel drive with snow tires
R-3 chains required for all vehicles
For more answers to frequently asked questions, visit the California Highway Patrol website.
What driving-related questions have you always wondered about? Let us know in the comments.