Do you have questions about general driving-related requirements like registration and insurance? Are you unclear about laws and restrictions related to driving? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has answers. “Save Time by Going Online” at www.dmv.ca.gov.
Q: I am only 5 feet, 1 inch tall, so I sit very close to my steering wheel. Should I deactivate my air bags? I’ve heard that sitting too close to them can be dangerous in an accident.
A: You’re right. Sitting too close to your air bags can cause more harm than help in certain situations, but most people can take steps to eliminate or reduce danger without turning off their air bags.
The DMV recommends driving with at least 10 inches between you and your air bags, as they need about that much space to inflate. If you cannot do this safely, contact your vehicle dealer or manufacturer for advice about additional ways of moving back from your air bag.
When transporting passengers, be sure that they ride with at least 10 inches between them and the air bag as well.
Q: Do I have to slow down on roads around a school at all times or only when children are present?
A: According to the California Driver Handbook, you must follow a speed limit of 25 mph unless otherwise posted when driving within 500 feet of a school if children are outside. Also, if you’re driving past a school where children are playing and there is no fence around the playground, you must adhere to the 25 mph speed limit as well.
Although technically you do not have to follow the 25 mph speed limit when children are not present, it is highly recommended that you slow down, use caution and pay extra close attention for any children or pedestrians that might be present on or around school grounds. It’s always better to play it safe.
Q: I always get frustrated on the freeway when I’m adjacent to or behind a big rig truck because the drivers nearly hit me every time when merging or changing lanes. Additionally, I am afraid to pass trucks because I’m worried that when I move over, they might try to move over, too, and hit me. Can you offer any advice to make driving around trucks easier and safer?
A: The presence of trucks on the road is challenging for many drivers. Be mindful, however, that they have major blind spots that make driving challenging for them, too.
The most important thing to remember is that if you can’t see truckers’ mirrors, they most likely can’t see you. With this in mind, you may begin to understand why trucks might merge too closely, etc. It’s very important that you leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the truck, and before merging or passing, make sure you are visible to the driver.
When passing a truck, speed up and try to get around them quickly (but safely and within the speed limit). Do not linger, because it prohibits trucks from having room to move in the event they approach an obstacle in the road.
Q: It seems as though the DMV makes frequent updates to laws, rules of the road and many other things. How can I be sure I am aware of the latest updates to DMV regulations and information?
A: Great question. We do frequently update information on our website, and the best way to stay up-to-date on the most current information is to sign up for a DMV email alert.
Once you sign up, the DMV will notify you via email when changes occur in a publication or we update information on our site.
To sign up, go to www.dmv.ca.gov and click on the “DMV Info” tab, then click on the bullet point that says “Subscribe to Information Services Program Email Alerts.” Simply enter your email address, and you’ll receive alerts when something important changes.