With gasoline prices pushing all time highs, every few cents count. Check the link above, enter your zip code and you'll know instantly the cheapest gas where you live. Actually, this link works for anywhere in the U.S.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL BLOOD ALCOHOL LIMIT IN CALIFORNIA?
The legal blood alcohol limit in California is .08% (.04% or more if you drive commercial vehicles; .01% or more if under 21), but how many drinks can you consume before crossing that limit? Check the chart at the link above.
TRAFFIC AND THE DMV
Park & Rides
Park and Ride lots in the SCV
Golden Valley (3 separate lots), Hwy 14 at Golden Valley Rd
Church on the Way (Former Mann Theater)
San Fernando Road (near Valle del Oro)
Metrolink Station, 22122 Soledad Canyon Rd
Metrolink Station, 19201 Via Princessa
San Fernando Rd at Sierra Hwy
San Fernando Rd at Hwy 14
Carpool Lane Maps
Which route has the carpool lanes? Follow the links for a color-coded map from the Department of Transportation.
Real Time Traffic Report
Get a visual of where the traffic incidents are blocking traffic, construction closures and traffic flow from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
CHP Traffic Incident Report
Customize the view for hot spots all over the state, or just in Newhall! It's also interesting to watch, as it updates every minute.
Dept. of Public Works
This website shows closed roads within unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County ONLY.
First Rain Warning
If you are new to Southern California, you should know that the first rain of the season produces 'ice rink' conditions on our roads and highways. This is a result of the build up of oil that occurs after months of no precipitation. So please, drive as you would during freezing rain in other parts of the country.
Yup, you read that right--snow closures. North of Castaic, I-5 is referred to as
by most motorists. ("The Grapevine" actually begins at Ft. Tejon.) If we have heavy rains in our area, it is likely that The Grapevine section of I-5, the highest point of the drive at an altitude of 4,183 feet, is closed due to snow. If you must head north, choose an alternate route, such as Hwy 101. Vehicular traffic may be stopped for days in both directions at this section of roadway, stranding motorists.
The Santa Claus Sting
Every year around Christmas, the Sheriff's Department dresses up a deputy who crosses the street in a marked crosswalk--usually not at an intersection. Unsuspecting drivers pause to observe the strange sight of Santa, and when they fail to stop for Santa--ouch! They receive a citation. In 2004 this took place in Newhall, but any area is fair game. In 2007, rather than Santa, the Sheriff's Department used moms and strollers. So beware at crosswalks! Note: Other metro areas of Los Angeles have used various characters at different times of the year, including the Easter Bunny.
Red Light Cameras
Scattered throughout the valley, and Los Angeles, are red light cameras. After 2,035 traffic collisions in 2003, many of the most serious caused by drivers running red lights, SCV residents demanded that the city provide additional traffic enforcement. In August 2004, the City of Santa Clarita responded and began to install these cameras at the busiest intersections. The fine for running a red light is $341.
If you are proceeding through an intersection on a green light and the red light camera flashes, don't panic--especially if you see this happening to the cars ahead of you. The cameras frequently run self tests. If in doubt, call the SCV Sheriff's Dept. at 661-255-1121
Cell Phone Usage While Driving
Effective JULY 1, 2008, it became unlawful to use a cell phone in California while driving. However, if the cell phone is designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking operation, it may be used 'hands-free' while driving. There are some exceptions, so please follow the link above for further details, as well as for the fines imposed for violation.
Vehicle Liability Insurance Requirements
These changes provide you with increased assurance that fewer uninsured vehicles will be on California's roadways:
As of January 1, 2006, all insurance companies were required to report insurance status to DMV for all private use vehicles. As of July 1, 2006, law enforcement and court personnel have access to DMV records to verify that your California registered vehicle is currently insured. Effective October 1, 2006, your vehicle registration is subject to suspension if the liability insurance is cancelled, OR if your insurance company has not electronically provided evidence of insurance when you purchase and register your vehicle, OR if you provide DMV with false insurance information. You must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times.
California's Financial Responsibility Law
You must at all times carry in the vehicle you are driving written evidence of one of the following types of financial responsibility: 1) a valid liability insurance policy, for damage to someone else's property or person; 2) a $35,000 surety bond; 3) a DMV issued self-insurance certificate; 4) DMV acknowledgement of a $35,000 cash deposit.
If You are Involved in a Traffic Accident
You must show the written evidence (outlined above) to a peace officer upon request, and also to any other driver or property owner following a traffic accident.
You must file DMV's Traffic Accident Report (form SR-1) within 10 days of any accident, if there is over $750 damage to anyone's property, any injury, or death--whether or not you are at fault in the accident.
You must file this report with DMV. Your insurance agent/broker, or your legal representative, can file the report for you. a CHP or police report does not satisfy this legal requirement, but you may include a copy of their report with your completed SR-1.
Your driver's license will be suspended if you do not file a report, and if you do not provide evidence of Financial Responsibility (as outlined above). The SR-1 form is available at all DMV and CHP offices, or DMV's
You or your insurer must supply evidence of liability insurance when renewing your vehicle registration.
At most intersections, unless marked, u-turns are permitted. Visit the website for additional traffic laws.
CHP Traffic Incident Information Page
SigAlert Traffic Reports
What is a SigAlert?
Los Angeles City Traffic Info
Los Angeles LAX Traffic Info
Is there an accident on your route? What streets are closed in Los Angeles for special events? How fast is traffic moving? What's the traffic like near LAX? Sig Alert, Caltrans, and the California Highway Patrol want you to be prepared before heading out. Tips: To avoid the heaviest traffic congestion southbound, leave the valley after 9:00 a.m. and return before 3:00 p.m. or after 7:00 p.m. from downtown Los Angeles. If heading out on holiday weekends, try to schedule your trip to depart at off-times. The heaviest traffic heading from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is Friday evening, returning Sunday night.
If you're on the road and do not have a web-enabled phone or PDA, simply call Caltrans' Automated Road Conditions number: 1-800-427-7623.
Dial #399 for Motorist Aid
To request Metro Freeway Service Patrol tow service, report freeway road hazards, contact your auto club, or report freeway damage or needed repair, dial #399 from your cell phone. This does not replace 911. Use 911 for medical, fire department or law enforcement response. But for all non-emergency freeway assistance, dial #399.
California Department of Motor Vehicles
Find out how long you have before you must register your vehicle when relocating to California, where to take your driver's test, and answers to most of your DMV related questions. Hint: Avoid long lines at the DMV by making an appointment, 1-800-777-0133.
California Highway Patrol
661-294-5540, Castaic Office
The CHP, while best known for traffic enforcement on the highways, also assists local, state & federal agencies to protect California. If you live in the unincorporated areas, call the CHP for traffic violations in your area. (The
LA County Sheriff's Department
provides all law enforcement for the City of Santa Clarita, including traffic violations.)
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Department
LA County Sheriff's deputies provide all law enforcement for the City of Santa Clarita, including traffic violations.
A crazy teenage driver just cut you off, you fear the driver in front of you is going to get someone killed...what do you do? If you are in the SCV, note the license number and call 1-877-310-STOP. For emergencies always dial 911.
Oh, oh! Did You Get a Ticket?
In California, after you pay your ticket and an administration fee, you have an opportunity to attend Traffic School to hide the citation from public view. Note: If you had a traffic violation in the past 18 months, were ordered to attend a 12-hour traffic school, or if you are a minor, you may not attend Traffic School.
A list of traffic schools is available on the above website. You may also attend here at
College of the Canyons
Child Restraint Law
As of January 1, 2012, California implemented a law requiring all children under age 8, or until reaching a height of 4 feet 9 inches, be secured in a proper child passenger restraint in the back seat.
This law also requires children who do not meet the age or height requirement to ride in the rear seat of a vehicle unless the vehicle has no back seats, the restraint system cannot be properly installed or the rear seats are already occupied by children under age eight. However, the law still maintains that a child may not ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger airbag if they are under one year of age, less than 20 pounds, or riding in a rear-facing child safety seat.
Driving into Mexico
San Diego County Travel Tips to Mexico
If you're thinking of driving into Mexico for the weekend, you'll need to plan ahead. If you're renting a car, don't assume you can drive it across the border. And if you own your own vehicle, you'll want to purchase Mexican insurance first. Additionally, minors need a tourist card to leave the U.S. and soon you will all need passports.
Santa Clarita Emergency Expo
Once a year the City of Santa Clarita presents this free opportunity for residents to see first-hand the emergency services available to them in the event of an auto accident, natural disaster, or act of terrorism. Additionally, resources are available to better prepare individuals and families for emergency situations.
Santa Clarita Youth Memorial
Too many of our young people have been lost to vehicle accidents. They have been memoralized in a lovely grove under the oak trees in Central Park. Each stump holds the name of a person who's life was cut short in an auto accident.
Golden State Gateway Coalition
A growing private/pubic sector partnership with more than 40 members, formed to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people, goods, and services through the Interstate 5 corridor in northern Los Angeles County--the main north-south freeway serving California's markets. Its initial objective is to secure funding for improvements to Interstate 5 from the confluence of the I-5 and SR-118 freeway to southern Kern County in the form of carpool lanes and truck lanes in order to ease congestion and promote safety.
AAA of Southern California
If you're a member, you can find out the gas prices in your neighborhood and on your route, get the cost of insurance to drive into Mexico, get your TripTiks, and scan the tour books. Not a member? Use the mapping software, get real time traffic information, general information on your vacation destination, and more.
Brake Checks & Vehicle Maintenance
If you drive the freeways daily, your brakes may wear out more frequently than if your driving is limited to the valley. You may have noticed that freeway drivers tend to speed up and brake suddenly, thus causing wear on the brakes. Pay close attention to the warning signs that your brakes may need replacing: strange sounds coming from the wheels or a pull on the steering wheel when applying the brakes.
California's leading smog check support group, smog inspections are generally required during a vehicle's initial registration in California and once every two years thereafter.
It's hot and sunny here in Southern California, and that means the potential for increased sun damage to your vehicle. Consider purchasing interior windshield screens (available at discount department stores and automotive centers) and parking your vehicle in your garage to minimize sun exposure.
California's Lemon Law
Do you spend more time in the shop with your brand-new vehicle than you do on the road? California's Lemon Law protects consumers of vehicles with serious warranty defects that the dealer or manufacturer can't repair. In some cases, you may be entitled to a replacement or refund for your vehicle. Download the brochure "Lemon-Aid for Consumers."
Looking for a new car? Shop with knowledge! The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, plus evaluations of seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. Check with your insurance agent, as these reports may impact your rates.
Updated February 6, 2012