Traffic safety & Road Conditions

When looking at traffic conditions in some of the major urban and suburban Californian areas, conditions tend to be either busy and fast moving or downright slow. Driving during rush or commute hours in Los Angeles and the Bay Area is almost impossible as L.A. is often rated as having the worst traffic in the country with the Bay Area being second or third. This pattern of high traffic is also surprisingly visible on primary and rural freeways like Interstate 5 and State Route 99 particularly in the holiday season.

When looking for an excellent analysis of traffic, Google’s traffic reports for major cities like L.A and San Francisco tend to very accurate. Using Google maps on a mobile phone is a boon towards traveling with a lot of relevant information unless you do not have an active internet connection. Another good source for traffic reports is the local media. For instance, many local radio stations provide up to date traffic reports that can be used while driving unlike phone maps. Two good examples of radio stations in the Bay Area are KCBS AM 740 and KQED FM. KCBS provides traffic reports every ten minutes while KQED provides them every 15 minutes during busy hours.

Although traffic reports can be helpful, sometimes driving in the Bay Area can mean that there are simply no alternative routes to go on your commute rendering the reports useless. Still, traffic reports can tell you whether to stay and wait or leave an area if it is exceptionally busy. Finding alternative routes in the height of traffic can be tough unless you are a local to the area and aware of the best routes to avoid the mess. Sometimes avoiding urban highways can lead to a quicker arrival to your destination. This tactic is often known as surfacing, and it is very prominent in some parts of L.A and the Bay Area. Surfacing can be dangerous if the driver is inexperienced as he might take routes that might be dangerous if his car breaks down or routes that have worse traffic conditions than the route he is trying to avoid. Similarly, surfacing or taking a surface route (as it is sometimes called) the wrong way can lead to undesirable effects like a traffic gridlock if a lot of other drivers attempt to do the same thing.

Another way to determine what traffic conditions are in much of California State including Los Angeles and the Bay Area is calling Caltrans. By just dialing 511, Caltrans can provide any driver relevant information like traffic delays and public transit status.

How to Get the California Good Driver Discount and Save on Your Insurance

In order to attract consumers in an industry that is highly competitive, insurance companies have come up with various discount offers that give better rates to some types of motorists. There are offers for military veterans, students, electric car owners and people insuring multiple vehicles through the same company.
However, as far as California is concerned, there is one auto insurance discount that just can’t be beat. It’s called the “Good Driver Discount.”What Is the California Good Driver Discount All About?

In 1988, various changes were made to insurance-related regulations in California. One of them was Proposition 103, which was voted into law and is what created the Good Driver Discount. Because of it, all car insurers doing business in California are required to give a 20% discount to policyholders who qualify for it.

What Are the Requirements?

The most important rule is that to qualify for the California Good Driver Discount, you must have held a license to drive a motor vehicle for at least the past three years. Licenses issued by all states and Canadian provinces qualify. During that three year period, you must have avoided the following:

  • Being found at-fault for any traffic accident (51% of higher responsibility).
  • Attended traffic school for traffic law violations more than once.
  • Received over one demerit point on your driving record.

If you’re looking for motorcycle coverage, keep in mind that in order to be eligible for the California Good Driver Discount, your license must have had a motorcycle endorsement for the past three years. A license to drive an ordinary passenger car isn’t enough to earn you a mandatory discount for motorcycle coverage. However, you may be eligible for other discounts provided by the insurer, especially if you already have a car insured with them.

Basic Driving Safety Reminders

As new California drivers get experience behind the wheel, they tend to forget some of the basics of safe driving. Although drivers learn safe driving practices and must use them to pass their driving test, some routine aspects of driving are forgotten with time. Keep yourself and other drivers safe on California’s roadways by remembering these basic but important rules.

Your turn signals are important for communicating your intentions to other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, so be sure to use them. Always signal when turning, changing lanes, pulling away from a curb or moving toward a curb to park. Remember to signal about 100 feet before turning. If your turn is just after an intersection, turn your signal on when in the intersection rather than when approaching it so those behind you don’t think you will be turning at the intersection. Remember, too, that you can use hand signals if you are on a bicycle or feel other drivers may not see your turn signal for any reason.


Proper steering is important for keeping control of your vehicle and for keeping you safe. Keep your hands at 9 and 3 o’clock or at 9 and 4 o’ clock. Keeping your hands in one if these positions when turning will prevent you from doing so too sharply. Keeping your hands on the bottom half of the wheel also reduces your risk of hand and wrist injuries in the event of an accident. It is best to avoid hand-over-hand steering unless you are parking or taking an extremely sharp right turn. It is also best to keep both hands on the wheel, removing one only when you need it to operate vehicle controls such as the windshield wipers or defrost controls.

Although these are simple tips, it’s easy to get lazy when driving starts to feel more natural and comfortable. Remind yourself and your young drivers that these practices, though basic, are important safety maneuvers that should always be art of their drive.