Some Laws You Want to Be Aware of When Traveling to California
If you are planning on traveling to the State of California from Thailand, you will need to be aware of certain laws in the state that might interfere with your holiday. Here are a few questions and answers that will be of help to you.
What Side of the Road Do I Drive on in California?
First, whether you are in California or anywhere else in the 50 United States, the law requires people to drive on the right side of the roadway. Americans do not drive on the left side like in Thailand. Maintain particular care and caution when crossing a street as a pedestrian. You must look to your left first, and then to the right.
Can I Drive on My Thai Driver’s License?
You can use your current and valid Thailand driver’s license to drive a motor vehicle in California, but you must be 18 years of age. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not recognized by the state, but if you are found guilty of a traffic offense in California, that conviction will go against an IDP.
Are There Laws About Cell Phone Use When Driving?
Yes. If you are going to use a cell phone while driving, it must be a hands-free device. This includes texting or using a cell phone for navigational purposes. Headsets, earplugs or headphones are not allowed.
Must the Vehicle I am Driving Be Insured?
Yes, California requires all drivers of motor vehicles to have liability insurance in the minimum amounts of $15,000 per person, $30,000 per occurrence and $5,000 for property damage. If you rent a car, the rental agency will make sure that you are properly insured.
Can I Consume Alcohol and then Drive in California?
It is not necessarily against the law to consume a beer, a wine or a mixed drink and then drive in California. If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .05, you might be charged with impaired driving. If your BAC is .08 or above, you will definitely be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and taken to jail. Just make your trip easy by not consuming any alcohol or marijuana at all before driving. See the rest of California’s laws on alcohol here.
Can I Drive to Other States?
The driver’s license laws in the 50 states are not uniform. Although a valid driver’s license from Thailand is valid in California, it might not be if you drive or fly to another state. You need to know the laws of all of the states that you might drive through or fly to.
Is It True That California is Tough on Littering?
You do not want to get caught littering in California, even it only involves throwing a cigarette butt out of your car’s window. The minimum fine ranges from $100 to $1,000. On a first offense, violators can also be sentenced to eight hours of public service litter cleanup. That is not a nice way to spend a day of your trip to California.
Watch out for Motorcycles.
Motorcyclists should obey the same laws as other motorists on the road. They have almost nothing to protect them in the event of an accident, so be sure to watch out for them. There’s a saying in the US “Look Twice, Save a Life”. On backed up freeways, watch out for motorcycles which come riding down the road in between vehicles. That is called lane splitting. Look before changing lanes to avoid crashing into a motorcycle that is driving in between cars.
Have a Safe Trip.
Always remember that you could engage in activity in California that could result in a prosecution in Thailand. Enjoy every minute of your trip to California. As Californians say, just make sure that you fly under the radar.