Last updateTue, 19 Sep 2017 5pm

On The Road

Running lights are not enough when driving in rain


Q: I’ve heard that California law requires me to turn on my headlights when it’s raining, but my vehicle has daytime running lights. Isn’t this sufficient?

A: No. The California Vehicle Code requires that you use your headlights – not just your daytime running lights – in several situations.

Your headlights must be turned on if it is cloudy, raining, snowing or foggy. If the weather requires that your windshield wipers be turned on, your headlights must also be turned on, as well as on frosty mornings when car windows are likely to be foggy, and on narrow country or mountain roads.

This is a safety measure that should be taken any time you have trouble seeing other cars – that means they probably have trouble seeing you. Using your headlights helps to avoid head-on collisions.


Q: I noticed an error on my driver’s license – my date of birth is incorrect. How do I fix it?

A: In this case, you’ll have to apply for a correction of your driver’s license in person at your local DMV office and pay the applicable fees. However, you can save time by scheduling an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov. Bring your acceptable birthdate/legal presence documentation to your appointment, and be sure to double-check and verify all personal information before submitting your forms to the DMV.


Q: I applied for and received my driver’s license at age 16. I am now 21 and have grown several inches taller and a few pounds heavier. How can I have my driver’s license updated?

A: Height and weight changes can be common for many individuals. In this case, you must renew your driver’s license in person – be sure to fill in your new height and weight on the form. Review for accuracy before submitting your application, and the appropriate information should appear on your new driver’s license.


Q: I recently received a parking citation for parking in front of a fire hydrant, but the curb was not painted. Doesn’t the curb have to be painted red to indicate No Parking?

A: No. Your citation is valid. The California Driver Handbook clearly states that you are never to park within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, even if the curb is not painted. For future reference, please note that you cannot park within 15 feet of a fire station driveway, either. For more rules, regulations and other driver safety information, refer to The California Driver Handbook. You can download the document by visiting www.DMV.ca.gov and clicking the Publications tab.


Q: My license plate was recently stolen from my car. How can I obtain a replacement, and how soon must I do so?

A: You must replace your stolen plate in person or by mail as soon as possible. This can be done by mail only if you are the registered owner of the vehicle and your address has not changed. If you’d like to replace your plate in person, schedule an appointment with the DMV at www.dmv.ca.gov. Expect to pay a replacement fee for your new plate.


Q: I’ve heard that I can pay DMV fees online, but I’m concerned about identity theft. How can I be sure that my personal information will not be compromised?

A: The DMV makes every effort to keep your personal, confidential information secure. It is the DMV’s job to protect your identity, and it has security measures in place to protect against loss, misuse, unauthorized access or alteration of the information under its control. Information that is physically located within the department is protected by various security measures as well.

There are certain legal situations in which your information might be released to law-enforcement officers or federal agencies. To learn about such situations, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/authority.htm#protects.


Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed George Valverde California Department of Motor Vehicles director in 2006. Prior to his DMV appointment, Valverde served as undersecretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency and deputy secretary for fiscal operations.

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