Summer brings heat, fun and added rules of the road to follow. Knowing them is key

People wanting to tow trailers, RVs and the like need to know the rules to be legal on California highways, says CHP officer Robert Montano.
People wanting to tow trailers, RVs and the like need to know the rules to be legal on California highways, says CHP officer Robert Montano. Contributed

As of Friday, June 21, summer is officially upon us! With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees here in the San Joaquin Valley, the California Highway Patrol wants to make sure the motoring public is ready to beat the heat.

California Highway Patrol officer Robert Montano JOHN WALKER Fresno Bee file

Summer presents plenty of traffic safety concerns which, if ignored, can quickly turn your summertime fun into a nightmare. Schools are out and vacation sees an increase in the number of motorists on the highway. So, before you take a trip to the Central Coast or to Millerton Lake, the CHP is asking you to put safety first by keeping the following tips in mind.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for summer. Check the tires, lights and radiator. Summer temperatures place extra stress on your vehicle, especially the battery. All systems should be in good condition for safe travel.

If your vehicle has a problem, such as a flat tire, move it to a safe location — if possible, off of the highway. The shoulder of a roadway, no matter how wide, is not a safe place for repair work.

Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down. We suggest you put together and carry an emergency roadside kit. Items to consider are cell phone and charger, first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, nonperishable food and drinking water.

The CHP would also like to address safety concerns regarding the use of recreational vehicles and travel trailers. Although, the variety of RVs and travel trailers are seemingly endless, certain laws are common to them both.

Campers: In order to transport passengers in a camper, they must have access to an exit door which can be opened from both the inside and outside. We also recommend two-way radio communication, in case an emergency is experienced inside the camper.

Towing: Towing more than one vehicle with a passenger vehicle or pickup weighing less than 4,000 pounds is illegal. An example of this would be, a pickup pulling a travel trailer, which is also pulling a jet ski. The driver is also required to obtain a Class A (Commercial) license when towing more than one vehicle.

Speeding: Vehicles that are towing have a maximum speed limit of 55 mph. When traveling along multilane highways, the law requires all slow moving vehicles to stay to the right at all times. When traveling along two-way undivided highways, the law requires any slow-moving vehicle, which is impeding the progress of five or more vehicles, to turn off the roadway at either a posted turnout or wherever a safe and sufficient area exists.

Also: Never leave a child or pets alone in a car for any length of time! When outside temperatures range from 80 to 100 degrees, the temperature inside of a parked car in direct sunlight can climb between 130 to 172 degrees within minutes. Kaitlyn’s Law prohibits anyone from leaving a child 6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years of age or older. If you see a child left unattended in a vehicle do not wait more than a few minutes for the driver to return. If the child is not responsive or is in distress, immediately call 9-1-1, get the child out of the car and spray the child with cool water. If the vehicle doors are locked, and you must break a window to remove a child, you can do so without being civilly liable. The California Health and Safety Code section 1799.102, prevents a person from being held liable for any civil damages which resulted in good faith, to render emergency medical care at the scene of an emergency. No matter what the weather is like, or length of time you need to be away from the car, leaving a child unattended is very risky and can result in tragedy.

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CHP Courtesy

On behalf of the California Highway Patrol, have a fun and safe summer!

CHP Officer Robert Montano can be reached at rmontano@chp.ca.gov. For more from the CHP Central Division, go to the division’s Facebook page.