California vehicle code 21660 states that all cars must use only the right half of the roadway when another car or truck is approaching.
Many vehicles in rural areas are too large to keep to one-half the roadway. Big trucks and farm equipment typically take most of the roadway. When approaching a larger vehicle, it is vitally important that you remain on your side of the road. If you cross left of center, and there is an accident, you could be liable to pay for damages. You should always give the oncoming car as much room as possible to pass you safely without placing yourself in danger.
Each year there are hundreds of accidents caused when an inattentive driver takes up more than half the road. Crossing left of the center of the road leaves few options for approaching drivers. Oncoming cars may not be aware you have crossed over the centerline until it is too late to avoid a crash. You could be ticketed and be liable for damages if you don’t yield at least half the roadway to oncoming cars.
You must also pass to the right side of the road when approaching oncoming vehicles. This is different from the passing on the left rule for cars traveling in the same direction. By staying on the right side of the road, you can better see the car approaching you and judge how much room they will need to pass safely.
So why do we drive on the right side of the roads? Most likely, this tradition most likely dates back to Colonial times when early settlers traveled everywhere by horse and buggy. When drivers held the reins for their teams in their right hands, it was only natural that they would want oncoming teams to pass them on their left side since that’s the hand they had free for courtesy waves or defensive maneuvers. This tradition continued when Henry Ford built the first Model T’s with the driver’s mechanisms on the left side of the car.
The traffic laws obviously cannot address all the possible driving situations you will encounter. However, if you remember to yield to others, be courteous, and watch for driving hazards, you can keep the roads safe and orderly for you, your passengers and other drivers.
If you are injured by a careless driver, the personal injury lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys may be able to help you. To find out more on this and other traffic laws, please see the complete listing of California Motor Vehicle Codes.