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DRIVING SCHOOL
ORANGE COUNTY.com


,
Orange Coast
Driving School

(714)968-8908
19171 Magnolia Street, Suite #15
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Located on the southwest corner of Magnolia and Garfield.

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Welcome to Orange Coast Driving School!
The Most Excellent Place to Learn To Drive!

We teach life long driving skills to all ages and skill levels. We strive to help you reach your goals in as little or as much time as you require. We are patience, considerate and thoughtful. We give you the knowledge, and skills to become the safest driver possible.

Call Today to Learn More at: (714)968-8908

CUSTOMER REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS:


"Made All The Difference!" - by Dian
My husband and I have a daughter who recently received instruction from Armando. Our daughter, Sammy is deaf and has some communication barriers when learning new things, but these were overcome easily and Sammy just received her drivers license. Armando was patient and very thorough when giving Sammy her driving instruction and this made all the difference in her gaining the skills and confidence to drive and pass her drivers test. Thanks Armando!


"Patient Instructors!" - by Julie M
Armando is actually a really good, patient instructor. As long as you are capable of learning from your mistakes, the behind-the-wheel with him is kind of pleasant. Every correction he makes on your driving really comes from his best intentions for you. Driving is obviously going to be difficult to adjust to at first, but just suck up what he is trying to tell you and stop getting so butt hurt over everything.


"I Just Got My License!" - by Harrold J
I tried another school and was very discouraged. The instructor here was very strict and demanding but made me feel quite safe. I just got my license in the mail and will be practicing my hand on hand technique very often. (update) My brother just finished diving with Armendo and was very pleased as well.


"Great Experience" -
by HB mom

When I signed my oldest son up for behind the wheel lessons. He is a high functioning autistic person and I thought he would be comfortable with strict. It proved to be a fabulous choice. The child was an insecure and nervous driver at first and Armando patiently worked through all of his issues at a pace that worked. He got his license in December 2008 and I believe he has become and excellent driver. I was so pleased that when my second son went for his permit we also signed up with Armando. This child is not disabled and was able to explain that at first Armando was a little difficult to understand, but that he was able to adjust. He felt the first lesson went really well, and I know he would have complained if he felt differently. He complains frequently about his other teachers. In week 2 of his permit he drove to school on the freeway without difficulty. I think that the fact that Armando is strict and rules based gave confidence to both of my sons. Our experience has been great, and we are pleased to support a local, independent business.


"Strict but Good Teacher!" -
by bionerd92

Though he is firm at times, Armando does it for the student's sake. When he commented that my driving needed work I didn't feel angry but frustrated. So instead of pouting I would fix the problem. He is a strict but good teacher.


"Extremely Helpful!" -
by bionerd92

Armando was extremely helpful!!! He was very profesional and he was strict at times but for wour own good and saftey. I had never even heard of the hand over hand method with antony at atlantis and so armando taught me. he gets frusterated at times but he just wants you to be the safest driver possible. Extremely kind and proud when you have made an improvement on an issue. I completely rccomend!!! thanks alot!!!!


"Great Instructor!" -
by patytofeo@...

Firm but otherwise great instructor!: firm but otherwise great instructor

Call Today to Learn More at: (714)968-8908

 

ABOUT CAR HANDLING (DRIVING)

Car handling and vehicle handling is a description of the way wheeled vehicles perform transverse to their direction of motion, particularly during cornering and swerving. It also includes their stability when moving in a straight line. Handling and braking are the major components of a vehicle's "active" safety. The maximum lateral acceleration is sometimes discussed separately as "road holding". Handling is an esoteric performance area because rapid and violent manoeuvres are often only used in unforeseen circumstances. (This discussion is directed at road vehicles with at least three wheels, but some of it may apply to other ground vehicles.)

Cars that drive on public roads, whose engineering requirements emphasize handling above passenger space and comfort, are called sports cars.

Factors that affect a car's handling

Weight distribution

Center of gravity height

The center of gravity height, relative to the track, determines load transfer, (related to, but not exactly weight transfer), from side to side and causes body lean. When tires of a vehicle provide a centripetal force to pull it around a turn, the momentum of the vehicle actuates load transfer in a direction going from the vehicle's current position to a point on a path tangent to the vehicle's path. This load transfer presents itself in the form of body lean.

Height of the center of gravity relative to the wheelbase determines load transfer between front and rear. The car's momentum acts at its center of gravity to tilt the car forward or backward, respectively during braking and acceleration. Since it is only the downward force that changes and not the location of the center of gravity, the effect on over/under steer is opposite to that of an actual change in the center of gravity. When a car is braking, the downward load on the front tires increases and that on the rear decreases, with corresponding change in their ability to take sideways load, causing oversteer.

Lower center of gravity is the principal performance advantage of sports cars, compared to sedans and (especially) SUVs. Some cars have light materials in their roofs, partly for this reason. It is also part of the reason that traditional sports cars are open or convertible.

Body lean can also be controlled by the springs, anti-roll bars or the roll center heights.

Center of gravity forward or back

In steady-state cornering, because of the center of gravity, front-heavy cars tend to understeer and rear-heavy cars to oversteer, all other things being equal. The mid-engine design offers the ideal center of gravity.[citation needed]

When all four wheels and tires are of equal size, as is most often the case with passenger cars, a weight distribution close to "50/50" (i.e. the center of mass is mid-way between the front and rear axles) produces the preferred handling compromise.

The rearward weight bias preferred by sports and racing cars results from handling effects during the transition from straight-ahead to cornering. During corner entry the front tires, in addition to generating part of the lateral force required to accelerate the car's center of mass into the turn, also generate a torque about the car's vertical axis that starts the car rotating into the turn. However, the lateral force being generated by the rear tires is acting in the opposite torsional sense, trying to rotate the car out of the turn. For this reason, a car with "50/50" weight distribution will understeer on initial corner entry. To avoid this problem, sports and racing cars often have a more rearward weight distribution. In the case of pure racing cars, this is typically between "40/60" and "35/65." This gives the front tires an advantage in overcoming the car's moment of inertia (yaw angular inertia), thus reducing corner-entry understeer.

Using wheels and tires of different sizes (proportional to the weight carried by each end) is a lever automakers can use to fine tune the resulting over/understeer characteristics.

Roll angular inertia

This increases the time it takes to settle down and follow the steering. It depends on the (square of the) height and width, and (for a uniform mass distribution) can be approximately calculated by the equation: I = M(height2 + width2) / 12.

Greater width, then, though it counteracts center of gravity height, hurts handling by increasing angular inertia. Some high performance cars have light materials in their fenders and roofs partly for this reason.

Yaw and pitch angular inertia (polar moment)

Unless the vehicle is very short, compared to its height or width, these are about equal. Angular inertia determines the rotational inertia of an object for a given rate of rotation. The yaw angular inertia tends to keep the direction the car is pointing changing at a constant rate. This makes it slower to swerve or go into a tight curve, and it also makes it slower to turn straight again. The pitch angular inertia detracts from the ability of the suspension to keep front and back tire loadings constant on uneven surfaces and therefore contributes to bump steer. Angular inertia is an integral over the square of the distance from the center of gravity, so it favors small cars even though the lever arms (wheelbase and track) also increase with scale. (Since cars have reasonable symmetrical shapes, the off-diagonal terms of the angular inertia tensor can usually be ignored.) Mass near the ends of a car can be avoided, without re-designing it to be shorter, by the use of light materials for bumpers and fenders or by deleting them entirely.

Suspension

Automobile suspensions have many variable characteristics, which are generally different in the front and rear and all of which affect handling. Some of these are: spring rate, damping, straight ahead camber angle, camber change with wheel travel, roll center height and the flexibility and vibration modes of the suspension elements. Suspension also affects unsprung weight.

Many cars have suspension that connects the wheels on the two sides, either by a sway bar and/or by a solid axle. The Citron 2CV has interaction between the front and rear suspension.

The flexing of the frame interacts with the suspension. (See below.)

Suspension travel

The severe handling vice of the TR3 and related cars was caused by running out of suspension travel. (See below.) Other vehicles will run out of suspension travel with some combination of bumps and turns, with similarly catastrophic effect. Excessively modified cars also may encounter this problem.

Tires and wheels

In general, larger tires, softer rubber, higher hysteresis rubber and stiffer cord configurations increase road holding and improve handling. On most types of poor surfaces, large diameter wheels perform better than lower wider wheels. The fact that larger tires, relative to weight, stick better is the main reason that front heavy cars tend to understeer and rear heavy to oversteer. The depth of tread remaining greatly affects aquaplaning (riding over deep water without reaching the road surface). Increasing tire pressures reduces their slip angle, but (for given road conditions and loading) there is an optimum pressure for road holding.

Track and wheelbase

The axle track provides the resistance to sideways weight transfer and body lean. The wheelbase provides resistance to front/back weight transfer and to pitch angular inertia, and provides the torque lever arm to rotate the car when swerving. The wheelbase, however, is less important than angular inertia (polar moment) to the vehicle's ability to swerve quickly.

Unsprung weight

Car diagram.jpg

Ignoring the flexing of other components, a car can be modeled as the sprung weight, carried by the springs, carried by the unsprung weight, carried by the tires, carried by the road. Unsprung weight is more properly regarded as a mass which has its own inherent inertia separate from the rest of the vehicle. When a wheel is pushed upwards by a bump in the road, the inertia of the wheel will cause it to be carried further upward above the height of the bump. If the force of the push is sufficiently large, the inertia of the wheel will cause the tire to completely lift off the road surface resulting in a loss of traction and control. Similarly when crossing into a sudden ground depression, the inertia of the wheel slows the rate at which it descends. If the wheel inertia is large enough, the wheel may be temporarily separated from the road surface before it has descended back into contact with the road surface.

This unsprung weight is cushioned from uneven road surfaces only by the compressive resilience of the tire (and wire wheels if fitted), and which aids the wheel in remaining in contact with the road surface when the wheel inertia prevents close-following of the ground surface. However, the compressive resilience of the tire results in rolling resistance which requires additional kinetic energy to overcome, and the rolling resistance is expended in the tire as heat due to the flexing of the rubber and steel bands in the sidewalls of the tires. To reduce rolling resistance for improved fuel economy and to avoid overheating and failure of tires at high speed, tires are designed to have limited internal damping.

So the "wheel bounce" due to wheel inertia, or resonant motion of the unsprung weight moving up and down on the springiness of the tire is only poorly damped, mainly by the dampers or Shock absorbers of the suspension. For these reasons, high unsprung weight reduces road holding and increases unpredictable changes in direction on rough surfaces (as well as degrading ride comfort and increasing mechanical loads).

This unsprung weight includes the wheels and tires, usually the brakes, plus some percentage of the suspension, depending on how much of the suspension moves with the body and how much with the wheels; for instance a solid axle is completely unsprung. The main factors that improve unsprung weight are a sprung differential (as opposed to live axle) and inboard brakes. (The De Dion tube suspension operates much as a live axle does, but represents an improvement because the diff is mounted to the body, thereby reducing the unsprung weight.) Aluminum wheels also help. Magnesium alloy wheels are even lighter but corrode easily.

Since only the brakes on the driving wheels can easily be inboard, the Citron 2CV had inertial dampers on its rear wheel hubs to damp only wheel bounce.

Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic forces are generally proportional to the square of the air speed, therefore car aerodynamics become rapidly more important as speed increases. Like darts, aeroplanes, etc., cars can be stabilised by fins and other rear aerodynamic devices. However, in addition to this cars also use downforce or "negative lift" to improve road holding. This is prominent on many types of racing cars, but is also used on most passenger cars to some degree, if only to counteract the tendency for the car to otherwise produce positive lift.

In addition to providing increased adhesion, car aerodynamics are frequently designed to compensate for the inherent increase in oversteer as cornering speed increases. When a car corners, it must rotate about its vertical axis as well as translate its center of mass in an arc. However, in a tight-radius (lower speed) corner the angular velocity of the car is high, while in a longer-radius (higher speed) corner the angular velocity is much lower. Therefore, the front tires have a more difficult time overcoming the car's moment of inertia during corner entry at low speed, and much less difficulty as the cornering speed increases. So the natural tendency of any car is to understeer on entry to low-speed corners and oversteer on entry to high-speed corners. To compensate for this unavoidable effect, car designers often bias the car's handling toward less corner-entry understeer (such as by lowering the front roll center), and add rearward bias to the aerodynamic downforce to compensate in higher-speed corners. The rearward aerodynamic bias may be achieved by an airfoil or "spoiler" mounted near the rear of the car, but a useful effect can also be achieved by careful shaping of the body as a whole, particularly the aft areas

In recent years, aerodynamics have become an area of increasing focus by racing teams as well as car manufacturers. Advanced tools such as wind tunnels and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) have allowed engineers to optimize the handling characteristics of vehicles. Advanced wind tunnels such as Wind Shear's Full Scale, Rolling Road, Automotive Wind Tunnel recently built in Concord, North Carolina have taken the simulation of on-road conditions to the ultimate level of accuracy and repeatability under very controlled conditions. CFD has similarly been used as a tool to simulate aerodynamic conditions but through the use of extremely advanced computers and software to duplicate the car's design digitally then "test" that design on the computer.

Delivery of power to the wheels and brakes

The coefficient of friction of rubber on the road limits the magnitude of the vector sum of the transverse and longitudinal force. So the driven wheels or those supplying the most braking tend to slip sideways. This phenomenon is often explained by use of the circle of forces model.

One reason that sports cars are usually rear wheel drive is that power induced oversteer is useful, to a skilled driver, for tight curves. The weight transfer under acceleration has the opposite effect and either may dominate, depending on the conditions. Inducing understeer by applying power in a front wheel drive car is useful via proper use of "Left-foot braking." In any case, this is not an important safety issue, because power is not normally used in emergency situations. Using low gears down steep hills may cause some oversteer.

The effect of braking on handling is complicated by load transfer, which is proportional to the (negative) acceleration times the ratio of the center of gravity height to the wheelbase. The difficulty is that the acceleration at the limit of adhesion depends on the road surface, so with the same ratio of front to back braking force, a car will understeer under braking on slick surfaces and oversteer under hard braking on solid surfaces. Most modern cars combat this by varying the distribution of braking in some way. This is important with a high center of gravity, but it is also done on low center of gravity cars, from which a higher level of performance is expected.

Steering

Depending on the driver, steering force and transmission of road forces back to the steering wheel and the steering ratio of turns of the steering wheel to turns of the road wheels affect control and awareness. Play free rotation of the steering wheel before the wheels rotate is a common problem, especially in older model and worn cars. Another is friction. Rack and pinion steering is generally considered the best type of mechanism for control effectiveness. The linkage also contributes play and friction. Caster offset of the steering axis from the contact patch provides some of the self-centering tendency.

Precision of the steering is particularly important on ice or hard packed snow where the slip angle at the limit of adhesion is smaller than on dry roads.

The steering effort depends on the downward force on the steering tires and on the radius of the contact patch. So for constant tire pressure, it goes like the 1.5 power of the vehicle's weight. The driver's ability to exert torque on the wheel scales similarly with his size. The wheels must be rotated farther on a longer car to turn with a given radius. Power steering reduces the required force at the expense of feel. It is useful, mostly in parking, when the weight of a front-heavy vehicle exceeds about ten or fifteen times the driver's weight, for physically impaired drivers and when there is much friction in the steering mechanism.

Four-wheel steering has begun to be used on road cars (Some WW II reconnaissance vehicles had it). It relieves the effect of angular inertia by starting the whole car moving before it rotates toward the desired direction. It can also be used, in the other direction, to reduce the turning radius. Some cars will do one or the other, depending on the speed.

Steering geometry changes due to bumps in the road may cause the front wheels to steer in different directions together or independent of each other. The steering linkage should be designed to minimize this effect.

Electronic stability control

Electronic stability control (ESC) is a computerized technology that improves the safety of a vehicle's stability by attempting to detect and prevent skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, the system applies individual brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver wants to go. Braking is automatically applied to individual wheels, such as the outer front wheel to counter oversteer, or the inner rear wheel to counter understeer.

The stability control of some cars may not be compatible with some driving techniques, such as power induced over-steer. It is therefore, at least from a sporting point of view, preferable that it can be disabled.

Static alignment of the wheels

Of course things should be the same, left and right, for road cars. Camber affects steering because a tire generates a force towards the side that the top is leaning towards. This is called camber thrust. Additional front negative camber is used to improve the cornering ability of cars with insufficient camber gain.

Rigidity of the frame

The frame may flex with load, especially twisting on bumps. Rigidity is considered to help handling. At least it simplifies the suspension engineers work. Some cars, such as the Mercedes-Benz 300SL have had high doors to allow a stiffer frame.

Driver handling the car

Handling is a property of the car, but different characteristics will work well with different drivers.

Familiarity

A person learns to control a car much as he learns to control his body, so the more he has driven a car or type of car the better it will handle for them. One needs to take extra care for the first few months after buying a car, especially if it differs in design from those they are used to. Other things that a driver must adjust to include changes in tires, tire pressures and load. That is, handling is not just good or bad; it is also the same or different.

Position and support for the driver

Having to take up "g forces" in his/her arms interferes with a driver's precise steering. In a similar manner, a lack of support for the seating position of the driver may cause them to move around as the car undergoes rapid acceleration (through cornering, taking off or braking). This interferes with precise control inputs, making the car more difficult to control.

Being able to reach the controls easily is also an important consideration, especially if a car is being driven hard.

In some circumstances, good support may allow a driver to retain some control, even after a minor accident or after the first stage of an accident.

External conditions that affect handling

Weather

Weather affects handling by making the road slippery. Different tires do best in different weather. Deep water is an exception to the rule that wider tires improve road holding. (See aquaplaning under tires, below.)

Road condition

Cars with relatively soft suspension and with low unsprung weight are least affected by uneven surfaces, while on flat smooth surfaces the stiffer the better. Unexpected water, ice, oil, etc. are hazards.

Common handling problems

When any wheel leaves contact with the road there is a change in handling, so the suspension should keep all four (or three) wheels on the road in spite of hard cornering, swerving and bumps in the road. It is very important for handling, as well as other reasons, not to run out of suspension travel and "bottom" or "top".

It is usually most desirable to have the car adjusted for a small amount of understeer, so that it responds predictably to a turn of the steering wheel and the rear wheels have a smaller slip angle than the front wheels. However this may not be achievable for all loading, road and weather conditions, speed ranges, or while turning under acceleration or braking. Ideally, a car should carry passengers and baggage near its center of gravity and have similar tire loading, camber angle and roll stiffness in front and back to minimise the variation in handling characteristics. A driver can learn to deal with excessive oversteer or understeer, but not if it varies greatly in a short period of time.

The most important common handling failings are;

  • Understeer - the front wheels tend to crawl slightly or even slip and drift towards the outside of the turn. The driver can compensate by turning a little more tightly, but road-holding is reduced, the car's behaviour is less predictable and the tires are liable to wear more quickly.
  • Oversteer - the rear wheels tend to crawl or slip towards the outside of the turn more than the front. The driver must correct by steering away from the corner, otherwise the car is liable to spin, if pushed to its limit. Oversteer is sometimes useful, to assist in steering, especially if it occurs only when the driver chooses it by applying power.
  • Bump steer the effect of irregularity of a road surface on the angle or motion of a car. It may be the result of the kinematic motion of the suspension rising or falling, causing toe-in or toe-out at the loaded wheel, ultimately affecting the yaw angle (heading) of the car. It may also be caused by defective or worn out suspension components. This will always happen under some conditions but depends on suspension, steering linkage, unsprung weight, angular inertia, differential type, frame rigidity, tires and tire pressures. If suspension travel is exhausted the wheel either bottoms or loses contact with the road. As with hard turning on flat roads, it is better if the wheel picks up by the spring reaching its neutral shape, rather than by suddenly contacting a limiting structure of the suspension.
  • Body roll - the car leans towards the outside of the curve. This interferes with the driver's control, because he must wait for the car to finish leaning before he can fully judge the effect of his steering change. It also adds to the delay before the car moves in the desired direction.
  • Weight transfer - the wheels on the outside of a curve are more heavily loaded than those on the inside. This tends to overload the tires on the outside and therefore reduce road holding. Weight transfer (sum of front and back), in steady cornering, is determined by the ratio of the height of a car's center of gravity to its track. Differences between the weight transfer in front and back are determined by the relative roll stiffness and contribute to the over or under-steer characteristics.
    • When the weight transfer equals half the vehicle's loaded weight, it will start to roll over. This can be avoided by manually or automatically reducing the turn rate, but this causes further reduction in road-holding.
  • Slow response - sideways acceleration does not start immediately when the steering is turned and may not stop immediately when it is returned to center. This is partly caused by body roll. Other causes include tires with high slip angle, and yaw and roll angular inertia. Roll angular inertia aggravates body roll by delaying it. Soft tires aggravate yaw angular inertia by waiting for the car to reach their slip angle before turning the car.

Compromises

Ride quality and handling have always been a compromise - technology has over time allowed automakers to combine more of both features in the same vehicle. High levels of comfort are difficult to reconcile with a low center of gravity, body roll resistance, low angular inertia, support for the driver, steering feel and other characteristics that make a car handle well.

For ordinary production cars, manufactures err towards deliberate understeer as this is safer for inexperienced or inattentive drivers than is oversteer. Other compromises involve comfort and utility, such as preference for a softer smoother ride or more seating capacity.

Inboard brakes improve both handling and comfort but take up space and are harder to cool. Large engines tend to make cars front or rear heavy. In tires, fuel economy, staying cool at high speeds, ride comfort and long wear all tend to conflict with road holding, while wet, dry, deep water and snow road holding are not exactly compatible. A-arm or wishbone front suspension tends to give better handling, because it provides the engineers more freedom to choose the geometry, and more road holding, because the camber is better suited to radial tires, than MacPherson strut, but it takes more space.

The older Live axle rear suspension technology, familiar from the Ford Model T, is still widely used in most sport utility vehicles and trucks. The live axle suspension is still used in some sports cars, like the Ford Mustang, and is better for drag racing, but generally has problems with grip on bumpy corners, and stability at high speeds on bumpy straights. Having said that a good live axle can be superior to a poor independent rear suspension system, in most circumstances.

Aftermarket modifications and adjustments

Lowering the center of gravity will always help the handling (as well as reduce the chance of roll-over). This can be done to some extent by using plastic windows (or none) and light roof, hood (bonnet) and boot (trunk) lid materials, by reducing the ground clearance, etc. Increasing the track with "reversed" wheels will have a similar effect, but remember that the wider the car the less spare room it has on the road and the farther you may have to swerve to miss an obstacle. Stiffer springs and/or shocks, both front and rear, will generally improve handling, at the expense of comfort on small bumps. Performance suspension kits are available. Light alloy (mostly aluminum or magnesium) wheels improve handling as well as ride comfort.

Moment of inertia can be reduced by using lighter bumpers and wings (fenders), or none at all.

Component Reduce Under-steer Reduce Over-steer
Weight distribution center of gravity towards rear center of gravity towards front
Front shock absorber softer stiffer
Rear shock absorber stiffer softer
Front sway bar softer stiffer
Rear sway bar stiffer softer
Front tire selection1 larger contact area smaller contact area
Rear tire selection smaller contact area larger contact area
Front wheel rim width or diameter larger smaller
Rear wheel rim width or diameter smaller larger
Front tire pressure lower pressure increase pressure
Rear tire pressure increase pressure lower pressure
Front wheel camber increase negative camber reduce negative camber
Rear wheel camber reduce negative camber increase negative camber
Rear spoiler smaller larger
Front height (because these usually
  affect camber and roll resistance)
lower front end raise front end
Rear height raise rear end lower rear end
Front toe in decrease increase
Rear toe in decrease increase
1) Tire contact area can be increased by using wider tires, or tires with fewer grooves in the tread pattern. Of course fewer grooves has the opposite effect in wet weather or other poor road conditions.

2) These also improve road holding, under most conditions.

Cars with unusual handling problems

Certain vehicles can be involved in a disproportionate share of single-vehicle accidents - their handling characteristics may play a role:

  • early Porsche 911s suffered from treacherous lift off oversteer (where the car unpredictably leaves the road tail first); also the inside front wheel leaves the road during hard cornering on dry pavement, causing increasing understeer. The roll bar stiffness at the front is set to compensate for the rear-heaviness and gives neutral handling in ordinary driving. This compensation starts to give out when the wheel lifts. A skilled driver can use the 911's other features to his/her advantage, making the 911 an extremely capable sports car in expert hands. Later 911s have had increasingly sophisticated rear suspensions and larger rear tires, eliminating these problems.
  • Triumph TR2, and TR3 began to oversteer more suddenly when their inside rear wheel lifted.
  • Volkswagen Beetle (original Beetle) senstitivity to crosswinds, due to the lightness of the front of the rear engine car; and poor roll stability due to the swing axle suspension. People who drove them hard fitted reversed wheels and bigger rear tires and rims to ameliorate.
  • Chevrolet Corvair - cited for dangerous handling in Unsafe at Any Speed caused by poor roll stability due to the swing axle rear suspension similar to that used in the Volkswagen Beetle. These problems were corrected with the redesign of the Corvair for 1965, however, it died from its negative publicity.
  • The large, rear-engine Tatra (known as the 'Czech secret weapon') killed so many Nazi officers during World War II that the German Army eventually forbade its officers from driving the Tatra.
  • Some 1950s American "full size" cars responded very slowly to steering changes because of their very large angular inertia, softly tuned suspension which made ride quality a priority over cornering, and comfort oriented cross bias tires. Auto Motor und Sport reported on one of these that they lacked the courage to test it for top speed, probably due to their familiarity with smaller European cars and their unfamiliarity with large American cars.
  • Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon these early American responses to the Volkswagen Rabbit were found "unacceptable" in their initial testing by Consumer Reports, due to an observed tendency to display an uncontrollable oscillating yaw from side to side under certain steering inputs. While Chrysler's denials of this behaviour were countered by a persistent trickle of independent reports of this behaviour, production of the cars was altered to equip them with both a lighter weight steering wheel and a steering damper, and no further reports of this problem were heard.
  • The Suzuki Samurai was similarly reported by Consumer Reports to exhibit a propensity to tipping over onto two wheels, to the point where they were afraid to continue testing the vehicle without the attachment of outrigger wheels to catch it from completely rolling over; once again, they rated it as "Unacceptable", and once again the manufacturer denied that it was any sort of problem "in the real world", while reports by owners who had experienced such rollovers steadily trickled in. The vehicle was eventually taken off the market before any changes were made to the handling. As SUVs became popular, however, it became evident that their high center of mass made them more likely to tip over than passenger cars, and some even did so during Consumer Reports' testing; but none other than the Samurai showed such a readiness to roll over that they were rated unacceptable, as theoretically predictable by the Samurai's being exceptionally short and narrow. See http://www.safercar.gov/Rollover.
  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class a tall car with a high center of gravity; early models showed excessive body roll during sharp swerving manoeuvres and rolled over, most particularly during the Swedish moose test. This was later corrected using Electronic Stability Control and retrofitted at great expense to earlier cars.
  • Ford Explorer a dangerous tendency to blow a rear tire and flip over. Ford had constructed a vehicle with a high center of gravity - the tendency to roll over on sharp changes in direction is built in to the vehicle. Ford attempted to counteract the forces of nature by specifying lower than optimum pressures, in the tires in order to induce them to lose traction and slide under sideways forces rather than to grip and force the vehicle to roll over. For reasons that were never entirely clear, these vehicles then suffered from sudden tire blow outs, which led to a spate of well publicized single-vehicle accidents.
Ford and Firestone, the makers of the tires, pointed fingers at each other, with the final blame being assigned to quality control practices at a Firestone plant which was undergoing a strike. Tires from a different Firestone plant were not associated with this problem. An internal document dated 1989 states
Engineering has recommended use of tire pressures below maximum allowable inflation levels for all UN46 tires. As described previously, the reduced tire pressures increase understeer and reduce maximum cornering capacity (both 'stabilising' influences). This practice has been used routinely in heavy duty pick-up truck and car station wagon applications to assure adequate understeer under all loading conditions. Nissan (Pathfinder), Toyota, Chevrolet, and Dodge also reduce tire pressures for selected applications. While we cannot be sure of their reasons, similarities in vehicle loading suggest that maintaining a minimal level of understeer under rear-loaded conditions may be the compelling factor. http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/articles.cfm?ID=5336
This contributed to build-up of heat and tire deterioration under sustained high speed use, and eventual failure of the most highly stressed tire. Of course, the possibility that slightly substandard tire construction and slightly higher than average tire stress, neither of which would be problematic in themselves, would in combination result in tire failure is quite likely. The controversy continues without unequivocal conclusions, but it also brought public attention to a generally high incidence of rollover accidents involving SUVs, which the manufacturers continue to address in various ways.

(One of the handling advantages of sports cars is that their very lack of carrying capacity allows their standard tire pressures, as well as sizes, to be optimised for light load.)

  • The Jensen GT (hatchback coupe) was introduced in attempt to broaden the sales base of the Jensen Healey, which had up to that time been a roadster or convertible. Its road test report in Motor Magazine and a very similar one, soon after, in Road & Track concluded that it was no longer fun enough to drive to be worth that much money. They blamed it on minor suspension changes. Much more likely, the change in weight distribution was at fault. The Jensen Healey was a rather low and wide fairly expensive sports car, but the specifications of its suspension were not particularly impressive, having a solid rear axle. Unlike the AC Ace, with its double transverse leaf rear suspension and aluminium body, the Jensen Healey could not stand the weight of that high up metal and glass and still earn a premium price for its handling. The changes also included a cast iron exhaust manifold replacing the aluminium one, probably to partly balance the high and far back weight of the top. The car had also suffered reliability problems with engines that Jensen bought from Lotus. The factory building was used to build multi-tub truck frames.
  • The rear engined Renault Dauphine earned in Spain the sobriquet of the "widow's car", due to its bad handling.
  • Three-wheeled cars/vehicles have unique handling issues, especially considering whether the single wheel is at the front or back. (Motorcycles with sidecars; another matter.) Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car caused a sensation, but ignorance of the problems of rear-wheel-steering led to a fatal crash that destroyed its reputation.
ABOUT TRAFFIC (DRIVING CONDITIONS)
Interstate 80, seen here in Berkeley, California, is a freeway with many lanes and heavy traffic.
This intersection in San Jose, California has crosswalks, left-turn lanes, and traffic lights.
Rush hour traffic in Southern California

Traffic on roads may consist of pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using the public way for purposes of travel. Traffic laws are the laws which govern traffic and regulate vehicles, while rules of the road are both the laws and the informal rules that may have developed over time to facilitate the orderly and timely flow of traffic.

Organized traffic generally has well-established priorities, lanes, right-of-way, and traffic control at intersections.

Traffic is formally organized in many jurisdictions, with marked lanes, junctions, intersections, interchanges, traffic signals, or signs. Traffic is often classified by type: heavy motor vehicle (e.g., car, truck); other vehicle (e.g., moped, bicycle); and pedestrian. Different classes may share speed limits and easement, or may be segregated. Some jurisdictions may have very detailed and complex rules of the road while others rely more on drivers' common sense and willingness to cooperate.

Organization typically produces a better combination of travel safety and efficiency. Events which disrupt the flow and may cause traffic to degenerate into a disorganized mess include: road construction, collisions and debris in the roadway. On particularly busy freeways, a minor disruption may persist in a phenomenon known as traffic waves. A complete breakdown of organization may result in traffic jams and gridlock. Simulations of organized traffic frequently involve queuing theory, stochastic processes and equations of mathematical physics applied to traffic flow.

Rules of the road

Traffic controller in Chicago, Michigan Avenue
Traffic control in Rome, Italy. This traffic control podium can retract back to road level when not in use.

Rules of the road are the general practices and procedures that road users are required to follow. These rules usually apply to all road users, though they are of special importance to motorists and cyclists. These rules govern interactions between vehicles and with pedestrians. The basic traffic rules are defined by an international treaty under the authority of the United Nations, the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Not all countries are signatory to the convention and, even among signatories, local variations in practice may be found. There are also unwritten local rules of the road, which are generally understood by local drivers.

As a general rule, drivers are expected to avoid a collision with another vehicle and pedestrians, regardless of whether or not the applicable rules of the road allow them to be where they happen to be.

In addition to the rules applicable by default, traffic signs and traffic lights must be obeyed, and instructions may be given by a police officer, either routinely (on a busy crossing instead of traffic lights) or as road traffic control around a construction zone, accident, or other road disruption.

These rules should be distinguished from the mechanical procedures required to operate one's vehicle. See driving.

Directionality

Traffic going in opposite directions should be separated in such a way that they do not block each other's way. The most basic rule is whether to use the left or right side of the road.

United States: The Ohio Uniform Traffic Ticket prescribed by the Supreme Court of Ohio for use in moving violations

Traffic regulations

In many countries, the rules of the road are codified, setting out the legal requirements and punishments for breaking them.

In the United Kingdom, the rules are set out in the Highway Code, which includes obligations but also advice on how to drive sensibly and safely.

In the United States, traffic laws are regulated by the states and municipalities through their respective traffic codes. Most of these are based at least in part on the Uniform Vehicle Code, but there are variations from state to state. In states such as Florida, traffic law and criminal law are separate, therefore, unless someone flees a scene of an accident, commits vehicular homicide or manslaughter, they are only guilty of a minor traffic offense. However, states such as South Carolina have completely criminalized their traffic law, so, for example, you are guilty of a misdemeanor simply for travelling 5 miles over the speed limit.

Organized traffic

Priority (right of way)

Vehicles often come into conflict with other vehicles and pedestrians because their intended courses of travel intersect, and thus interfere with each other's routes. The general principle that establishes who has the right to go first is called "right of way", or "priority". It establishes who has the right to use the conflicting part of the road and who has to wait until the other does so.

Signs, signals, markings and other features are often used to make priority explicit. Some signs, such as the stop sign, are nearly universal. When there are no signs or markings, different rules are observed depending on the location. These default priority rules differ between countries, and may even vary within countries. Trends toward uniformity are exemplified at an international level by the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals, which prescribes standardized traffic control devices (signs, signals, and markings) for establishing the right of way where necessary.

Crosswalks (or pedestrian crossings) are common in populated areas, and may indicate that pedestrians have priority over vehicular traffic. In most modern cities, the traffic signal is used to establish the right of way on the busy roads. Its primary purpose is to give each road a duration of time in which its traffic may use the intersection in an organized way. The intervals of time assigned for each road may be adjusted to take into account factors such as difference in volume of traffic, the needs of pedestrians, or other traffic signals. Pedestrian crossings may be located near other traffic control devices; if they are not also regulated in some way, vehicles must give priority to them when in use. Traffic on a public road usually has priority over other traffic such as traffic emerging from private access; rail crossings and drawbridges are typical exceptions.

Uncontrolled traffic

Uncontrolled traffic occurs in the absence of lane markings and traffic control signals. On roads without marked lanes, drivers tend to keep to the appropriate side if the road is wide enough. Drivers frequently overtake others. Obstructions are not uncommon.

Intersections have no signals or signage, and a particular road at a busy intersection may be dominant that is, its traffic flows until a break in traffic, at which time the dominance shifts to the other road where vehicles are queued. At the intersection of two perpendicular roads, a traffic jam may result if four vehicles face each other side-on.

Turning

Drivers will often want to cease to travel a straight line and turn onto another road or onto private property. The vehicle's directional signals (blinkers) are often used as a way to announce one's intention to turn, thus alerting other drivers. The actual usage of blinkers varies greatly amongst countries, although its purpose should be the same in all countries: to indicate a driver's intention to depart from the current (and natural) flow of traffic well before the departure is executed (typically 3 seconds as a guideline).

This will usually mean that turning traffic will have to stop in order to wait for a breach to turn, and this might cause inconvenience for drivers that follow them but do not want to turn. This is why dedicated lanes and protected traffic signals for turning are sometimes provided. On busier intersections where a protected lane would be ineffective or cannot be built, turning may be entirely prohibited, and drivers will be required to "drive around the block" in order to accomplish the turn. Many cities employ this tactic quite often; in San Francisco, due to its common practice, making three right turns is known colloquially as a "San Francisco left turn". Likewise, as many intersections in Taipei City are too busy to allow direct left turns, signs often direct drivers to drive around the block to turn.

Turning rules are by no means universal. In New Zealand, for example, left turning traffic must give way to opposing "right turning" traffic, i.e., traffic turning into a driver's path (unless there are multiple lanes to turn into).

On roads with multiple lanes, turning traffic is generally expected to move to the lane closest to the direction they wish to turn. For example, traffic intending to turn right will usually move to the rightmost lane before the intersection. Likewise, left-turning two rightmost lanes will be of authority; for example, in Brazil and elsewhere it is common for drivers to observe (and trust) the turn signals used by other drivers in order to make turns from other lanes. For example if several vehicles on the right lane are all turning right, a vehicle may come from the next-to-right lane and turn right as well, doing so in parallel with the other right-turning vehicles.

Intersections

A diagram of movement within a roundabout in a country where traffic drives on the left. A roundabout is a type of road junction, or traffic calming device, at which traffic streams circularly around a central island after first yielding to the circulating traffic. Unlike with traffic circles, vehicles on a roundabout have priority over the entering vehicle, parking is not allowed and pedestrians are usually prohibited from the central island.
A roundabout in Lublin, Poland.

In most of Continental Europe, the default rule is to give priority to the right, but this may be overridden by signs or road markings, and does not apply at T-shaped junctions in some of these countries, such as France. There, priority was initially given according to the social rank of each traveler, but early in the life of the automobile this rule was deemed impractical and replaced with the priorit droite (priority to the right) rule, which still applies. At a traffic circle where priorit droite is not overridden, traffic on what would otherwise be a roundabout gives way to traffic entering the circle. Most French roundabouts now have give-way signs for traffic entering the circle, but there remain some notable exceptions that operate on the old rule, such as the Place de l'toile around the Arc de Triomphe. Traffic at this intersection is so chaotic that French insurance companies deem any accident on the roundabout to be equal liability. Priority to the right where used in continental Europe may be overridden by an ascending hierarchy of markings, signs, signals, and authorized persons.

In the United Kingdom, priority is always indicated by signs or markings, so that every junction between public roads (except those governed by traffic signals) has a concept of a major road and minor road. The default give-way-to-the-right rule used in Continental Europe causes problems for many British and Irish drivers who are accustomed to having right of way by default unless they are specifically told to give way.

Other countries use various methods similar to the above examples to establish the right of way at intersections. For example, in most of the United States, the default priority is to yield to traffic from the right, but this is usually overridden by traffic control devices or other rules, like the boulevard rule. This rule holds that traffic entering a major road from a smaller road or alley must yield to the traffic of the busier road, but signs are often still posted. The boulevard rule can be compared with the above concept of a major and minor road, or the priority roads that may be found in countries that are parties to the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.

Perpendicular intersections Also known as a "four-way" intersection, this intersection is the most common configuration for roads that cross each other, and the most basic type.

Diagram of an example intersection of two-way streets as seen from above (traffic flows on the right side of the road). The East-West street has left turn lanes from both directions, but the North-South street does not have left turn lanes at this intersection. The East-West street traffic lights also have green left turn arrows to show when unhindered left turns can be made. Some possible markings for crosswalks are shown as examples.

If traffic signals do not control a 4-way intersection, signs or other features are typically used to control movements and make clear priorities. The most common arrangement is to indicate that one road has priority over the other, but there are complex cases where all traffic approaching an intersection must yield and may be required to stop.

In the United States, South Africa, and Canada, there are four-way intersections with a stop sign at every entrance, called four-way stops. A failed signal or a flashing red light is equivalent to a four-way stop, or an all-way stop. Special rules for all-way stops may include:

  1. In the countries that use four-way stops, pedestrians always have priority at crosswalks even at unmarked ones, which exist as the logical continuations of the sidewalks at every intersection with approximately right angles unless signed or painted otherwise.
  2. Whichever vehicle first stops at the stop line or before the crosswalk, if there is no stop line has priority.
  3. If two vehicles stop at the same time, priority is given to the vehicle on the right.
  4. If three vehicles stop at the same time, priority is given to the two vehicles going in opposite directions, if possible.
  5. If four vehicles stop, drivers usually use gestures and other communication to establish right-of-way.

In Europe and other places, there are similar intersections. These may be marked by special signs (according to the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals), a danger sign with a black X representing a crossroads. This sign informs drivers that the intersection is uncontrolled and that default rules apply. In Europe and in many areas of North America the default rules that apply at uncontrolled four-way intersections are almost identical:

  1. Rules for pedestrians differ by country, in the United States and Canada pedestrians generally have priority at such an intersection.
  2. All vehicles must give priority to any traffic approaching from their right,
  3. Then, if the vehicle is turning right or continuing on the same road it may proceed.
  4. Vehicles turning left must also give priority to traffic approaching from the opposite direction, unless that traffic is also turning left.
  5. If the intersection is congested, vehicles must alternate directions and/or circulate priority to the right one vehicle at a time.

Pedestrian crossings

A picture of Avenida Faria Lima in So Paulo, Brazil, showing a semaphore-controlled pedestrian crossing, and several red lights on several intersections ahead.

Pedestrians must often cross from one side of a road to the other, and in doing so may come into the way of vehicles traveling on the road. In many places pedestrians are entirely left to look after themselves, that is, they must observe the road and cross when they can see that no traffic will threaten them. Busier cities usually provide pedestrian crossings, which are strips of the road where pedestrians are expected to cross.

The actual appearance of pedestrian crossings varies greatly, but the two most common appearances are: (1) a series of parallel white stripes or (2) two long horizontal white lines. The former is usually preferred, as it stands out more conspicuously against the dark pavement.

Some pedestrian crossings also accompany a traffic signal which will make vehicles stop at regular intervals so the pedestrians can cross. Some countries have "intelligent" pedestrian signals, where the pedestrian must push a button in order to assert his intention to cross. The traffic signal will use that information to schedule itself, that is, when no pedestrians are present the signal will never pointlessly cause vehicle traffic to stop.

Pedestrian crossings without traffic signals are also common. In this case, the traffic laws usually states that the pedestrian has the right of way when crossing, and that vehicles must stop when a pedestrian uses the crossing. Countries and driving cultures vary greatly as to the extent to which this is respected. In the state of Nevada the car has the right of way when the crosswalk signal specifically forbids pedestrian crossing.

Some jurisdictions forbid crossing or using the road anywhere other than at crossings, termed jaywalking. In other areas, pedestrians may have the right to cross where they choose, and have right of way over vehicular traffic while crossing.

In most areas, an intersection is considered to have a crosswalk, even if not painted, as long as the roads meet at approximate right angles. Examples of locations where this rule is not in effect are the United Kingdom and Croatia.

Pedestrian crossings may also be located away from intersections.

Level crossings

An example of a typical rail crossing in the United States.

A level crossing is an at-grade intersection of a railway by a road. Because of safety issues, they are often equipped with closable gates, crossing bells and warning signs.

Speed limits

The higher the speed of a vehicle, the more difficult collision avoidance becomes and the greater the damage if a collision does occur. Therefore, many countries of the world limit the maximum speed allowed on their roads. Vehicles are not supposed to be driven at speeds which are higher than the posted maximum.

To enforce speed limits, two approaches are generally employed. In the United States, it is common for the police to patrol the streets and use special equipment (typically a radar unit) to measure the speed of vehicles, and pull over any vehicle found to be in violation of the speed limit. In Brazil and some European countries, there are computerized speed-measuring devices spread throughout the city, which will automatically detect speeding drivers and take a photograph of the license plate (or number plate), which is later used for applying and mailing the ticket. Many jurisdictions in the U.S. use this technology as well.

A mechanism that was developed in Germany is the Grne Welle, or green wave, which is an indicator that shows the optimal speed to travel for the synchronized green lights along that corridor. Driving faster or slower than the speed set by the behavior of the lights causes the driver to frequently encounter red lights. This discourages drivers from speeding or impeding the flow of traffic. See related traffic wave.

Overtaking

Overtaking (or passing) refers to a maneuver by which one or more vehicles traveling in the same direction are passed by another vehicle. On two-lane roads, when there is a split line or a dashed line on the side of the overtaker, drivers may overtake when it is safe. On multi-lane roads in most jurisdictions, overtaking is permitted in the "slower" lanes, though many require a special circumstance. See "Lanes" below.

In the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada, notably on extra-urban roads, a solid white or yellow line closer to the driver is used to indicate that no overtaking is allowed in that lane. A double white or yellow line means that neither side may overtake.

Lanes

Changing lanes in Gothenburg ubt.ogv
Changing lanes on an 8-lane road in Gothenburg, Sweden

When a street is wide enough to accommodate several vehicles traveling side-by-side, it is usual for traffic to organize itself into lanes, that is, parallel corridors of traffic. Some roads have one lane for each direction of travel and others have multiple lanes for each direction. Most countries apply pavement markings to clearly indicate the limits of each lane and the direction of travel that it must be used for. In other countries lanes have no markings at all and drivers follow them mostly by intuition rather than visual stimulus.

On roads that have multiple lanes going in the same direction, drivers may usually shift amongst lanes as they please, but they must do so in a way that does not cause inconvenience to other drivers. Driving cultures vary greatly on the issue of "lane ownership": in some countries, drivers traveling in a lane will be very protective of their right to travel in it while in others drivers will routinely expect other drivers to shift back and forth.

Designation and overtaking

The usual designation for lanes on divided highways is the fastest lane is the one closest to the center of the road, and the slowest to the edge of the road. Drivers are usually expected to keep in the slowest lane unless overtaking, though with more traffic congestion all lanes are often used.

When driving on the left:

  • The lane designated for faster traffic is on the right.
  • The lane designated for slower traffic is on the left.
  • Most freeway exits are on the left.
  • Overtaking is permitted to the right, and sometimes to the left.

When driving on the right:

  • The lane designated for faster traffic is on the left.
  • The lane designated for slower traffic is on the right.
  • Most freeway exits are on the right.
  • Overtaking is permitted to the left, and sometimes to the right.

Countries party to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic have uniform rules about overtaking and lane designation. The convention details (amongst other things) that "Every driver shall keep to the edge of the carriageway appropriate to the direction of traffic", and the "Drivers overtaking shall do so on the side opposite to that appropriate to the direction of traffic", notwithstanding the presence or absence of oncoming traffic. Allowed exceptions to these rules include turning or heavy traffic, traffic in lines, or situation in which signs or markings must dictate otherwise. These rules must be more strictly adhered to on roads with oncoming traffic, but still apply on multi-lane and divided highways. Many countries in Europe are party to the Vienna Conventions on traffic and roads. In Australia (which is not a contracting party), traveling in any lane other than the "slow" lane with a speed limit at or above 80 km/h (50 mph) is a criminal offence, unless signage is posted to the contrary or the driver is overtaking.

Many areas in North America do not have any laws about staying to the slowest lanes unless overtaking. In those areas, unlike many parts of Europe, traffic is allowed to overtake on any side, even in a slower lane. This practice is known as "passing on the right" in the United States (where it is common[citation needed]) and "overtaking on the inside" and "undertaking" in the United Kingdom. In most countries, the inside lane refers to the fastest lane (the lane closest to the highway median), but in the United Kingdom, it refers to the slowest lane (the lane that is in fact outside).

U.S.-state-specific practices

In some U.S. states (such as Louisiana, Massachusetts and New York), although there are laws requiring all traffic on a public way to use the right-most lane unless overtaking, this rule is often ignored and seldom enforced on multi-lane roadways. Some states, such as Colorado, use a combination of laws and signs restricting speeds or vehicles on certain lanes to emphasize overtaking only on the left lane, and to avoid a psychological condition commonly called road rage.

In California, cars may use any lane on multi-lane roadways. Drivers moving slower than the general flow of traffic are required to stay in the right-most lanes (by California Vehicle Code (CVC) 21654) to keep the way clear for faster vehicles and thus speed up traffic. However, faster drivers may legally pass in the slower lanes if conditions allow (by CVC 21754). But the CVC also requires trucks to stay in the right lane, or in the right two lanes if the roadway has four or more lanes going in their direction. The oldest freeways in California, and some freeway interchanges, often have ramps on the left, making signs like "TRUCKS OK ON LEFT LANE" or "TRUCKS MAY USE ALL LANES" necessary to override the default rule. Lane splitting, or riding motorcycles in the space between cars in traffic, is permitted as long as it is done in a safe and prudent manner.

One-way roadways

Main articles: One-way traffic and Dual carriageway

In order to increase traffic capacity and safety, a route may have two or more separate roads for each direction of traffic. Alternatively, a given road might be declared one-way.

Expressways and freeways

Main articles: Expressway and Freeway

In large cities, moving from one part of the city to another by means of ordinary streets and avenues can be time-consuming since traffic is often slowed by at-grade junctions, tight turns, narrow marked lanes and lack of a minimum speed limit. Therefore, it has become common practice for larger cities to build expressways or freeways, which are large and wide roadways with limited access, that typically run for long distances without at-grade junctions.

The words expressway and freeway have varying meanings in different jurisdictions and in popular use in different places; however, there are two different types of roads used to provide high-speed access across urban areas:

  • The freeway (in U.S. usage) or motorway in UK usage, is a divided multi-lane highway with fully-controlled access and grade-separated intersections (no cross traffic). Some freeways are called expressways, super-highways, or turnpikes, depending on local usage. Access to freeways is fully controlled; entering and leaving the freeway is permitted only at grade-separated interchanges.
  • The expressway (when the name does not refer to a freeway or motorway) is usually a broad multi-lane avenue, frequently divided, with some grade-level intersections (although usually only where other expressways or arterial roads cross).

Motor vehicle drivers wishing to travel over great distances within the city will usually take the freeways or expressways in order to minimize travel time. When a crossing road is at the same grade as the freeway, a bridge (or, less often, an underpass) will be built for the crossing road. If the freeway is elevated, the crossing road will pass underneath it.

Minimum speed signs are sometimes posted (although increasingly rare) and usually indicate that any vehicle traveling slower than 40 mph (64 km/h) should indicate a slower speed of travel to other motor vehicles by engaging the vehicle's four-way flashing lights. Alternative slower-than-posted speeds may be in effect, based on the posted speed limit of the highway/freeway.

Systems of freeways and expressways are also built to connect distant and regional cities, notable systems include the Interstate highways, the Autobahnen and the Expressway Network of the People's Republic of China.

One-way streets

In more sophisticated systems such as large cities, this concept is further extended: some streets are marked as being one-way, and on those streets all traffic must flow in only one direction, but pedestrians on the sidewalks are generally not limited to one-way movement. A driver wishing to reach a destination he already passed must use other streets in order to return. Usage of one-way streets, despite the inconveniences it can bring to individual drivers, can greatly improve traffic flow since they usually allow traffic to move faster and tend to simplify intersections.

Congested traffic

Traffic slows to a crawl on the Monash Freeway in peak hour traffic.

In some places traffic volume is consistently, extremely large, either during periods of time referred to as rush hour or perpetually. Exceptionally, traffic upstream of an accident or an obstruction, such as construction, may also be constrained, resulting in a traffic jam. Such dynamics in relation to traffic congestion is known as traffic flow. Traffic engineers sometimes gauge the quality of traffic flow in terms of level of service.

Rush hour

During business days in most major cities, traffic congestion reaches great intensity at predictable times of the day due to the large number of vehicles using the road at the same time. This phenomenon is called rush hour or peak hour, although the period of high traffic intensity often exceeds one hour.

Congestion mitigation

Rush hour policies

Some cities adopt policies to reduce rush-hour traffic and pollution and encourage the use of public transportation. For example, in So Paulo, Manila[citation needed] and in Mexico City, each vehicle has a specific day of the week in which it is forbidden from traveling the roads during rush hour. The day for each vehicle is taken from the license plate number, and this rule is enforced by traffic police and also by hundreds of strategically positioned traffic cameras backed by computerized image-recognition systems that issue tickets to offending drivers.

In the United States and Canada, several expressways have a special lane (called an "HOV Lane" - High Occupancy Vehicle Lane) that can only be used by cars carrying two (some locations-three) or more people. Also, many major cities have instituted strict parking prohibitions during rush hour on major arterial streets leading to and from the central business district. During designated weekday hours, vehicles parked on these primary routes are subject to prompt ticketing and towing at owner expense. The purpose of these restrictions is to make available an additional traffic lane in order to maximize available traffic capacity. Additionally, several cities offer a public telephone service where citizens can arrange rides with others depending on where they live and work. The purpose of these policies is to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads and thus reduce rush-hour traffic intensity.

Metered freeways are also a solution for controlling rush hour traffic. In Phoenix, Arizona metered on-ramps have been implemented. During rush hour, traffic signals are used with green lights to allow one car per blink of the light to proceed on to the freeway.

Pre-emption

In some areas, emergency responders are provided with specialized equipment which allows emergency response vehicles, particularly fire fighting apparatus, to have high-priority travel by having the lights along their route change to green. The technology behind these methods have evolved, from panels at the fire department (which could trigger and control green lights for certain major corridors) to optical systems (which the individual fire apparatus can be equipped with to communicate directly with receivers on the signal head). In other areas, public transport buses have special equipment to get green lights.

During emergencies where evacuation of a heavily populated area is required, local authorities may institute contraflow lane reversal, in which all lanes of a road lead away from a danger zone regardless of their original flow. Aside from emergencies, contraflow may also be used to ease traffic congestion during rush hour or at the end of a sports event (where a large number of cars are leaving the venue at the same time). For example, the six lanes of the Lincoln Tunnel can be changed from three in-bound and three out-bound to a two/four configuration depending on traffic volume. The Brazilian highways Rodovia dos Imigrantes and Rodovia Anchieta connect So Paulo to the Atlantic coast. Almost all lanes of both highways are usually reversed during weekends to allow for heavy seaside traffic. The reversibility of the highways requires many additional highway ramps and complicated interchanges.

Intelligent transportation systems

An intelligent transportation system (ITS) is a system of hardware, software, and operators that allow better monitoring and control of traffic in order to optimize traffic flow. As the number of vehicle lane miles traveled per year continues to increase dramatically, and as the number of vehicle lane miles constructed per year has not been keeping pace, this has led to ever-increasing traffic congestion. As a cost-effective solution toward optimizing traffic, ITS presents a number of technologies to reduce congestion by monitoring traffic flows through the use of sensors and live cameras or analysing cellular phone data travelling in cars (floating car data) and in turn rerouting traffic as needed through the use of variable message boards (VMS), highway advisory radio, on board or off board navigation devices and other systems through integration of traffic data with navigation systems. Additionally, the roadway network has been increasingly fitted with additional communications and control infrastructure to allow traffic operations personnel to monitor weather conditions, for dispatching maintenance crews to perform snow or ice removal, as well as intelligent systems such as automated bridge de-icing systems which help to prevent accidents.

 
CALIFORNIA DRIVERS LICENSE INFORMATION
PDF Version Of The California Driver Handbook

CALIFORNIA DRIVER HANDBOOK

ACCURATE IDENTIFICATION

The reliability, integrity, and confidentiality of the California driver license (DL) and identification (ID) cardis of prime concern to all levels of government, and the private sector as well.

It is critical that these documents be completely authenticated and accurate. The California Legislature has declared the DL/ID card as the primary identification documents in this state. California law requires that all customers who apply for an original California DL/ID card submit proof of legal presence in the U.S. as authorized under federal law. Your true full name, as shown on your legal presence document, will appear on your DL/ID card.

BASIC INFORMATION

A driver license shows that you have been given permission by the state to drive on public roadways. You may apply for a driver license at most DMV offices.

It is a misdemeanor to drive in California without a valid driver license. If you do, you can be cited, your vehicle may be impounded, and you may have to appear in court.

If you have no outstanding actions on your record, you will receive a license after you pay the fee, correctly answer questions about the law and safety rules, show that your physical and mental condition is satisfactory, and demonstrate your ability to drive safely. If you have a medical condition or a disability, DMV may require you to take a driving test and/or present a statement from your physician regarding your condition.

A person must be at least 21 years old to drive most commercial vehicles for hire in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials or wastes.

DUPLICATE LICENSES

To replace a lost or damaged driver license, you must go to a DMV office and pay a fee for a duplicate. You should also present photo identification. If DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary license. If you are a minor, your parents must sign the DMV application form (DL 44).

Once a duplicate license has been issued, the previous license is not valid. Destroy it if you find it later.

NAME CHANGES

Change your name with the local Social Security Administration (SSA). DMV electronically verifies your name, birth date and social security number (SSN) with the SSA.

If you change your name, you must take your old DL/ID card to a DMV office with acceptable verification of your "true full name." You must pay the applicable fee and a new picture and thumb print will be taken. Your old photo DL/ ID card will be invalidated and returned to you.

LICENSE RENEWALS

DMV issues a regular DL for a five-year term. The license expires on your birthday in the year shown on the license. It is against the law to drive after your license expires.

DMV sends a renewal notice to your address of record about two months before your license expires. Follow the instructions on the renewal notice. If you do not receive a renewal notice, go online or call to make an appointment.

If DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary license.

A driving test may be required as part of any driver license transaction. Driving tests are not required simply because of age.

Qualified drivers may be eligible to renew by mail or online at DMV’s website.

LICENSE CLASSES

This handbook assumes your interest is in a basic Class C license.

With a valid Class C license

You may drive:

  • any 2-axle vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less.
  • any 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or less gross.
  • any housecar, 40 feet or less.
  • a vanpool vehicle, designed to carry more than 10 but no more than 15 persons including the driver. The driver must have a valid medical certification on file with DMV and carry a valid medical card. The driver must also have a signed certification stating he/she has not been convicted of reckless driving, drunk driving, or hitand- run in the last five years. (VC Section 12804.9[j] ).

A farmer or employee of a farmer may drive:

  • any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less if used exclusively in agricultural operations and it is not for hire or compensation.

You may tow:

  • a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less including a tow dolly, if used.

With a vehicle weighing at least 4,000 lbs., you may tow:

  • a trailer coach or 5th-wheel travel trailer under 10,000 lbs. GVWR when towing is not for compensation.
  • a 5th-wheel travel trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs. but under 15,000 lbs. GVWR, when towing is not for compensation and with endorsement.

NOTE:

  • Class C licensees may not tow more than one vehicle.
  • No passenger vehicle, regardless of weight, may tow more than one vehicle.
  • No motor vehicle under 4,000 lbs. unladen weight may tow any vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. or more gross. (VC Section 21715)

The various classes of licenses/endorsements are listed as follows:

The various classes of licenses/endorsements are listed as follows:

Commercial Class A

Restricted Class A Fire Fighter

Noncommercial Class A

Commercial Class B

Restricted Class B Fire Fighter

Noncommercial Class B

Basic Class C

Commercial Class C

Motorcycle Class M1

Motorcycle Class M2

Ambulance Driver Certificate

Verification of Transit Training Certificate

School Bus Endorsement

Refer to the California Commercial Driver Handbook (PDF), the Recreational Vehicles and Trailers Handbook, or the California Motorcycle Handbook (PDF) for additional license information.


NEW LAWS

Cellular Phone Use, Effective July 1, 2008.
  • Drivers 18 years of age and older are required to use a hands-free device while driving.
  • Teens (under age 18) are not permitted to use cellular phones or other wireless devices while driving.
Smoking:
  • Smoking in a vehicle where a minor is present is an infraction and is punishable by a fine up to $100.
Slow for the Cone Zone:
  • Drivers are required to move over to the right shoulder and slow down when approaching a roadside emergency along a state highway or freeway. The law is designed to reduce the deaths of police officers, tow truck drivers, paramedics and other emergency personnel who are aiding stranded or injured motorists. Use caution if lane changes are required and do not block the intersections.
Use of Windshield Wipers:
  • Turn on your headlights if inclement weather or low visibility (1000 feet or less) requires the use of windshield wipers.
Child Safety
  • Do not leave a child six years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle when the child’s safety is at risk. (Example: In a car on a very hot day or the engine is running and the keys are in the ignition.)
  • A child may be left in a vehicle when supervised by a person age 12 or older.
Evading a Peace Officer
  • Do not deliberately run away or attempt to evade a peace officer performing his/her duties (police pursuit). The punishment is up to one year in county jail.
  • If serious bodily injury occurs during a police pursuit, the punishment is:
    • up to seven years in state prison or up to one year in county jail, or
    • a fine of $2000 to $10,000, or
    • both a fine and imprisonment
  • If a person is killed during a police pursuit, the punishment is up to ten years in state prison.
 
DVM SAMPLE DRIVERS LICENSE TESTS

SAMPLE TEST (Answers are below)

1. When you drive through a construction zone, you should:

a. Slow down to watch the workers
b. Decrease your following distance
c. Pass the construction zone carefully and not "rubberneck"

2. To make a right turn at the corner, you:

a. May not enter the bicycle lane
b. Should only merge into the bicycle lane if you stop before turning
c. Must merge into the bicycle lane before turning

3. If a traffic signal light is not working, you must:

a. Stop, then proceed when safe
b. Stop before entering the intersection and let all other traffic go first
c. Slow down or stop, only if necessary

4. A pedestrian is crossing your lane but there is no crosswalk. You should:

a. Make sure the pedestrian sees you, but continue driving
b. Carefully drive around the pedestrian
c. Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street

5. Always use your seat belt:

a. Unless the vehicle was built before 1978
b. Unless you are in a limousine
c. When the vehicle is equipped with seat belts

6. The extra space in front of a large truck is needed for:

a. Other drivers when merging onto a freeway
b. The truck driver to stop the vehicle
c. Other drivers when they want to slow down

7. Roads are slippery after it first starts to rain. When the road is slippery you should:

a. Avoid making fast turns and fast stops
b. Test your tires’ traction while going uphill
c. Decrease the distance you look ahead of your vehicle

8. Accidents can happen more often when:

a. All vehicles are traveling about the same speed
b. One lane of traffic is traveling faster than the other lanes
c. One vehicle is traveling faster or slower than the flow of traffic



Answers

  1. (c) Pass the construction zone carefully and not "rubberneck"
  2. (c) Must merge into the bicycle lane before turning
  3. (a) Stop, then proceed when safe
  4. (c) Stop and let the pedestrian cross the street
  5. (c) When the vehicle is equipped with seat belts
  6. (b) The truck driver to stop the vehicle
  7. (a) Avoid making fast turns and fast stops
  8. (c) One vehicle is traveling faster or slower than the flow of traffic

for more sample DVM Tests

 

ABOUT HUNTINGTON BEACH

City of Huntington Beach
�  City  �
Huntington Beach Pier
Nickname(s): Surf City USA
Location of Huntington Beach within Orange County, California.
Country United States United States
State California California
County Orange
Incorporated February 17, 1909
Government
 - Type Council-Manager
 - City Council Cathy Green, Mayor
Keith Bohr
Joe Carchio
Gil Coerper
Don Hansen
Jill Hardy
Devin Dwyer
 - City Treasurer Shari L. Freidenrich, CCMT, CPFA, CPFIM
 - City Clerk Joan L. Flynn
 - Total 81.7 km2 (31.6 sq mi)
 - Land 68.3 km2 (26.4 sq mi)
 - Water 13.4 km2 (5.2 sq mi)
Elevation 12 m (39 ft)
Population (2000)
 - Total 189,594
 - Density 2,773.9/km2 (7,184.4/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 92605, 92615, 92646-92649
Area code(s) 714
FIPS code 06-36000
GNIS feature ID 1652724
Website surfcity-hb.org

Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in southern California, United States. According to the 2000 census, the city population was 189,594. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Costa Mesa on the east, by Newport Beach on the southeast, by Westminster on the north, and by Fountain Valley on the northeast.

It is known for its long 8.5-mile (13.7 km) beach, mild climate, and excellent surfing. The waves are a unique natural effect caused by edge-diffraction of ocean swells by the island of Catalina, and waves from distant hurricanes.

History

Huntington Beach, pre-incorporation, 1904.

The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.

The main thoroughfare of Huntington Beach, Beach Boulevard, was originally a cattle route for the main industry of the Rancho. Since its time as a parcel of the enormous Spanish land grant, Huntington Beach has undergone many incarnations. One time it was known Shell Beach, the town of Smeltzer, and then Gospel Swamp for the revival meetings that were held in the marshland where the community college Golden West College can currently be found. Later it became known as Fairview and then Pacific City as it developed into a tourist destination. In order to secure access to the Red Car lines that used to criss-cross Los Angeles and ended in Long Beach, Pacific City ceded enormous power to railroad magnate Henry Huntington, and thus became a city whose name has been written into corporate sponsorship, and like much of the history of Southern California, boosterism.

Huntington Beach incorporated on February 17, 1909 under its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was the Huntington Beach Company (formerly the West Coast Land and Water Company), a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington. The Huntington Beach Company is still a major land-owner in the city, and still owns most of the local mineral rights.

An interesting hiccup in the settlement of the district occurred when an encyclopedia company gave away free parcels of land, with the purchase of a whole set for $126, in the Huntington Beach area that it had acquired cheaply. The lucky buyers got more than they had bargained for when oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old wells are empty, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city.

Huntington Beach was primarily agricultural in its early years with crops such as celery and sugar beets. Holly Sugar was a major employer with a large processing plant in the city that was later converted to an oil refinery.

The city's first high school, Huntington Beach High School was built in 1906. The school's team, the Oilers, is named after the city's original natural resource.

Meadowlark Airport, a small general aviation airport, existed in Huntington Beach from the 1950s until 1989.

Geography

Huntington Beach at Sunset

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 81.7 square kilometres (31.5 sq mi). 68.3 km2 (26.4 sq mi) of it is land and 13.4 km2 (5.2 sq mi) of it (16.38%) is water.

The entire city of Huntington Beach lies in area codes 657 and 714, except for small parts of Huntington Harbour (along with Sunset Beach, the unincorporated community adjacent to Huntington Harbour), which is in the 562 Area Code.

Climate

Huntington Beach has a Mediterranean climate (K�ppen climate classification Csb). The climate is generally sunny, dry and cool, although evenings can be excessively damp. In the morning and evening, there are often strong breezes, 15 mph (24 km/h). Ocean water temperatures average 55 �F (13 �C) to 65 �F (18 �C). In the summer, temperatures rarely exceed 85 �F (29 �C). In the winter, temperatures rarely fall below 40 �F (4 �C), even on clear nights. There are about 14 inches (360 mm) of rain, almost all in mid-winter. Frost occurs only rarely on the coldest winter nights. The area is annually affected by a marine layer caused by the cool air of the Pacific Ocean meeting the warm air over the land. This results in overcast and foggy conditions in May and June.

Natural resources

Bolsa Chica Wildlife Refuge

Construction of any kind on the beach is prohibited without a vote of the people, allowing Huntington Beach to retain its natural tie to the ocean rather than having the view obscured by residential and commercial developments.

Between Downtown Huntington Beach and Huntington Harbour lies a large marshy wetland, much of which is protected within the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. A $110 million restoration of the wetlands was completed in 2006. The Reserve is popular with bird watchers and photographers.

South of Downtown, the Talbert and Magnolia Marshes lie on a strip of undeveloped land parallel to Huntington State Beach and are in the process of restoration, as well.

The northern and southern beaches (Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach, respectively) are state parks. Only the central beach (Huntington City Beach) is maintained by the city. Camping and RVs are permitted here, and popular campsites for the Fourth of July and the Surfing Championships must be reserved many months in advance. Bolsa Chica State Beach is actually a sand bar fronting the Bolsa Bay and Bolsa Chica State Ecological Reserve.

Huntington Harbour from the air

The Orange County run Sunset Marina Park next to Huntington Harbour is part of Anaheim Bay. It is suitable for light craft, and includes a marina, launching ramp, basic services, a picnic area and a few restaurants. The park is in Seal Beach, but is only reachable from Huntington Harbour. The Sunset/Huntington Harbour area is patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol.

The harbor entrance for Anaheim Bay is sometimes restricted by the United States Navy, which loads ships with munitions at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to the north of the main channel.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %�
1910 815
1920 1,687 107.0%
1930 3,690 118.7%
1940 3,738 1.3%
1950 5,237 40.1%
1960 11,492 119.4%
1970 115,960 909.0%
1980 170,505 47.0%
1990 181,519 6.5%
2000 189,594 4.4%

As of the census of 2000, there were 189,594 people, 73,657 households, and 47,729 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,773.9/km� (7,183.6/mi�). There were 75,662 housing units at an average density of 1,107.0/km� (2,866.8/mi�). The racial makeup of the city was 79.22% White, 0.81% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 9.34% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 5.81% from other races, and 3.94% from two or more races. 14.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 73,657 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $81,112, and the median income for a family was $101,023. Adult males had a median income of $52,018 versus $38,046 for adult females. The per capita income for the city was $36,964. About 4.3% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.2% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.

The 2009 population estimated by the California Department of Finance was 202,480.

The unemployment rate in Huntington Beach is one of the lowest among large (over 100,000) cities in the United States at 1.9%.

Economy

According to Huntington Beach's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Boeing 4,352
2 Quiksilver 1,337
3 Cambro Manufacturing 909
4 Verizon 723
5 Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach 670
6 C & D Aerospace 600
7 Huntington Beach Hospital 503
8 Fisher & Paykel 441
9 Rainbow Disposal 408
10 Home Depot (including Expo) 386

Huntington Beach sits above a large natural fault structure containing oil. Although the oil is mostly depleted, extraction continues at a slow rate, and still provides significant local income. There are only two off-shore extraction facilities left, however, and the day is not far off when oil production in the city will cease and tourism will replace it as the primary revenue source for resident industry.

The city is discussing closing off Main Street to cars from PCH through the retail shopping and restaurant areas, making it a pedestrian zone only. Other shopping centers include Bella Terra, built on the former Huntington Center site, and Old World Village, a German-themed center.

Huntington Beach has an off-shore oil terminus for the tankers that support the Alaska Pipeline. The terminus pipes run inland to a refinery in Santa Fe Springs. Huntington Beach also has the Gothard-Talbert terminus for the Orange County portion of the pipeline running from the Chevron El Segundo refinery.

Several hotels have been constructed on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) within view of the beach, just southeast of the pier.

Huntington Beach contains a major installation of Boeing, formerly McDonnell-Douglas. A number of installations on the Boeing campus were originally constructed to service the Apollo Program, most notably the production of the S-IVB upper stage for the Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets, and some nearby telephone poles are still marked "Apollo Dedicated Mission Control Line."

Huntington Beach contains the administrative headquarters of Sea Launch, a commercial space vehicle launch enterprise whose largest stockholder is Boeing.

Huntington Beach contains a small industrial district in its northwest corner, near the borders with Westminster and Seal Beach.

Surf City USA trademarks

While Huntington Beach retains its 15-year trademark of Surf City Huntington Beach, the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau filed four applications to register the Surf City USA trademark in November 2004. The idea was to market the city by creating an authentic brand based on Southern California's beach culture and active outdoor lifestyle while at the same time creating a family of product licensees who operate like a franchise family producing a revenue stream that could also be dedicated to promoting the brand and city. A ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released on May 12, 2006 awarded three trademark registrations to the Bureau; nine additional trademark registrations have been granted since this time and ten other Surf City USA trademarks are now under consideration. One of the first products the Bureau developed to promote its brand was the Surf City USA Beach Cruiser by Felt Bicycles in 2006. The product has sold out every year in markets worldwide and created demand for a second rental bicycle model that will be marketed to resort locations across the globe starting in 2009. The Bureau now has dozens of other licensed products on the market from Surf City USA soft drinks to clothing to glassware. As of April 2008, the Bureau had more than 20 licensing partners with over 50 different products being prepared to enter the market over the next 18 months. Four of the Bureau's registrations of the trademark are now on the principal register and the remaining ten trademark applications are expected to follow. The Bureau is actively considering registration of the Surf City USA trademark in several different countries and anticipates a growing market for its branded products overseas in coming years.

An ongoing dispute between Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz, California over the trademark garnered negative national publicity in 2007 when a law firm representing Huntington Beach sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Santa Cruz t-shirt vendor. A settlement was reached in January, 2008, which allows the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau to retain the trademark.

Tourism

Huntington Beach CA USA.jpg

The downtown district includes an active art center, a colorful shopping district, and the International Surfing Museum. This district was also once the home of the famous restaurant and music club "The Golden Bear." In the late 1960s and 1970s it hosted many famous bands and acts. The Huntington Beach Pier stretches from Main Street into the Pacific Ocean. At the end of the pier is a Ruby's Diner. The Surf Theatre, which was located one block north of the pier, gained fame in the 1960s and 1970s for showing independent surf films such as The Endless Summer and Five Summer Stories. The Surf Theatre was owned and operated by Hugh Larry Thomas from 1961 until it was demolished in 1989. A newer version of The Surf Theatre is now closed, but the International Surf Museum has preserved its memory with a permanent exhibit featuring vintage seats and screening of surfing movies once shown at a Huntington Beach theater.

Arts and culture

Special events

Many of the events at Huntington Beach are focused around the beach during the summer. The U.S. Open of Surfing and Beach Games are featured on the south side of the pier. Huntington Beach is a stop on the AVP beach volleyball tour. A biathlon (swim/run) hosted by the Bolsa Chica & Huntington State Beach Lifeguards takes place in July, early at dawn. The race begins at the Santa Ana River Jetties and ends at Warner Avenue, Bolsa Chica State Beach. Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguard day camps are held which teaches preadolescents and adolescents ocean swimming, running, and first-aid medical knowledge.

In addition to the beach-focused events, the Fourth of July parade has been held since 1904. The SoCal Independent Film Festival takes place every September.

During the winter the annual Cruise of Lights Boat Tour is held in the Huntington Harbour neighborhood. This is a parade of colorful lighted boats as well as boat tours to view the decorated homes. The annual Kite Festival is held just north of the pier in late February.

Huntington Beach hosts car shows such as the Beachcruiser Meet and a Concours d'Elegance. The Beachcruiser Meet is held in March, attracting over 250 classic cars displayed along Main Street and the Pier parking lot. A Concours d'Elegance is held at Central Park in June and benefits the public library.

Surf City Nights is held during the entire year. The community-spirited event features a farmer's market, unique entertainment, food, kiddie rides and a carnival atmosphere, each Tuesday evening. Surf City Nights is presented by the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District (HBDBID) and the City of Huntington Beach. The event takes place in the first three blocks of Main Street from Pacific Coast Highway to Orange Avenue.

Sports

Surfers abound near Huntington City Pier
Huntington Beach during the day.
Bolsa Chica Surf

Huntington Beach is the site of the world surfing championships, held in the summer every year. The city is often referred to as "Surf City" because of this high profile event, its history and culture of surfing. It is often called the "Surfing Capital of the World", not for the height of the waves, but rather for the consistent quality of surf. Gordon Duane established the city's first surf shop, Gordie's Surfboards, in 1955.

Surf and beaches

Apart from sponsored surf events, Huntington Beach has some of the best surf breaks in the State of California and that of the United States. Huntington Beach has four different facing beaches: Northwest, West, Southwest, and South. Northwest consists of Bolsa Chica State Beach with a length of 3.3 miles (5.3 km), the West consist of "The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach", Southwest is considered everything north of the pier which is operated by the City of Huntington Beach. South consists in everything south of the pier which primarily focuses on Huntington State Beach (2.2 Miles), which almost faces true South.

Bolsa Chica State Beach is operated by the State of California, Dept. Parks & Recreation, and the Bolsa Chica State Beach Lifeguards. The beach is very narrow and the sand is very coarse. Bolsa Chica tends to have better surf with NW/W swells during the winter season. During the summer months the beach picks up south/southwest swells at a very steep angle. Due to the bottom of the beach, surf at Bolsa Chica tends to be slowed down and refined to soft shoulders. Longboards are the best option for surfing in the Bolsa Chica area.

"The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach" is also another popular surf spot. This segment of Huntington Beach obtains these names because dogs are allowed around the cliff area. Beach is very restricted and often is submerged with high tides. Surf at this location tends to be even bigger than Bolsa Chica during the winter and often better. During the summer most of the South/Southwest swells slide right by and often break poorly. The best option is to take out a longboard, but shortboards will do at times. Dolphins have also been sighted in this area.

Just north and south of the Huntington Beach Pier are some well defined sandbars that shift throughout the year with the different swells. Southside of the Pier is often a popular destination during the summer for good surf, but the Northside can be just as well during the winter. Around the Pier it all depends on the swell and the sandbars. Shortboard is your best option for surfing around the Pier.

South Huntington Beach, also known as Huntington State Beach, is where all the south swells impact the coastline. Huntington State Beach is operated by the State of California, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Huntington State Beach Lifeguards. This beach is very wide with plenty of sand. Sandbars dramatically shift during the spring, summer and fall seasons, thus creating excellent surf conditions with a combination South/West/Northwest swell. Due to the Santa Ana River jetties located at the southern most end of the beach, large sandbars extend across and upcoast, forcing swells to break extremely fast and hollow. Best seasons for surfing at this beach is the summer and fall. The best option for surfing in this area is a shortboard.

Huntington Beach is also a popular destination for kite surfing, and this sport can be viewed on the beach northwest of the pier.

Huntington Beach is the host city of the National Professional Paintball League Super 7 Paintball Championships. The NPPL holds its first event of the year traditionally between the dates of March 23 through March 26.

Huntington Beach also hosts the annual Surf City USA Marathon and Half-Marathon, which is usually held on the first Sunday of February.

Parks and recreation

Huntington Beach has a very large Central Park, located between Gothard and Edwards Streets to the east and west, and Slater and Ellis Avenues to the north and south. The park is vegetated with xeric (low water use) plants, and inhabited by native wildlife. Thick forests encircling the park are supplemented with Australian trees, particularly eucalyptus, a high water use plant.

Huntington Central Park

The Huntington Beach Public Library is located in Central Park in a notable building designed by Richard Neutra and Dion Neutra. It houses almost a half-million volumes, as well as a theater, gift shop and fountains. The library was founded as a Carnegie library in 1914, and has been continuously supported by the city and local activists, with new buildings and active branches at Banning, Oak View, Main Street, and Graham. The library has significant local historical materials and has a special genealogical reference collection. It is independent of the state and county library systems.

The park is also home of Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center, a top class boarding facility that also offers horse rentals to the public, with guided trail rides through the park. There is also a "mud park" available for kids. The world's second oldest disc golf course is available in the park, as are two small dining areas, a sports complex for adult use, and the Shipley Nature Center.

The Bolsa Chica Wetlands, which are diminishing rapidly due to development, contains numerous trails and scenic routes. The wetlands themselves have recently been connected with the ocean again, in effort to maintain its previous, unaltered conditions.

Government

Local Government

According to the city�s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city�s various funds had $295.6 million in Revenues, $287.7 million in expenditures, $1,046.6 million in total assets, $202.8 million in total liabilities, and $87.1 million in cash and investments.

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:

City Department Director
City Manager Fred Wilson
Deputy City Administrator Paul Emery
Deputy City Administrator Robert Hall
Community Relations Officer Laurie E. Payne
Director of Library Services Stephanie Beverage
Director of Human Resources Michele Carr
Director of Building and Safety Ross D. Cranmer
Director of Community Services Jim B. Engle
Director of Planning Scott Hess
Director of Public Works Travis Hopkins
Director of Information Services Jack Marshall
Fire Chief Duane S. Olson
Police Chief Kenneth W. Small
Director of Economic Development Stanley Smalewitz
Director of Finance Dan T. Vilella

Politics

In the state legislature Huntington Beach is located in the 35th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Harman, and in the 67th Assembly District, represented by Republican Jim Silva. Federally, Huntington Beach is located in California's 46th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +6 and is represented by Republican Dana Rohrabacher.

Education

Huntington Beach is the home of Golden West College, which offers two-year associates of arts degrees and transfer programs to four year universities.

Huntington Beach is in the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which includes Edison High School, Huntington Beach High School, Marina High School, and Ocean View High School in the city of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley High School in the city of Fountain Valley, and Westminster High School in the city of Westminster.

The district also has an alternative school, Valley Vista High School, and an independent study school, Coast High School.

Huntington Beach High School, which is the district's flagship school, celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2006.

The city has two elementary school districts: Huntington Beach City with 9 schools and Ocean View with 15. A small part of the city is served by the Fountain Valley School District.

Media

Huntington Beach was selected for the 24th season of MTV's Real World Series.

The city was featured in the TruTV series Ocean Force: Huntington Beach. Also, the city is mentioned in the Beach Boys song Surfin' Safari and in Surfer Joe by The Surfaris.

A live camera is set up at the Huntington Beach Pier and shown on screens at the California-themed Hollister apparel stores.

The public television station KOCE-TV operates from the Golden West College campus, in conjunction with the Golden West College Media Arts program.

Two weekly newspapers cover Huntington Beach: The Huntington Beach Independent and The Wave Section of The Orange County Register.

Ashlee Simpson's music video for La La was filmed in Huntington Beach.

Notable natives and residents

Musicians

Sandy West, the drummer for the 70s band The Runaways, grew up and went to school in Huntington Beach. She attended Edison High School.

Athletes

Actors

Safety

Huntington Beach Police Department MD520N helicopter

Fire protection in Huntington Beach is provided by the Huntington Beach Fire Department. Law enforcement is provided by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Huntington Beach Marine Safety Officers and its seasonal lifeguards are recognized as some of the best in the world with a top notch safety record. It has an active Community Emergency Response Team training program, that trains citizens as Disaster Service Workers certified by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a part of a free program run by the fire department's Office of Emergency Services.

Emergency services are also provided at State Beach locations. Peace Officers and lifeguards can be found at Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach. Such services consist of: aquatic rescues, boat rescues, first aid and law enforcement. All services are provided by the State of California, Dept. Parks & Recreation.

In 1926, the Santa Ana River dam failed, and flash-flooded its entire delta. The southern oceanic terminus of this delta is now a settled area of Huntington Beach. The distant dam is still functional, but silting up, which is expected to reduce its storage volume, and therefore its effectiveness at flood-prevention. The flood and dam-endangered areas are protected by a levee, but lenders require expensive flood insurance in the delta. There have been serious discussions to eliminate the need for flood insurance and this requirement has already been waived in some areas and may one day no longer be considered a credible threat.

Since it is a seaside city, Huntington Beach has had tsunami warnings, storm surge (its pier has been rebuilt three times), sewage spills, tornadoes and waterspouts. The cold offshore current prevents hurricanes. The Pier that was rebuilt in the 1990s was engineered to withstand severe storms or earthquakes.

Large fractions of the settled delta are in earthquake liquefaction zones above known active faults. Most of the local faults are named after city streets.

Many residents (and even city hall) live within sight and sound of active oil extraction and drilling operations. These occasionally spew oil, causing expensive clean-ups. Large parts of the developed land have been contaminated by heavy metals from the water separated from oil.

The local oil has such extreme mercury contamination that metallic mercury is regularly drained from oil pipelines and equipment. Oil operations increase when the price of oil rises. Some oil fields have been approved for development. The worst-polluted areas have been reclaimed as parks. At least one Superfund site, too contaminated to be a park, is at the junction of Magnolia and Hamilton streets, near Edison High School.

Sister cities

Huntington Beach has the following sister city relationships, according to the Huntington Beach Sister City Association:

Huntington Beach also has youth exchange programs with both cities, sending four teenagers on an exchange student basis for two weeks in order to gather different cultural experiences.

 

ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY

Orange County is a county in Southern California, United States. Its county seat is Santa Ana. According to the 2000 Census, its population was 2,846,289, making it the second most populous county in the state of California, and the fifth most populous in the United States. The state of California estimates its population as of 2007 to be 3,098,121 people, dropping its rank to third, behind San Diego County. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in Orange County; the newest is Aliso Viejo.

Unlike many other large centers of population in the United States, Orange County uses its county name as its source of identification whereas other places in the country are identified by the large city that is closest to them. This is because there is no defined center to Orange County like there is in other areas which have one distinct large city. Five Orange County cities have populations exceeding 170,000 while no cities in the county have populations surpassing 360,000. Seven of these cities are among the 200 largest cities in the United States.

Orange County is also famous as a tourist destination, as the county is home to such attractions as Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, as well as sandy beaches for swimming and surfing, yacht harbors for sailing and pleasure boating, and extensive area devoted to parks and open space for golf, tennis, hiking, kayaking, cycling, skateboarding, and other outdoor recreation. It is at the center of Southern California's Tech Coast, with Irvine being the primary business hub.

The average price of a home in Orange County is $541,000. Orange County is the home of a vast number of major industries and service organizations. As an integral part of the second largest market in America, this highly diversified region has become a Mecca for talented individuals in virtually every field imaginable. Indeed the colorful pageant of human history continues to unfold here; for perhaps in no other place on earth is there an environment more conducive to innovative thinking, creativity and growth than this exciting, sun bathed valley stretching between the mountains and the sea in Orange County.

Orange County was Created March 11 1889, from part of Los Angeles County, and, according to tradition, so named because of the flourishing orange culture. Orange, however, was and is a commonplace name in the United States, used originally in honor of the Prince of Orange, son-in-law of King George II of England.

Incorporated: March 11, 1889
Legislative Districts:
* Congressional: 38th-40th, 42nd & 43
* California Senate: 31st-33rd, 35th & 37
* California Assembly: 58th, 64th, 67th, 69th, 72nd & 74

County Seat: Santa Ana
County Information:
Robert E. Thomas Hall of Administration
10 Civic Center Plaza, 3rd Floor, Santa Ana 92701
Telephone: (714)834-2345 Fax: (714)834-3098
County Government Website: http://www.oc.ca.gov

CITIES OF ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA:


City of Aliso Viejo, 92653, 92656, 92698
City of Anaheim, 92801, 92802, 92803, 92804, 92805, 92806, 92807, 92808, 92809, 92812, 92814, 92815, 92816, 92817, 92825, 92850, 92899
City of Brea, 92821, 92822, 92823
City of Buena Park, 90620, 90621, 90622, 90623, 90624
City of Costa Mesa, 92626, 92627, 92628
City of Cypress, 90630
City of Dana Point, 92624, 92629
City of Fountain Valley, 92708, 92728
City of Fullerton, 92831, 92832, 92833, 92834, 92835, 92836, 92837, 92838
City of Garden Grove, 92840, 92841, 92842, 92843, 92844, 92845, 92846
City of Huntington Beach, 92605, 92615, 92646, 92647, 92648, 92649
City of Irvine, 92602, 92603, 92604, 92606, 92612, 92614, 92616, 92618, 92619, 92620, 92623, 92650, 92697, 92709, 92710
City of La Habra, 90631, 90632, 90633
City of La Palma, 90623
City of Laguna Beach, 92607, 92637, 92651, 92652, 92653, 92654, 92656, 92677, 92698
City of Laguna Hills, 92637, 92653, 92654, 92656
City of Laguna Niguel
, 92607, 92677
City of Laguna Woods, 92653, 92654
City of Lake Forest, 92609, 92630, 92610
City of Los Alamitos, 90720, 90721
City of Mission Viejo, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92694
City of Newport Beach, 92657, 92658, 92659, 92660, 92661, 92662, 92663
City of Orange, 92856, 92857, 92859, 92861, 92862, 92863, 92864, 92865, 92866, 92867, 92868, 92869
City of Placentia, 92870, 92871
City of Rancho Santa Margarita, 92688, 92679
City of San Clemente, 92672, 92673, 92674
City of San Juan Capistrano, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92693, 92694
City of Santa Ana, 92701, 92702, 92703, 92704, 92705, 92706, 92707, 92708, 92711, 92712, 92725, 92728, 92735, 92799
City of Seal Beach, 90740
City of Stanton, 90680
City of Tustin, 92780, 92781, 92782
City of Villa Park, 92861, 92867
City of Westminster, 92683, 92684, 92685
City of Yorba Linda, 92885, 92886, 92887

Noteworthy communities Some of the communities that exist within city limits are listed below: * Anaheim Hills, Anaheim * Balboa Island, Newport Beach * Corona del Mar, Newport Beach * Crystal Cove / Pelican Hill, Newport Beach * Capistrano Beach, Dana Point * El Modena, Orange * French Park, Santa Ana * Floral Park, Santa Ana * Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest * Monarch Beach, Dana Point * Nellie Gail, Laguna Hills * Northwood, Irvine * Woodbridge, Irvine * Newport Coast, Newport Beach * Olive, Orange * Portola Hills, Lake Forest * San Joaquin Hills, Laguna Niguel * San Joaquin Hills, Newport Beach * Santa Ana Heights, Newport Beach * Tustin Ranch, Tustin * Talega, San Clemente * West Garden Grove, Garden Grove * Yorba Hills, Yorba Linda * Mesa Verde, Costa Mesa

Unincorporated communities These communities are outside of the city limits in unincorporated county territory: * Coto de Caza * El Modena * Ladera Ranch * Las Flores * Midway City * Orange Park Acres * Rossmoor * Silverado Canyon * Sunset Beach * Surfside * Trabuco Canyon * Tustin Foothills

Adjacent counties to Orange County Are: * Los Angeles County, California - north, west * San Bernardino County, California - northeast * Riverside County, California - east * San Diego County, California - southeast

 

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