Family vehicle should be disaster ready

Dear Street Smarts, Q: I have a question in relationship to your article in [the Sept. 1] Sentinel about school speed zones. What is the legal and working definition of 'when children are present ?' Thank you, Mark Brewer via email A: Check out California Vehicle Code section 22358.4 at It defines "when children are present" as "while children are going to or leaving the school, either during school hours or during the noon recess period" as well as "while the grounds are in use by children." National Disaster Preparedness Month September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Is your car ready for a manmade or natural disaster? Here are some tips from Ready.Gov:
  • Keep your gas tank full and your vehicle is well maintained so all systems work properly, including the heater, thermostat, battery, defroster, exhaust, brakes, oil, windshield wipers and fuel and air filters.
  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread for most winter conditions;
  • Do not drive through a flooded area;
  • In areas where floodwaters have receded, roads may have weakened and may collapse under the weight of a car;
  • If a power line falls on your vehicle, avoid electrical shock by staying inside until emergency crews arrive;
  • In an explosion or other incident where driving is difficult, pull over, stop the car and set the parking brake.
  • If an emergency could impact the road's physical stability, avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards.
Also, keep an emergency kit in your car. It should include: Jumper cables, flares or reflective triangles, flashlights with batteries, non-perishable food, manual can opener, a gallon of water per person per day for up to three days, basic tool kit, radio with batteries or hand cranked, pet supplies, extra medications, clothes, blankets or sleeping bags, shovel and charged cell phone with car charger.  If you're in snow country, also have an ice scraper.
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