Q. Honk: I pull up behind some vehicles and their license plates are covered with plastic frames where you can barely read the plates’ numbers. How is that legal?

– Jim Rahm, Chatsworth

Patriot Flag Tshirt

A. It isn’t if any letter or number is blocked.

“Oh, yeah, that is illegal,” said Officer Casey Ramstead of the California Highway Patrol’s West Valley Area station house, which patrols your fine community. “We should have a clear and unobstructed view. … I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous ones.”

The worst?

A handmade license-plate frame with a putter or golf club going right up into a letter.

Be advised, Officer Ramstead has pulled over violators. Fix-it tickets are the usual penalty.

Not a big deal, sure. But if out on a hot date with Mrs. Honk, does the handsome old man with the balding pate want the mood ruined by seeing red and blue lights in his rearview mirror because his “READ HONK” frame obscures his license-plate number?

No.

And, by the way, the violation can be kicked up to a full-blown ticket, especially for repeat offenders.

Q. Hello Mr. Radcliffe: I read your column whenever it appears. A recent one was about how many laws do we, your readers, know.  There is one law that should be referenced this time of year, and very few drivers seem to know it: Ever time it is raining, I see quite a few drivers who don’t turn on their headlights. I have even witnessed police vehicles driving in a serious downpour with NO LIGHTS ON! Perhaps you could give people a little reminder.

– Robert W. Steele Sr., West Covina 

A. Not sure who that Radcliffe fellow is, but Honk here will remind his readers of the law you are talking about.

When the wipers are flipped on because of the weather, motorists must have their headlights on as well, even in daylight, so everyone can better see the vehicles on the roadway.

The law is about a dozen years old.

Honkin’ fact: The Department of Motor Vehicles will swing open the doors of its Santa Ana office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, with clerks processing only Real IDs.

Some DMV offices are open on Saturdays, this one typically is not.

Those who go must fill out the application ahead of time. Save yourself a massive migraine by ensuring you have the required documents in a folder before heading in. The Santa Ana DMV, at 1330 E. First St., will not take appointments this day.

“There’s no advantage to going to Santa Ana over another office that is normally open on Saturdays – you can still apply for your Real ID either way,” DMV spokesman Marty Greenstein told Honk in an email. “The DMV wants to give people as many convenient options as possible to apply for a Real ID.

“It’s hard to estimate how long the waits will be,” Greenstein said. “Typically, waits have been shortest after 2 (p.m.) on Saturdays and no reason to think that won’t be the case here, but again this is new territory.”

Real IDs, beginning Oct. 1, will satisfy the federal requirement for identification to board domestic flights. Info: realid.dmv.ca.gov.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk

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