Some people have been driving for so long that they’ve forgotten (or perhaps ignore) some very important traffic laws. Here are ten of those rules that people often forget to obey.
10. Cutting Through the Parking Lot
I’m sure many of you have done this, and probably still do it. But, did you know that in some areas it’s against the law to cut through a parking lot to avoid traffic? According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, Sgt. Jill Bennet with Michigan State Police Traffic Services Section told MLive.com that it’s “illegal to cut across private property to avoid a traffic control device.”
TIP: The law is different in each state. Even different municipalities within the same state have different laws. Therefore, you’ll need to check your state’s vehicle code to see which laws apply to you.
9. The Two-Second Rule
According to the two-second rule, you’re not supposed to follow the vehicle in front of you too closely in case they need to stop suddenly. If you’re following too closely, you could end up running in the back of them — which I’m sure has happened to many of you. I mean, how many times have you looked in your rear view mirror and saw another car right up behind you? It’s definitely annoying, but it’s also dangerous. Not only that, but if you’re caught you can be fined.
TIP: Make sure you keep at least one car length per 10 mph between you and others. So, if the car in front of you is traveling at a speed of 60 mph, you need to remain six car lengths behind it.
We see people doing it all the time — especially near college campuses. But, jaywalking is illegal, and you can be fined for it. And, the more you do it the more your fines will increase. Not only that, but jaywalking is also very dangerous. Pedestrians are supposed to yield to traffic when they’re not inside the crosswalk, not try to make the traffic yield to them.
NOTE: The only time you can cross at an intersection on a diagonal approach is if there are traffic signals that allow diagonal crossing.
7. Four-Way Stops
Most drivers on the highway have forgotten who’s supposed to go first when there is more than one vehicle at a four-way stop, so here’s a quick refresher: The first vehicle to arrive at the stop sign has the right-of-way. But, if two or more cars arrive at the same time, the car on the right gets to go first.
TIP: If you feel you need more information on this subject, check out this guide published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Speaking of having the right-of-way, drivers often get confused on who must yield and when they need to yield. SafeMotorist.com explains it on their website:
Right of way must be yielded to other drivers…
-At a yield sign
-To pedestrians in a crosswalk
-To persons using a seeing-eye guide dog
-To persons using a white cane with or without a red tip
-At uncontrolled intersections where vehicles are already in the intersection
-At “T” intersections where you must yield to vehicles on the through road
-When turning left in which case you must yield to oncoming pedestrians, cars, etc.
-When driving on an unpaved road that intersects with a paved road
-When returning to the roadway after the car is parked
5. No Right Turn on Red
This one can be a little tricky because there are actually some intersections that allow drivers to turn right on red. But, if you approach an intersection and you’re unsure about the law in that particular municipality, it’s best to sit there and wait it out until the light changes to green. If you don’t you could find yourself being ticketed.
-If there are no signs prohibiting a right turn on red, make sure you come to a complete stop before turning.
-If by chance you turned right on red because the sign was missing or obscured, make sure you let your attorney know this if you decide to fight the ticket in court.
4. Using a Cell Phone
Most of us know it’s illegal to text and drive. But, did you know that it’s also illegal to make phone calls and send text messages even when you’re stuck in traffic or other times when your car is stationary? Yep, it’s true. According to traffic laws, you’re only supposed to use your cell phone AFTER you’ve parked your car in a safe parking space. If you’re caught using it at any other time while in your vehicle, you could get ticketed or possibly lose your driver’s license.
The cell phone thing doesn’t just apply to drivers, though. It applies to pedestrians as well, who talk or text on them when crossing the road and potentially put themselves and others in harm’s way.
FYI, Virginia just passed a law making it illegal to even touch your cell phone when driving through work zones. If you’re caught, the first offense carries a $125 fine. Subsequent offenses will cost $250.
U-turns are another tricky traffic subject because, unless there’s a sign posted, most people aren’t sure if they’re legal in certain areas.
Here’s what you need to know:
-If there’s a sign prohibiting U-turns, then you can’t make them.
-Depending on where you live, there may be specific rules you have to follow. For example, New Jersey law states that U-turns CANNOT be made when a vehicle’s view is “obstructed within a distance of five hundred feet” in either direction.
-Always proceed with caution.
2. Wearing Seat Belts
Many people never bother to buckle their seat belt when getting into a vehicle — and one of the reasons why may surprise you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, not every state has seat belt laws — at least when it comes to adults anyway. And, if that weren’t bad enough, here’s an even bigger problem. Those adults who don’t buckle up for safety oftentimes don’t secure their kids either. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that child restraint drops by 40 percent when parents ride without their seat belts.
Here are some reasons why parents forget or forego buckling up their kids altogether:
-Rushed and chaotic pre-travel routines
-Shorter distances, slower speeds and familiar roads falsely associated with lower risk
-Kids persistently asking to ride in the front seat
-Seat belt discomfort or perceived nuisance when in a hurry
-Need to minimize conflict or keep the peace
1. Using Turn Signals
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, many drivers don’t use turn signals. But, failure to do so is “illegal, inconsiderate and extremely dangerous to everyone in your vehicle and to all the road users around you,” the department said on its website. “About 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter is hidden by blind spots, so it is very important that drivers signal even if you don’t see anyone else nearby.” It’s also important to make sure your turn signals are working, the department added.
What traffic rules do you frequently forget to obey? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading, and drive carefully!