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10 Traffic Rules Everyone Forgets

Even experienced drivers make mistakes. Operating a vehicle takes concentration and skill, and sometimes you end up doing something wrong, whether you know it or not. Here are 10 traffic rules everyone forgets.

55 speed limit road sign against blue skyTomas Kohoutek/Shutterstock

Speeding

No matter how long you’ve been driving, there’s a good chance you tend to speed every now and then. Even going 5 miles-per-hour over the limit is against the law. Curious about speed limits around the country? The National Motorists Association has this guide for every state. We know it’s especially tempting to speed when you’re running late for work, but be sure to take it slow. No one, especially if they’re from the U.S. city with the longest commute, wants to add time chatting with a police officer on their way in.

17 Secrets Traffic Cops Aren't Telling You About Avoiding a Speeding Ticketdzejdi/Shutterstock

Not stopping

Stop means stop—as in a full stop. It can be tempting to just slow down at a stop sign or red light when there’s no other traffic around, but police can issue a ticket for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or at a red light. “Red light running happens frequently and is often deadly. In 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running,” according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In addition, an estimated 132,000 people were injured in red light running crashes in 2017. These 20 car hacks make driving so much better.

A high angle view of an almost empty street intersection, with yellow cross walk markings, traffic signal lights, and curb cuts, in San Jose, California.pbk-pg/Shutterstock

Four-way stops

How many times have you pulled up at a four-way stop with three other cars, all at the same time, and nobody knows who should go first? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has this handy guide to help you understand how to proceed in this scenario. It basically breaks down like this: The general rule is that the first vehicle to arrive at the stop sign has the right of way. However, if two or more cars arrive at the exact same time, the car to the right owns the tiebreaker and goes first. These 8 tips will increase your driving comfort.

seat belt on a black leather chairLaborant/Shutterstock

Wearing seat belts

When your destination is just around the corner or a block away, it can be tempting to save time by not buckling up. But for much of the country, it’s one of those traffic rules that shouldn’t be ignored. Thirty-four states have primary seat belt laws for front seat occupants, and 29 states have laws enforcing rear seat belt use, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. You can do these 100 car maintenance tasks on your own.

Yield Sign With Copy SpaceAllan Akins/Shutterstock

Yielding

Driving laws require motorists to yield in various scenarios. The American Safety Council says right of way must be yielded to other drivers in the following instances:

• 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 intersections with a paved road

• When returning to the roadway after the car is parked.

traffic jam with row of car on express wayAll About Space/Shutterstock

Tailgating

Tailgating is one of those traffic rules that can be easy to forget when you’re in a hurry. However, tailgating causes accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says rear-end collisions account for 28 percent of highway accidents.

According to Drive-Safely.net, “At a MINIMUM, during dry weather conditions, you should have at least 2 seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you (3 seconds is better). Do this by using a fixed object such as a bridge, tree, or even a crack or shadow in the roadway. Once the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of you crosses that object, begin to count… one-thousand-one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, etc. If you don’t make it to 2 by the time your front bumper crosses that same fixed object, you need to increase the following distance. Of course, being further away than 3 seconds isn’t only acceptable, it’s recommended.” Be sure you know these other driver etiquette rules too.

Man driver using smart phone in carAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Cell phone use

Answering that phone call or sending a quick text message while behind the wheel may not seem like a big deal, but it is. As of February 2019, 48 states ban text messaging for all drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition, 18 states prohibit all drivers from hand-held cell phones while driving. Learn more at StopTextsStopWrecks.org.

New York City Fire truckChristina Richards/Shutterstock

Pulling over for emergency vehicles

You may be in a hurry, but if an emergency vehicle is headed your way with its lights and siren on, you need to get out of the way. All 50 states have some law regarding how drivers are required to yield to emergency vehicles. To see what the law is in your state, visit AAA Digest of Motor Laws. You’ll regret leaving these 12 things in your car this summer.

Rear Tail Light Car in ParkingM88/Shutterstock

Cutting through parking lots

It can be tempting to take a shortcut through a parking lot to avoid a busy intersection, but depending on where you live, it may be against the law. “This is an easy one,” Sgt. Jill Bennet with Michigan State Police Traffic Services Section told MLive.com. “Yes, it is illegal to cut across private property to avoid a traffic control device.” Different states, even different municipalities within states, have varying laws about this. Check your state’s vehicle code for specific laws. Never do these 13 things to your car.

Right turn signal on the car dashboardponginwinw/Shutterstock

Using turn signals

Turn signals help communicate your actions to other drivers, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to forgo using them. About 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter is hidden by blind spots, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Failure to signal is illegal, inconsiderate, and extremely dangerous to everyone in your vehicle and to all the road users around you,” the department notes. Now brush up on these safe driving tips for scary situations.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.