In the United States, drivers are only required to pass a test when they first receive their driver’s license. After that, drivers never have to pass another examination. Because of this, time will cause drivers to forget, or even make up, the rules of the road.
To make transportation effortless, roads must also be safe. We’ve created a list of some of the most common driving rules that are misunderstood to keep us all safer.
- Tailgating is illegal.
In Georgia, tailgating, also known as “following too closely,” is illegal.
As a general rule, drivers must leave enough room between the car in front of them to react to sudden stops, while also taking into account the weather conditions.
A rule of thumb is that drivers need to allow two to four seconds of travel time between them and the vehicle in front of them. Another safeguard is to leave 10 feet of space for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling. For example, traveling 60 mph means you should leave 60 feet of space in front of the next vehicle.
Tailgating is extremely dangerous. One study found that tailgating and close driving is responsible for 12% of all motor vehicle crashes.
Tailgating is equally dangerous to the drivers behind you. If you are tailgating, and suddenly crash into the driver in front of you, drivers behind you have even less time to react than if you had kept an appropriate amount of space.
2. Yield to all pedestrians.
Driving laws you require to yield to all pedestrians, in any situation. When pedestrians enter the road, they’re essentially placing an invisible crosswalk at that location.
Regardless of if you have a green light, or a crosswalk signal is enabled, you must stop for all pedestrians.
Trivia: It is actually safer for pedestrians to “jay walk” than cross at a marked crosswalk.
3. Drivers must change lanes for vehicles parked in the emergency lane.
Driving at 80 miles per hour just 10 feet away from a parked vehicle is extremely dangerous. State laws require that drivers change lanes and slow down for vehicles parked in the emergency lane.
For example, in Georgia:
“State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow below the posted speed limit to a speed reasonable for road and traffic conditions.”
4. The right of way is a tie-breaker at stop signs.
When entering a four-way stop, 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 tie breaker and goes first.
If two cars arrive at the same time directly in front of each other, then the car going straight receive the right of way.
Still confused? The NHTSA has a handy guide to help you understand all of the different scenarios for handling right of way.
Revisiting these rules should help you stay safe and alert. What are other rules and tips that you have for driving?