With so many driving laws on the books, it can be difficult to remember all of them — and get all of them right. In fact, there are many driving laws that drivers often get wrong or simply don’t understand. Are you guilty of believing these driving law misconceptions?
- Speeding just over the speed limit: While most police officers won’t pull you over for going five miles per hour over the speed limit, speeding is speeding. Even if you’re going with the flow of traffic, a police officer can pull you over for traveling at a speed higher than the speed limit allows.
- Early merging: Often, polite drivers feel that early merging is best. As soon as you see a sign that says you’ll need to merge, many drivers want to get over. And if a late merger comes in right at the end, it really ticks them off. But late merging is actually better for traffic. Instead of merging immediately, you should stay in your lane and merge using the zipper technique, which allows cars to take turns one after the other as they merge.
- Right of way confusion: Right of way is confusing for many drivers and it’s easy to get right of way wrong. But getting it right is important to safety, as failure to yield right of way is responsible for more than 3,000 fatal crashes every year. Failing to stop at stop signs, taking your turn too early, merging inappropriately, and entering or exiting roundabouts improperly are common right of way mistakes. Visit our guide to right of way in every situation to learn how to properly yield right of way and stay safe.
- Stopping for school buses: Many drivers don’t realize that when a school bus stops, so do other drivers on the roadway. When the lights are flashing on a school bus, you have to stop. This is true even if you’re on the other side of the road. The only time you don’t have to stop for a school bus is if you’re on the opposite side of a divided highway, but even then, some states still require you to stop. Failing to stop for a school bus can result in heavy fines, license points, and other penalties.
- Stopping at broken traffic signals: When an intersection’s lights lose power, it’s not a free for all. You still have to stop and yield right of way to other drivers. If you’re approaching an intersection without working lights, you should treat it as a four way stop.