There are thousands of laws regulating how drivers are supposed to act on the road. While they were all put in place for a good reason, there are a few of them that nearly every driver is guilty of breaking on a daily basis. Most people may not even give these six laws a second thought, but if a police officer catches you in the act, they would be well within their power to write you a ticket.
- Improper Use of a Signaling Device
Many drivers neglect to use their turning signals, or use them far too late, whenever they decide to pass someone on a 2+ lane highway. While many police officers will let this slide if they were not directly behind you, it is still considered breaking the law. In the same vein, most states have statutes which regulate how far in advance you need to turn your signal on before you make a right or left turn. This is anywhere from 50-200 feet, but even if you know about the law, it is extremely hard to guess where the 200 ft. mark is, especially if there are many streets close together.
- Driving at an Unsafe Speed
Even going 1 mile per hour over the speed limit is still considered speeding. This is something everyone is guilty of, but some people go significantly over the speed limit on a regular basis. A police officer generally will not pull you over for going 66 in a 65, unless they think that you might be doing something with a far worse penalty and they just need a reason to make a traffic stop. Driving at an unsafe speed also means going very slowly, typically under the minimum speed required on an Interstate highway, creating a dangerous situation, or inching along a clear street elsewhere, which may be a sign of an impaired driver.
State laws differ on how far back you need to stay from another vehicle, but a good rule of thumb is to leave about a two second lead time between you and the car in front of you. Drivers are rarely pulled over for tailgating in areas with high traffic, but do not be surprised if you get pulled over on a fast-moving highway because you were driving less than a car length behind the person in front of you.
- Improper Lane Usage
Improper lane usage laws are on the books to protect drivers from getting in an accident, and a ticket written for it after an accident generally means the recipient is at fault. Using a lane improperly can mean not turning into the nearest lane on a two or more lane street, or it can mean driving in the passing lane for too long on the highway. These tickets are rarely issued to the vast majority of drivers, but some police officers use it as a pretext to pull over a vehicle they suspect may contain people with active warrants or drugs.
- Unsafe Driving for Conditions
Like a few of these other laws, receiving a ticket for driving in a way that is unsafe for conditions is rare, unless you get into an accident. Going the speed limit on a highway in 25 ft. visibility because of fog and rear-ending a vehicle in front of you can cause you to end up with one of these citations. Most state laws give law enforcement a lot of leeway in determining what kind of conditions are unsafe, some even going so far as to include anytime from dusk until dawn as “low-light conditions”. Any type of precipitation can also be used as a pretext for writing this kind of ticket.
- Driving While Operating an Electronic Device
99% of the time, this means either calling or texting while driving. Even if you are in standstill traffic, it is still technically illegal in just about every state to either text or use your cell phone like normal (Some states do allow you to use a hands-free device for calls) in the driver’s seat. Even in the handful of states without blanket restrictions, many counties and municipalities have laws against talking or texting within their borders.
Having a ticket on your driving record can lead to higher insurance rates and having multiple tickets on your record can result in a driver’s license suspension. A traffic school or defensive driving class can help get you a discount on your auto insurance premiums, and it could get a moving violation off of your record.