Simple But Easily-Forgotten Rules for Road Safety

Obeying traffic regulations not only allows for efficient travel, but will also keep you and other drivers safe when driving. While it can be easy to forget some rules of the road, adhering to them is necessary to prevent a ticket or accident. Whiting Law is here to break down and explore some of the most frequently overlooked driving laws that can help save you a great deal of money and stress.

Auto

Failing to comply with the speed limit is the most common reason why motorists are pulled over. Many people believe that driving 5 miles over the maximum is acceptable, but this is still a violation of the law and can accordingly be cause for citation from police. Instead, drive at or slightly below the posted limit.

Proper use of turn signals is crucial, but people regularly neglect to utilize them. This can lead to a crash as the drivers around you aren’t expecting your movement and are unable to prepare. More often than not, this forces other drivers to brake suddenly to avoid rear-ending you. The next time you plan to turn or change lanes make sure to activate that turn signal.

Wearing a seatbelt has been proven to reduce the risk of injury in an accident, but it can be easy to forget to buckle it. Although adults are only legally required to buckle up when sitting in the front seat, we strongly suggest that all passengers take this step to make sure they’re as safe as can be when on the road.

Knowing what the different lane separators on the road mean will help you to drive more safely. Many motorists aren’t aware that crossing a solid white line is prohibited unless it’s necessary to do so to avoid a hazard. A safer option is to wait until the marking changes to a broken line, indicating that it’s permissible to pass safely.

Motorcycles

In Michigan, adults are not obligated by law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. However, for safety purposes, it is still a necessity. Since motorcycles lack the outer shell of a car, motorcyclists’ only protection comes from their own skill and the right gear – the most important of which is a helmet. Make sure the helmet you choose meets the criteria of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

It’s also important to know the laws for motorcyclists’ use of lanes to avoid risky driving. Michigan prohibits lane splitting, a practice where motorcycles drive in between lanes of cars and trucks. This is a controversial activity with extensive debate on its safety and usefulness, and even where it is legal, it must be done with extreme care. In Michigan, it should not be done at all, because it is a violation of the vehicle code.

Avoid carrying a heavy load on a motorcycle, as they are not designed to accommodate the transportation of bulky, heavy items. Check the manual your vehicle came with to learn how much weight it can handle, and follow the listed guidelines. Exceeding the maximum suggested weight can cause the motorcycle to become imbalanced and increase the risk of a crash.

Trucks

Operating a large vehicle like a truck requires a lot of space. When driving a truck, it’s essential to leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. This will give you enough time to stop safely if you need to brake suddenly. It also lets you see what’s happening in the distance, which is key for vigilant truck driving.

Be aware of your blind spots or “no zones.” Compared to smaller vehicles, a truck has far more limited visibility on all sides. Remember to check your mirrors often, as they will help you see the surrounding area more completely. It’s also a good idea to drive more slowly than cars so that they can easily stay out of your no zones.

Take care when switching lanes and turning. Because of trucks’ extended length and size, the space allowance is especially important when changing direction. Unfortunately, some motorists fail to respect this and may occupy your no zone while you are trying to move. Checking your mirrors and traveling slowly are your best protections against an accident.

Buses

Many people aren’t sure what the different colored lights on a school bus indicate. The easiest way to remember is by thinking of buses as analogous to traffic signals. Overhead lights flashing red mean you should stop; overhead lights in yellow show that you should prepare to stop; if the hazard lights on the front of the bus are activated, you can continue to drive but should proceed with caution.

Much like when driving a car in the vicinity of a truck, buses also need a greater allotment of space on the road. If you aren’t familiar with the transit routes in your area, it is difficult to know which stops a bus is going to make. Leaving plenty of space between your car and a bus in front of you is the best way to ensure you are able to stop quickly if you need to.

When traveling during pick-up or drop-off hours in a neighborhood that has a school zone, drive very cautiously. Keep in mind that there are likely school buses present that will be making frequent stops and starts. Also, stay alert for the large number of children who will be getting on or off the bus, as they may need to cross the street in front of you. Take extra care when driving wherever children are present; sadly, they are at the greatest risk of being the victim in an accident as a pedestrian.

Conclusion

Having a thorough comprehension of the rules of the road is your best prevention against a ticket or crash. Unfortunately, not every driver will be as attentive as you, but another valuable piece of information you can arm yourself with is knowing the right law firm to contact if you get into an accident.

Whiting Law has handled dozens of auto accident cases, and we’re experts in Michigan no-fault law. If you or your property has been harmed as the result of another driver’s carelessness, reach out to Whiting Law today.

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