Driving laws can be complicated when they vary from state to state and there is nothing worse than being pulled over and getting a ticket for a law you didn’t even know existed. Police often times will try to inform the public on new or obscure laws by handing out warnings but the best method to avoid a ticket is to stay educated on important driving laws.
Here are a few of the driving laws police say are unknown or ignored the most:
1. You can be ticketed for going at or below speed limit.
In 2014, Georgia passed what is known as the “slow-poke law,” which prohibits drivers from driving too slow or lingering in the left lane on the highway if faster cars are approaching them, even if they are driving the posted speed limit. Studies show that uneven speeds, meaning cars driving slower than the average speed of the group, can cause more havoc than those speeding. The Georgia State Patrol has written hundreds of tickets for violations of the “slow-poke law” since it was enacted in 2014. Always be careful to always watch behind you when riding in the leftmost lane of a highway and move to the right and allow drivers to pass even if they are speeding.
2. It is illegal to use the center lane for merging.
Whenever a highway or road has a center lane for turning, you are not allowed to use the center lane to merge, you are not allowed to enter the center lane more than three hundred feet before your turn, and you are not allowed to drive more than three hundred feet before making your turn. Drivers often use a center lane at busy intersections for turning into and waiting to merge with traffic, but this is illegal and dangerous and can result in an expensive ticket.
3. It is illegal to drive with headphones.
There are a few laws in #Georgia that confuse drivers and not being allowed to drive with headphone is one of them. Thanks to the Georgia Hands-Free Act, a driver may use a bluetooth headset to use their cell phone in order to abide by the law enacted in July of 2018. You are not allowed to use headphones for the use of music, videos, or podcasts. It is required that you must keep one ear completely free to allow yourself to hear your surroundings.
4. Neither the driver nor passenger can have an open alcoholic beverage.
Most Georgia drivers know its illegal for the driver to have an open alcoholic beverage, but some don’t know that it is illegal for anyone in the car to have an open alcoholic beverage. Drivers may be cited or even arrested for an open container violation and risk a fine of at least $200.
5. No part of your tag can be obstructed from view.
In attempt to foil speed and traffic cameras, drivers will often use special frames or covers that prevent the tags from being seen. Georgia considers this illegal and requires the entire tag to be clear and unobstructed.
6. You are required to use headlights in the rain.
Georgia law requires you to use headlights in rain and not to rely on automatic lights. Automatic lights usually turn on front lights during bad weather, but leave the backlights off which is why it is important to manually turn on your lights to avoid this issue. For more safety tips when driving in the rain, click here.
7. It is illegal to text even when stopped at a red light.
The Georgia Hands-Free Act has redefined every aspect of using your phone while operating. your vehicle. While the law does allow you to use a GPS app while driving it requires you to enter in the address before you hit the road. It’s only acceptable to use a phone for texting or inputting an address into GPS when off the road lawfully parked in an area defined for that purpose.
8. Minors under 18 cannot ride in the bed of a truck.
While Georgia does love pickups and allows riders in the back of a truck they require the rider to be at least 18 years of age or older. The state takes this very seriously and as a misdemeanor traffic offense, the consequences can include up to a 12-month sentence and fines of up to $1000. Also, even though it is not illegal for those over the age of 18 to ride in the bed of a truck, this dangerous behavior can result in serious injury or death and is best left for transporting cargo.
9. A bicycle is classified as a vehicle.
While many drivers don’t realize this but a bicycle is considered a “vehicle” in Georgia and the person riding the bicycle is considered a “driver.” This means that bicyclists must follow all the same rules that apply to a vehicle including stopping at lights and riding on the proper side of the road. For more information on Georgia bicycle laws, click here.
10. If traffic lights are out, you must come to a stop.
When the traffic lights are not working properly or have gone out, Georgia drivers must treat them as a four-way stop. Even if you are on the main roadway the right of way goes to whichever driver came to the stop first.