Preparing for a driver’s test means spending more time with the DMV handbook than most of us would prefer.
But as time passes and we get more comfortable on the road, the little rules that seemed so important at the time start to fade into the background, and many are forgotten altogether. It’s time for a refresher on the top 5 forgotten traffic rules that drivers ignore.
Top 5 Forgotten Traffic Rules
1) Stay out of the left lane if you aren’t passing another car.
Good drivers should remember that the far left lane, or “fast” lane, is meant for passing other cars. This is enforced more or less depending on the state, and California tends to be one of the most relaxed about this rule, as The Car Connection notes. But if you are moving with the flow of traffic, don’t “camp out” in the fast lane.
Yes, the other drivers who want to pass you might be speeding. Yes, flashing their high beams and riding your bumper when they want to pass is rude. And you may think that by staying in the left lane, the other drivers will slow down eventually. But it is more important to keep yourself safe on the road than try to change the bad habits of others. Stay out of trouble, and stay out of the passing lane if you are not passing.
2) Always use your turn signals.
And not just for left or right turns – your car has these blinkers so you can let other drivers that know that you plan to enter their lane. Traffic enforcement officers will cite you for an unsafe lane change without a blinker, and it’s safer and more courteous to let the drivers around you know that you are planning to make a move.
3) Obey the order of the stop sign.
Four way stop signs can be frustrating when drivers don’t want to make the first move. But as the blog California Driving: A Survival Guide points out, there are only two basic rules to remember.
One: pass through the intersection in the order the cars arrived. If the other car got there first, that car has the right of way. Two: if cars arrive at the same time, drivers should pass through clockwise – which means if the other car is on your right, that car should go first.
Oh, and come to a complete stop. We all know about the “California Roll,” but to be completely safe, stop completely.
4) Drive for the conditions of the road.
Drivers still need to remember that even though the posted speed limit doesn’t change when it rains, your personal speed limit should. If the roads are wet, the air is foggy, or other conditions are making your drive less safe, be aware and adjust accordingly.
5) Stay off of your cell phone.
How could a rule that everyone hears constantly be listed as ‘forgotten’? Hard to say. But since people still can’t get enough of their phones in traffic, and the dangers of using your mobile phone while driving are so well documented, we’ll repeat it one more time.
We know checking text messages in traffic is tempting. We get it. But remember, you are driving a dangerous machine, and your safety matters more than that text message or phone call. It can wait.