Common Traffic Laws Every Driver Should Know | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Common Traffic Laws Every Driver Should Know

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A large college of American traffic law signs that are most commonly seen on the roads. The signs are all in a giant pile, one on top of the other.

Did you know that traffic laws vary between countries and even between the 50 United States? Traffic laws are determined on both a federal and state level, and it’s always good to know what the traffic laws are in your area. Here are some of the most common traffic laws throughout the United States that all drivers should know!


Traffic Laws: Why They’re Needed

Have you ever seen a speed limit sign or had a new traffic law made in your area that you thought was unneeded? Many drivers feel like this at some point. They may not see the need for traffic laws in certain areas. That would be common for a driver that drives safely and knows common-sense laws. However, traffic laws are made for a reason, and that reason is usually caused by safety concerns or fatalities on the roads. If you see new traffic lights up in an intersection instead of a stop sign, there is likely a reason for it.


In the United States, there were 34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes that happened. Some of those crashes yielded several fatalities, bringing actually deaths to over 37,000.. The numbers vary from state to state on the percentage of people that die from car-related accidents, as populations in every state vary. However, it’s those fatalities that lead to many traffic laws being made.


The goal of every state is to have no fatality, and driving laws are constantly being made to help change the fatalities that happen each year. Some accidents happen because of speeding, whereas others occur due to weather. Some also happen because drivers are not following the driving laws where they live, which is why you may see more pop up from time to time. Instead of feeling flustered the next time you see a speed limit sign lowered yet again or added stop signs to your road, just know they are there to save your life.


A very large intersection in a huge city. There are 6 different crosswalks in the intersection with crowds of people walking as traffic waits for them.

Common Laws in the U.S.

So what common traffic laws should you follow? Most drivers on the road already have heard of these laws, as they are ones you need to know to pass a driver’s test. Some common driving laws you should know as reported by the DMV include:

  • Drive on the right side of the road and exit to the right unless an exit specifically takes you to the left.
  • White lines separate lanes of traffic moving in the same direction. Yellow lines will separate traffic moving in opposite directions.
  • A solid line means “do not cross”, meaning you should stay in your lane. A dotted line means changing lanes or passing is allowed.
  • Honking should be done sparingly. You could be breaking the law if you use your car horn late at night or too much.
  • Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts.
  • Headlights must be used past sunset and in bad weather.
  • Slower traffic must be in the farther right lanes; faster traffic in the left lanes.
  • Hitchhiking is illegal in many states.
  • Traffic lights and signs must always be followed. With stop signs, you must come to a complete stop and only go if traffic is clear.
  • Red means stop with traffic lights. Yellow means slow down to a stop, and green means go. Lights in the form of arrows mean the light is protected and you have the right of way.
  • There are laws regarding parking on streets and in certain areas such as apartment complexes and businesses. Always follow parking laws. If a parking meter or pay system is required, you must pay to park there.
  • No drinking and driving.
  • No texting and driving.


Many Countries Are Opposite

Did you know that many countries have driving laws that are opposite to the ones in the United States? The most noticeable differences are that drivers drive on the opposite side of the road, so road signs are also on opposite sides of the road. Instead of always driving on the right, it’s common for drivers to be on the left side of the freeway and to exit left. Even the steering wheels in other countries are on the right side of the car instead of the left side in many cases. This can make driving around quite confusing and an accident more likely to happen. Always look up the driving laws in the country that you are going to visit. You may need a legal license in that specific country to drive on the road or you will be breaking the law. If that’s the case, invest in a foreign license or use public transportation.


A police officer that is looking at a paper as a woman driver is waiting in a car next to him. The woman was pulled over due to a traffic violation.

What Should You Know as a Driver?

Besides knowing the driving laws exist in your area, you should also know other rules for driving. For example, you should have frequent car inspections, which most states require every year (or two). Car maintenance should happen about every 7,500 miles to ensure your filters, battery, brakes, and other car parts work properly. The better care you give your car, the safer you can be on the road.


Weather conditions often happen to drivers on the road, so it’s always smart to be prepared for anything. Keep a jumping kit in your car for when the battery stops working. Have tools to change a tire and know how to change the tire if the need arises. Getting stuck in snow in the winter can happen easily. Make an emergency preparedness bag full of all the essentials you would need if you were stuck without food, water or communication for awhile.


These are just a few tips to get you started on what you should know as a driver. Make sure to always check the traffic laws in your area, and especially the places where you travel. Doing so will keep you and other drivers safe on the road. To know more about your car and how to keep it up-to-date on maintenance and safety checks, call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at (970) 682-4202!


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