This may come as a surprise to Texans *wink*, but not all drivers know the rules of the road. So what can we do to make the roads safer? Brush up on those driving laws! Even if you are a safe driver, knowing how to react to certain situations could lead you to make a safer decision, and in a timely manner.
Take the quiz below and find out how you fare. Then, find some pointers on these laws below.
Driving in TX: Do you know state laws?
Some traffic laws vary from state to state. Do you know what to do if an emergency vehicle is parked on the side of the road? Or when to use (or put away) your cell phone? Take our quiz to find out how much you know.
Some of these laws are tricky, and some have even changed recently. Here’s an explanation for each of these questions, in case you missed it.
1. If an emergency vehicle is parked on the right side of the road with it’s emergency lights flashing, what should you do?
If the vehicle is parked, you don’t need to stop, but flashing lights indicate that there’s still activity going on on the road. This is why Texas law says cars must slow down to 20 mph under the posted limit. Most drivers are inclined to slow down when they see flashing lights anyway since they associate them with police. Keep in mind there might be debris from an accident, people walking close to the road, and/or stopped traffic ahead.
2. What should you do if a school bus has its yellow hazards flashing?
School bus hazards are used much like those of regular vehicles. The most common use is when buses stop for a train track. Busses are required to stop before crossing tracks and look both ways. Drivers in their personal vehicles may not realize, or forget, and could run into the bus if they’re not expecting to stop.
3. Can you cross the median between freeway and frontage road in stopped traffic?
Crossing a median is illegal in all instances, but crossing between frontage and freeway (and vice versa) is a common maneuver for Texans. It may seem like a good idea to get off a slow road, but doing so puts other cars in danger when you merge in a location they aren’t expecting you to merge.
4. Which of these statements on handheld devices is true in Texas?
While Austin used to be entirely hands-free (no talking, texting, messing with electronic devices at all), Texas’ no-texting law overruled that one. Under this state law, sending and receiving messages is banned, but talking on the phone or using devices for other purposes is not.
However, drivers in school zones, drivers with permits, and drivers under 18 may not operate a vehicle and use handheld devices at all.
5. What do you legally have to do if you see a funeral procession?
It may be rude to drive past a funeral, but there’s no law against it. You don’t have to slow down if you’re not putting others in danger. The main thing is to be cautious and respectful.
6. When should you use a turn signal?
Even in a turn lane, you must use a turn signal, Texans. This signals your intention to cars around you. Even if you know you’re in a turn lane, other drivers may not.
7. What does the law say about using the shoulder lane on the highway?
Unsurprisingly, it’s illegal to use the shoulder as a passing lane. However, it’s perfectly legal (and encouraged) for slower drivers to move over into the shoulder lane to let faster cars pass on a two-lane highway.
8. Is it legal to parallel park facing oncoming traffic?
Even though this is common in residential areas, parallel parking the wrong direction is not legal anywhere in Texas. For one, you have to cross oncoming traffic to do so. Another obstacle is the way another parallel-parked car in front of you will block your view when you try to pull out.