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Many of the common sense "Rules of the Road" are laws which are included in New York States' Vehicle & Traffic Law.   Title VII of the V&T law is entitled "Rules of the Road".  Here are some of them:


Animated Malfunctioning Directional Signals Turn Signals -

Could you imagine traveling behind this vehicle? You would assume the driver intended to turn, but how would you know which way the vehicle was going?

The same principle applies to a person who doesn't use their turn signals and just slows down. You might assume they were going to turn. Until they actually turn the steering wheel to the left or right, you wouldn't have any idea which direction they were turning or even if they were really going to turn.

Animated Directional Signals

The Vehicle & Traffic Law requires you use turn signals continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. §1163(b)

A driver may not slow down or stop in traffic without providing an appropriate signal for the benefit of following drivers.  This is usually done by the car's brake lights.  §1163(c)

Directional signals must be used to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes or leave a parking space. §1163(d)

Unsafe Lane Changes Passing Safely -

Pass on the left until safely clear of the vehicle being passed. The driver being passed must stay to the right and not increase speed. §1122

When passing on a two way road, in an area which is a designated passing area, you must be able to return to the driving lane before coming within 200 feet of an approaching vehicle. If you can't do this, you don't have enough room to pass safely.  §1124

Drive in one lane, and don't change lanes until you have made sure you can do so safely. §1128 (a)

Don't Forget to Use Your Directional Signals
When Changing Lanes!!
Put-put on the left, speeding on the right. Slow Moving Vehicles -

If you are driving on a multi-lane road and find that many cars are passing you on the right, you should move into the right lane and allow traffic to pass you on the left.

Here's the law:

Any vehicle which is going slower than the normal speed of traffic must be driven in the right-hand lane or at the right hand side of the road, unless it is passing traffic moving in the same direction or preparing for a left turn.  §1120(b)

Tailgating Allowing Some Space -

Use the "two second rule". Choose an object near or above the road ahead. As the vehicle ahead passes it, count aloud, slowly, "one thousand one, one thousand two." If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Allow the other vehicle to get further ahead.

In bad weather, increase the count to three or four seconds for extra space. §1129

Right on Red Right on Red -

At many intersections in New York State, governed by traffic lights, you may make a right turn when the light is red.

You must come to a complete stop, check the intersection for vehicles and pedestrians, and proceed to make a right turn when it is safe to do so.

  • Turning right on red is prohibited in cities with a population of more than one million unless a sign permits it.
  • Turning right on red is prohibited if a sign at the intersection prohibits it.  §1111(d)
Who has the right of way? The Right of Way -

A driver approaching an intersection must yield the right of way to traffic already in the intersection. §1140(a)

If drivers approaching from opposite directions reach an intersection at about the same time, a driver turning left must yield to approaching traffic going straight or turning right.  §1141

At intersections not controlled by signs or signals, or where two or more drivers stop at STOP signs at the same time and they are at right angles to one another, the driver on the left must yield the right of way to the driver on the right. §1140(b)

A vehicle entering a roadway from a driveway, alley, private road or any other place that is not a roadway must stop and yield the right of way to traffic on the roadway, and to pedestrians. §1143 and §1151-a

Drivers must yield to pedestrians using marked or unmarked crosswalks.  §1151

You may not enter an intersection if traffic is backed up on the other side and you cannot get all the way through the intersection. Wait until traffic ahead clears, so you don't block the intersection. §1175

A driver entering a traffic circle, or rotary, must yield the right of way to drivers already in the circle. §1145

There are special right of way rules when an emergency vehicle approaches.  See the Emergency Vehicles section.

 
Remember:  It is much better to give up the
right of way than to risk a crash.
Animated Crash Traffic Control Signs and Signals -

The law requires that all drivers obey traffic control signs and signals. The only exceptions are:

  • If a traffic or police officer is directing traffic, or
  • Emergency vehicles may proceed through traffic control devices, but are required to use caution.  §1110

Also included in the "Rules of the Road" section of the Vehicle & Traffic Law are several laws related to GTSC's program areas listed below. Please see these topics for more information:

 
Alcohol logo Alcohol, Drugs & DWI
Bike Bicycles & Wheel Sport Safety
Emergency Light Emergency Vehicle Safety & EMS
Motorcycle Motorcycles, Mopeds & ATVs
Occupant Protection
Child Seat
Buckle Up, New York!!
pedestrian safety Pedestrian Safety
Special Stops Required:
Railroad Crossing Sign
School Bus
Speed Limit Sign Speeding and Speed Limits