Rules of the Road Most Drivers Get Wrong

Driver with hands on the wheel

When you’re learning to drive, it’s easy for misconceptions and bad driving habits to become ingrained in your mind. Those bad habits are both dangerous and extremely hard to break, which is why drivers must take time to analyze their driving habits and take dedicated action to change their ways if they find they are doing something wrong. With that in mind, here are five rules of the road most drivers get wrong and guidance for what should be done instead.

Yielding the Right of Way

Many drivers yield the right of way as a polite gesture. It might be allowing someone to make an unprotected left turn in the middle of a block or allowing them to turn out of a parking lot. While these acts are well-intentioned, they are dangerous and a commonly broken rule of the road.

For example, say that you see another car is trying to make an unprotected left turn into a parking lot. You know they may not have an opening for a while, so you slow down or stop to let them through. However, the car behind you rear-ends you as they didn’t expect you to slow down in the middle of the street, and the turning car is subsequently t-boned by a driver in the other lane who didn’t see them. In a situation like this or one similar to it, yielding the right of way would leave you liable for the crash because you disregarded the rules of the road.

If you have the right of way, use it. Otherwise, wait your turn to act.

Pedestrian Crossings

Similar to incorrectly yielding the right of way is making sure you correctly yield to pedestrians. While many urban areas have WALK/DON’T WALK crosswalk signals at every street corner, many small or rural areas only have marked crosswalks.

Remember, when there are no traffic signals or if there are conflicting traffic signals, pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles. If you come to a stop sign and a pedestrian is waiting at the curb trying to make eye contact, you should yield to them.

Likewise, be sure you look at the crosswalk when making a right-hand turn. The right-hand WALK signal almost always comes on at the same time as a green light. You need to yield if a pedestrian is crossing through the turn lane.

Roundabouts

Roundabouts are a huge pain point for inexperienced drivers. Many drivers have difficulty determining which way they’re supposed to go, whether they should stop, and how the inner ring works.

The most important thing to remember is that roundabouts are supposed to make traffic control easier. Treat roundabout entry points as a yield sign. If someone is coming, slow down or stop. If the way is clear, you can proceed without slowing down.

For more information on navigating roundabouts, be sure to read our roundabout guide.

Passing on the Right

Most drivers have probably done this at some point, whether intentional or not. The Ohio State Driver’s Manual states that passing on the right is only permissible when the other driver is making a left turn or U-turn.

It is vital to avoid passing on the right because that is where a driver’s blind spot is the most restrictive. Say, for example, you come upon a car that is going under the speed limit. You change lanes and find the car that was behind you is now tailgating the slow driver. The slow driver puts their turn signal on to change lanes, but they don’t see you because you were in their blindspot.

If you were sideswiped in this situation, you could potentially hold a significant percentage of the fault as you were not following the rules of the road.

Stop Signs

This is something almost every driver has done at one time or another. Although it’s common to slow down to a very low speed and roll through stop signs, that is both dangerous and a traffic violation. While you should always come to a full stop at any stop sign, it is especially important to remain vigilant in rural, wooded areas and make sure you can see any vehicles or animals that might be approaching from the sides.

Remember, t-bone collisions are one of the deadliest kinds. If you are struck in the side because you failed to stop, you are much more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. Not only that, but you will likely hold the majority of the fault and may be unable to claim the damages you need to recover.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car accident, we’re ready to be the experience on your side. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Dayton car accident attorney from The Attkisson Law Firm, please send us an email or call (937) 230-8330.

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