If you've driven in a state other than Florida, it doesn't surprise you to learn that not all traffic laws are universal. From speed limit laws to when to yield for fellow motorists and even how to enter the highway, Florida has its own unique rules of the road that may not apply a few states over.
Unfortunately, with an influx of tourists and part-time residents each year, many drivers are unaware of Florida driving laws. Even full-time residents can confuse these law sometimes. In addition to the 5 common traffic laws people break, let's discuss seven Florida driving laws many drivers get wrong.
1. Right on Red
If you're a native Floridian, you learned to drive being able to make a right turn at a red light. Many other states uphold this traffic as well, though in cities like New York a right turn at a red light is restricted unless proper signage states otherwise. While many might be aware of the ability to make a right turn at a red light in Florida, many fail to follow proper protocol while making the turn.
For one, make sure there is not a red arrow on the stoplight. This arrow indicates that you cannot turn right on red, and doing so would be breaking Florida traffic traffic laws. Next, you must come to a full stop prior to making the turn. Florida law states that you cannot coast through the turn, even if all appears to be clear. Instead, come to a full stop at the crosswalk or the limit line prior to completing your turn.
2. Driving Too Slow Is Against the Law
While we frequently discuss the dangers of speeding, be aware that driving too slow is also against the law. In Florida, you can be issued a ticket for driving too slowly. Motorists should drive with the flow of traffic, within the posted speed limit.
A driver should not drive so slowly that they block other vehicles moving at normal, safe speeds. Doing so could increase chances of an accident.
3. Moving Over for Law Enforcement
In 2002 the state of Florida passed the Move Over Act. This legislation requires drivers to move over into the next lane or slow down to at least 20 miles below the posted speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles that are stopped on interstates or other highways.
While failing to adhere to the Move Over Act breaks Florida law, it also puts law enforcement officers at risk. Any accident that would ensue had a driver failed to adhere to the Move Over Act could be ruled that the at-fault driver was negligent.
4. A Bicycle Is a Vehicle
In the state of Florida, a bicycle is legally considered a vehicle. Bicyclists using a public roadway are considered operators of motor vehicles, and are responsible for observing traffic laws. For both cyclists and motorists alike, it is crucial to remember this law.
Florida law states that whether you're riding on two wheels or four, you're sharing the road.
5. Entrance Ramp Speed
The purpose of the entrance ramp of highways and interstates is to safely and efficiently merge oncoming traffic into the stream of vehicles already on the roadway. Drivers entering the highway should not be slowing down or stopping. Actually, when entering the entrance ramp, a driver should gradually increase his or her speed such that they can safely signal and merge into the right line of traffic.
Driving too slowly can result in an accident, as the cars already on the roadway must suddenly slow down to accommodate the new driver's speed. This also leaves the cars entering the highway behind the slow driver with inadequate time to gain their own speed.
However, this is not to say that you should rapidly accelerate when entering the highway. This too, could result in an accident. The rule of thumb in Florida is to speed up as the entrance ramp straightens into an acceleration lane. Try to adjust your speed so that you can move into traffic when you reach the end of the acceleration lane, ensuring a smooth transition.
6. Stop for Pedestrians
Stopping for pedestrians is a driving law you frequently see broken when driving by an area like the beach. In Florida, you'll notice posted signs that state traffic yields to crossing pedestrians. However, many drivers fail to adhere to this law.
Failing to yield to a pedestrian when proper signage is present can result in the at-fault driver being found negligent if the pedestrian receives any injuries when an accident occurs.
7. Yield to Buses and School Buses
Last but not least, Florida laws that are broken daily concern buses on the roadway. Whether they be school buses or public transit buses, many individuals fail to yield when necessary, creating a dangerous situation for all involved. On a two-way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off children. Drivers must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway, and the bus signal has been withdrawn.
Violation of this law is considered a moving violation and is subject to a mandatory hearing. For public transit buses, all drivers should yield the right-of-way to a bus traveling in the same direction which has signaled and is reentering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout bay. Trying to speed around the bus could result in an accident, and failing to yield to the bus could result in a traffic violation.
While traffic laws may vary from state to state, it is essential that all drivers be aware of the laws for the area in which they are driving. Remember that it is your responsibility as a driver to thoroughly understand traffic laws, and to obey them accordingly. If you've recently suffered injuries as result of an accident caused by a negligent driver who failed to obey traffic laws, contact Weinstein Legal today or fill out a free case evaluation form.