Drive Safe: How to Stay out of Legal Trouble on the Road

Driving is an important skill. It can help you go anywhere you want to or need to as long as you have your own vehicle. And this ability can give you a feeling of independence.

The act of driving itself may be easy. But many other things need to be considered. You have to be considerate of other vehicles. You need to drive carefully to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Also, you need to observe traffic rules at all times. Otherwise, you’ll have to suffer consequences, such as penalty fees and license suspension. You might even get into legal trouble for breaking traffic rules.

Thus, you must follow traffic laws religiously to stay out of legal trouble and to keep the feeling of autonomy you get when you drive. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re on the road:

Mind the Traffic Lights

Red-light running is one of the most common traffic violations that drivers commit. Some may say that they have valid reasons for running a red light. For instance, they may have had an emergency and needed to travel as fast as they could. Regardless of the reason, this action is against the rules. It’s also dangerous for others. For example, when someone insists on driving through an intersection past a red light, they might hit pedestrians or clash with another vehicle.

No matter the situation, you must always stop at a red light. Always be mindful of traffic lights on the road and be alert.

Mind the Gap

Apart from the traffic lights, you must also be mindful of your distance between the vehicles in front of you and behind you. This distance serves as a “safety cushion.” For example, if the car in front of you stops suddenly, the space will give you enough time to halt and avoid hitting the car’s rear.

To ensure a safe distance between your vehicle and others, follow the two-second rule. You may need to increase the distance depending on the weather and road conditions. But the two-second rule is a good place to start.

Stay Insured

Car insurance is a legal requirement to own and drive a car. Only New Hampshire and Virginia don’t legally mandate car insurance. Thus, if you want to get out of legal trouble, you need to have car insurance. There are many plans to choose from. And you don’t always have to choose the most expensive one.

Besides, having car insurance is for your own good. It can help you financially in several situations. For example, if you ever get involved in a road collision with a truck, your insurance may cover part of the legal fees to hire a truck injury lawyer. The insurance will also help you reduce the out-of-pocket medical costs and repair costs.

Going out for a Drink? Skip Driving

Alcohol-related road accidents are common. For example, in 2016, over 10,000 people died due to driving crashes caused by alcohol intoxication.

Responsible drivers know that they shouldn’t drive when they’re under the influence of alcohol. You can go out for a drink with family or friends. Just make sure that you have a non-drinking companion who can drive everyone home safely. You can also just skip driving entirely and use a ride-hailing service, such as Uber or Lyft.

Put Your Phone Away

Distracted driving is another very common problem among drivers. People like to use their phones while they drive, whether it’s to send a text message, call someone, or scroll through social media. But distracted driving can come with a huge price tag. While the penalty fees vary from state to state, you can pay around $30 to as much as $1000 for it.

It’s also important to note that distracted driving can claim lives. In 2019, 3,142 people died because of distracted drivers.

No matter how confident you are with your ability to multitask or your driving skills, it’s illegal to use your phone while you drive. And the solution is quite simple: keep your phone away from you as you drive. If you’re going for a short drive, you might consider muting your phone so you don’t get tempted to reach for it when you hear a notification.

When you’re too used to driving, you may sometimes operate on autopilot or drive only using muscle memory. But doing that is not safe. You must always stay alert and mindful when you drive. Consider reviewing traffic rules every few months to keep them fresh in your memory and to avoid legal trouble on the road.