There isn't a day that goes by where we don't see some complete fool making up his/her own traffic laws. Turning left at an intersection from the wrong lane, going in reverse on the shoulder of a highway, failing to yield. You know who you are. Not only are you breaking the law, you're making the road a more dangerous place than it already is. So, for those of you who need guidance, here's are five reminders of traffic laws that you're either ignoring, forgot about, or maybe lack the brains to execute. Consider this your opportunity to get it together.

1. Four-Way Stop at an Intersection

4-way stop at intersection large stop sign

I can't count the number of times each day where driver's handle this incorrectly. There's an order, folks. Oh, and it also means everyone has to come to a complete stop rather than performing the much-hated (and illegal) "rolling stop". Also, keep in mind that no one technically has "the right of way". The law only states who must yield. Here are the rules. 

  • Whoever arrives at the stop (indicated by the thick, white painted strip adjacent to the actual stop sign) first can go proceed through the intersection, as the car that arrives later must yield.
  • If two cars arrive at the same time, and they are at right angles to one another, the car to the right proceeds first. as the car to the left yields.
  • If two cars arrive at the same time, and they are facing each other in opposite lanes and one is turning left, the car that's going straight proceeds first.
  • If two cars arrive at the same time, and they are facing each other in opposite lanes and they are both turning left or both turning right, they may turn at the same time.

2. Solid White and Double Yellow Lines

solid white line two lane road

The solid white line and the double yellow lines aren't suggestions, folks. You can't just cross over them when you feel like it, but it happens all the time, and driver's don't often get ticketed for violations since the abuse is pretty widespread.

  • Solid white lines are used to keep traffic going in the same direction safe and in the same lane. They're used during construction on freeways and tollways and when there are multiple turn lanes at intersections. They also separate lanes from shoulders and should only be crossed when used for emergencies. 
  • Double yellow lines mean no passing. But they're also found near left-hand turn lanes, and should not be crossed over. Drivers abuse this by prematurely trying to enter a left-hand turn lane to get around traffic, but this can result in an accident when a driver in front is trying to enter the left turn lane legally.

3. Driving or Backing Up on a Shoulder

white toyota avalon driving on shoulder

Listen, we're all inconvenienced by traffic. Then there are those people who think they're special and choose to drive on the shoulder illegally to bypass traffic. Or what about those folks who think they get to back up on a highway shoulder because they missed their exit? Both types are seriously wrong and seriously dangerous. 

  • The shoulder is otherwise known as the emergency lane, dedicated to emergency responders like police, fire and rescue, and paramedics. When drivers choose to occupy the emergency lane, they prevent folks from getting the help they need from emergency services.
  • Traffic is supposed to move in one direction on one side of the highway, and drivers are in violation when they move counter to that. This kind of driving endangers other drivers and could result in fines and points if the police catch you.

4. Tailgating or Rubbernecking

three car accident tailgating

Believe it or not, tailgating is actually illegal. There's a reason why. Human reaction time isn't quick enough to make up for a car that slams on its brakes. There's a recommended four-second minimum following distance that's needed in order for drivers to adequately react. Nearly one-third of rear-end collisions are the result of a drivers following too closely. Part of the problem is that it's rarely enforced, so the abuse is widespread.

  • Tailgating actually increases overall travel time because it causes drivers to hit the brakes and sends the ripple-effect of slowing traffic. Keeping a minimum 4-second following distance allows traffic to move in a more fluid manner.
  • When travel speeds increase, drivers should increase following distance in order to remain safe.