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Little-Known Driving Laws You May Not Be Aware Of


When you first start driving, the list of road rules you need to memorize can feel overwhelming. With time, however, most become second nature. You stop before making a right on red. You signal before changing lanes. You turn on your headlights as the sun starts to set.

But, chances are, there are a few laws that just never came up in drivers’ education. You didn’t learn them on the road, no one ever mentioned them to you and—so far at least—you haven’t had to learn about them the hard way: from a law enforcement officer. Here are a few that may not have made it on your radar:

The Move Over Law

Georgia code 40-6-16 requires drivers approaching a stopped emergency vehicle flashing yellow, amber, white, red or blue lights to make a lane change if it’s safe and possible to do so. When a lane change is impossible or dangerous, drivers should slow to a speed below the posted limit and be prepared to stop if necessary. You may have already known that this law applied to stopped police cars, fire trucks or ambulances, but it also applies to DOT vehicles, HERO units and wreckers working on clearing a crash. It helps keep both first responders and stranded or injured drivers safe. Fines for violating the law can be as high as $500.

The Open Container Law

This is another law you likely know of but may not fully understand. Georgia’s Open Container Law prohibits anyone from consuming or even possessing an unsealed alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a car. If the passenger is consuming the beverage, only the passenger will be charged with a violation—usually a fine as high as $200.

The Code Against Covering Your Plates

Have a plastic cover over your license plate, or maybe a frame that blocks some of the text? Those aesthetic choices may put you in violation of O.C.G.A. 40-2-6.1, which prohibits obscuring a license plate in order to impede surveillance equipment. Law enforcement officers and their vehicle scanners need a clear view of license plates in order to check registrations. If you plate cover or frame somehow obscures the surveillance equipment’s view, you could face a misdemeanor and a fine of up to $1,000.

The Hands-Free Driving Law

Georgia’s so-called “Hands-Free Act” went into effect in 2018, making plenty of headlines in the process. The law notably made it illegal to hold a wireless device, extending an existing ban on texting to include talking on the phone, using apps, or taking photos or video. But the law also makes it illegal to support a device, meaning that just because you’ve propped your phone in your lap doesn’t mean you’ll be off the hook when a police officer pulls you over.

Knowing the rules of the road is a great way to become a safer, more aware driver—or even a better teacher if you’re helping your own kids learn to drive. Driving is a process, and there are always safer behaviors to learn about and adopt.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you need a personal injury attorney. The Macon car accident lawyers at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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