4 Rules All Drivers in NC Should Know About

As the Labor Day weekend arrives, heavier traffic is expected all across North Carolina, especially on the highways. The Highway Patrol will deploy more troopers to keep an eye on drivers crossing speed limits, those driving under influence, or anyone violating the rules in general.

Since North Carolinians are going to hit the road in big numbers soon, we thought this is as good an occasion as any to remind you of some of the rules all drivers in NC (and those passing through NC) ought to be in the know about.

Whether you have been living in this state for long or have recently moved here, this post will help reinforce some of the important rules in your mind. Be informed to avoid being sorry.

You Can Speak on the Phone When Driving, But Not Text
Despite mobile phones being a cause of many an accident, it’s not illegal in North Carolina to use one while driving. You can answer your phone, hands-free or not, as well as make calls when driving.

Unless you drive a school bus, are a provisional license-holder, or are less than 18 years old, in which cases both your hands should be engaged in driving at all times. A use of hands-free too is prohibited for the drivers of school buses.

Texting while driving, however, is prohibited for all drivers. Expect to be pulled over if a cop sees you fiddling with your phone when driving, although it is a bit tricky to establish whether you were typing out a message or merely dialing a number when looking at your phone.

In your own best interests, however, avoid the phone like the plague when behind the wheel, or pull over if you must use it. Since it’s likely you are going to be driving with your family this weekend, it makes utmost sense to be extra cautious.

When Using Windshield Wipers, Turn on the Headlights Too
The assumption behind this rule is that if you are using the windshield wipers, it’s likely to be raining or snowing. That compromises visibility.

Also, when visibility is less than 400 feet, the law requires you to turn your vehicle’s headlights on. That and between sunset and sunrise, to aid visibility.

Refusing Breathalyzer When Caught DWI Will Lead to Trouble
Millennials have grown up watching police patrol videos and can tell you what happens when cops pull over drunk drivers. They undergo a field sobriety test, failing which they are taken into custody. While legally you do have the right to refuse to take the breath test, be aware that in North Carolina such a refusal would lead to a fine and a suspension, because of this state’s “implied consent laws.”

In layman’s terms this means that you should not refuse the field sobriety test or the following chemical test if you have been pulled over for driving while intoxicated. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will lead to you losing your driver’s license for one year if it’s your first offense.
The best way out is not to get yourself in such a situation to begin with.

You Cannot Pass a Stopped School Bus
Drivers do this all the time, but it’s illegal. Granted you may not need to employ this over the weekend, but it’s still worth mentioning.

The law requires you to halt when you see a school bus in front of you (stopped, not parked). You cannot overtake it from either direction. Instead, wait until all the children have disembarked and the bus is on the move again.

You can be docked 5 points on your driver’s record if you are convicted of passing a stopped school bus.

Conclusion
Make this weekend safe and enjoyable, not just for yourself, but also for your co-passengers as well as other drivers on the road, who are all looking forward to a great time. Steer clear of impulses and behaviors that could land you in trouble. This article, of course, only gives you a taste of the big picture. Those interested in learning more about the driving rules in North Carolina would do well to download and read this handbook by the NC DMV.

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