When driving a vehicle in Florida, it’s especially important to be aware of the various laws. Not only will being knowledgeable of the rules help keep you safe, but it will also decrease your likelihood of being pulled over by the police. Here are the most important state laws that new drivers and passengers should know.
Law #1: The Move Over Law
When approaching a police vehicle parked along a highway, it’s important to use great caution. Give the police cruiser some extra space by moving over to the far lane. If the next lane isn’t clear, slow down to 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. Failing to adhere to the “Move over Law” could result in a hefty fine. The purpose of this law is to give you and the police officer an extra degree of protection.
Law #2: Seat Belt Use
While on the road, everyone in your vehicle should keep their seat belt fastened at all times. The only exception is if your vehicle was made prior to 1968. Although adults sitting in the back seat don’t have to buckle up, passengers under the age of 18 are required by law to do so. Furthermore, research shows seat belts can actually save your life during a crash. Remember, police officers are trained to check if you’re wearing a seat belt even at night.
Law #3: Texting While Driving
For good reason, texting while driving is absolutely prohibited in Florida. With the increase in texting-related fatalities, the state has really started to focus on curbing the problem. While officers can’t pull you over for texting, they can ticket you if a moving violation has been committed.
This means texting while driving is a secondary offense in Florida. Even worse, getting into a crash because of your texting can lead to extra points on your driving record. It’s simply not worth the risk. The best approach is to download an app that blocks texts while driving. You’ll be able to travel with extra peace of mind.
Law #4: Headlight Laws
Headlights are among the most important safety features on a vehicle. Aside from helping you to obtain better visibility at night, your headlights also make you more noticeable to other motorists. According to Florida law, you must keep your headlights on from dusk to dawn. Drivers are also required to burn their headlights when the wipers are turned on. Rainy weather can definitely make it harder for others to see you. Furthermore, don’t forget to activate your low beams upon approaching another vehicle. You don’t want to be blamed for an accident.
Law #5: School Bus Stops
Always make it a point to pay attention to school buses. Every year, dozens of kids at bus stops are unfortunately hit by motorists. When you encounter a school bus on the street, immediately take caution. As soon as you see the bus displaying red flashing lights, promptly start to reduce your speed.
Passing a stopped school bus is a serious moving violation. You should also pay attention to school zones. Typically, school zones have a speed limit between 25 and 35 mph. Keep an eye out for school crossing guards as well, who have the responsibility of directing traffic.
Law #6: Zero Tolerance Law
Drinking and driving is an extremely dangerous act. When doing so, you put everyone’s life in jeopardy. Driving under the influence of alcohol greatly impacts your coordination skills and reaction speed. New drivers especially need to think twice about drinking.
Florida’s Zero Tolerance law restricts anyone under the age of 21 from drinking at all. If a minor registers a .02 blood alcohol level, their license will be immediately suspended for six months. Keep in mind that passengers are also not allowed to have an open container of alcohol inside your vehicle.
It’s always a good idea to stay updated on the Florida driving laws. Nothing beats being in the know. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact an auto accident attorney for advice.
Scott Distasio is the founder of a personal injury firm in Tampa. His firm focuses on all types of personal injury cases and holds the responsibility to provide clients with outstanding service in high regard.