Did you know you can be charged for violating laws you didn’t even know existed? In fact, odds are you break several laws a month unintentionally.
While some of these laws are hardly enforced (like stealing Wifi), Georgia drivers are pulled over every day for violating laws they didn’t know about.
Unfortunately, ignorance isn’t an acceptable defense plea in most courtrooms. While some law enforcement officers can be more than understanding, there’s no guarantee that they’ll let you off with a warning for violating Georgia driving laws, even if by mistake.
Georgia Driving Laws Every Resident Should Know
Most laws, like driving the speed limit and staying in your lane are obvious, but you may not be aware of some of Georgia’s other driving-related laws.
For example, if you’re riding a bicycle, did you know it’s considered a vehicle and you, therefore, are the driver. This means all of the laws that pertain to motor vehicles and their drivers also apply to bicyclists, within reason. Obviously, bicyclists are required to wear seatbelts.
Keep reading for more interesting (and important) Georgia state driving laws you may not know about.
1. Almost No Electronic Devices While Driving
Georgia’s driving laws are pretty clear about hands-free driving, but not without reason. In 2018, 400,000 people in the U.S. were injured as a result of distracted driving.
Georgia traffic laws make it illegal to be holding any electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. It’s even illegal to text someone (or do anything else with your phone) while stopped at a stoplight.
However, you can use hands-free devices such as Bluetooth earpieces. Although, this exception does not extend to headphones, which are also illegal to use while driving. You may also use your phone in emergency situations, such as reporting crimes, accidents, dangerous road conditions, etc.
2. Seat Belts Are Not Optional, but Shoes Are
We get it, sometimes you’re in a hurry or forget to wear your seatbelt. Sometimes a seatbelt is uncomfortable (like after getting sunburned). However, like most other states in the U.S., Georgia driving laws make wearing your seatbelt mandatory for operating a motor vehicle.
Getting pulled over and being sited for not wearing your seatbelt could result in a $15 fine. If you have a minor in the car not wearing a seatbelt, the fine is $25.
However, if you hate driving with shoes on, you have no need for concern. GA driving laws make it legal to drive without shoes.
3. You’re Required to Have Car Insurance, but Not Adequate Car Insurance
Driving laws in Georgia make car insurance mandatory for operating a motor vehicle. Ironically, however, the minimum insurance requirement isn’t always enough to cover the extent of damages resulting from severe car accidents.
By law, you are required to have a minimum coverage of $50,000 of bodily liability insurance per accident, $25,000 per person, and $25,000 for property damage. If the coverage is surpassed by the damages caused by a driver, the driver can be held personally and financially liable.
If you’ve caused an accident and are being held liable, learn more here about your options.
4. If It’s Raining, Turn on Your Headlights
Another Georgia traffic law you might not know about is that it’s illegal to drive with your headlights off when it’s raining. Common sense tells us that turning on our headlights helps improve our visibility and the visibility of our vehicle to other drivers. However, most people don’t think to turn on their lights during a downpour, especially during the day.
Failing to do so could result in getting pulled over. Headlight violations in Georgia result in a moderate fine and three driver penalty points. A total of 15 penalty points can result in a 24-month driving suspension.
5. Don’t Drive Too Slow
We can all recognize how frustrating it can be to have a slow-moving vehicle clogging up the left passing lane. Apparently, so do Georgia driving laws. In Georgie, it’s illegal to drive too slowly or linger in a passing lane.
Even if you’re driving the speed limit in the left passing lane, you’re required to move over for vehicles traveling faster than you. Also known as the “slow-poke law,” this law was created to prevent excess havoc on the road.
6. But Slow Down for ALL Emergency Vehicles
However, Georgia state driving laws do require you to slow down and move to the opposite side of the road (right or left) for any emergency vehicle pulled over on the shoulder or side of the road. You might be surprised to learn that these include any vehicles with flashing lights, be it orange, red, blue, etc. This includes construction vehicles, garbage trucks, road maintenance vehicles, police vehicles, and emergency medical response vehicles.
This law was established to help prevent the workers associated with these vehicles from being killed by motorists speeding by. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea just to slow down anytime there’s a vehicle or personnel on the side of the road.
7. Intersections With Nonfunctioning Lights Become Four-Way Stops
Georgia driving laws demand that any interaction with downed or malfunctioning traffic lights be treated as four-way stops. This law reduces confusion and unnecessary accidents when drivers are confronted with non-working traffic lights.
However, this can be a little tricky at four-way intersections with multiple lanes of traffic on each side. We recommend approaching with caution and staying alert.
Typically, the first driver to come to a complete stop has the right-of-way. If multiple cars stop simultaneously, the vehicle to the left of the driver on the main road goes first. Then, drivers take turns, moving in a clockwise fashion.
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