Are you aware that you can be charged for violating laws you were not even aware existed? There is a good chance that you unintentionally break several laws every month.
The Georgia Department of Transportation pulls over drivers for violating unknown laws every day, despite the fact that some of these laws are barely enforced (like stealing Wi-Fi).
The defense of ignorance is not generally accepted in courtrooms. If you violate Georgia driving laws, even if by mistake, it’s unlikely you’ll get a warning from a law enforcement officer.
What Every Georgian Should Know About Driving Laws
Keeping your lane and driving the speed limit seem obvious, but you might not be aware of some other Georgia driving laws.
Did you know that if you’re riding a bicycle, it’s considered a vehicle, and therefore you are the driver? In other words, all laws that apply to motor vehicles and their drivers also apply to cyclists. It goes without saying that bicyclists must wear seatbelts while on the road. And yes, it sounds ridiculous.
You may not be aware of some of the interesting (and significant) driving laws in Georgia. Keep reading to find out more.
1. (Almost) no electronic devices are allowed while driving
Drivers in Georgia have pretty strict laws regarding hands-free driving, but that’s not without reason. Approximately 400,000 U.S. drivers were injured by distracted driving in 2018.
While operating a motor vehicle, holding any electronic device is prohibited by Georgia traffic laws. If you’re stopped at a stoplight and you’re using your phone, it’s illegal to text someone (or to do anything else on your phone).
In addition, Bluetooth earpieces can be used for hands-free communication. Despite this, headphones are also illegal to use while driving, so this exception does not apply to them. As well as reporting crimes, accidents, hazardous road conditions, or other emergencies, you can also use your phone in emergency situations.
2. Shoes are optional, but seat belts are not
It’s understandable that you sometimes forget to put your seatbelt on. There are times when wearing a seatbelt can be uncomfortable (such as after getting sunburnt). In Georgia, however, wearing your seatbelt is mandatory when operating a vehicle, just like in most other states in the country.
You could be fined $15 if pulled over and found not to be wearing your seatbelt. Minors who do not wear seatbelts in a car will have to pay a $25 fine.
You do not need to worry if, however, you do not like driving with shoes on. There is no requirement to wear shoes when driving in Georgia.
3. There is a requirement for car insurance, but no matter how adequate
The law in Georgia requires that all motor vehicle operators carry car insurance. A severe car accident, however, can result in severe damages that exceed the minimum insurance requirement.
In order to be legally required to have bodily liability insurance, you must have at least $50,000 per accident, $25,000 per person, and $25,000 for property damage. A driver may be held financially and personally responsible if the damages he or she causes exceed the coverage.
Get more information from the best Georgia DUI lawyer on your options if you have caused an accident and have been held responsible.
4. Make sure your headlights are on when it’s raining
Georgia traffic law prohibits driving without headlights when it’s raining, another law you might not be aware of. A simple rule of thumb is that turning on your headlights improves your visibility and the visibility of your vehicle to other drivers. In spite of this, most people do not turn on their lights during a downpour, especially in the middle of the day.
In the event that this is not done, you could be pulled over. Drivers in Georgia who violate their headlights are subject to a moderate fine and three points. An individual who accumulates 15 penalty points can be suspended for 24 months.
5. Don’t drive too slowly
I’m sure everyone can sympathize with the frustration of being stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. According to Georgia’s driving laws, this is also true. Georgie has a law that prohibits drivers from driving too slowly or staying in passing lanes for too long.
The speed limit doesn’t matter if you’re driving in the left passing lane at the speed limit. You’re required to move over if a vehicle is traveling faster than you. It was designed to prevent excess havoc on the road, hence the name “slow-poke law.”
6. In all emergency situations, slow down
If you see an emergency vehicle pulling over on the shoulder or side of the road, you should slow down and move to the right or left side of the road. The list includes any vehicle that flashes its lights, be it orange, red, blue, or any other color. A construction vehicle, a garbage truck, a road maintenance vehicle, a police car, or a medical provider response vehicle falls into this category.
In order to prevent motorists from speeding past these vehicles and killing the workers associated with them, this law was passed. Whenever a vehicle or person is on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to slow down.
7. Non-functioning intersections become four-way stops
A four-way stop is required when there is an interaction with a downed or malfunctioning traffic light in Georgia. Drivers who encounter non-working traffic lights are less likely to become confused and cause unnecessary accidents.
When there are multiple lanes of traffic on every side of a four-way intersection, it can be a little tricky. Stay alert and cautious when approaching.
A driver has the right of way if he or she comes to a complete stop first. Vehicles stopping on the main road to the left of the driver go first if there are multiple vehicles stopping simultaneously. Next, drivers move clockwise, taking turns.
In conclusion, Georgia has some pretty unique driving laws. For example, if you’re pulled over for speeding, you have to pay the fine before you leave the scene. And if you’re caught using a cell phone while driving, you could face a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. But hey, that’s why they call it “the Peach State.”