Are you planning on taking a trip to the “Lone Star State” anytime soon? Maybe you’re going for some delicious BBQ, live music, or just looking for some hot weather.
Regardless of your trip, if you’re going to be driving in Texas anytime soon, then many driving laws would be helpful to know. There are some laws that Texas can be a bit more lenient towards, while others are taken very strictly. You will want to make sure you know Texas driving laws before traveling there.
Keep reading for ten Texas driving laws you need to know while traveling.
1. Click It or Ticket
In 2002, the Click It or Ticket campaign was launched urging Texans to buckle up. This should be an obvious law that you follow because seat belts save lives. When you’re wearing a seat belt you are 40-65% more likely to survive a crash.
If you’re pulled over for not wearing a seat belt, then you could be charged around $200 in court fees and fines. This is a huge chunk of money that you could avoid paying if you just buckle up day and night.
As the driver, you are also responsible for your passengers to buckle up as well.
2. Cell Phone Use While Driving
In 2017, the Texas legislature passed a ban on all cell phone use while driving. It is illegal for a driver to text, email, or even operate a phone while driving in Texas. Distracted driving is dangerous and much more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
For first time offenders, you will be looking at a $25-$99 fine and for repeat offenders, the fine is between $100-$200. You could also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if a serious injury or death occurs from distracted driving. This means that you could be charged up to $4,000 and spend time in jail.
3. Flashing Yellow Arrow
A flashing yellow arrow in Texas means that you must yield to oncoming traffic before making a left turn. This was introduced a few years ago and has proven to be a safer, more efficient, and a more consistent approach for the left turn lane.
The reason the flashing yellow arrow was introduced was that drivers in the left turn lane would think that it was okay to turn left if their signal was turning yellow because oncoming traffic should be slowing down and stopping. But the oncoming traffic still had a green light which would result in the driver getting T-boned.
The flashing yellow arrow may be new to you if you’re not from Texas so make sure you understand the significance before making your trip.
4. DWI in Texas
Texas is serious about driving while intoxicated, DWI, and if you’re arrested for a DWI you should contact a skilled DWI attorney right away. A DWI overview is that your blood alcohol contact is above .08. Texas is very strict so even if you seem to be impaired physically or mentally because of alcohol you could be charged regardless of your BAC.
Your first DWI will be considered a Class B misdemeanor and you will face up to 3 to 180 days in jail, fines up to $2,000, as well as a suspended license for 90-365 days. For second-time offenders, the charges are even higher. If you’re caught for the third time driving while intoxicated, then you could be serving 10 years in jail and being charged with a felony.
5. Follow All Traffic Signals
In Texas, there are red-light cameras that are used to moderate traffic when a police officer is not present. This means that you should always be following all traffic signals unless you want to receive a ticket in the mail. Make sure you’re not running any red lights and yielding when necessary.
6. Have a Valid Driver’s License
If you plan to get behind the wheel, then you need a valid driver’s license. Driving without one and getting caught can result in fines up to $200 and increase every time you’re caught.
7. Choose a Safe Speed
Excessive speeding is one of the easiest traffic laws to break so you should always be paying attention to the posted signs. For a first time speeding offense, the fine can be up to $200.
In Texas, there is a presumed speed limit law which means that you can drive over the posted speed as long as you are driving safely. If you’re driving in Texas, then you should become a more conscious and safer driver so you can keep up with the traffic around you.
8. Turn On Your Headlights
At night time in Texas, you should always be using your headlights. If you find that visibility is low, then you should also have your headlights on so driving is easier. Using headlights make the roads safer for you as well as the other drivers and pedestrians.
A good way to remember when to turn your headlights on is 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Driving with your headlights on makes driving safer and helps you avoid receiving a ticket along with fines you will have to pay.
9. U-Turns in Texas
Depending on where you’re from, you may be surprised that Texas is more lenient when it comes to making a U-turn. As long as you have 500-feet in front of you and behind you, then you are able to make a U-turn. If you cannot safely and successfully make a U-turn, then do not do it.
The number one rule to know in Texas is to drive safely. By making an unsafe U-turn a police officer is more likely to give you a ticket for reckless driving.
10. Reckless Driving
Overall, Texas wants you to be a safe driver so if you’re caught driving recklessly, then the fines and penalties can be extremely harsh and high. Reckless driving means that you’re purposefully disregarding the safety of others driving, their property, or pedestrians.
The penalties for being caught reckless driving depend on what occurred and can be a Class B misdemeanor or Class C misdemeanor. You could be charged with $200 in fines and face up to 30 days in jail.
Texas Driving Laws
Overall, Texas driving laws just want you to be safe and consider others while driving. If you plan to travel to Texas anytime soon, then you should brush up on all the dos and don’ts of Texas driving laws.
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