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Drivers of passenger vehicles share the road with many other users. Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, highway workers and persons using a mode of transportation such as a skateboard or scooter in a public way, crosswalk or shoulder of the highway are all vulnerable users of the road. These users of the road are vulnerable because they can be hard to see and may not have protection against injury in a crash. While driving it is important to look for all types of road users.
The term pedestrian refers to all people walking, as well as rolling with skateboards, scooters and wheelchairs, etc. You must stop for pedestrians crossing the road at any marked or unmarked crosswalk. A pedestrian is crossing the road when any part or extension (cane, wheelchair, bicycle, etc.) of the pedestrian moves onto the road.
Stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian crossing in a crosswalk when the pedestrian is:
- In your lane of travel,
- In a lane next to your lane of travel, including a bike lane, or
- In the lane you are turning into.
If you are turning at an intersection that has a traffic signal, before you begin to turn, the pedestrian must be six feet or more from the lane you are turning into.
If you are turning at an intersection that doesn’t have a traffic signal, before you begin to turn, the pedestrian must be past the lane you are turning into, plus the next lane.
Do not pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, it is against the law. The driver may be waiting for a pedestrian to cross the road.
You are not required to stop if the pedestrian is in a crosswalk on the other side of a safety island.
There is a crosswalk at every intersection, even if it is not marked by painted lines. To determine where an unmarked crosswalk is, imagine that a sidewalk or shoulder at the corner extends to the other side. An unmarked crosswalk is at least six feet wide and exists even if there is no sidewalk or shoulder.
A mid-block crosswalk may have a flashing yellow light that indicates a pedestrian is crossing, has finished crossing or is about to cross the road.
It is illegal to overtake and pass from the rear any vehicle stopped for a pedestrian at a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
Do not stop with any portion of your vehicle overhanging the crosswalk area. Blocking a crosswalk forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle and puts them in a dangerous situation. This also limits your visibility to see people attempting to cross from either side of the crosswalk.
If you cross a sidewalk, such as when entering or leaving a parking lot, alley or driveway, stop before reaching the sidewalk and yield to pedestrians and people riding bicycles.
White Canes and Guide Dogs
You must give the right of way to a pedestrian with limited vision or any pedestrian who is blind or deaf and blind carrying a white cane or using a guide dog. Stop if the person is about to cross or is crossing the road. Remain stopped until the person has crossed the entire road, even if you have a green light.
Children at Play
Be extra careful in residential areas and places where children are likely to be, such as a park. Do not drive too close to parked cars that may block your view. Be watchful when backing in or out of a driveway. Children are unpredictable and may be playing or run behind your vehicle.
A school zone is a section of road adjacent to a school or a school crosswalk where signs designate a school zone.
This five-sided sign marks school zones and warns you about school crossings. These signs may display horizontal lines indicating the point at which a crosswalk exists. Two signs may be used together to show the actual location of the crosswalk. These signs will be a yellow color. Actively look for children and be ready to stop.
A school speed zone is an area where a reduced speed of 20 mph applies and is defined by school speed signs. The school speed zone begins at the SCHOOL SPEED LIMIT 20 sign and ends at the END SCHOOL ZONE sign or at another posted speed sign.
School speed zone signs tell you when you must obey the reduced speed limit of 20 mph.
Any time a
yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing it indicates that children are arriving at or leaving school.
Between the hours of
7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a day school is in session. If you are unsure whether or not it is a school day, slow down to 20 mph.
Any day, at
any time children are present. Children are present means:
• Children are waiting at a crosswalk.
• Children are occupying or walking within a crosswalk.
• A traffic patrol member is present to assist children at a crosswalk.
Stop and yield to children when they enter the crosswalk or if a school crossing guard signals you to do so. Remain stopped until the children clear the crosswalk.
People riding bicycles are more difficult to see than other vehicles. They can be hidden in your blind spot and easily missed.
People riding bicycles often react differently to road conditions than drivers of motor vehicles. These conditions could include potholes, glass, litter, storm grates, and railroad tracks, as well as opened doors of parked vehicles. Any of these items could cause a person riding a bicycle to move into your path or to slow down. Give people riding bicycles plenty of room to move around these conditions.
When you approach a person riding a bicycle, be alert and prepare to slow down, if needed. You may not be able to predict a bicyclist’s intentions. As a driver, you need to know the following rules to properly share the road with people riding bicycles:
- Do not drive or park in a bike lane. You may cross a bike lane when turning or when entering or leaving an alley, driveway, or private road.
- Do not move into or travel in a bike lane in preparation for a turn.
- You must yield to people riding bicycles in a bike lane or on a sidewalk before you turn across the lane or sidewalk.
- You must yield to people riding bicycles at intersections the same as you do for other types of vehicles.
- At speeds greater than 35 mph, you may only pass a person riding a bicycle traveling in your lane when it is safe to do so and if you leave enough distance to prevent contact with the person riding a bicycle if they were to fall.
- The same rules for passing other vehicles apply to people riding bicycles. If you cannot pass safely, you must slow down and remain behind the person riding a bicycle until it is safe to pass.
- Operators of motorized wheelchairs, scooters, and personal assistive mobility devices are permitted to use bike lanes and paths. You must yield to these operators as you would a person riding a bicycle.
bike boxes are a green painted box on the road with a white bicycle symbol. Bike lanes approaching and leaving the box may also be green.
As a driver, you must stop for a traffic signal behind the bike box. Do not stop in the box. People riding bicycles will move into the box in front of you at the intersection. No turns are allowed at these intersections when the traffic signal is red. If turning right on a green light, you must signal and yield to people riding bicycles on the right.
sharrow indicates that the lane is shared and people riding bicycles may be in the road. It is indicated by two chevrons above a bicycle symbol painted on the road.
A motorcycle or moped is more difficult to see than other vehicles. They can be hidden in your blind spot and easily missed.
It can be difficult to judge how far away a person riding a motorcycle is or how fast it is going. You must yield to an oncoming person on a motorcycle just as you would any other type of vehicle. It is safest to wait until they pass to make a turn. When following a person riding a motorcycle, allow more distance between your vehicle and the person on a motorcycle than you would another car.
Turn signals do not automatically cancel on some motorcycles and the rider may forget to turn the signal off. Before you make a turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle that has its turn signal on, be sure the rider is actually slowing to turn rather than riding with their signal on by mistake.
It is against the law to share a lane with a person riding a motorcycle or moped. When passing, you must allow them a full lane.
Weather and road conditions may impact people riding motorcycles and mopeds more than other vehicles. Strong winds can move a motorcycle out of its lane of travel. Road surfaces such as gravel, debris, pavement seams, grooved pavement and manhole covers may cause people riding motorcycles to change speed or direction. Increase your following distance.
Large vehicles such as recreational vehicles, vehicles towing trailers, trucks and commercial buses take longer to accelerate and require more room to maneuver. These vehicles take about three times the distance to stop than smaller vehicles traveling at the same speed. Keep the following in mind when sharing the road with large vehicles:
Side blind spots - Large vehicles have larger blind spots on both sides of their vehicles than smaller vehicles. If you can’t see the driver in the side mirror of the large vehicle, the driver can’t see you.
Rear blind spot - Large vehicles have a deep blind spot directly behind them where the driver cannot see your vehicle. You also severely reduce your own view when following too closely. Do not pull up too close behind a stopped large vehicle as it may roll back slightly when starting forward.
Unsafe passing -
It takes longer to pass a large vehicle. Complete your pass as quickly as possible and don’t stay alongside the vehicle. It is dangerous to stay in a blind spot too long because the driver doesn’t know you’re there. Look for the entire front of the vehicle in your rearview mirror before pulling in front.
If there is water on the road, the spray from a large vehicle will seriously reduce your vision. You should keep as far away from the vehicle as you can, while staying in your lane.
Turns - Large vehicles often cannot see vehicles directly behind or beside them when they are attempting to negotiate a turn. Observe their turn signals. Do not cut in between a large vehicle and the curb or shoulder. Large vehicles may need to swing wide and use more than one lane to start or finish a turn. Be aware of long loads that may extend into adjacent lanes during a turn. When you see a large vehicle making a turn, do not crowd the intersection; allow it to complete the turn.
Backing - When a large vehicle is backing, it may need to block the street to maneuver. Never cross behind a large vehicle that is preparing to back up or is in the process of backing.
Hills or mountain roads - Large vehicles cannot maintain speed when climbing hills and must go slowly down hills to stay under control. Smoking wheels or a high speed can be a sign of brake loss. If you encounter this situation, leave more space and do not pass.
Pilot vehicles are specially marked vehicles that lead or follow a vehicle carrying an especially large load.
- If you see a pilot vehicle in oncoming traffic, reduce your speed and position your vehicle as far to the right as possible, while staying in your lane.
- If you are following a pilot vehicle, increase your following distance.
- Be cautious when you pass a pilot vehicle or the vehicle with the large load.
School buses have flashing amber and red lights near the top of the bus on the front and rear. They may be equipped with a stop arm that extends from the bus near the driver’s window when the red lights begin to flash.
Flashing amber lights warn traffic that the bus is about to stop on the road to load or unload children. Prepare to stop. When the red lights flash, stop before reaching the bus and remain stopped until the driver turns off the flashing red lights.
If you are on a divided highway with two roads separated by an unpaved median strip or barrier, you must stop only if you are on the same side of the road as the bus.
A painted median strip or turn lane does not create two separate roads. In this case, all lanes of traffic must stop.
Place of Worship or Worker Buses
Flashing amber and red lights are permitted on place of worship and worker transport buses. If the bus turns on flashing amber or red lights, you must treat these lights the same as you would a school bus.
Public Transit Buses
Public transit buses often pull to a curb to load or unload passengers. Vehicles approaching from the rear must yield when a bus driver signals to re-enter a traffic lane and there is an electric sign flashing “yield” on the back of the bus.
Slow Moving Vehicles
Slow moving vehicles, such as farm equipment, must display the SLOW MOVING VEHICLE emblem when using a public highway. The emblem contains a reflective, red border and a fluorescent orange center. Be prepared to slow down or adjust your position when you see this sign.
Over-Length and Over-Width Loads
A red flag, at least 12 inches square, must be shown at the end of any load that extends 4 feet or more beyond the rear of the vehicle. A red light, visible for 500 feet to the rear and sides, must replace the red flag when limited visibility conditions exist.
Passenger vehicles must not carry loads that extend beyond the sides of the fenders on the left side. Loads may not extend more than 6 inches beyond the sides of the right fenders. Loads may not extend more than 4 feet in front of any vehicle.
Funeral processions are exempt from certain rules of the road. Vehicles in a funeral procession may enter an intersection without stopping and do not have to obey traffic control devices. Other vehicles must yield right of way to funeral processions.
If you are not a member of the funeral procession, it is against the law for you to join or drive between vehicles in the procession.
If you are on a road with two or more lanes of traffic going the same direction and you approach any motor vehicle that is stopped with lights flashing, you must change lanes so you do not drive next to the stopped vehicle or reduce your speed by at least 5 miles per hour under the posted speed limit. Allow the stopped vehicle as much room as safely possible.
When you approach emergency scenes, slow down and be prepared to stop. Do not drive over unprotected fire hoses unless directed to do so by a fire department official or police officer at the scene.
You must yield right of way to emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, police vehicles, and ambulances, when they approach from any direction using a light or siren.
When you see or hear an emergency vehicle warning, you must immediately drive as close as you safely can to the right side of the road and stop. Do not stop in an intersection. Do not drive or stop in a way that interferes with these vehicles. Stay stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed or until a police officer tells you to move.
After the emergency vehicle passes, you must stay at least 500 feet behind the vehicle.
On flashing lights, sounding their siren or both. If you are stopped:
- Drive as close as you safely can to the right side of the road, stop and turn off the engine. Do not stop in an intersection or pull into the center median of a highway.
- Limit your movements and those of any passengers.
- Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Passengers should keep their hands in plain view.
- Show your driving privilege and/or vehicle registration only when requested.
- Stay in your vehicle. Do not get out unless requested.
- If it is dark, turn on the vehicle’s interior light after stopping and
- before the officer approaches.
- Do not argue with the officer at the scene. Traffic violations and traffic crimes charged against you are decided in court.
Driving through a
work zone can be challenging. Roadway workers and equipment may be close to traffic. Vehicles may enter the road and cause unexpected slowing in these areas.
Work zones can change the flow of traffic.
Orange signs, lane markings, drums, cones, barricades, or flaggers will guide you safely through the work area. Slow down and pay attention.
Work zones may have
temporary speeds posted that apply whether or not workers are present. The work zone speed applies until you see a sign indicating the end of the work zone or another posted speed.
There may be
fewer lanes or the lanes may narrow. White lines or temporary markers separate lanes going in the same direction. Yellow lines or temporary markers separate lanes going in opposite directions.
A sign for a flagger ahead may show a symbol of a flagger holding a sign or the words: “FLAGGER AHEAD.” Flaggers use signs and hand signals to tell you which direction to travel, to slow down, or stop. Follow their instructions and obey them as you would any other traffic control device.
Work zones may have temporary speeds posted that apply :
- When workers are present.
- At all times.
- At night.
When on a 4-lane road with a painted median or turn lane and a school bus is stopped with flashing red lights:
- Traffic in all lanes must stop.
- Traffic behind the bus must stop.
- No traffic needs to stop.
If a large vehicle swings left but has their right turn signal on and you are also turning right:
- Stay beside the large vehicle on the right.
- Wait until the large vehicle turns before you turn right.
- Squeeze between the large vehicle and the curb.
A person on a bicycle is riding in front of you within a travel lane. You are driving 45 mph and your lane is marked with a broken yellow center line. You:
- Can pass to the left if you leave enough distance to prevent contact with the person riding a bicycle if they fall into your lane.
- Need to roll down your window and get their attention then tell them to move out of the travel lane so you can pass safely.
- Cannot pass the person riding a bicycle at any time.
When starting through an intersection and you see an ambulance behind you, you must:
- Stop in the intersection and allow the ambulance to go around.
- Pull to the right in the intersection and stop.
- Drive through the intersection, pull to the right and stop.