Texas Rules of the Road
To maintain order on the road, rules must be implemented for people to follow. Road signs and signals are placed to remind drivers of these rules; however, it is ultimately up to the driver to know how to follow the guidelines and rules of the road. Obeying the speed limit, stopping at stoplights, and following regulatory and warning signs are crucial, but there are many other road rules that drivers must abide by as well. Below you will find a wealth of knowledge on Texas road rules that go beyond your basic speed limit and stop sign regulations.
Fundamental Texas Road Rules
Right of Way – Yielding to Others
The right of way is there to organize who is responsible for yielding to others; however, this road rule is not always practiced. Therefore, it is important to understand that the right of way should not be assumed – even if you should have the right of way it is important to be cautious of others who mistakenly take it for their own. Drivers can avoid confusion and accidents by becoming familiar with yielding rules.
When to Yield:
- When turning left and other cars are coming straight from the other direction
- Yield to pedestrians and vehicles when entering a road from a private path, alley, building or driveway
- When approaching a T-Intersection, yield to traffic on the through street
- When leaving or entering a controlled-access highway
- At railroad crossings
- When pedestrians are present
- When a school bus is flashing red lights
- When emergency vehicles have their lights or sirens on (If possible pull off to the right edge of the road and stop)
Signaling- Make Your Actions Known
Driving is a communal effort because it involves your own behavior as well as the actions of those around you who are driving. Therefore, a good driver must be aware of factors outside the vehicle and let others be aware of his or her own actions as well.
Avoid crashes and allow other drivers to plan ahead by signaling when:
- Changing lanes
- Making a turn
- Pulling away from a parallel parking space
- Slowing down or coming to a stop
Pavement Markings- Let Them be Your Guide
Pavement markings are used to direct drivers and regulate traffic. Each marking has its own purpose; following these rules prevents confusion and chaos.
Pavement Markings and their Meaning:
- Solid Yellow Line – if on your side of the road (the opposing lane should have a broken yellow line), this line indicates a “no-passing zone”
- Double Yellow Line – crossing these lines is prohibited
- Broken Yellow Line- drivers are only allowed to cross a broken yellow line when passing another vehicle, if the conditions are safe (These are usually found on a two-lane rural road with two-way traffic)
- Broken White Line – drivers may drive in any lane marked with these lines
- Solid White Lines- indicate pavement edge lines, shoulder marking, transitions, and lane use control. Drivers should avoid crossing these lines.
- Crosswalks – drivers must stop before the crosswalk where white lines are painted and no signals are present, as well as when traffic signs, signals, or pedestrians are present.
- White Stop Lines – drivers must stop before the white line
- Left Turn Lane Only – this lane should only be entered when the vehicle can safely slow down and stop to make a left turn. It is usually bordered with a solid yellow line on each side with two broken white lines on the inside.
Texas road rules require that seat belts be worn at all times. This law is implemented to ensure the safety for those in the vehicle; therefore, it is important to make sure that the driver and all passengers are properly secured before turning on the engine.
Requirements for vehicles equipped with seat belts:
Children who are under 8 years old and less than 4’9” in height are to be fastened in a child passenger safety seat.
Drivers and adult passengers along with children who are at least 8 but taller than 4’9” in height must wear seat belts.
Specifics Cases on the Road
Driving at night is more dangerous than during daylight hours. Because of this, it is important that drivers take the necessary precautions to avoid errors that may occur on the road. Since darkness impairs vision, it is important that drivers are on high alert. It is especially important that you refrain from operating a vehicle when tired.
Headlight Rules for Night Driving:
- Drivers must use headlights 30 minutes after sunset and may turn them off 30 minutes before sunrise
- If using your high beams, dim headlights within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle or when following within 300 feet of another vehicle
- Avoid looking directly into headlights because it can obstruct your own vision
When Pulled Over
If you are pulled over for violating Texas road rules, follow these steps:
- Pull the vehicle safely to the right as soon as possible (if there is no shoulder, drive ahead until you find a safe place to stop) and bring it to a complete stop
- Place the vehicle in a fully parked position and turn off the car
- Activate the hazard lights on the vehicle
- Lower the driver window and wait for instruction from law enforcement
Ready to Hit the Road
Having an understanding of Texas road rules can mean the difference between a smooth drive and a ticket—or possibly something worse. Being a conscientious driver helps ensure safe roadways and encourages respect among the drivers around you. These are basic Texas driving laws that are typically covered in Texas driver education online courses. Remember this and hit the road!