Although it seems anyone with a driver’s license should be aware of basic traffic laws, there are some laws that aren’t as obvious.
Traffic laws vary from state to state, but drivers should be aware of the laws in the state of which they primarily reside.
Here’s a rundown of 13 South Carolina driving laws you might not be aware of:
1. If another person is waving for you to pull out into a roadway and you cannot see what is coming, you are the one at fault if an accident occurs. Always make sure YOU can see that the roadway is clear before pulling out.
2. Having your dog sit in your lap isn’t illegal, but it could kill the animal if the airbag deploys. Having your precious pet between you and steering wheel could also cause a distraction which could lead to other charges if a wreck happens.
3. All drivers are required to share the road with bicyclists. Just think of them as slower cars —with 2 wheels. They still have to be treated like any other car on the road to avoid accidents.
4. Be careful as to what you advertise on your car—vulgar or obscene bumper stickers or decals could land you a whopping fine. While it may be humorous to some, it’s probably offensive to most.
5. It IS legal to wear headphones and earbuds while driving—in South Carolina. Other states have laws against it. However, take into consideration that if an accident occurs, it could be considered a “distraction” since you can’t hear noises or emergency vehicles.
6. Turning your blinker on right as you’re turning is NOT ok. The law says you must signal at least 100 feet prior to making your turn so cars behind you are aware of the turn.
7. If your blinker goes out, it IS legal to use hand turn signals the same as you would your regular blinker.
8. Texting is ILLEGAL while driving in certain cities South Carolina. If you are stopped at a light or otherwise stationary, you probably won't be ticketed. However, texting while actively driving is strictly prohibited in many areas throughout the state, including Charleston.
9. Did you know if your windshield wipers are on, you’re required to have your headlights on too? This is so other drivers can see you through the rain, which can cause low visibility.
10. It is 100% illegal to pull straight out of a place of business onto a public roadway without stopping. Even if there is no stop sign, it is still your responsibility to completely stop and make sure the roadway is clear before pulling out.
11. If you are the driver of a car, it is illegal to watch a video or movie. That is why car TV screens are generally located in the back of the headrests. Having an iPad or movie playing on your cell phone in your lap is ILLEGAL.
12. Open containers of alcohol are strictly PROHIBITED inside of a vehicle. That means, NO ONE can have possession of an open container, not even passengers.
13. Most people know this one, but just a reminder: Seatbelts are the law in South Carolina. If you aren’t wearing your seatbelt, you will be fined if pulled over.
There are many other driving laws in South Carolina, but these are just a few that may have slipped your mind. If you question whether something you are doing while driving is illegal, chances are, it is. Stay safe, South Carolinians, and abide all traffic laws to ensure everyone’s safety!