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When you’re driving in the United States, it’s essential to know the rules of the road. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, there are specific traffic laws that everyone should know.

In this article, we’ll go through 16 standard road rules in the US that you should know. From speed limits to driving under the influence, we’ll cover everything you need to stay safe on the road.

So whether you’re planning a road trip or just need a refresher, read on for all the information you need!

Rules of the Road in the US: An Overview

1. Stop at Stop Signs

Stop signs are more than just red octagons posted around town. The reality is that a stop sign is a reminder that the driver is responsible for the safety of others on the road. 

Failure to stop for a stop sign is not just a violation of state laws; it’s also a matter of good common sense. When approaching an intersection or a stop sign, the law requires you to slow down and come to a complete stop.

2. Avoid Using Your Cell Phone While Driving

what are the basic rules of the road

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents. And one of the biggest distractions is cell phones. In many states, using a cell phone while driving or even stopping at a red light is illegal. 

If you must answer a call or text, pull over to a safe area and park your car before making or receiving a call or text. 

3. Never Drink and Drive

Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states. Alcohol impairs your vision, judgment, and reaction time, so you mustn’t get behind the wheel after drinking. 

Have a designated driver or use a taxi service to get home safely. Enroll in our 5-hour course to learn more about the relationship between drinking and driving.

4. Always Yield to Pedestrians

driving rules in usa

Pedestrians have the right of way in all 50 states. It means that when a pedestrian is crossing the road, you must yield and stop to let them pass. 

5. Always Use Your Blinker

All drivers must use their turn signal when making turns or changing lanes. It lets other drivers know your intentions so they can take the appropriate action. Before making your turn, always be sure to check your mirrors and use the proper hand signal.

6. Be aware of your surroundings

Always watch your surroundings when driving on a busy street or urban area. When reversing from the parking area, look behind to be sure nothing is in the way to avoid destruction.

Slowly reverse your car from the parking lot since the reverse camera may not show you all blind spots.

7. Always Buckle Up

Seat Belt laws vary from state to state, but in most states, seatbelts are required for everyone inside the car. Seat Belts keep you and your passengers safe in case of a crash.  

Ensure always to buckle up when the vehicle is in motion. 

8. Always Use Your Headlights

In most states, you must use headlights at night or during bad weather. Having your headlights on is important so that other drivers can see you and help you navigate the roads. Sometimes, you may have to use your high beams to see clearly.

9. Never Tailgate

driving rules in USA

Tailgating or driving too close to the car in front of you is one of the most dangerous driving habits. You need to give other drivers a proper amount of space to react or brake in an emergency. 

Depending on the state, tailgating can result in a fine and points on your license. 

10. Never Drive in Bad Weather Conditions

Driving in extreme weather can be dangerous and should be avoided. If the roads are covered with snow and ice, it’s best to stay home and wait for the conditions to improve.

If you must go out, take extra precautions and drive slowly. 

11. Always Respect Police Officers

rules of the road in the US


Every state has laws and guidelines in place to protect the safety of police officers. In some states, it is illegal to interfere or interfere with the duties of an officer. It is also important to remember that they help keep the peace and protect the citizens. 

So, it’s important to always treat them with the respect they deserve. 

12. Never Park in a Handicap Spot

Individuals with valid permits should only use accessible parking spots. These spots are reserved for those with physical disabilities or impairments and are designed to make it easier for them to access the area. 

If you are seen parking in a handicapped spot without a permit, you can expect to receive a fine. 

13. Never Litter

Littering is a severe offense in all 50 states and can lead to hefty fines. If you are seen throwing garbage from your car or the roadside, you can expect to face serious repercussions. 

It’s not only illegal and unsightly, but it’s also bad for the environment. 

14. Never Make an Illegal Turn

Making an illegal turn can involve complex maneuvers and be dangerous for other drivers on the road. Before making any turn, it’s essential to look in all directions and ensure you’re not going to interfere with other drivers.

15. Always Merge Properly

Merging onto a highway can be tricky, so it’s essential to know the proper etiquette. Always check your blind spots, use your turn signal, and yield to those already on the road.

And be sure to keep your speed consistent with traffic flow. 

16. Maintain Correct Speed Limit

Many areas in the US have different speed limits that are usually monitored by radar, posted on signs. Be sure to pay attention to speed signs to avoid getting speeding tickets.

Speed limits range from 65-80 mph in freeways and 25-30 mph in busy cities.


There are a lot of essential rules of the road in the US that everyone should know. Many rules differ from state to state, from seatbelt laws to right-of-way rules. 

So, it’s good to know the laws where you’re traveling. By following these 20 rules of the road in the US, you can drive more safely and confidently.

Taking driving lessons from a reputable driving school in Brooklyn will help you master highway rules and drive safely.