Driving 101

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Driving well involves more than obeying the posted speed. People often break traffic laws without thinking (or knowing). Keep it street legal by adhering to the following advice:

Send a signal.

Use your turn signal when turning and changing lanes, especially when driving ahead of a patrol car.

Crossing paths.

Change lanes before or after — never during — an intersection.

Straight ticket.

At a turnaround, don’t attempt to proceed straight through on a red light (across all lanes into a parking lot, for example). Although it’s legal to make a left-hand turn at a turnaround when the signal is red, you must wait for a green light if attempting to cross to the other side of the thoroughfare. (FYI: According to MDOT, “Michigan lefts” are safer and less congested than direct-left turns. In areas where they’ve been added, overall crashes have been reduced by 30 to 60 percent.)

Dead center.

Don’t use the center turn lane as a merging lane when turning onto a road. This common practice could earn you a ticket.

Amber alert.

Don’t run a yellow light. The law permits passing through yellows only if it’s unsafe to brake otherwise. (Unless it’s during a flashing yellow arrow on the new left-turn signals appearing around town. These new signals have proved safer than the flashing red lights, and will soon replace all of them — as mandated by federal law.)

Right-of-way.

Stick to the right lane when there isn’t any traffic around. The left lane is for passing and preparing for left-hand turns. On a three- or more-lane freeway, while it’s not the law, leave the left lane for passing, too.

Save your LOLs for L8ER.

Don’t text while driving. Although some municipalities (Troy, for example) have passed tougher laws banning almost anything that can be deemed a distraction while driving, texting while driving is illegal throughout Michigan and in 29 other states.

Buckle up.

By law, all front-seat passengers must wear seat belts, regardless of age. In the rear seat, children ages 4 to 15 are required to. (Children under 4 must be in a child-safety seat regardless of where they are in the car). But really, everyone should click it, irrespective of age.

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