Common Misconceptions About South Carolina Traffic Laws
Either due to a lack of education or simple misunderstandings, there are certain traffic laws that many people in South Carolina do not know. In order to avoid a traffic ticket or a crash, it is imperative to have a clear understanding of how the laws apply to you when you are behind the wheel. Here are several traffic laws you may need a refresher on:
Sharing the Road
Ask just about any bicyclist, and he or she will tell you that drivers often honk or yell for the biker to get on the sidewalk. However, the law clearly states that vehicles must share the road with people on bicycles. That includes giving the cyclist plenty of space to maintain safety. At the same time, cyclists are not permitted to ride side-by-side and must obey traffic laws as if they were in a vehicle.
Use Your Turn Signal
In South Carolina, drivers are required to turn on the turn signal at least 100 feet ahead of time. This gives motorists behind and around you enough time to adjust their driving. Failing to use a turn signal appropriately is a ticketable offense.
Texting at a Red Light Is Permitted
South Carolina does ban texting for all drivers except when the vehicle is at a full legal stop, such as at a red light. Keep in mind that any distractions in the vehicle can be dangerous, but law enforcement cannot write you a ticket if you were using your phone at a red light.
Seatbelt Laws Are Primary
Everyone in a vehicle must have the proper safety belt on while the vehicle is in use. The driver is responsible for anyone 17 years or younger unless the person has a driver’s license or permit. Anyone older than that is responsible for his or her own safety. As a primary offense, a driver or occupant not wearing a seatbelt is the only reason a law enforcement officer needs to pull over a vehicle.
Driving With a Pet Can Be a Distraction
It is legal to drive with an animal in your lap. However, if a law enforcement officer feels the animal distracted you and was the reason you drove recklessly or caused an accident, you could receive a citation for negligence or another charge.
Knowing the laws is essential for anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP we have seen firsthand how ignorance is not a viable defense. However, there are ways to protect yourself from losing your license or going to jail for traffic offenses. Our attorneys can review your case to see how we may be able to help you.