Driving tends to be a relatively routine experience. After passing the driving exam, most drivers never look at the South Carolina DMV Handbook again. As such, unless you were recently pulled over, you probably weren’t aware of some of the lesser-known rules controlling South Carolina’s roadways.
However, saying “I forgot” or “I didn’t know” is not going to be a good enough excuse to get you out of a ticket if you ever get stopped. Knowing these laws can also be beneficial if you need to hold another driver accountable for causing an accident. To make sure you’re prepared, here is a quick refresher course on a few “weird” laws in South Carolina.
Passing is Prohibited in Highway Work Zones
S.C. Ann §56-5-1895 states that “No vehicle may be driven so as to overtake and pass another vehicle in a highway work zone where road maintenance or construction work is underway and passing would be hazardous to the highway worker.”
We have all made fun of the six guys holding up shovels while one guy works in the ditch―but think about whether you would like to work with your back to traffic traveling at 70 MPH while trying to perform your job. While this statute may seem like just more government bureaucracy, highway workers already operate under dangerous conditions, so this law makes perfect sense.
Changing lanes and the relative speeds of vehicles are often the cause of accidents, and highway workers focusing on their job are especially vulnerable as unprotected pedestrians. Nevertheless, passing in work zones occurs routinely. Next time you get the urge to pass, think about the guy in the ditch working to keep our roads safe. Let ‘em work, let ‘em live. (Also, keep in mind that tickets in work zones often come with hefty fines.)
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It is Illegal to Cruise in the Left Lane
S.C. Ann §56-5-1810 states, “Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane…”
Nobody is trying to hit you with a fine for driving the speed limit, but trust me, if you are driving slowly in the left lane, some drivers may consider hitting you with the “bird.” You may want to right the wrongs of this world and keep everybody at a safe speed, but camping out in the fast lane may not be your best means of protest. The left lane is intended to be used only for passing or turning left. When drivers follow this rule correctly, traffic flow will increase drastically, and the only birds you will see flying will be in the air.
Inappropriate Bumper Stickers are Prohibited
S.C. Ann § 56-5-3885 states, “No person may operate a motor vehicle in this State which has affixed or attached to any part of the motor vehicle which is visible to members of the public not occupying the vehicle any sticker, decal, emblem, or other device containing obscene or indecent words, photographs, or depictions.”
A quality joke on a bumper sticker is always appreciated, but taking it too far could land you a ticket. While this weirder South Carolina law is rarely enforced, bumper stickers displaying obscene images, private parts, or profanity are subject to a ticket. Besides, nobody wants to see that. Think of the kids, will you?
The enforcement of this law is purely up to the officer’s discretion, so just hope that the officer behind you has a good sense of humor. It is always safe to assume that the officer will not be amused, so keep your “special” memes to your texts and emails. Otherwise, you may end up paying for more than that broken taillight.
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Drivers Must Move Over or Slow Down for Stopped Emergency Vehicles
S.C. Ann § 56-5-1538 states, “Drivers approaching a temporary work zone or an emergency scene are required by law to: Yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the temporary work vehicle or equipment if on a highway with at least four lanes, with at least two lanes proceeding in the same direction.”
When they see that law enforcement has already stopped somebody on the side of the road, some might think they get a free pass to inch the speedometer up a few ticks. However, if you want to avoid a hefty surcharge on your speeding ticket, you may want to rethink your situation.
When an emergency vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road with its lights on, drivers are required to:
- Move to the far lane if possible
- Slow down to a reasonable speed if moving over is not possible
When stopped on the side of the road, first responders are often dangerously close to moving traffic. This law serves to protect the people who are fighting to protect us, so slow your roll and give them a little room to breathe. Besides, you may avoid making the evening news as the guy who drives into the back of a trooper’s car.
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Headlights Must Be Turned on if it is Raining
S.C. Ann §56-5-4450 states, “Every vehicle upon a street or highway within this State shall display lighted lamps and illuminating devices, excluding parking lights, from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise, and at any other time when windshield wipers are in use as a result of rain, sleet, or snow, or when inclement weather or environmental factors severely reduce the ability to clearly discern persons and vehicles…”
Rain and hazardous weather drastically reduce visibility while driving, making it difficult to see that car approaching you on an overcast day. For some, this law seems like common sense―yet, accidents due to bad weather are not uncommon. Drivers often neglect to turn their lights on in hazardous weather simply because it is daytime.
Turning on your lights could mean the difference between making it home to watch the Clemson game or ending up injured at the emergency room. More importantly, having your lights on could help you catch a glimpse of the elusive North American Sasquatch.
If Another Driver Caused Your Accident, our Firm Can Help You Prove it
Unfortunately, even when you follow South Carolina’s weirdest traffic laws while behind the wheel, it does not guarantee that you won’t end up in an accident. If another driver broke the law or otherwise drove negligently and caused your collision, our firm can help you hold them responsible.
In Greenville, you could file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver to seek compensation for your damages. A personal injury lawyer from our team could use evidence that they violated a traffic law like those we outlined above to support your claim. If such evidence is available, we will build a case that proves their liability for your collision. At no upfront cost to you, we will:
- Investigate the collision and use evidence to find out what likely happened and who was involved
- Record the physical, emotional, and financial damages you have suffered due to your injuries to determine their overall value
- Advise you of your legal options for seeking compensation
- Notify and negotiate with the liable party and their insurer
- Prepare you and your case for court, should a settlement be unreachable
Whether we seek a settlement or a court verdict, our firm’s priority is to look out for your best interests and help you secure compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Call the Attorneys at Hammack Law Firm for Support After Your Traffic Accident
To make our services as accessible as possible, we offer initial consultations for free. Our Client Bill of Rights also offers a 30-day unconditional satisfaction guarantee—no costs and no fees. We serve our Greenville clients in all areas of personal injury, including auto, motorcycle, truck, and boating accidents.
To hire an attorney from our Greenville personal injury law firm, contact us online or call (864) 326-3333 for your complimentary case review now.