Driving while talking on phone - photo by ishtygashev
Driving to another state often means different driving laws. Just because something is legal in your home state, it doesn’t mean it is OK everywhere else.

To avoid unnecessary tickets and points on your driving record you should, at least, be aware of the following:

  • Safety belts: The laws vary by state and sometimes even by municipalities. In some states you can be pulled over just for not being buckled up. Other states treat this as a secondary offense, meaning you must pulled over for a different reason before you can be charged with this offense. To be on the safe side, always ask passengers in front seats and back seats to use their safety belts.

  • Text messaging: A large number of states now ban texting. This distraction is dangerous and your messages can wait.

  • Cell phone usage: If you learned to stay away from your phone while driving, you are good! Otherwise, you need to check the laws in the state you are visiting. The laws vary greatly. Many ban handheld phones, but allow usage of a handsfree device. A state like Texas, ban the usage in school zones. Remember, the laws also change quickly. What was allowed yesterday may not be allowed today.

  • Red arrows: In many states the red arrow is treated just like a circular red signal. Turning against the red arrow is allowed – when safe. Other states do not allow turning against a red arrow. New York City ban all turning against a red light.

  • Parking: Parking rules are similar between states, but not identical. Always make sure you do not obstruct traffic or block driveways, signs, signals, crosswalks, or access to sidewalks. Try to park in designated parking spaces if you are not sure about the rules.

  • Accident Reports:If you are involved in an accident always make sure you are aware of your responsibilities. Ask an investigating officer if you need to file a report.

Always carry your driver’s license, insurance card and registration documents. Resident aliens must carry their valid green card at all times.