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15 Things You Didn’t Know Were Illegal To Do While Driving

Education | 06/16/2023 20:42
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We drive all of the time, and we think we know the rules, right? But it turns out there are actually a lot of rules out there that not everyone knows (and that many of us break all of the time!) 

Here are 15 things that are illegal to do while driving (that a lot of us actually do).

woman sitting in passengers seat of blue Volkswagen Beetle and performing peace sign

1 - Using your fog lights when the weather is clear.

A lot of people like to keep their fog lights on at all times, but this is actually illegal to do in many states and can result in a fine if a cop chooses to pull you over. There are 26 states where this is illegal including California, Texas, and Virginia.


2 - Not moving over in an emergency situation.

We’ve all seen an accident on the side of the road with emergency vehicles. The safest thing you can do is pass by one lane over to give ample space for emergency workers. If you fail to move over one lane it is illegal in 43 states under “Move Over” laws. Gawking and getting in the way can result in additional accidents. 


3 - Using a cellphone.

We know that it’s illegal to make calls while holding the phone up to your ear. But it’s illegal to handle your cellphone at all while driving, even if you are just looking at directions. Mounting your phone to your dash will help you avoid handling your phone and becoming distracted. 


4 - Driving with your hazards on.

When it’s raining many people drive with their hazards on to signal to other drivers that they are going slower. But in many states this is illegal. Think of it this way: when it’s raining you have poor visibility and you may see a car pulled over with their hazards on. You go to approach and pass them, only to find out they are actually driving. This can create a dangerous situation. Hazards are meant to signal that you are pulled over, not that you are merely driving slow. It’s illegal in many states including New York and North Carolina.

5 - Driving with a cracked windshield.

A cracked windshield might seem like a vanity issue. After all, if it's still intact it’s still protecting you right? But driving with a cracked windshield is incredibly dangerous. The glass is weakened significantly and any number of small incidents could cause a bigger problem. Laws vary by state, but most states agree that once it starts affecting your field of vision it is a legal matter.

6- Speeding past a funeral procession.

Funeral processions have the right of way in at least 15 states, which means they do not have to stop at red lights once the lead car has passed through safely. While you do not need to pull over (although it is the polite thing to do), you can absolutely not try to get around them or ride on the coattails of the procession. This law will vary state by state but if you are unsure, play it safe and hang back until the procession is over.

7 - Blasting your music loud.

If you are a fan of blasting your music as loud as you want, you may be considered a nuisance in the eyes of the law. There is no federal law that dictates how loud you can play your music, but in many states if your music is “clearly audible” at 25 feet from your vehicle you can be issued a fine.

8 - Driving without your headlights on.

If it’s getting dark and you can still see clearly, you may not feel the need to turn on your headlights–or maybe you just don’t remember sometimes. But either way driving without your headlights on can get you a fine in most states. The specific laws will vary, but in general if it is getting dark out you are required to have your headlights on.

9 - Driving too slowly.

There are speed limits on every road, we all know. But most roads don’t have minimums posted. It doesn’t really matter though; if you are driving slow enough that it is deemed to be disruptive you can be issued a ticket.

10 - Driving while tired.

Many of us have driven tired, whether it was from driving through the night to get to a vacation destination, or just driving home from work after staying late. If you are feeling sleepy or driving through the night, you may think that your tiredness only affects you. But driving while sleepy is dangerous and can lead to reckless driving. In New Jersey the famous “Maggie’s Law” was passed after a 20 year old woman was killed in a head on collision caused by a man who was up for 30 hours. The law makes it a criminal offense to drive while fatigued, and if an accident results from your actions you can be charged with vehicular homicide.

11 - Driving slow in the left lane.

The left lane is for driving faster and for passing (although it is NOT for speeding).  If you are cruising along in the left lane driving under the speed limit, you are most definitely creating an unsafe driving environment. If you prefer to take it slow, keep it in the right lane so the faster cars can safely get around you.

12 - Wearing earbuds while driving.

When you are driving you need to have all of your senses, and this includes your hearing. If you wear earbuds you will severely impact your ability to hear. Whether it's the honking of another motorist or the sound of an emergency vehicle, if you cannot hear while driving you may put yourself and others in danger. If you can’t agree on what music to listen to, make your passenger be the one to compromise and listen with earbuds.

13 - Mounting a GPS on your windshield.

Many are unaware that it is illegal in 28 states to mount your GPS directly on your windshield. This is because it can hinder visibility. Instead, your GPS should be mounted on the dashboard.

14 - Over-tinting your windows.

Window tint is not illegal, but tinting your windows too much (which means above your state’s regulation) can result in a fine. If your tint is too dark you will not be able to see properly ahead of you. It also poses a threat to police officers who may wish to approach your car but cannot see what or who is inside. 

15 - Driving with a broken horn.

Horns serve a very important purpose: they allow you to warn others of dangers on the road. If your horn is not functioning properly you will not be able to communicate with other drivers on the road. 

Those are 15 things that are illegal to do while driving.

Staying safe means learning the rules, and saving money means refinancing your loan with Auto Approve. 


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