Over 90% of survey respondents say they plan on taking a road trip in the U.S. in 2022 with the Southwest being the most popular destination, a new traveler trends report by Outdoorsy reveals. Road trips are considered a particularly great way to bond with the family (over 80% survey respondents say they intend to hit the road with their significant other, while nearly 50% plan on bringing the kids). However, if you’re going to be driving in a different state, knowledge of local driving laws is essential for staying safe on the road. 

Speed limits

Since speed limits aren’t the same countrywide, it’s important to pay attention to traffic signs. In cities, speed limits are usually around 25-30 mph, while speed limits on freeways and highways tend to be much higher — around 60-80 mph. And, if you’re driving through a school zone, you’ll need to take extra care: the speed limit is 10-25mph when the lights are flashing during school opening and closing times. When a school bus flashes its red lights, traffic in either direction is legally required to stop. 

Seat belt laws

Adults are legally required to wear a seatbelt in every state except New Hampshire. So, regardless of where you’re driving, wearing a seatbelt is a wise decision. In drivers and front-seat passengers, seatbelts reduce risk of death by 45% and risk of serious injury by 50%. If you do get into an accident, it’s important to contact an experienced accident lawyer with knowledge of local traffic laws. Texas, for example, is an at-fault state, meaning whoever’s responsible for the accident is responsible for paying damages. Conversely, in no-fault states like Florida and New York, drivers are required to file an insurance claim regardless of who’s responsible for the accident. 

Drunk driving laws

Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is illegal in all states. In some states, however, driving with a 0.05 % BAC can still result in a lesser drunk driving charge. Additionally, some states have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drunk driving, while others have underage BAC limits of 0.01% or 0.02%. Some states, including Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina have zero-tolerance DWI laws with punishment also varying from state to state. Wisconsin, for example, doesn’t consider drunk driving illegal as long as it’s your first offense. Tennessee, Georgia, and Arizona, on the other hand, give mandatory jail time to first-time offenders.   

Roadtripping is one of the best ways to experience the U.S. If you’re planning a road trip, understanding out-of-state driving laws is key to staying safe on the road. 

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