How Well Do You Know Your North Carolina Traffic Laws?

DWIs and other serious traffic violations in North Carolina can carry some stiff penalties and often require an experienced traffic attorney to help minimize the damage. While there are many serious traffic offenses, others like running a stop sign or crossing the yellow line can have much milder penalties. If you've been driving for a while, you are likely familiar with most of the North Carolina traffic offenses we've mentioned so far. And if you've ever been convicted of a traffic violation in the Tarheel state, you're also familiar with how much your insurance rates can go up!

But what about those obscure, new, and sometimes outdated traffic laws that hardly anyone knows about? While there are far too many traffic laws in North Carolina to provide a comprehensive overview in a single blog post, there are a few that deserve a closer look. 

Driving Barefoot in North Carolina

When you're at the beach, and you drive over to the store without grabbing your shoes, are you breaking the law? Not in North Carolina. Illegal barefoot driving is a myth many North Carolinians have heard throughout their lives, but there are no laws requiring shoes for driving. While driving barefoot may not be the safest way to operate a vehicle, it's not illegal, and it's probably safer than driving with flip-flops on!

Flashing Your Lights to Warn Other Drivers of a Police Presence

Urban legends and driving have gone hand in hand for years. There's an old tale about gangs harming drivers who flash their headlights. The story has gangs driving around in their car with the headlights off, and the first driver to flash their lights to warn the gang is killed in an initiation rite. 

Then there's the one about how it's illegal to warn other drivers of a police presence by flashing your headlights. Thankfully, neither of these urban legends is true—with some exceptions. While there are records of North Carolina drivers being ticketed for this behavior, the truth is that the behavior is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.

Talking On Your Phone While Driving

While talking on a smartphone and driving is a relatively new behavior for drivers in North Carolina, it is not illegal—yet. Lawmakers proposed a hands-free ban bill in May 2021, but it hasn't become law. Until these traffic laws are updated, for now, it's only illegal for someone under the age of 18 to use a handheld device while driving. BUT. You'll want to skip driving and texting. In North Carolina, texting while driving is illegal and carries a fine of $100 plus court costs.  

Wearing Headphones While Driving

For most drivers, wearing headphones while driving should feel awkward because driving safely requires all your senses. Sure, you may not need to smell trouble, but you absolutely need to be able to see it and hear it! Just consider why wearing headphones while driving might be a bad idea. You can't hear other drivers' warnings when they blow their horns, ambulances and other emergency vehicles approaching, or any of the other typical audio cues we need to drive safely. That said, wearing headphones while driving in North Carolina is not illegal. Go figure. 

If some of these North Carolina traffic laws surprised you, you're not alone. Unless you're willing to read every traffic statute on the books, there will always be obscure traffic laws that can trip you up. But not these four. 

So kick off your shoes, call your best friend, slap in the earbuds, and flash your headlights to your heart's content—but don't text. From minor traffic violations to criminal charges, the Law Office of Jason Reece has the experience and the local relationships to ensure you get a fair and just process. Get in touch with us today to learn more.