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The Motorists' Essential Guide To Road Rules And Etiquette

Because we sometimes seem to forget that the road isn't supposed to be a lawless wasteland
by Patrick Tadeo | Feb 23, 2016
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Watch this video again:

It's accidents like this that makes us question how aware we all are about the rules, both written and unwritten, of the road. As many have pointed out, the driver of that AUV shouldn't have been overtaking the vehicle on that side of the bridge. First off, IT'S A GODDAMN BLIND CURVE. We hate to use this reasoning, but "common sense" dictates you don't drive into something uncertain. The road is not a good place to take a chance.

Second, those two parallel yellow lines are there for a reason. They mean, "DON'T OVERTAKE, DIMWIT."

What's more worrying though is the number of posts we saw on social media akin to this:

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"Dang, we're never driving again," was the first thought that popped into our heads.

But then again, one can never be too old to learn something, especially if it's right.

Below then are road rules, regulations, and etiquette that every driver, be it of a two-wheel contraption or a four-wheel ride, must practice. Read, memorize, and share.

1) The shape of the road sign actually means something

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There’s a reason why road signs differ in shape: It’s so you can tell just how important the message on it is. A round sign is used exclusively for railroad warnings, an upside down triangle means "yield," a square or vertically-mounted rectangle are for traffic regulations while a horizontally-mounted rectangle provides guidance information. A diamond warns of possible hazards ahead, and an octagon is exclusively used for stop signs.

In short, the greater number of sides, the more critical the message is.

2) The color of the road sign also means something

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They’re not of different colors so that they'll look pretty. White is for traffic regulations, yellow is for warnings, orange is used to warn of hazards up ahead, green is for traffic movement or guidance on what direction to take, and red is used exclusively for stop signs.

In addition, signs with a red circle are prohibitive, with the drawing or illustration inside the red circle indicating what is being prohibited. A number inside a red circle denotes the maximum speed limit, for example, while a bicycle means it isn’t allowed on the road.


3) Lane markers are there for a reason

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The solid white line by the side of the road marks the shoulder and is to be used for emergency purposes only, like when a vehicle needs to stop. And no, the traffic up ahead doesn’t qualify as an emergency for you to use the shoulder to get ahead of everyone else. If the solid white line is in the middle of the road, then it marks the center of a two-way road.

Broken white lines, on the other hand, means it’s safe to change lanes. If a solid yellow line and a broken white line are together, the vehicle next to the former shouldn’t pass or overtake while the vehicle next to the broken white line may do so. Two solid yellow lines, however, mean no passing under any circumstances. (We've taught you that twice now, the next dude caught on video breaking this rule will get a slap fron June Mar Fajardo.)

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4) Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way

That’s because life is valuable and irreplaceable. Let’s put it this way: If you hit someone on a pedestrian lane, you are liable, both criminally and civilly. If you hit someone who’s jaywalking, while you won’t be criminally liable, you’ll still have to answer to a civil suit because you hurt, or worse, killed someone. That’s because even if the vehicle has the right-of-way, the driver is always expected to exercise safety and caution for any pedestrian’s safety on the road.

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Besides, unless they have a death wish or are suicidal, no sane pedestrian wants to stay in the middle of the road and play Frogger in real life.

5) Keep some distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you

While it may be impossible in today’s perpetual road gridlock, you have to maintain a safe distance between your car and the one ahead of you. That’s so if it needs to stop or it brakes suddenly, you have enough space to stop your own vehicle and avoid hitting it, or at least just give it a love tap instead of a full-on collision that would validate your car manufacturer’s claim of how good your particular model's crumple zone is.

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On the flip side, if you happen to see a big enough space between two vehicles on the lane beside you that you can squeeze into, think about it first. That space is there so that the vehicle at the back has enough room to stop in case the one ahead has to stop suddenly. By occupying the space, you put not only your car but the car at the back at risk by basically nullifying the "cushion of protection."

6) Your vehicle has a turn signal. Use it.

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Car manufacturers put turn signals on their products so that you can alert other drivers of what your intentions are on the road, like if you’re turning right or left or merely changing lanes. More often than not these days, motorists don’t even use the signal for a simple lane change. Perhaps they think a simple flick of their left wrist to activate the turn signal is bothersome if they’re executing a quick lane change.

That simple inaction may prove to be expensive if it results to a collision. Remember, laziness can cost you big time on the road.


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