Kimiko Kidd
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Don’t Get a Ticket for These Holiday Driving Blunders

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GMC SUV Driving In Snow
Photo: Pixabay

As millions of drivers hit the road, law enforcement ramps up its vigilance and cracks down on traffic violations. The holiday season is stressful enough — you don’t need to add a traffic ticket to your worries. Here’s a guide to the most common holiday driving errors for you to avoid.

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speed limit sign speeding
Speed limit sign
Photo: getbrett via Pixabay

While this is an obvious one, it’s worth mentioning. If you’re in a rush, speeding may seem like a reasonable way to reach your destination on time. In addition to endangering yourself and other road users, speeding probably won’t save you any time. If you get pulled over, you’ll almost certainly lose any time you would have saved. It’s a long, awkward wait as you sit by the side of the road while the cops write up your citation. On top of that, you’ll be out the money for your ticket. Even if you’re let off with a warning, who needs the extra stress?

Noise violations

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV speaker
Photo: General Motors

Whether you’ve got a faulty muffler or like to blare your stereo, you may end up with a citation for making excess noise. Turn down the music, especially if you’re entering a suburb or residential area. And if you’re driving an older car, consider having its exhaust system examined while it’s receiving a pre-road-trip checkup.

Busted lights

meet production demand
Photo: GMC

In addition to costing you a ticket, broken or faulty taillights can reduce your visibility during gray, hazy driving conditions. Your vehicle’s lighting is pretty easy to fix on your own, so in preparation for your trip, make sure your vehicle’s headlights, taillights, and brake lights are fully functional.

Illegal turns

center turn lane
Center turn lane
Photo: DanTD via CC

If you’re driving in an unfamiliar area, you may not realize you’re making an illegal turn until you see the flashing lights in your rearview mirror. If your holiday journey takes you to (or through) California, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, or Virginia, don’t turn right when waiting at a red light. Even if you’re in a state where it’s legal to turn right on red, double-check the nearby signs to make sure you aren’t breaking any laws. Some areas disallow turning right on red under specific conditions, such as on weekdays, or during certain hours.

Cutting corners

gas station 7 eleven
Photo: Mike Mozart

If you like cutting through a corner gas station to avoid the wait at a traffic light, this practice could land you in hot water with the law. That’s because many corner-cutting drivers speed through gas station lots, putting patrons, vehicles, and pedestrians in danger. This practice is explicitly illegal in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Illinois, and West Virginia, so do your best to resist the temptation to skip the traffic lights.

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