Want to avoid speeding tickets?
Or, do you want to know how to safely maneuver your way across the Alabama roads?
Whatever the case, you’ll find the most common Alabama traffic laws here.
This way, you can avoid tickets and penalties, as well as collisions and accidents.
So are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
Most Common Traffic Laws in Alabama
Here’s a list of the Alabama traffic laws we’re going to cover here:
- Speed Limit Laws
- Stopping Laws
- School Bus Laws
- Right of Way and Yielding Laws
- Passing Laws
- Pedestrian Laws
- Following Emergency Vehicles
- Changing Lane Laws
Let’s get into the details.
Speed Limit Laws in Alabama
Driving at unregulated speeds poses a higher risk for accidents, which in some cases, can even be fatal. This is why speed limits exist.
The basic speed law of Alabama states that “you must never drive a vehicle at a speed faster than reasonable under existing conditions.”
These conditions can include weather, road surface, vehicle, and your own current physical wellbeing.
On top of this basic speed law are the varying speed limits in Alabama. You can see it by the road signs with numbers indicating the minimum or maximum speed limit on a particular highway or road.
These speed limits—called statutory speed limits—vary per road or highway. So always be aware of these signs.
Now, if you get caught violating statutory speed limits, you can get arrested. This can mean either going under the minimum speed limit or going over the maximum speed limit.
Remember: driving slower than the established minimum speed doesn’t always mean it’s safer. In fact, it can disrupt the flow of traffic by causing interference with the other vehicles that are behind you.
Stopping Laws in Alabama
Not familiar with stopping laws in Alabama?
Well, the following situations below call for a full stop:
- A vehicle approaching a stop sign placed at the entrance of a highway or street
- Approaching a railroad crossing
- When directed to stop by a flagman
- Before passing a crosswalk with no traffic lights in place
- Pulling over to the curb when an emergency vehicle is heading towards or coming from behind you
School Bus Laws in Alabama
When driving, you need to be extra mindful when school buses are around because there are kids aboard. Here are some of the things you need to consider when you encounter a school bus on the road:
- A school bus flashing amber lights means that it’s about to stop in order to load or unload—this means children going off or on the bus. The amber lights come 300ft to 100ft in advance before the bus comes to a full stop. If you’re within that distance and the lights go off, prepare to yield soon
- Maintain a distance of at least 20ft from the bus when it comes to a full stop
Right of Way and Yielding Laws in Alabama
Right of way and yielding laws are about driving courtesy and smooth traffic flow.
Having the right of way means you have the right to proceed first. To yield, on the other hand, means to let others go first.
There are laws governing road courtesy. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
- Emergency vehicles (ambulances, police cars, fire trucks, etc.) will always have right of way when their sirens are on.
- A blind person crossing the road will always have right of way.
- Vehicles entering a highway or busy street from a side road must yield before squeezing in.
- In an intersection where you’re facing a yield sign, slow down and give way to other vehicles first.
- In an intersection without any signs or signals and with two vehicles entering from different roads arrive simultaneously, the vehicle on the must proceed first.
Passing Laws in Alabama
In driving, passing means overtaking another vehicle. There is a time and place for passing, of course, but, there are rules you have to follow.
Road markings are the most common indicator for passing or no passing zones. These are the white or yellow lines and stripes you see on the pavement.
The general rule is: broken lines = can pass, solid lines = no passing zone.
Some two-way highways that go in both directions can have a combination of a yellow solid line and broken lines down the center. If that is the case, you’re only allowed to pass if your lane is closer to the broken lines.
Pedestrian Laws in Alabama
Drivers and pedestrians all play a part in honoring road safety. Fatalities and injuries are a high possibility if both parties aren’t being vigilant.
That said, here are some things you should do as a driver when minding the safety of pedestrians:
- Respect the authority of school safety patrols
- Always be mindful of school buses and yield if the bus is at a stop
- Remember that school children have the right of way
- Avoid blocking crosswalks
Conversely, pedestrians must also pay mind to the following rules when out and about:
- Wear vibrant clothing or bring reflective materials when going in dark or poor visibility areas
- Be wary of slippery roads; the brakes are less effective when on that surface
- Determine whether the driver is willing to yield for you on roads that have no crosswalks
Following Emergency Vehicles in Alabama
You are not supposed to follow an emergency vehicle on duty (sirens on and lights flashing) within 500 feet. Don’t try to use it as a shield to avoid traffic.
Changing Lane Laws in Alabama
Vehicles are lawfully allowed to switch lanes, provided that:
- You inform other vehicles with turn or hand signals
- The pavement markings allow switching lanes
- There are no road signs that indicate a prohibition of switching lanes
- You check your mirror’s blind spot for clearance prior to switching
In the event of broken turn signals, you can use your arm to show other vehicles that you’re about to change lanes. Below are the proper hand signals to use:
- Left turn – your arm is extended out
- Right turn – arm is folded and hand is raised up
- Stop or slow down – arm and hand are pointed down
Safety protocols on the road are everywhere—from stopping, switching lanes, passing, to giving way for emergency vehicles. While there is a lot more to cover, these are some of the basic traffic laws in Alabama.
No matter where you go, you must embody the characteristics of a responsible driver. Stay safe out there!
This article is part of our series on Alabama Driving Laws. You can view all these laws here!