How do you share the road?
Well, in Florida, there are several established road rules for that.
And today, we’re going to look at those rules. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about sharing the road with:
- School buses
- Emergency vehicles
- Funeral processions
- Public transits
It’s so important to know all this as it can help you avoid accidents, as well as be the safest driver you can be.
So are you ready to learn the Florida road rules?
Let’s dive right in!
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
Before anything else, let’s define who pedestrians are in Florida. Typically, these are people walking on the streets. However, the term also applies to skaters and skateboards in a crosswalk or a driveway.
That out of the way, keep these things in mind when dealing with pedestrians:
- Florida’s regulations require you to yield for pedestrians. You must stop as they cross a street or driveway. It applies to all marked crossings, driveways, and intersections. You must also give way to pedestrians when leaving or entering a driveway, alley, or private road.
- When the traffic light turns red, make sure you don’t block the crosswalk. Even having a portion of your car overhanging the crosswalk is considered blocking.
- If the vehicle in front of you stops to give way to a crossing pedestrian, you cannot overtake and pass it. It’s best to be on the side of caution when you see a car stop before a crosswalk. Even if you don’t see anyone on the street, assume that a pedestrian may be crossing.
- Watch out for pedestrians in the crosswalk when you’re about to turn right on a red signal. Make sure to stop and look both ways before proceeding.
- Several scenarios require you to use extreme caution, come to a complete stop, and yield the right-of-way. These include the following:
- When you see a visually-impaired pedestrian. Some have service animals guiding them or carrying red-tipped white canes.
- When encountering someone with limited mobility, such as individuals using a walker, a crutch, or a wheelchair.
- When there are children on the road
- When the pedestrian appears confused or incapacitated
Sharing the Road with Bicycles
Florida considers a bicycle a vehicle, so you must follow the same rules and regulations as someone who drives a car.
Here are the guidelines to follow:
- You must have at least 3 feet of space between you and a bicyclist. Ensure that you slow down or drive with caution when sharing the road with them.
- Pass a bicyclist like you would a slow-moving vehicle on a two-lane street.
- Assume that a bicyclist will continue traveling forward at an intersection unless they signal otherwise. Treat them like any other vehicle and yield when necessary.
- Yield right-of-way if you’re crossing a bike lane when turning. Continue only when the bicyclist passes.
- Be considerate of bicyclists. Avoid honking as it may startle them, and don’t use your high beams when you see them approaching.
- Check your surroundings for bicyclists before opening your door when getting in or out of your car.
Sharing the Road with School Buses
If there’s one thing you must remember when sharing the road with a school bus, it’s…
You cannot pass a school bus when it displays a stop signal.
Here’s how it plays out:
For two-way streets or a highway: all traffic in both directions must stop if a school bus is dropping off or picking up children. You cannot resume driving unless the bus withdraws the sign. You must also ensure there are no children on the road.
For roads separated by a raised barrier: you do not have to stop if you are traveling in a direction opposite the bus. This also applies if an unpaved space acts as a divider as long as it’s at least 5 feet wide. However, if you’re on the same side as the bus, you must stop and remain so until it withdraws its sign.
Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles include ambulances, fire engines, and other vehicles that use sirens or flashing lights.
The law requires you to yield the right-of-way when you share Florida’s roadways with emergency vehicles. That means pulling over to the nearest roadway edge and stopping.
You also should NOT block intersections.
Several of Florida’s state employees often find themselves fulfilling their tasks on roadways. These include law enforcement officers, sanitation workers, emergency workers, tow-truck drivers, and utility workers.
In these scenarios, you must abide by the Move Over Law. It means:
|If you’re on a Multi-Lane Roadway||If you’re on a Two-Lane Roadway|
|Vacate the lane closest to them. Don’t forget to signal that you’re planning to switch lanes.|
Slow down to 20mph below the allowable speed limit if you can.
If you’re not in the lane closest to them, allow vehicles that are trying to move over to do so.
|Slow down to 20mph below the allowable speed limit. |
If the speed limit is 20 mph, you can only travel up to 5 mph.
Sharing the Road with Funeral Processions
Finding yourself in a funeral procession might not be the most enjoyable experience. However, in these situations, you must yield the right-of-way. This applies to motorists, bicyclists, and even pedestrians joining the procession.
When the lead funeral vehicle enters an intersection, the rest in its group can follow regardless of whatever traffic devices are present. You can tell which ones are part of the group because they’re required to have their headlights on (or they may turn their hazard lights on).
When you see this, you must take it as a sign not to drive between them because you may interfere with the funeral procession.
Sharing the Road with Public Transits
Public transit vehicles pull in and out from a designated bay. You have to yield the right-of-way if you see one signal that it’s about to reenter the traffic flow.
Sharing the Road with Trucks
Another kind of vehicle you may encounter along Florida’s highways is commercial trucks, such as semi-trucks. Keep the following in mind if you find yourself in this situation:
- Stay out of the “No-Zone,” — CMV’s blind spots. These are typically in front, behind, and on both sides. The areas highlighted in orange in the image below are part of the No-Zone.
- Keep a healthy space between you and the truck in front of you. It keeps you out of the No Zone and simultaneously helps you stay safe if the CMV drifts back when it begins to move.
- Avoid using your high beams when you’re behind a truck. Its large side mirrors will reflect it and blind the driver.
- Stay on a truck’s ride side if it’s coming from the other direction. It helps you avoid a sideswipe crash.
- Trucks typically need to make wide turns. For example, they need to swing wide to the left if they turn right. If you happen upon this, do not drive between the truck and the curb — the driver won’t see you.
- Do not attempt to cross behind a truck preparing to back up. More if it’s already doing so. The driver will not be able to see you.
Sharing the road with a truck requires you to take extra precautions. It also applies when you’re trying to pass one on the road.
To remain safe, don’t forget about these things:
- Check your front and rear before moving into the passing lane, and only proceed if you see that it’s safe. Besides using your signals, you may also need to blink your headlights to let the truck driver know you intend to pass. It is especially crucial when driving at night.
- Pass on a truck’s left side and take as little time as possible so that you don’t stay in the No-Zone for long.
- Large trucks or CMVs need more time to stop, so don’t cut in too soon after you pass. Some drivers flash their headlights to let you know it’s okay to switch into their lane. However, if they don’t, wait until you can see the cab in your rear-view mirror.
- Passing a truck while going down an incline is not a good idea. Trucks (and other CMVs) are heavier, so their weight and momentum often cause them to go faster.
- If a truck passes you, stay on the right and maintain your speed.
The Wrap Up
So that was everything you should know about the Florida road rules.
You always have to be careful behind the wheel, but you need to exercise more caution when sharing the road with others.
Keep these road rules we’ve covered in mind, and you’ll be the safest driver you can be.