So we already looked at the Idaho road signs and Idaho road conditions.
This time, let’s look at the Idaho rules of the road. In other words, how to share the road with others.
There’s no getting around it — you can’t restrict a road for your use only. Expect to drive alongside motorcycles, bicyclists, and trucks.
Plus, it’s not only about other motorists. There are pedestrians and children to consider, too.
This is why it’s very important to know how to share the road.
And this is why, here, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about the Idaho road rules.
So shall we?
Idaho Road Rules
We’ll look at how to share the road with:
- Emergency vehicles
- Children at play
- Horseback riders
- Large vehicles
Let’s go through the road rules of each one.
Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles
The first thing to remember when sharing the road with an emergency vehicle is…
They ALWAYS have the right of way.
When one comes behind you, with blaring sirens and flashing lights, pull over to the nearest curb or the right side of the road to let them pass.
If you’re approaching an emergency vehicle, slow down to a speed below the allowable speed limit. You can proceed but do it cautiously.
Encountering an emergency vehicle when traveling on a multi-lane highway requires you to transfer two lanes away from the emergency vehicle.
Of course, these road rules don’t just apply to ambulances. You should also follow it with police vehicles with flashing lights, tow trucks, or those responding to road incidents.
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
Sharing the road with pedestrians is a common occurrence in Idaho. You’ll find them on crosswalks, parking lots, bus stops, residential areas, and school zones.
It’s crucial to know when you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and when you can expect them to do the same. The table below shows these scenarios:
|When motorists must yield the right-of-way||When pedestrians must yield the right-of-way|
|Pedestrians are in a crosswalk at an intersection, whether marked or not.||There is no intersection or crosswalk where they are crossing.|
|You’re entering the road from a driveway or alley.||The pedestrian is following a traffic signal.|
|The pedestrian crossing is visually impaired. He uses a white cane or has a guide dog.|
The rule of thumb is to exercise caution when you’re in an area where pedestrians are likely to pass. You’ll never know when one may unexpectedly walk in your path.
Here are some scenarios where motorists suddenly find pedestrians in front of them. Take a look and see what you should do in each one.
|If this happens…||Then you should…|
|A pedestrian crosses the road where no crosswalk is present.||Technically, you have the right-of-way, but always stop and let them finish crossing.|
|You’re at an intersection, waiting for the red light to change. A pedestrian steps into the crosswalk seconds before the light turns green.||Wait for the pedestrian to get to the other side before moving.|
|You and another car are on a two-lane street with traffic going in the same direction. The other car is in the right lane while you’re on the left. At an intersection, it stops to let a pedestrian cross.||It might be tempting to cross the intersection because you still have several seconds before the pedestrian reaches you. |
However, stop before the intersection and wait for the pedestrian to cross before proceeding.
|You spy children playing near the street.||Reduce your speed and be alert because they might suddenly run into the street.|
It pays to be more careful when road conditions aren’t ideal as you’re less likely to notice pedestrians. These include driving at night, when it’s raining or snowing, or through a fog.
Sharing the Road with Children at Play
You’re more likely to encounter children in school zones or residential areas. You must be extremely careful — not just on the road, but even when you’re about to pull out of your driveway or parking space.
It’s best to check around before getting in your car. There may be children playing nearby that you can’t see from the driver’s seat.
Be extra careful when pulling out of the driveway. Keep an eye out for kids who are playing behind your car or may suddenly cross behind you.
Most of the time, children are too short to be easily seen. This is why you have to be extra watchful for them, especially in school zones.
Sharing the Road with Horseback Riders
Something that may surprise you while driving in Idaho is sharing the road with horseback riders. Yes, in Idaho, horseback riders can use public roads and have the same rights as other motorists.
That said, you can’t approach horseback riders the same way you would other vehicles. I mean, you don’t want to spook the horse.
So if you spot a horseback rider, you must reduce your speed and allow more than enough space between you if you pass them.
Never sound your horn — it just might frighten the animal and cause an accident. Being too close to the rider that’s having difficulty with his horse may worsen the situation.
Sharing the Road with Bicycles
Like horseback riders, bicyclists have the same rights as other motorists. They can travel along all of Idaho’s roadways and must follow the same road rules.
Typically, you’ll find them near the righthand curb or edge. However, cyclists may veer into other lanes if they need to pass, avoid obstacles, or turn left.
Remember that cyclists are less protected than other motorists, so it’s crucial to be more careful when you share the road with them.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to safely share the road with cyclists:
|When you are…||You should…|
|Turning right from a stop||Look in both directions. Cyclists may be approaching you on the right or riding against traffic. |
You may not notice them if you only look to the left, which is what you usually do.
|Turning right while moving||Do not attempt to beat a cyclist to the turn if he is in front of you. Instead, wait until they’ve passed the point where you would ideally make your turn.|
|Seeing dashed bike lane lines on the road||These indicate that cyclists can merge with traffic, so expect it to happen. |
You can use the bike lane if you’re turning right.
|Pulling out of a driveway||Proceed with care because cyclists can ride on sidewalks.|
|In a rush||Don’t try to squeeze past a cyclist, even if it means missing your chance to cross an intersection or beating the traffic light. |
Remember, you must keep at least three feet between you and the cyclist if you attempt to pass him.
|Using a street requiring bicyclists to ride in the center instead of the right of the road||Put some distance between you and the cyclist in front of you. There are sections where the road narrows, making it dangerous for you to pass him.|
And here are some dos and don’ts when sharing the road with bicycles:
- Do: nod or wave and wait for a reaction if you want to ensure a bicyclist sees you.
- Do not: honk when you’re near a cyclist. You may surprise him and cause him to lose control of his bike.
- Do: glance at your side view mirror and check whether a bicyclist is approaching before you open your door.
- Do not: park in a bike lane.
- Do: communicate your intentions to other motorists, including cyclists, using turn signals.
Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
From bicyclists, let’s go to sharing the road with motorcycles. They may not be as small as bicycles, but they can be as challenging to spot.
Accurately gauging a motorcycle’s distance and speed can be challenging, too.
So it’s best to know how to deal with motorcycles in specific situations.
- Turning Left: Ensure you know how fast a motorcycle is before turning left. A severe collision may happen if you misjudge their speed.
- Using Signals: Unlike cars, the turn signals on motorcycles don’t turn off automatically. So if you’re about to turn in front of one that has its light flashing, wait to see where it goes. Proceed if the motorcycle begins to turn. Otherwise, it’ll run straight into you.
- Sharing Lanes: Don’t attempt to be side-by-side with a motorcycle while occupying the same lane. Despite its size, a bike has the right to a full lane width.
- Unfavorable Weather Conditions: If driving in less-than-ideal weather is challenging for most motorists, it’s more difficult for motorcycle riders. Be sure to give them a wide space when roads are wet from the rain.
- Unusual Road Surfaces: You may find motorcycles change their direction and speed more often because of gravel or debris on the road. Be sure to stay at a safe distance in case they suddenly swerve.
- Visibility: You may not see a motorcycle if it’s in your vehicle’s blind spot. Make sure to maximize your mirrors to avoid missing them.
Sharing the Road with Large Vehicles
Bigger is not always better — at least not on the road. When you’re sharing the road with large vehicles, such as trucks, keep the following things in mind:
- They have more blind spots
- They require more space to turn or switch lanes
- They need more time to stop or pass
All these make sharing the road with large vehicles challenging.
Below are some potential hazards you may encounter with a large vehicle and what to do with each situation.
|Possible Hazard||What You Should Do|
|Snowplows. They force snow up and off the road, creating a blizzard-like effect.||Avoid following a snowplow too closely.|
|Blind spots. If you can’t see the driver’s mirrors from behind, he can’t see you either.||Be familiar with a large vehicle’s blind spots to avoid them. Driving alongside a blind spot for a long time is discouraged.|
|Passing. A large vehicle may not have enough time to react if you switch to its lane immediately after passing them.||Complete the merge only if you can see the vehicle’s cab in your rearview mirror.|
|Speed changes. A large vehicle needs more time to speed up or slow down.||Give them extra space. Driving close to a large vehicle may not be the best decision.|
|Turning space. Large vehicles are longer than regular ones, so they may need more than a single lane to complete turning.||Provide the space they need. Don’t try to squeeze past a large vehicle that’s turning to the right from the left lane.|
|Vehicles carrying hazardous materials. Class C vehicles require placards, so you’ll spot them easily.||Don’t drive too close to this vehicle. If your route involves passing a railroad crossing, prepare to stop if you’re following it. |
All vehicles with this cargo must stop at all railroad crossings they encounter.
|Large vehicles with Pilot Vehicles. These are the “lead vehicle” for trucks with large loads. Its primary purpose is to warn oncoming traffic of their presence.||If you encounter an oncoming pilot vehicle, stay to the right as much as possible while slowing down. |
If you’re following one, reduce your speed to increase your following distance.
Wrapping Things Up
And there you have it. Everything you need to know about the Idaho rules of the road.
Now, you know how to share the road with everybody — from emergency vehicles, and horseback riders, to large trucks, and everything in between.
So, keep these things in mind as you drive along Idaho’s roadways.