Illinois Rules of the Road (How to Share the Road)

Illinois Rules of the Road (How to Share the Road)

When you start driving, you become aware that other vehicles aren’t the only ones you have to share the road with. 

There are trucks of all sizes. 

Pedestrians that don’t cross at crossroads.

Motorcycles speeding. 

This is why it’s so important to know how to share the road with EVERYONE

And today, we’re going to help you by talking about the Illinois rules of the road. With this, you’ll become a careful driver — keeping the Illinois roads safe. 

So shall we begin? 

Illinois Road Rules

Illinois Rules of the Road

For the Illinois road rules, we’ll look at:

  • How to share the road with pedestrians
  • How to share the road with children 
  • How to share the road with school buses
  • How to share the road with motorcycles
  • How to share the road with bicycles
  • How to share the road with large trucks
  • How to share the road with disabled vehicles
  • How to share the road with slow vehicles
  • How to share the road with horseback riders

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get straight into the details. 

Sharing the Road with Pedestrians

Let’s start with pedestrians. 

Pedestrians usually have a crosswalk or a lane designated for them to walk on. They should also use a sidewalk when there is one. 

But in reality, many pedestrians don’t follow these rules. And while road safety is a joint responsibility for drivers and pedestrians, as a driver, you should know what you need to do to avoid accidents with pedestrians. 

Here are some road rules you should follow: 

  • Always yield to pedestrians, especially if you are approaching a crosswalk. 
  • If there are cars stopped before a crosswalk, follow them. Do not speed past them as there may be pedestrians crossing ahead. 
  • When approaching a school or a church, be more alert to people crossing the road. 
  • If you see kids on the side of the road, slow down and prepare to stop in case a kid goes down the road.
  • When there is no crosswalk, drivers have the right of way. But if you see someone already crossing, slow down and let them pass. 

Sharing the Road with Children

If you’re passing a neighborhood or a school zone, the chances of you encountering a kid about to cross are high. 

To avoid any accidents, here’s how you can share the road with children: 

  • Look for signs that indicate school zones, hazard areas, bus stops, parks, and playgrounds. When approaching these areas, be alert for children (and adults) crossing or ending up on the road. 
  • Reduce your speed when approaching the zones listed above. Always be ready to stop the car when you see a child on the side of the road. 
  • If you’re backing out of a parking lot, always check the back of your car for children crossing or for children near your car. 

Regardless of whether you are in school zones, parks, or playgrounds, always be on the lookout for children who might run to the highway. 

Sharing the Road with School Buses

Did you know that, in Illinois, there are strict rules on passing school buses? 

In the state, every vehicle is required to stop behind a school bus if it is flashing lights. Some examples of when you should stop are: 

  • When you’re on a two-lane road
  • When you’re on a highway, roadway, or a private road
  • When you’re on the same side of the road as the school bus
  • When you’re in a parking lot on a school property

The only time you don’t need to stop is when the school bus is on the opposite side of the road and you’re on a four-lane road. 

Now, a school bus will give you a signal when it’s 100 feet away from its destination or stop. Once you see the flashing lights on the bus, prepare to stop behind it. 

Sharing the Road with Motorcycles

Motorcycles usually follow the same road rules as four-wheeled vehicles. However, motorcycle drivers face more vulnerability on the road. 

So if you’re driving alongside a motorcycle, follow these road rules: 

  • Before turning to the right or left, look at the sides and check if motorcycles are approaching. 
  • Do not drive beside a motorcycle in the same lane. Give room to the motorcycle. 
  • If you need to overtake a motorcycle, show the proper signal before overtaking them. 
  • Always be alert when you see a motorcycle on the road. Expect them to make frequent lane changes and speed changes. 

Sharing the Road with Bicycles

Bicycles are even more vulnerable than motorcycles when on the road. But unlike motorcycles, bicycles usually have their lanes marked by a bicycle on the road. 

Here are some tips for driving alongside bicycles: 

  • Never occupy the bike lane. Do not park, drive, and drop off passengers on bike lanes. 
  • When you see bicyclists, be prepared for them to change lanes. Bicyclists don’t normally do this, but there are cases when they need to go beyond their lane. Be ready to give way. 
  • Yield to bicyclists. 
  • Do not overtake bicyclists right behind them. Give at least 3 feet of space before overtaking and use the appropriate signals. 
  • Do not use high beam lights when driving at night if you are approaching a bicyclist. 

Sharing the Road with Large Trucks

Even if large trucks should be careful when they’re driving alongside smaller vehicles, this doesn’t mean that you don’t take extra care when you’re driving near them. 

Here are some things you need to know when sharing the road with trucks: 

  • Trucks have blindsides. Because of their size and length, they’re unable to see the back and sides fully. 
  • If you’re planning to overtake, leave a few feet between you and the truck. Do not overtake when you’re right at the back since you will not be seen. 
  • When you overtake a truck, blink your headlights to give them a signal. 
  • Leave a big space before you turn back to your lane once overtaking a truck. Remember, they might have a hard time braking if you go in front of them right away. 
  • Dim your headlights when you’re following a truck. Do not turn your high beam headlights as truck drivers will have difficulty seeing you. 

Sharing the Road with Disabled Vehicles

Disabled vehicles are vehicles that stop on the road because of a problem or issue with the vehicle. They will often have hazard lights on. 

Illinois has several laws when it comes to passing disabled vehicles:

  • You are required to change lanes (only if it’s safe to do so) when you see a disabled vehicle. If it’s not safe to change lanes, reduce speed. 
  • You are not allowed to speed up when you pass a disabled vehicle. 
  • You are not allowed to push a disabled vehicle on a rural highway unless you have to do so to remove any hazards on the road. 
  • You are not allowed to tow a vehicle without a drawbar. When you tow a vehicle, maintain up to 15 feet between your vehicle and the towed vehicle. 

Sharing the Road with Slow Vehicles

There are times when you will encounter low-speed vehicles. These are not just any slow vehicles, but rather, they have a federal certification label for driving at low speeds. These vehicles will have a max speed of 25 mph. 

On the other hand, other vehicles such as farm and construction equipment will also be slow-moving. 

If you see any slow-moving vehicle, here are things you should do: 

  • Give a safe distance between you and slow-moving vehicles. 
  • If you’re approaching a turn, make the slow-moving vehicle aware of your presence before making a turn. 
  • Some slow-moving vehicles might be wider than the lane, so if you’re passing beside them, give enough space between you and the vehicle. 

Sharing the Road with Horseback Riders

Did you know horseback riders are allowed on public roadways in Illinois? So don’t be surprised if you see one. 

If you encounter one and have no idea whether to yield or go past them, here are some road rules you’ll find useful: 

  • Never honk at the horse. If you need to signal to the horseback rider, use lights, not your horns. 
  • Give space between you and the horse. If you need to overtake, do so a few feet away.


And that was the Illinois rules of the road. 

Now you know how to share the road with EVERYONE, you will be a better and safer driver. Just make sure that you are aware of these road rules and that you follow them. 

Drive safely!

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