What are the rules when you are driving alongside a school bus?
How do you treat motorcycles on the road?
Do you always have to yield to pedestrians?
Apart from the traffic signs and pavement markings, there are also rules on sharing the road with pedestrians and other types of vehicles in Maine.
After all, you’re not the only one using the roadways.
Well, we’re here to tell you everything you should know about the Maine driving rules. This way, you can obey the traffic laws in the state, as well as be the safest driver you can be.
So let’s dive right in!
Sharing the Road in Maine
Different vehicles call for different rules.
So in this section, we’ll give you all the rules and tips on how to drive safely alongside:
- School buses
- Motorcycles and mopeds
- Large vehicles
- Emergency vehicles
- Slow-moving vehicles
Let’s get into the details.
Sharing the Road with School Buses
If the school bus has turned on its flashing red lights near school property or a parking area, this means that it’s about to pick up or drop off children. When you see this and you’re behind a school bus, you are not allowed to pass the bus.
You’re required to stop behind the bus and wait until it starts moving again. It’s also better to leave a safe distance from the school bus as the driver can’t see you if you’re directly behind it.
Likewise, if you’re driving in the opposite direction, you still need to stop once you see a school bus with red flashing lights. However, if there is a solid divider between the lanes, you don’t need to stop and wait.
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the road since they don’t have any protection.
With that in mind, here are general rules to follow when you see people on the side of the road:
- Always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when they’re on the crosswalk.
- Even if the pedestrian is not on a crosswalk, yield when they are crossing.
- If you’re making a right or left turn, look for pedestrians and make sure to yield when they’re crossing.
- When parking or backing up, check for people around the area that might pass behind you.
- If you see children playing nearby, slow down and be prepared to stop in case they cross.
Sharing the Road with Bicycles
Like pedestrians, bicyclists are extremely vulnerable on the road, too. But unlike pedestrians, bicyclists are treated as vehicles in Maine.
So when driving alongside a bicyclist, here are some rules to follow:
- Always share the road with them. Since they are considered vehicles, they have the right to use roadways.
- When passing a bicyclist, leave at least three feet behind and signal before you pass. Wait for them to see your signal before passing.
- Be patient when driving behind bicyclists. Do not pass them without giving a signal.
- Yield the right-of-way on intersections. Yes, even to bicyclists.
- Do not unnecessarily honk at bicyclists as you might startle them and make them lose control. Only honk when necessary.
- Listen to bicyclists. Do not ignore their signals and be alert for any changes in their speed and direction.
- Never push bicyclists off the road or to the pavement.
On the other hand, if you are a bicyclist, you should abide by these rules:
- Stay at the rightmost part of the roadway unless it is unsafe.
- Use signals or use your hands to give vehicles behind you a heads up if you will turn or stop.
- If the road is narrow, take the travel lane if it’s available.
- Ride in a particular manner. Do not suddenly change speed or direction to avoid taking the other vehicles off guard.
Sharing the Road with Motorcycles and Mopeds
Motorcycles and mopeds are more like actual vehicles than bicycles — but are as vulnerable as bicycles. It can be hard to judge whether you should treat them like actual vehicles or bicycles.
Well, here is what the State of Maine has to say about sharing the road with motorcycles and mopeds:
- Do not drive beside a motorcycle in the same lane. Give them a full lane so they have enough space to drive safely.
- Put a safe distance between you and a motorcycle. This distance will avoid collisions when they suddenly stop or turn.
- If the road is wet, increase the distance even more. Do not tailgate them and pressure them to drive fast.
- If you see a turn signal turned on, wait for the motorcycle to make a turn before speeding ahead. Sometimes, motorcyclists forget to turn off their turn signals.
Sharing the Road with Large Vehicles
We’ve been talking about how to share the road with vulnerable people/vehicles. Now, let’s move on to the big guys.
If there is one thing you should know, it is that large vehicles have blind spots. This means there are areas of the truck that the driver has difficulty seeing.
So if you’re driving near a large vehicle, make sure to do these:
- Leave several meters between you and the large vehicle. If you’re driving too close to the back, the truck driver won’t see you.
- If you’re passing a large vehicle, leave space in front before switching lanes. Also, always turn on your signal. Give time for the driver to see your signals before passing.
- If you see a large vehicle making a turn, give them room. Large vehicles will struggle to stay in one lane because of their size.
- Never stay behind a truck when it’s backing. Move to the side and signal that you will pass. Wait for them to see you since you might be in a blind spot when you initially give a signal.
- Do not stay beside a large vehicle for a long time. The side of the truck (near the side mirror area) is a blind spot. Place yourself in front, either on the right or left side of the truck.
Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles will be equipped with sirens, special horns, and flashing lights that will make them heard and seen by all vehicles.
The general rule is to give way to emergency vehicles, especially when their sirens and flashing lights are turned on. Move to the right if it’s safe to do so.
Never speed up and take the emergency vehicles’ lane. If you are blocking the way and there is no way to turn, you can speed up to allow the emergency vehicle to go.
Sharing the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles
When we talk about slow-moving vehicles we’re referring to vehicles that have a fluorescent or reflective orange or red sign on them.
These vehicles will most likely be carrying hazardous materials. Some will be farm machinery, while others will be animal-driven vehicles.
They’re called slow-moving vehicles because they’re required to move at less than 25 mph.
So when you see these vehicles on the road, here’s what you can do.
You’re allowed to pass them but make sure that they see your signal. Also, make sure you pass without startling the animal or driver in front.
It’s illegal to scare an animal in Maine if they are being driven or ridden. And even if they’re just on a public road standing, you are not allowed to scare them by honking or revving your engine.
That was the Maine driving rules on how to share the road with pedestrians and other vehicles.
So the next time you encounter one of these, you now know what to do. You know how to keep safe and help them be safe as well.
If you forget some of the rules mentioned here, just always remember to give enough space, warn them what you’re about to do, and be patient and kind.
It’s always best to be a safe and responsible driver!