Aside from knowing and following the different road signs, signals, and laws, you should also know and follow the road rules — in other words, how to share the road with others.
And since, today, we’re focusing on Maryland, we’re going to walk you through the Maryland road rules.
With this, you’ll know exactly what you need to do when sharing the road with pedestrians, large trucks, bicycles, and so much more.
So let’s jump right in!
Sharing the Road in Maryland
To help you be a safer driver, we’re going to show you the Maryland road rules on how to share the road. We’re going to look at:
- Sharing the road with pedestrians
- Sharing the road with emergency vehicles
- Sharing the road with school buses
- Sharing the road with large trucks
- Sharing the road with motorcycles
- Sharing the road with bicycles
- Sharing the road with mopeds and scooters
Let’s get into the details.
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
At crosswalks, pedestrians will always have the right of way.
But the good thing is that pedestrians also need to follow the road signs and stop lights so other vehicles can move along.
Even so, it’s best to always yield to them.
Now, if there’s no stoplight present at a crossing, here are things you should remember:
- Pedestrians have the right of way when they are halfway on the road or crosswalk.
- Pedestrians have the right of way when they’re approaching from the other lane onto your lane.
- Pedestrians with a disability (blind, deaf, mobile aid…) always have the right of way. Remember, it can be hard for them to detect approaching vehicles or even increase their speed to cross.
Sharing the Road with Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles don’t go unnoticed. You can see and hear them from afar.
So when you hear sirens wailing and lights flashing, you need to get out of the way.
To do that, slowly and carefully move to the side of the roadway so they can pass. If you are at an intersection, clear the intersection, stop, and only continue once the emergency vehicle has passed.
If you see that you are approaching an emergency vehicle or a service vehicle that is stopped, be prepared to stop on the side of the roadway.
Sharing the Road with Large Trucks
Driving beside large trucks can be intimidating and sometimes scary. And, since they take up so much space, you need to be extra careful when driving beside them.
When trucks make a turn, it usually takes up a few, if not all, lanes. So once you see a truck signal, slow down and distance yourself as much as possible. Don’t try to squeeze in.
Allow the truck to make its turn before proceeding.
If you and a truck are approaching an intersection and you are in the inner lane, do not attempt to overtake the truck if both of you are turning right. You might get stuck between the curb and the truck.
But, when you and a truck are moving in a straight direction, pass the truck quickly so you become visible to the driver. If you must change lanes, make sure you see the truck’s headlights and rear view mirrors.
Last but not the least, never cut in front of a truck. Remember, trucks are much heavier than regular vehicles, which makes it harder for them to brake. Make sure you signal and go ahead before you switch lanes.
Here’s another thing you should know when sharing the road with large trucks — there are areas where truck drivers won’t see you. These are called blind spots.
As much as possible, don’t linger in a truck’s blind spot.
The Sides: If you can’t see the face of the driver, then he can’t see you, too, from his mirrors.
The Rear: Avoid tailgating large trucks. If the driver needs to do a sudden stop, he won’t be able to see that you are right behind him.
The Front: Do not cut in front of a truck. Keep in mind that trucks are taller, so they might not be able to see smaller vehicles, like sedans, right in front of it.
The Back: Do not cut the truck while it’s backing up. Most trucks don’t have rearview mirrors. So truck drivers won’t be able to see you at all.
Sharing the Road with School Buses
Maryland has strict rules when it comes to school buses.
If you see one at a full stop with a flashing red light, you have to stop. The flashing light means that kids are loading and unloading. In turn, it means that any one of them can cross the street right away.
And yes, this applies to vehicles even in the opposite lane, except if there is an island separating the two lanes.
Here are some reminders on where to stop if you see this:
- Stop at least 20 feet from the bus if you are approaching the vehicle from behind
- Stop at least 20 feet from the bus if you are approaching the vehicle from the front
Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
Just like other vehicles, motorcycles have rights, privileges, and rules.
But unlike other vehicles, motorcycles and their drivers are more vulnerable on the road.
To make sure that they are protected, here are some rules to follow when driving with motorcycles:
- Yield right-of-way to a motorcycle when you’re turning left. This is the motorcycle’s right-of-way and you will be penalized if you crash into them.
- Always look twice before you merge into traffic or change lanes. Take a moment to check your mirrors and look if there are oncoming vehicles. Given its size, it’s easy to miss motorcycles the first time.
- Do not share a lane with a motorcycle. Let them have their space, especially if it’s a motorcycle lane. This is so that, if they need to avoid road hazards, like spills or potholes, they have enough space to swerve without hitting you.
- Drive cautiously when you’re surrounded by a group of motorcycles. This usually happens at stoplights. Let them go through first and only move forward or turn when the road is clear.
Sharing the Road with Bicycles
By Maryland law, bicycles are also motorists that have rights and rules to follow on the road.
But compared to all other vehicles, including motorcycles, bicycles have a higher risk of accidents.
They are quieter, sometimes not heard at all. They don’t have mirrors to check for oncoming vehicles. They don’t have engines, so they are much slower.
A misstep from a bicyclist or motorist can result in a minor accident. So always drive carefully when you’re sharing the road with bicyclists.
How can you do that? Here are some road rules to follow:
- Even if the road does not have a bike lane, respect bicyclists.
- Bikes are allowed to occupy a lane, so don’t try to push them out of it.
- Always check your side mirrors for oncoming bicyclists before you open your car door.
- Do not blow your horn if you are following a bicyclist. Chances are bicyclists can hear you approaching from behind. If you honk, bicyclists might be startled, which can result in a crash or accident.
- Do not follow a bicycle too closely. They might suddenly stop or swerve to the side if there is a road hazard.
- Use caution at intersections, driveways, and bridges. Bicycles are slower than vehicles, so make sure you watch for them and keep out of their way.
Sharing the Road with Mopeds and Scooters
Just like bicycles, mopeds and scooters share the same rights and respect the same laws as other motorists. But because of their size, they are more difficult to see.
They can ride on main roadways, as long as they reach up to 50 miles per hour, to prevent traffic. If you’re driving behind them, cautiously overtake them if you feel that they are slowing you down.
If you are turning to your sides, take a look first before doing so, since mopeds and scooters always occupy the sides of the road.
And those were the Maryland road rules.
Vehicles and motorists come in different shapes and sizes. And with this comes different behaviors when driving alongside them.
As a driver, yield right-of-way to vehicles that have less capability to stop and protect themselves on the road. Consider smaller motorists and always let pedestrians cross safely.
It’s always a good thing when you know how to share the road with others.