In order to maintain order and avoid accidents, there are certain rules you have to follow when you share the road with others.
And today, we’re going to focus on the Massachusetts rules of the road.
Here, we’re going to walk you through the road rules, as well as give you tips to help prevent any crashes or problems.
By the time we finish, you’ll be more aware of the right things to do when you encounter other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists.
So shall we?
Massachusetts Road Rules
There are three scenarios that are important to highlight when talking about road rules:
- Driving alongside other vehicles
- Driving alongside pedestrians
- Driving alongside bicyclists
Let’s talk about them in more detail below.
Vehicle Road Rules in Massachusetts
As a driver, you probably already know how to share the road with other private vehicles.
But what do you do when there’s an emergency or maintenance vehicle?
Emergency vehicles may be speeding on the road or stopped at the side, handling an emergency. These vehicles include fire trucks, police cars, disaster vehicles, and ambulances.
On the other hand, maintenance vehicles will almost always be parked when there are repairs or temporary constructions.
Regardless of the type of vehicle you encounter, you need to do the following:
- If you see the vehicles with their red flashing lights turned on, start slowing down and keep alert.
- Be ready to stop at any point if necessary.
- If you see them at night, dim your high beams as you approach.
- Follow the “move over law”. You need to yield the right-of-way or move to an open lane and let the emergency vehicle pass. If there are no open lanes, reduce speed and look for a safe place to let them pass.
- Do not park within 800 feet of a fire and do not park by a fire hose unless a firefighter has directed you to do so.
- If you need help, pull over in front of a police officer.
Dealing with Car Crashes
Of course, sharing the road with emergency and maintenance vehicles isn’t the only vehicle road rule in the state.
There are also rules relating to car crashes.
When faced with this emergency, do you know what to do?
Well, if you are involved in a crash:
- Stop your vehicle. Do not leave the scene of the accident. This is called “hit and run” and is illegal in Massachusetts.
- Always check if anyone is injured. If there are, call the police and an ambulance if necessary.
- If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road.
- Locate the owner of the other vehicle that was affected and call the police.
- Let the other party know your name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information. Ask them for their information as well.
- File a report at the RMV office within 5 days of the car crash. If there has been property damage of at least $1,000 or more, always report it to the police.
- If you hit an animal, notify the local police and the animal’s owner if you can identify them.
We mentioned earlier that a hit-and-run is illegal. Leaving the site of an accident involves penalties such as:
- Up to $200 fine, up to 2 years of imprisonment, or both if you leave the scene after a crash where there is property damage involved.
- Up to $1,000 and up to 2 years of imprisonment if you leave the scene where there is an injury to a person.
- Up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 ½ years or up to 10 years in state prison if you leave the scene of a crash after causing an injury that resulted in the death of a person
You may also be fined for hitting a cat or dog and not notifying the pet’s owner or the local police.
On top of these penalties, you may be given probation or a license suspension.
Pedestrian Road Rules in Massachusetts
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the road, so it’s important to yield to a pedestrian when they are crossing — even if they’re not on the crosswalk.
But of course, even pedestrians have to follow road rules. And these include:
- Always cross at a crosswalk and only during a WALK traffic signal.
- Before crossing, even if the light says WALK, make a full stop and look to your left and right. Do this even if you’re on a one-way street.
- If there are parked cars on the street, make a full stop and look in both directions before crossing.
- Always walk on a sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk in the opposite direction of the cars.
- Don’t walk on expressways, interstate highways, or turnpikes.
- If you are walking at night, wear bright colors or reflective material.
Bicycle Road Rules in Massachusetts
Bicycles, like all other vehicles, are allowed to use public highways, except when there are signs that show that bicycles are not allowed.
But since bicyclists have rights, too, you must learn to share the road with them.
So here’s what to do if you are driving alongside a bicycle:
- Always watch for bicycles in your vicinity. If there are, be alert to their hand signals for turning.
- Yield to bicyclists when turning left, regardless of the road you are in.
- Do not squeeze into bicycle lanes or alongside bicycles in a narrow lane. Give room to bicyclists and let them pass first.
- Never cut off a bicyclist. If you have to pass, show a signal and give room between you and the bicyclist before you return to your lane.
If you’re a bicyclist, make sure to follow these rules:
- You must wear a bicycle helmet at all times.
- Always make sure that your brakes are working and in good condition. It should be able to stop you from a 15 MPH speed within 30 feet.
- You’re not allowed to carry objects that interfere with the safe operation of your bicycle.
- Always use both hands when riding a bicycle.
- You are allowed to take up a full lane on any street except in places where bicycles are prohibited.
- You must bike in the same direction as traffic.
- Follow the traffic lights. If there is a stop sign, you are also required to stop.
- Always signal your intent to change directions or lanes before turning.
- Check if you can ride on sidewalks. Not all cities will allow this.
- Always yield to pedestrians when crossing and when you’re sharing the sidewalk with them.
- Always ride in a straight line so as not to confuse other drivers on the road.
- Never text and bike. Do not operate any handheld mobile device as well.
- Give large vehicles room and avoid driving beside them. Be aware of their blind spots.
And those were the Massachusetts rules of the road.
These tips and road rules are important to avoid any incidents on the road. Sure, they’re a handful, but the more you keep this in mind, the easier it is to follow them.
Always choose safety!