New Hampshire Traffic Rules (How to Share the Road)

New Hampshire Traffic Rules (How to Share the Road)

We wish we could drive freely on empty roads every day. 

I’m sure you do, too. 

But to be realistic, we all have to share the road with others. 

Not just that, but you have to share the road with different vehicles and even people. That makes it more complicated. 

Don’t fret — we’re here to help. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about the New Hampshire traffic rules. In other words, we’re going to show you how to share the road with:

  • School buses
  • Pedestrians
  • Bicycles
  • Motorcycles
  • Slow-moving vehicles
  • Large trucks
  • Emergency vehicles
  • Police stops 

Knowing and following these rules will make you the safest driver out there. It will also help you avoid getting annoying tickets. 

So shall we?

How to Share the Road with School Buses

It’s best to keep an eye out for school buses. This is especially true when it extends its arm and flashes red lights. 

In these situations, you must come to a complete stop at least 25 feet away from it. All drivers must follow this, whether or not they’re traveling in the same direction as the school bus.

New Hampshire Traffic Rules

You can only proceed when the school bus stops flashing its lights or resumes moving.

If you violate this traffic rule, you will need to pay a fine of $100-$750 for your first offense. A second and subsequent offense increases the fine to $200-$1,000, as well as a 30-day license suspension. 

How to Share the Road with Pedestrians

The essential thing to remember when sharing the road with pedestrians in New Hampshire is that they have the right of way in the following situations:

  • They’re on a crosswalk
  • They’re using a sidewalk 
  • They’re crossing an alley entrance or driveway
  • They’re visually impaired

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to stop for a pedestrian if they are crossing elsewhere. You still do. 

Here are some situations where you need to be extra careful:

  • When there are parked or stopped vehicles next to you. Pedestrians often walk between them to get to the street.
  • When you’re backing up. It’s particularly true when you’re in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
  • When you’re in a school zone — it usually has a slower speed limit, which you must obey.
  • When you’re at a school crossing. Don’t forget to follow what the crossing guard requires you to do.

How to Share the Road with Bicycles

Despite only having two wheels and no motor, New Hampshire considers bicycles as vehicles. And although this means that cyclists have to obey the same rules and regulations as other vehicles, they have the same rights, too.

So, if you’re sharing the road with a bicycle, here are a couple of rules to follow:

  • If passing a bicycle, have enough space between you and them. Keep a distance of at least three feet.
  • At night, dim your lights if a bicycle is coming from the opposite direction. You don’t want to blind them. 
  • On roads where bicycle lanes intersect your path, you must yield the right of way.
  • You cannot drive, park, or stop on a designated bicycle lane. The only exceptions are when you’re doing the following:
    • Going into or leaving an alley or driveway
  • Performing official duties
  • In an emergency
  • Directed by a law enforcement officer
  • Avoid honking at a cyclist. Typically, you only do it if you want to avoid a collision. Otherwise, you might surprise or distract them, which may make them lose control and/or balance. 
  • Exercise caution when you’re opening your door. Check the road to ensure no cyclist is approaching.

How to Share the Road with Motorcycles

Another smaller vehicle that you’ll usually encounter on New Hampshire roadways is a motorcycle. Like bicycles, they have the same rights as any other vehicle. 

Because of their size, you might have difficulty gauging a bike’s speed. It may also be challenging to see if it stays in your car’s blind spot.

New Hampshire Traffic Rules

With that in mind, let’s go over some traffic rules on how to share the road with motorcycles: 

  • A motorcycle has the right to have an entire lane width to itself. It’s best not to share one with it. 
  • Before proceeding with a left turn, watch out for oncoming motorcycles. It’s also wise to gauge their speed — if they’re going too fast, you might not have enough time to complete the turn.
  • Observe a 4-second following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle. Remember, riders are more sensitive to weather and road conditions. They may reduce speed or change directions for several reasons:
  • Slippery roads
  • Bad weather
  • Crosswinds
  • Uneven road surfaces
  • Most motorcycles don’t have auto-canceling turn signals. Watch for other signs, such as a rider looking to their side or sticking out their arm, to confirm whether they’re turning.

How to Share the Road with Slow-Moving Vehicles

New Hampshire considers vehicles traveling less than 25 mph slow-moving. You’ll also see an orange and red sign (refer to the image below) at its rear.

New Hampshire Traffic Rules

Common examples of slow-moving vehicles include the following:

  • Animal-drawn vehicles
  • Farm equipment
  • Construction Equipment

As a general rule, exercise caution when sharing the road with these, especially if you want to pass.

  • Drivers operating farm equipment usually cannot hear other vehicles. Only pass if you’re sure it’s safe to do so.
  • If you encounter animal-drawn vehicles, ensure you don’t frighten the horse. Avoid revving your engine or using your horn. Instead, reduce your speed and assess the situation before you attempt to pass it.

How to Share the Road with Large Trucks

Like you can have blind spots for motorcycles, the same is true for you and large trucks. Only this time, you are the one in the blind spot. 

New Hampshire Traffic Rules

So if sharing the road with large vehicles, keep these things in mind:

  • Side No-Zones: The truck or bus driver can’t see you if you’re in a side no-zone. A way to check this is to look in your side mirror — if you can’t see the driver, he can’t see you either. Don’t stay beside a commercial vehicle longer than necessary. You’ll likely get into an accident if the driver swerves or switches lanes.
  • Front No-Zone: Large trucks need more time to stop because of their size and weight. When passing, ensure you can see the entire front cab in your rear-view mirror before entering the lane or switching lanes.
  • Rear No-Zones: The blind spot behind a large truck can extend up to 200 feet. Following too closely may lead to a crash if it suddenly stops and you have nowhere to go.
  • Turning: Large trucks and other commercial vehicles make wide arcs when turning. It may seem like you have more than enough space between them and the curb, but you might crash if you try to squeeze in it.

How to Share the Road with Emergency Vehicles

If you see an emergency vehicle (ambulance, police car, fire truck) flashing lights, blaring sirens, and with specialized horns, you must yield the right of way. 

The best thing to do is stop on the right-hand side of the road. However, ensure that when you stop, you aren’t blocking traffic. 

Once the emergency has passed, you can rejoin traffic when it’s safe.

New Hampshire actually has a law for this, called the Move Over Law. 

The law states that all vehicles need to move to a lane adjacent to the emergency vehicle (if there’s more than one) or give it ample space (if there’s only one lane).

Violating the Move Over law may result in a $75 fine and a penalty assessment. On your second and subsequent offenses within 12 months, the amount goes up to $250.

Here are other rules that you should follow: 

  • Reduce your speed
  • Follow whatever directions authorized personnel give
  • Vacate lanes in the emergency area as soon as possible

How to Share the Road with Police/Traffic Stops

Being stopped by a law enforcement officer may be stressful, but you could get into more trouble if you act rashly. 

Instead, here’s what you can do:

  • Put your vehicle in park but do not exit it unless the police officer asks you to. 
  • Turn your engine off but leave your hazard lights on.
  • Don’t take off your seatbelt (ask your passengers to remain buckled up, too), place your hands on the steering wheel, and don’t make sudden movements.
  • Provide your driver’s license and registration certificate when asked to do so. Before reaching for them, inform law enforcement where they are and keep one hand on the steering wheel when you get them.
  • Answer any questions clearly and calmly.

Remember, not all law enforcement officers use police cars. If he’s using an unmarked vehicle, ensure its blue lights are on. 

Some police officers wear plain clothes — if one pulls you over, it’s best to ask for his badge or department ID card.

The Wrap Up

There you have it — the New Hampshire traffic rules on how to share the road. 

To be sure, you’re going to encounter everything we just mentioned here. So knowing how to deal with them is a great way to keep safe and avoid penalties. 

And remember, it’s always best to be a safe and responsible driver!

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