Rhode Island Rules of the Road (How to Share the Road)

Rhode Island Rules of the Road (How to Share the Road)

Picture this: you’re going through the rush hour traffic and a bicyclist appears beside you. 

What do you do?

Or what about you trying to pass a large truck safely?

There are so many different vehicles that we encounter on the road. 

And each one needs special attention. 

This is why, today, we’re going to go over the Rhode Island rules of the road.

In other words, we’re going to show you how to share the road with:

  • Large trucks
  • Pedestrians
  • School buses
  • Bicycles
  • Any vehicle at night

This will help you be a better and safer driver. 

So let’s dive in!

How to Share the Road with Large Trucks

Rhode Island rules of the road - big trucks

I don’t need to tell you that trucks take up a lot more space on the road. 

However, what you might not know is that these large trucks have blind spots. These are:

  • Directly in front of the truck.
  • Directly at the back – up until a few feet from the back of the truck.
  • Beside the truck driver and the front-row passenger.

So if you’re driving alongside a truck, here are some things you should remember: 

  • Always be in a place where the truck driver can see you. Ideally on the adjacent lane near the back of the truck, where you’ll be visible on the side mirrors. 
  • When passing, pass as fast as possible without going over the speed limit. Do not stay beside the truck. 
  • Keep a large distance between you and the truck (at least 50 feet). Trucks take longer to fully stop because of their size and weight. 
  • If a truck is signaling a turn, don’t try to squeeze in between the truck and the curb even if there is big space. Remember, trucks need more space when turning. 
  • Avoid lane changes or suddenly moving in front of a truck. Always signal your intentions first.  
  • If there are road conditions (snow, rain, fog), further increase your following distance from a truck and drive slower. 

How to Share the Road with Pedestrians

While pedestrians are not exactly hazards (or vehicles), they’re the most vulnerable on the road. 

So it’s very important to know how to share the road with them.

And here are some road rules to follow:

  • Always be alert for pedestrians. If you are in a school zone, park, or residential area, expect people to cross suddenly. 
  • Stop at the line before the crosswalk. This is so it will be easy for pedestrians to use it. 
  • Never park, stop, or block the crosswalk. 
  • Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. If you’re turning, always let them cross first. 
  • Do not stop to pick up hitchhikers anytime or at any place. 
  • Always stop a few feet from blind pedestrians or those who have poor vision and let them fully cross before continuing. You can spot these pedestrians as they tend to have a guide dog or a white cane to signify their disability. 
  • Do not honk at pedestrians to hurry to cross. 

How to Share the Road with School Buses

Did you know that Rhode Island has a strict law about driving alongside a school bus?

The law states that…

If the school bus has turned on its red flashing light and/or shows a STOP sign, every driver is required to make a full stop when approaching the school bus from either direction. 

This law applies to all roads, whether private or public. 

You have to wait for the lights to stop flashing and for the bus to move before proceeding. 

The only time you don’t need to stop is if you are driving opposite the school bus on a divided highway. 

Violating this law can lead to a fine of up to $300 and up to 30 days of license suspension. 

How to Share the Road with Bicycles

Bicyclists are treated as vehicles on the road. 

So they have to follow traffic laws, too. 

However, bicycles are prone to losing balance due to potholes, road conditions, or breezing vehicles. 

When driving alongside a bicyclist, remember these things: 

  • Vehicles driving in the same direction must yield to bicyclists. 
  • Always be alert for hand signals or signs that the bicyclist is struggling. When this happens, increase your following distance and do not pass them. 
  • If there are potholes ahead or when the road is slippery, allow the bicyclist the full width of the road. Do not drive too close to them. 
  • Do not stop or park on bike lanes. 
  • If you’re turning, always check if there is a bicycle making a turn. Let them go first and then make your turn. 
  • Make sure you can see the bicyclists nearby so you can adjust to their driving. 

How to Share the Road at Night 

Yes, you’re probably so familiar with driving alongside other vehicles like yours. 

But night driving might pose a few challenges. 

If you’re driving at night, here are some road rules to help other drivers:

  • Use high beams when there are no vehicles nearby. High beams allow you to see farther. 
  • If a vehicle is approaching, quickly switch your high beams to low beams. This is so you won’t glare a light on the other driver’s eyes.  
  • Always turn on your headlights, whether at night or in bad weather. You want to make sure that the other drivers can see you. 
  • Go at a safer speed. If you speed too much and it’s harder to see the road ahead, you just might get into a collision with another driver. 
  • Never drink and drive. If you want to safely share the road with other vehicles, you have to have your full senses. 
  • Similar to that, never drive drowsy. You become very careless and might crash into another vehicle if you are falling asleep. 


And those were the Rhode Island rules of the road. 

By knowing how to share the road, you can reduce accidents and collisions. 

Plus, you don’t need to stress when you share the road with, say, a large truck or a bicycle — because you already know what to do. 

So go ahead and apply these road rules. 

Drive safely! 

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