Imagine how much freer and easier it will be to drive alone on the Virginia roadways.
Reality check: that doesn’t happen often (if not at all).
Instead, you must be ready to share the road with all kinds of vehicles and even pedestrians. After all, in Virginia, there’s no lack of motorcycles, bicycles, light rails, and commercial vehicles along its roadways.
This is why, here, we’re going to give you the Virginia road rules. In other words, how to share the road.
So, let’s look at what you should and shouldn’t do in the Old Dominion.
How to Share the Road with Pedestrians
Let’s first focus on people.
Remember, pedestrians have no protection against vehicles. They can get seriously hurt if hit while crossing the street.
It’s no wonder then that you must always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Wait until they’ve passed your lane before continuing.
This also applies when turning — let them reach the other side before you turn left or right.
Of course, that goes without saying that you must always be on the lookout for pedestrians crossing.
Be extra alert in areas where children are more likely to be present. This includes schools, residential areas, parks, and playgrounds.
If they’re older adults, be patient. They may have challenges with their vision and hearing and may move slower than others.
Make a complete stop if you see a pedestrian using a cane or with a guide dog. That typically means they’re visually impaired.
How to Share the Road with Bicycles
Despite their size and not being motor-operated, bicycles are considered vehicles.
And, in Virginia, bicyclists have the same rights as those driving a car.
Now, the Virginia road rules allow bicycles on most public roads except for freeways and interstates. So you better get used to sharing the road with them.
Don’t try to crowd bicyclists in a single lane (except when sharing is allowed). Remember, they deserve a whole lane’s width.
Also, it’s best to slow down when approaching a bicycle.
If passing, keep at least three feet between you and them. If the lane isn’t wide enough, switch to a different one.
Always check your blind spots — bicycles are small enough to slip into them. So before completing driving maneuvers (backing up, turning, pulling out, or changing lanes), check if there’s a bicycle nearby.
How to Share the Road with Mopeds
Did you know that Virginia acknowledges mopeds as vehicles, too?
So you must treat them like any other sedan, SUV, or bus sharing the road with you.
Okay, you won’t find a moped on an interstate highway — but you can encounter them elsewhere.
How to Share the Road with Motorcycles
Motorcycles are small and fast.
Most drivers that hit one say they didn’t even see the bike.
Although it takes a little more effort, watch for motorcycles when driving. Part of this involves checking your blind spots.
Don’t tailgate — that goes for all vehicles, but more so for motorcycles. Remember, motorcycles need more space to maneuver and avoid road hazards.
You might also need more stopping distance, especially when the weather isn’t ideal.
Motorcycles, unlike bicycles, don’t get a separate lane. However, despite its size, you cannot drive side-by-side with one.
When it comes to motorcycles, always be on the side of caution. If you can’t accurately assess their speed, yielding is safer.
How to Share the Road with Light Rails
The Tide is a light rail train system in Norfolk. It intersects with motor vehicle traffic at 27 points.
Although it just crosses your path, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to exercise caution.
Here are some Virginia road rules — the dos and don’ts to sharing the road with light rails:
|Follow the roadway and observe changing traffic patterns|
Expect a train on the tracks at any given time
Look both ways before crossing
Obey all traffic signs and signals
|Go around lowered crossing gates|
Stop, pass, or shift on the tracks
Cross when you see or hear a light rail approaching
How to Share the Road with Low-Speed Vehicles
In Virginia, there are some vehicles that travel at a maximum speed of 21-25 mph. These are low-speed vehicles.
You can spot these vehicles by the orange warning emblem on their rear.
Now, our instant reaction is to pass it as soon as possible.
However, always follow safe passing procedures. This includes letting the driver know your intention, switching to another lane to pass, going back to your lane when you can see the vehicle’s front cab on your mirror, etc…
How to Share the Road with Commercial Vehicles
Whereas motorcycles, bicycles, and mopeds are small and easy to miss, commercial vehicles often pose different challenges because they’re so big.
Specifically, CMVs have a lot of blindspots called No Zones.
You need to know where these are located, so you can avoid driving there and being unseen by the truck driver.
Let’s break that down.
The Side No-Zone:
It’s never a good idea to stay beside a truck for more than several minutes (it doesn’t matter what side, but its blindspot on the right is broader).
Here’s a neat trick — if you can’t see the truck driver’s face on his side mirrors, he can’t see you either.
The Rear No-Zone:
Staying directly behind a large vehicle is a no-no because — guess what? — the driver can’t see you there!
And with the CMV blocking your view, you can’t see what’s happening ahead. If the truck suddenly stops, you have very little room to maneuver. Chances are, you’ll crash into it.
The Front No-Zone:
The space immediately in front of the truck’s cab is also a blindspot. If you suddenly cut in ahead of one, it’ll likely rear-end you.
Even if the driver slams his brakes, he’ll need more stopping distance because of its size and weight.
If you pass a large commercial vehicle, wait until you can see the front cab in your mirror — that’s a good sign you’re in the driver’s line of sight.
And once you reenter the lane, don’t slow down right away. That’s another accident waiting to happen.
When Commercial Vehicles Turn
More than the No-Zones, you must also watch out for turning CMVs. Since they make wide turns, they need a lot of space.
They’ll swing left or right (depending on where they’re heading) before turning. Drivers can’t see vehicles beside and behind them when doing this.
So, even if it looks like there’s more than enough room to squeeze by, don’t. It’s best to wait until it fully turns and then you can go your way.
The Wrap Up
And that was the Virginia road rules on how to share the road.
So, whether it’s a truck, a motorcycle, a low-speed vehicle, or a pedestrian, you’ll know how to ensure you, your passengers, and others stay safe.
Remember, safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Because of that, it’s a must to obey these rules.