Drivers’ ed may be a course that’s long behind you, but Georgia driving laws are updated more regularly than you would think. In fact, if you’re a seasoned driver, you may not be aware of some of the most vital GA driving laws and their conditions. So, here are the top 10 GA driving laws that you need to know to remain a safe and informed Georgia driver.
10 Georgia driving laws you should know about.
1. You’re required by law to have car insurance.
Georgia law requires all drivers to have a certain amount of car insurance. However, many people don’t know that the minimum requirement for car insurance in Georgia does NOT cover their car or their passengers and may not even be enough to cover the other driver if you’re in an accident.
The state minimum requirement for auto insurance is only 25/50/25, which means that every driver is required to have at least $25,000 worth of bodily liability insurance per person, $50,000 of bodily liability insurance per accident, and $25,000 of property damage insurance. Again, bodily injury liability and property damage coverage do NOT cover damages to your car or the injuries of you and your passengers. If you want coverage for your vehicle, you may want to consider collision and comprehensive coverage for your auto insurance policy.
Additionally, Georgia’s minimum coverage limits may not be enough to completely cover the other driver if you’re in an accident. If they sue you and you’re found liable for more than your insured limit, you could be on the hook. That’s why you should also consider increasing the amount of liability and property damage coverage on your policy or consider personal umbrella insurance.
2. Hands-free Driving
In 2018, Georgia passed a totally hands-free driving law, making it illegal for any driver to simply hold an electronic device while operating a car. This law extends farther than restricting texting and driving. The law was passed this way so that it would be easier to enforce distracted laws throughout the state. Before the law, in most cases, police would not be able to prove that a driver was texting and driving instead of simply holding the phone to speak.
However, this doesn’t mean that it is completely illegal to use a device while driving in Georgia. On the contrary, it is still legal on the road to:
- Use hands-free technology to talk on the phone
- Use Speech-to-Text to text or make notes
- Use GPS or a navigation app
- Use a smartwatch
- Use an earpiece (but not headphones)
- Use your phone to report an accident, medical emergency, fire, crime, or hazardous road condition
- Use a radio, CB radio, subscription-based emergency communication device, prescribed medical device, or in-vehicle security system
- Use your phone while parked in an off-the-road location (NOT stopped at a stop sign/light)
So, this is one of our important Georgia driving laws to know about.
3. Don’t be a “slowpoke”
That’s right: you may be stopped in Georgia for going too slowly in the improper lane. The Georgia “Slowpoke Law” mandates that if a faster car approaches you while you’re driving in the left lane on a highway, you must move out of the way of that car, even if you are going the speed limit. You may even see highway signs that state “Slower traffic, move right.” Failure to move over may result in a fine or a ticket.
4. Slow Down/Move Over
Speaking of moving over, Georgia has also created a law to slow down and move over for not only police cars stopped on road shoulders, but emergency responders, tow truck drivers, and garbage trucks. Numerous emergency responders and assistance workers are killed because of vehicles that fail to obey this law.
So, if you see a vehicle with, not just flashing blue lights, but flashing orange or yellow lights, either move over one lane away from the vehicle or slow down to at least 10 mph below the speed limit.
5. Make sure your headlights are on in the rain
This law is more than just a safety recommendation. Georgia law requires cars to turn their headlights on in the rain, even in the daytime. Headlights can increase your ability to see other cars in the rain, but it can also help other cars see you. So, even if you have automatic headlights, make sure that they turn on and that you’ve maintained them well enough to see through a storm and at night (at least 300 ft in front of the vehicle). Also, make sure that your taillights are operational and visible when your headlights turn on as a part of your regular vehicle maintenance.
6. If an intersection’s traffic light is out, treat it as a four-way stop
Sometimes power outages happen in your home or just within your neighborhood block. However, if you find yourself at an intersection usually lit up by a traffic light and its power is out, Georgia law dictates that you treat the intersection as a four-way stop. This means that whoever approaches the intersection comes to a full stop and then has the right of way. If two or more cars stop at the intersection at the same time, the driver to the left of the person on the main road goes first, and then each driver takes turns going, clockwise, around the intersection.
Of course, if the emergency lights for the intersection activate where there are either blinking yellow or red lights, follow those signals. And always stay alert!
7. Joshua’s Law
This law is essentially the series of Georgia-specific requirements to get a license. It generally focuses on proper driving education and knowledge for a teen to get their permit through a graduated license program. Most states have their own versions of this law. However, Joshua’s law is specific to Georgia’s requirements regarding written and field exams for GA drivers starting at the age of 15 with a learner’s/instructional permit. (It’s really important to make sure that teen drivers are aware of Georgia driving laws.)
8. Click it or Ticket
Seatbelts have a lot more benefits than just keeping you strapped down in an accident. However, before this Georgia law, many drivers still opted for keeping themselves unbuckled. The state’s “Click it or Ticket” law enforces a hefty fine for any driver in Georgia, whether they are licensed in the state or not, who drives without wearing a seatbelt. There are very few exceptions for this law, with most of them being emergency responders or slower vehicles.
9. You CAN drive without shoes
This one is more for the beach bums of Georgia or people looking for a little relief from the confines of shoes. It’s a large myth that law enforcement can pull you over for driving without shoes on. In fact, this “law” has never existed in the state. Unless it impedes your driving in another way, kicking off your shoes to ride around on the open road is not illegal in Georgia. Maybe that’s one of the weirder Georgia driving laws (or rather not laws) out there, but still worth a mention.
10. No open containers
Even if you’re playing the role of designated driver for a night out, make sure that no one in your car has an open container of alcohol. This includes resealable containers, cups, or bottles. While the charge may not be the same as a DUI, there is a large fine for the driver of the vehicle if there are any unsealed alcoholic beverages present. Plus, the officer may have grounds to issue a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer test if they see an open container.
These are by no means a complete list of Georgia driving laws you need to know. However, these basic reminders can put you on the path to creating a safer road system for you, your passengers, and other drivers out there. It can also help you save money on Georgia car insurance. Safe and knowledgeable drivers can qualify for discounts and lower rates.
Our auto insurance experts can help you uncover all of the secrets to saving on your auto insurance. To start getting customized quotes on the best rates for your Georgia auto insurance, give our experts a call, fill out our online form, or start LiveChatting with an agent today!