Law enforcement officer enforces Arizona driving lawsWhether you are a first-year driver or a seasoned driver spanning several decades, local drivers could use a refreshment course on Arizona driving laws. It is always good to get some reminders for some actions that may have become habitual behaviors. Not every habit is a good one, and that’s what the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and city traffic departments try to remind the general public. All throughout Mesa and surrounding cities are signage alongside roadways with simple reminders. These messages include hot topics like tailgating, wearing seatbelts, watching your speed, and more. ADOT even uses the traffic announcement boards on the Valley’s highways to share some witty driving advice. Here are some of the best ones voted by Valley residents.

Skousen, Gulbrandsen, & Patience, PLC is personal injury law firm based in Mesa, AZ, and a large part of our clients are car accident victims throughout the Valley. We are dedicated to upholding the state’s driving laws and promoting content that supports auto accident prevention. Here are some reminders as you venture out on your daily commutes, as well as a few lesser-known Arizona driving laws.

  1. Move over to the left when law enforcement officers are pulled over

On any standard highway, there is limited space on the left side of the HOV lane and the farthest right-side lane. These are the spots that law enforcement usually pulls a traffic violator off to the side of the road. It is also where they encourage accident victims to move their vehicles to as a measure to get the accident out of the flow of traffic whenever possible.

Those who are traveling in the flowing lanes should do two things: slow down to a respectable speed, and move over away from the stopped vehicle as needed. This gives the law enforcement and first responders extra clearance room to get out of their vehicles and assist or address the situation at hand.

  1. Stay back or stop when law enforcement side winds on a highway or multi-lane street

Whenever a multi-vehicle accident or an accident scene spans across several lanes, local law enforcement or highway patrol may side wind on the roadway to warn traffic that there’s an accident scene ahead. In many of these circumstances, traffic may need to divert off the roadway to continue towards their destination.

As local law enforcement uses their vehicle to side wind on the roadway, it means to stay back at a respectable distance or to stop altogether. It often is a deterrent and time tactic to allow emergency responders and tow trucks to get the affected vehicles out of the lanes of traffic, so commuters can get through and continue to their destinations. While it is not one of the well-known Arizona driving laws, you could risk getting a traffic citation for disregarding law enforcement orders if you do not comply with their instructions.

  1. Determine right of way when a traffic signal blinks yellow or red

Traffic signals can go out, when they do, they are either completely out or will blink in yellow or red. Certain parts of Mesa automatically change all four-way intersections to yellow blinking lights after a certain time of the evening. For new, seasoned, and out of town drivers, here is how to interpret them:

Blinking yellow – Proceed with current direction with lesser speed and exercise caution going through an intersection. You do not need to come to a full stop unless you are making a left-hand turn. Be sure all traffic is clear before turning. 

Blinking red – Come to a full stop, and whoever arrived first and is leftmost can proceed with their direction or turn. Local law enforcement may also intervene following a weather event or a car accident in Mesa at a three- or four-way intersection. Stop and follow their prompts for directional traffic.

  1. Remember who should yield in merge zones

Yield sign in front of lush green treeMerging is one of the most dangerous driving actions to do on the roadways because not every motorist yields the way they are supposed to. The most common places a motorist needs to yield to merging traffic are on- and off-ramps for freeway entrances or exits. Other places include disappearing lanes or right-hand turn only lanes.

  • Freeway traffic and any other traffic on through streets always have right of way, so those attempting to get onto the freeway need to yield, signal, and merge when it is safe to do so.
  • When motorists need to make a turn, pedestrians and through traffic always have right of way. Drivers should yield to them before safely turning.
  • When driving on a through street that has disappearing lanes, it’s best to signal ahead of time and merge when it is safe to do so before the lane runs out. Do not rush and cut off other motorists because you could risk sideswiping them or anger a driver that is prone to road rage.

Local motorists have numerous things to remember including Arizona driving laws, and they can vary state to state. Following these is one of many ways to actively prevent car accidents. Many of the car accidents that happen in Mesa are preventable by honoring right of way and providing adequate space for others.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident that happened in Mesa or its surrounding cities, contact Skousen, Gulbrandsen, & Patience, PLC immediately. We start protecting your rights following your free initial consultation. Our car accident attorneys are thorough with Arizona’s driving laws and will use them to protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf. Reach us by phone 24/7!