mother buckling her young child into a car seat

The Ultimate Safe Driving Checklist

How to Make Your Driving Safer

In terms of car accidents per capita, Georgia is pretty middle of the pack when compared to other states in the region. But just because it’s not one of the most dangerous places to drive doesn’t mean that motorists shouldn’t continue learning how to become a safer driver.

As personal injury attorneys, we are committed to combating negligence, and one of the best ways to do this is to help all motorists understand the state laws regarding vehicle safety and what they can do to be safer drivers whenever behind the wheel. Here is your safe driving checklist for Georgia.

The Basics of Georgia Driving Laws

In the past couple of years, Georgia lawmakers have been making strides to ensure that motorists are being safer on the roads and keeping their full attention on the task at hand. When driving on Georgia roads, here are some important things to keep in mind.

Seatbelts

Georgia’s current seatbelt laws require that the driver and front-seat passengers wear a safety belt at all times. However, only passengers under the age of 17 riding in the backseat are required to do so.

Lawmakers have considered introducing legislation that would require all passengers, regardless of age, to be wearing a seatbelt at all times when the vehicle is in motion, but this has yet to pass in any formal proceedings.

Hands-Free Driving

Georgia passed their own “hands-free” law in 2018 that bans motorists from holding any kind of handheld electronic device while driving. This law also prohibits watching or recording videos and is applicable on any highway in the state.

Drivers who do not comply with hands-free driving laws are subject to points on their record and a fine ranging from $50 to $150 depending on which offense they commit

Slow Down and Move Over

Similar to all other states, Georgia requires that drivers slow down or move to another lane when an authorized emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road — or any vehicle that has flashing blue, yellow, amber, white, or red lights.

If you are unable to move to another lane when approaching a stopped vehicle of this kind, it is recommended that you go a reasonable speed (about 10 mph) below the speed limit in that area and keep an eye out for people standing near the roadway. Failing to comply with this law can result in a $500 fine.

Motorcycle Safety

We already know that motorcycles have limited safety features compared to a car; however, there are still steps motorcycle riders can take to be safer drivers. The most important of which is to wear a helmet.

Georgia requires that protective headgear be worn at all times and any helmet meeting the Department of Transportation standards is approved to be worn. You can view the full National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requirements here.

The law also requires that each motorcycle has a windshield unless the driver is wearing protective eyewear.

Driving with Children

Having small children as passengers in your vehicle comes with its own unique set of distractions and other challenges. Maintaining an appropriate car seat is one of the most important things you can do to keep your child safe in the car.

Car Seats

It is the law in Georgia that all passengers who are under the age of 8 and shorter than 4’9” (57 inches) must be buckled in the backseat, riding in a car/booster seat that is suitable for their age and size. Here are the recommended car seat specifications:

  • Two years old and younger: rear-facing car seat.
  • Approximately two years and older: forward-facing car seat, as long as the child meets the height and weight requirements specified by the manufacturer.
  • Approximately five to eight years old: booster seat until the child is eight years old. Exceptions can be made if parents present written documentation of the child’s height being greater than 4’9”.
  • Eight years and older (over 4’9”): standard seatbelt.

The state also recommends that anyone under the age of 13 rides in the backseat, as this increases their chance of remaining safe during a collision.

Defensive Driving Techniques

Aside from the laws that are in place to protect motorists, drivers can also use defensive driving techniques to ensure that they are operating their vehicle in the safest manner possible. Here are the five of the most important defensive driving techniques you should know:

  1. Pay attention to all vehicles on the road, including motorcycles and bicyclists.
  2. Stay at least 3 seconds behind the car in front of you and allow for more space if there is low visibility or other hazardous road conditions.
  3. Avoid distracted driving - this includes tasks like changing the radio station, eating or drinking, and talking to passengers.
  4. Never get behind the wheel when you are feeling emotional, anxious, or tired.
  5. Stay alert and never assume what another driver is going to do or how they will react.

When choosing to operate any motor vehicle, committing to being a safer driver never goes out of style. Remember, it is the responsibility of every motorist to make sure everyone gets home safely.

Car Accident? We Can Help

Our Georgia attorneys have seen their fair share of motor vehicle injuries and have years of experience fighting for maximum compensation for the injured party. If you or a loved one has been injured on Georgia roads this year, contact Pritchard Injury Firm today by calling (470) 577-8152 or filling out the form on our website.

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