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DC Traffic Don’ts: Regional Road Rules You May Not Know

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 29-Feb-2008

Washington, D.C. is unique as one of the few U.S. cities built according to a preconceived plan.  Its grid-based pattern of roads is relatively easy to comprehend, but maneuvering across it in a car can be a challenge.  Following are some metro area traffic laws that aren’t necessarily common to other U.S. cities.  Knowing these can help make you a safer driver, and make your time in DC more enjoyable:

  • Wireless Phones:  According to D.C. Code Ann. §§ 50-1731.04-.05, unless it’s an emergency, drivers in DC can not use a wireless phone while driving, unless they’re using a hands-free device.  Minor drivers can’t use a wireless phone while driving at all — even with a hands-free device.
  • Yellow Traffic Lights:  According to 18 D.C. Mun. Regs. Ch. 21 § 2103.5(b), a yellow light at an intersection means that drivers must stop before approaching the next crosswalk, unless stopping immediately would be unsafe.
  • Right Turns at Red Lights:  According to 18 D.C. Mun. Regs. Ch. 21 § 2103.7(c), the only direction a driver can turn while stopped at a red light is to the right.
  • Don’t Block the Box:  According to 18 D.C. Mun. Regs. Ch. 21 § 2103.7(a) and Ch. 24 § 2405.1(a), (b), no driver can stop within an intersection, and when approaching a stop light, drivers must stop before the crosswalk. 
  • Entering a Traffic Rotary:  According to 18 D.C. Mun. Regs. Ch. 22 § 2208.7, drivers entering a traffic rotary (or circle) must yield to traffic already in the circle.
  • Particulars Regarding the K Street Access Road:  According to 18 D.C. Mun. Regs. Ch. 22 §§ 2201.12 and 2203.8, left turns can not be made from a service roadway onto a through roadway, unless doing so is to proceed in the same general direction, and only at an entrance or exit established by the director.
  • Road Closure Notifications:  Street closures and live traffic reports are available at all times on the District of Columbia website. Commuters and visitors are encouraged to monitor those pages regularly.

Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:

For information about your legal rights, please click here or call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030. 

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