Rules of the Road For Missouri Drivers

Driving requires knowledge of the myriad rules of the road. While you may be familiar with the ones you are required to follow in your own state, there are some that may be different in other states. While the most common traffic laws, including those based on common sense, are the same in nearly every state, Missouri has some rules that may be different. Below you’ll find out about the rules of the road in Missouri that may be different from the ones you follow in your own state so that you can be prepared if you are moving to or visiting the state.

Licenses and permits

  • Instruction permits are available at the age of 15 and permit teens to drive with a legal guardian, parent, grandparent or licensed driver over 25. For those 16 and over, they are permitted to drive with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age.

  • An intermediate license is available after holding the permit for six months and completing all other requirements. With this license, the driver is only permitted to have 1 passenger under 19 who is not a family member for the first 6 months of holding it. After 6 months, the driver can have 3 non-family member passengers under 19.

  • A full driver license is available once the driver has become 18 years of age and has not had any violations within the past 12 months.

Seat belts

  • The driver and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts.

  • Those riding with a person with an intermediate license are all required to wear seat belts regardless of where they are sitting in the vehicle.

  • Children that are under 4 years old must be in a safety seat with a restraint system appropriate for their size.

  • Children weighing less than 80 pounds, no matter what their age, must be in a child safety seat with a restraint system that is appropriate for their size.

  • Children that are over 4 feet, nine inches tall, at least 8 years old or more than 80 pounds must be in a booster seat.

Right of way

  • Drivers must give right of way to pedestrians due to the potential for injury or death, even when they are crossing in the middle of a block or outside of an intersection or crosswalk.

  • Funeral processions have the right of way. Drivers are not permitted to join the procession to or drive between vehicles that are a part of it in order to gain right of way. Drivers are not permitted to pass funeral processions unless there is a lane specifically for doing so.

General rules

  • Minimum speeds - Drivers are required to follow minimum speed limits provided on interstates during ideal conditions. If the driver is unable to travel at the minimum posted speed, he or she must choose an alternate route.

  • Passing - It is illegal to pass another vehicle when driving through construction zones.

  • School buses - Drivers are not required to stop when a school bus stops to load or unload children if they are on a four or more lane road and they are traveling in the opposite direction. Additionally, if a school bus is in a loading zone where students are not allowed to cross the roadway, drivers are not required to stop.

  • Signaling - Drivers are required to signal using either the vehicle’s turn signals and brake lights or the appropriate hand signals 100 feet prior to turning, changing lanes or slowing.

  • Roundabouts - Drivers should never attempt to enter a roundabout or traffic circle from the left. Entrance is only permitted from the right. Drivers should not change lanes inside a roundabout either.

  • J-turn intersections - Some four lane highways have J-turn intersections to prevent motorists from crossing lanes of heavy, fast-moving traffic. Drivers turn right to follow traffic, merge into the lane that is farthest left and then turn left to go the direction they intended to go.

  • Passing - When driving on interstates, only use the left lane for passing. If you are in the left lane and vehicles are piling up behind you, you are required to move to a slower-moving lane of traffic unless you are getting ready to make a left turn.

  • Littering - It is illegal to litter or throw anything out of a moving vehicle while on the roadways.

These are the rules of the road in Missouri that you must know and follow when driving throughout the state that may be different from those that you are used to. You will also need to follow all of the common traffic laws that remain the same from one state to the next, such as following speed limits and traffic signals. If you would like more information, please check the Missouri Department of Revenue Driver Guide.


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