Rules of the Road For Rhode Island Drivers

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You might think that if you know the rules of the road for one state, you know them all. However, every state has its own laws and rules for drivers. If you’re planning on driving in Rhode Island soon, use this guide to refresh your memory on Rhode Island’s rules of the road.

Rules for general safety on Rhode Island roads

  • Children who are under eight years old, less than 57 inches tall, and/or under 80 pounds must travel in rearward facing child seat. Children between eight and 18 may sit in any position but must be wearing a seatbelt at all times.

  • The driver and all passengers over the age of 18 must wear seat belts whenever the vehicle is in operation.

  • If a school bus has flashing red lights and/or an activated “STOP” sign, drivers in both directions must stop. Failing to stop for a school bus can result in a $200 fine and/or a 20-day suspension of your license.

  • Drivers must always give emergency vehicles the right of way. Do not enter an intersection if an emergency vehicle is approaching, and if one is overtaking you, pull safely to the side of the road and let them by before re-entering traffic.

  • Pedestrians in crosswalks always have the right of way. All motorists, cyclists, and motorcyclists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. At the same time, pedestrians must follow “WALK” and “DON’T WALK” signals and pay attention to traffic.

  • Always treat out of order traffic lights as you would four-way stops. All drivers must come to a complete stop and proceed as they would with any other four-way stop intersection.

  • Yellow flashing traffic lights signal drivers to slow down and approach with caution. Red flashing traffic lights should be treated as a stop sign.

  • Motorcyclists must have a Rhode Island driver’s license and must pass a test to receive a motorcycle endorsement for their license. All motorcycles must be registered with the state.

  • Drivers may cross bicycle lanes to make a turn, but may not enter the lane to prepare for a turn. You must also yield to bicyclists in the lane before making your turn and give as much room as possible (recommended three to five feet) when passing.

Important safe driving laws

  • On multiple-lane highways, the left lane should be used for passing and the right lane for regular driving. Passing on the left is always recommended, but passing on the right is legal when the vehicle on the left is making a left turn on a street wide enough for two lanes without obstructions or parked cars, and on a one-way street with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction with no obstructions to traffic.

  • You may make a right on red at a traffic light in Rhode Island after coming to a complete stop, checking for approaching traffic, and see if it’s safe to go.

  • U-turns are allowed wherever there is not a “No U-Turns” sign. Be aware of oncoming traffic and traffic approaching from side streets whenever making a U-turn.

  • All drivers must stop at a four-way stop. After stopping, you must yield to all vehicles that were stopped there before you. If you arrive at the same time as one or more other vehicles, yield to the vehicle(s) to your right before proceeding.

  • As with other states, blocking intersections is illegal. If there isn’t room to proceed all the way through the intersection, stop before the intersection and wait until the roadway is clear.

  • Some areas in Rhode Island may have ramp-metering signals to assist with merging onto freeways. When there are no signals, accelerate and adjust your speed to match the flow of traffic, yield to vehicles on the freeway, and merge into the flow of traffic.

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) is defined in Rhode Island by having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher for drivers over the age of 21. For drivers under 21, the number is lowered to 0.02.

  • In the case of an accident with no injuries, pull the vehicles out of the way of traffic, exchange information, and call the police to get a police report on the incident. If injuries or deaths prevent you from moving the vehicles out of the roadway, find a safe place to wait for law enforcement and emergency services to arrive.

  • Radar detectors are permitted for personal use in passenger vehicles but are not permitted for commercial vehicles.

  • Rhode Island drivers must ensure that their vehicles display valid front and rear license plates at all times. License plates must be renewed annually to maintain their validity.

Following these rules will help you stay safe while driving on Rhode Island roads. Refer to the Rhode Island Driver's Manual for more information. If your vehicle needs service, YourMechanic can help you make the appropriate repairs to drive safely on Rhode Island roads.


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Arturo

25 years of experience
42 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Volkswagen Tiguan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - La Jolla, California
Arturo was efficient and extremely professional. I'll refer him to friends and family and call him for any issues related to my car. I am very happy with the service!
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto

Travis

11 years of experience
312 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Travis is great! This is the second time he has come and serviced our truck. I recommend Travis for any service ned you may have!
Subaru Forester - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Rosemount, Minnesota
Thank you Travis for your fast, easy, honest work on my vehicle today!! The first thing you did upon arrival to my home was find me a discount coupon for $50 off my service estimate. You did only what needed to be done in record time. You not only saved me lots of money, but did things in a profession manner. I've been looking for an honest auto mechanic for my whole life and would love for you to be it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You're the best!!!

Scott

32 years of experience
346 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Arrived on time and worked quickly. Gave me detailed information on his completed work and the details of my car. Answered all of my questions thoroughly.
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Nicholas

9 years of experience
251 reviews
Nicholas
9 years of experience
Lexus GX470 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Clayton, North Carolina
Nicholas texted me 30 minutes prior to arrival. Showed up on time as scheduled. He confirmed the work that I requested be performed. He completed the work, performed the road tested, and delivered my keys along with recommendations of other work that might be in my best interest. Was very pleasant, professional, and cleaned up after he was done. I was so impressed with the service he performed and the speed at which the services were completed. I have already scheduled a future service with Nicholas and will schedule any and all future repairs with him if he is available.

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