Rules of the Road For South Carolina Drivers

How much do you know about traffic laws in South Carolina? If you’re not familiar with the specific rules of the road and you plan on driving in South Carolina, you’ll want to read these rules and regulations to ensure that you don’t accidentally break the law.

South Carolina’s general safety rules

  • All drivers and passengers over the age of six years must wear seat belts at all times when the vehicle is in operation.

  • Children under the age of six may not sit in the front seat of a passenger vehicle unless the vehicle does not have a backseat. All infants under one year and/or weighing less than 20 pounds must be in a rearward facing child restraint system. Children between one and five and weighing less than 40 pounds should be in a forward facing child restraint or booster seat. Children weighing over 80 pounds are not required to use a booster seat if they can sit with their back resting against the back of the seat and their legs bent over the edge of the seat (without scooting or slouching forward).

  • In South Carolina, you must stop for school buses if you are traveling behind them or approaching them on a two-lane road or highway. On a four-lane road, you must only stop if you are following.

  • Whenever emergency vehicles have their lights and/or sirens on, you must yield to them and allow them to pass. Pull over to allow emergency vehicles to get past you if they are coming from behind, and yield to them in intersections.

  • Upon entering an intersection to make a right or left turn, drivers in South Carolina are required to look out for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians will always have the right of way after entering a crosswalk.

  • Bicyclists must ride in bicycle lanes where they are provided unless there is an obstruction in the lane. Motorists must not enter, drive, or park in bicycle lanes, but you may cross a bicycle lane (after yielding to any bicyclists in the lane) to make a turn.

  • If you see yellow flashing traffic lights, you should slow down and approach with caution. Make sure the road is clear before continuing. If the flashing light is red, come to a complete stop before continuing when it’s safe.

  • Out of order traffic lights should always be treated as four-way stops.

  • Motorcyclists under 20 years of age must wear a helmet when riding. Riders who are 15 years old and older can get a motorcycle permit after obtaining a South Carolina driver’s license or (in the case of 15 year olds) passing a driver’s education course. After 180 days of riding with the permit, you can take the motorcycle skills test to get a full license.

Important laws for safe driving

  • Passing slower moving vehicles on the left is legal in South Carolina when there is a dashed yellow or white line on the road. If there is a solid line and/or there is a “No Passing” sign, do not pass.

  • After coming to a complete stop at a red light, you may make a right on red from the right lane if there is not a sign prohibiting it.

  • U-turns are legal in South Carolina at intersections where there is not a sign posted prohibiting them.

  • When arriving at a four-way stop, come to a complete stop. Then yield to any vehicles that arrived before you. When arriving at the same time, yield to any vehicles to your right before continuing.

  • Blocking intersections is illegal in any state. If traffic is heavy or something is obstructing the way so that you cannot proceed all the way through the intersection, stop and wait until you can pass.

  • Ramp-metering signals control the flow of traffic from on-ramps onto freeways. A green signal allows a single car to enter the freeway at a time. Two-lane on-ramps may have two signals – one for each lane.

  • In South Carolina, penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are graduated based on how many offenses a driver has. First offense DUIs result in a six-month license suspension, while fourth offenses result in a permanent suspension. Causing an accident and harming another individual will result in a felony DUI with a heavy fine, a three-year license revocation, and jail time.

  • When an accident occurs, drivers should try to remove their vehicles from the roadway, exchange insurance and contact information, and call the police to get a report of the accident.

  • As with most other states, radar detectors are allowed in South Carolina for passenger vehicles, but they are not permitted for commercial vehicles.

  • A valid license plate must be displayed at the rear of all private passenger vehicles and motorcycles in South Carolina.

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

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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