5 Common Traffic Violations in Missoula
When you first got your driver’s license, you were probably extra careful when it came to following the rules of the road. But, as time goes on, most drivers start to get a little lazy, and some end up developing some pretty bad habits. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of rule-breaking on the streets of Missoula. Everyone could use a little driver’s ed refresher — so take a look at these five commonly overlooked traffic rules.
In Montana, you’re allowed to make a U-turn on any country, two-lane road if it can be done safely. But, there is a long list of places where flipping a U-ie is illegal, including business districts, main highways, residential areas and intersections with traffic signals.
I find it very irritating when drivers choose to ignore — or, perhaps, are just ignorant of — four-way stop right-of-way rules. First, you must come to a full and complete stop. The first car to arrive at the intersection goes first. If you arrive at the intersection at the same time as another car, yield to the driver on your right (or, if you are to the right of the other driver, you should go first).
If you see and hear sirens moving toward you or coming up behind you, signal and pull over to the right edge of the road until the emergency vehicle has passed. If you are in an intersection, move through the intersection and then pull over.
There are all sorts of rules about parallel parking, most of which are designed to ensure a safe amount of visibility for other drivers. It is unlawful to park: closer than 20 feet to a crosswalk at an intersection; closer than 30 feet to a stop sign, traffic light or flashing light; closer than 15 feet to a fire hydrant; or closer than 20 feet to a fire station.
These circular intersection features were designed to help ease the flow of traffic, but you must still approach them with caution. I’ve seen too many people blow through roundabouts without even checking for other cars. You should always yield to vehicles that are already in the roundabout as you merge into the flow of traffic. If there is a high volume of traffic flow, you might actually have to come to a complete stop.