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Little-known traffic laws that can prevent accidents

Every driver knows to stop at red lights and yield the right of way to pedestrians; however, there are some important traffic laws of which you may not be aware. What's more, failure to abide by these little-known laws may not only result in costly traffic violations, but could also increase your chances of causing or being involved in a traffic accident.

For example, when using your windshield wipers due to rain, sleet or snow; you are also required to turn on your headlights. The reasoning behind this law is that the use of wipers likely means that a driver's ability to clearly see is also impeded and headlights can improve not only a driver's ability to see, but also make a vehicle more visible to other motorists who may also be experiencing visibility issues.

With the recent snowstorm that moved through the region, Rhode Island drivers have likely spent some time digging out and uncovering their vehicles. When doing so, it's important to ensure that you not only clear a vehicle's windshield and windows, but also its hood and roof. In fact, it's actually against the law to drive a motor vehicle that has a "significant amount of snow or ice on it." Not only may a snow-laden hood result in snow blowing onto and windshield and obstructing a driver's view, but, when driving, snow or ice packed on top of a vehicle is likely to blow off and strike other vehicles.

For drivers or bicyclists who enjoy wearing headphones to listen to music, doing so while operating a motor vehicle or riding a bicycle is not only dangerous, but also illegal. Headphones inhibit a driver's or bicyclist's ability to hear other vehicles that may be approaching including emergency vehicles. However, interestingly enough, this law does not apply to cellphones.

Source: Rhode Island State Police, "Top 10 Least Known Motor Vehicle Laws," Jan. 26, 2016

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