Every state has an unusual law or two on the books, and Texas is no exception. While driving safely should always be your number one priority, it is interesting, informative, and potentially helpful to become better acquainted with some of Texas’s more surprising driving laws.
It Is Illegal to Leave Your Keys in the Ignition
Some drivers think nothing of leaving their keys in the ignition and running an errand or two, but it is actually illegal to do so. Not only does this practice leave you incredibly vulnerable to having your car stolen, but it can also endanger others. If a teenager jumps in your vehicle and takes it for a spontaneous joyride, for example, it puts other people in danger.
It Is Legal to Pass on the Shoulder
Most states strictly forbid using the shoulder to pass other vehicles, but Texas takes a different approach. If the motorist ahead of you is making a left turn that is going to take a while, you can pass him or her on the road’s shoulder – if it is safe to do so. We have all experienced the frustration that comes from lining up behind a lone car that needs to take a left, and Texas feels your pain. Further, if you need to drive on the shoulder to allow another car to pass or to avoid a dangerous run-in with another vehicle, you can legally do so. It is critical, however, to proceed with extreme caution and to only engage in this practice when it is necessary and can be done safely.
Paying a Traffic Ticket Is an Admission of Guilt
If an officer writes you a ticket, paying that ticket is an admission of guilt regarding the charge(s) sited. While you are legally required to pay the ticket, it amounts to accepting guilt for whatever charges are forwarded. The negative effects of such a ticket can be considerable, including:
Expensive related fines
The addition of points to your license (which can lead to suspension)
Negative social and employment consequences
Accepting guilt for something you did not do is not in your best interest.
Opening Your Car Door while Operating Your Vehicle
Many drivers pull over by their mailboxes, open their car doors, and grab their mail – or open their doors to do a bit of readjusting while stopped at traffic lights – but opening the car door while operating your vehicle is against the law. If an officer spots you doing it, he or she can slap you with a significant fine.