7 Alabama Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Alabama drivers often ignore important rules of the road, like moving to the right when driving too slowly, tailgating, and more.

Traffic laws are in place for a reason: to keep drivers safe on the road. Every driver in Alabama is responsible for knowing and obeying the state’s traffic code. Despite this, many drivers routinely ignore common traffic laws, putting themselves and others at risk.

We’ve outlined seven of the most commonly ignored traffic laws in Alabama. Read on to find out what they are and how you can avoid getting ticketed or having an accident.

Learn more with these resources:

1. Alabama Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule

Most people think it’s common courtesy for slower traffic to keep to the right. But in Alabama, it’s the law.

If you’re moving slower than other cars on the road, Alabama traffic laws require you to drive in the right lane or as far right as possible. You can move out of the right lane to pass a slower-moving vehicle or to make a left turn.

Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic… shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

AL Code § 32-5A-80

2. Alabama Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule

Yes, it actually is against the law to drive too slowly.

While there is no minimum speed limit, Alabama prohibits driving slowly enough to interfere with the normal traffic flow. Exceptions exist when you need to drive slowly to operate your vehicle safely or follow the law. So, if you slow down the flow of traffic by driving the speed limit, you can’t be cited for driving too slowly.

No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

AL Code § 32-5A-174

3. Alabama Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule

On Alabama roads, you are legally required to pass (and let others pass you) on the left.

If you want to pass a vehicle, you must pass them to the left. The law also says you must make sure you leave a safe distance between you and the car you’re passing, and stay in the left lane until you can safely return to the right lane. If you are being passed, you can’t speed up until the other car has finished passing you.

Driver proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left at a safe distance and shall remain in the passing lane until it is safe to return to the right lane. Drivers being passed must not increase the speed of their vehicle until their vehicle is completely passed by the overtaking car.

AL Code § 32-5A-82

4. Alabama Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule

When it comes to following too closely, Alabama’s traffic laws are more complicated than you might think.

In most circumstances, you must leave at least 20 feet between your car and the vehicle in front of you for every 10 miles per hour of speed. So, if you are driving 40 miles per hour, you have to leave at least 80 feet ahead of you.

The law also requires that you keep a “reasonable distance” between you and the car in front of you. This means that in some situations, such as extreme weather or traffic conditions, you may need to leave more than 20 feet per 10 miles per hour of speed.

A driver must not follow another driver more closely than is “reasonable and prudent,” having due regard for the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions along the roadway.

Except when overtaking and passing another vehicle, the driver of a vehicle must leave a distance of at least 20 feet for each 10 miles per hour of speed between their own vehicle and the vehicle directly ahead of theirs.

A driver who is towing another vehicle that is 25 feet or longer must leave at least 300 feet of space ahead of their vehicle to allow an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy this space without danger.

AL Code § 32-5A-89

5. Alabama Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule

Texting while driving can be deadly. For this reason, most states, including Alabama, have banned the practice.

Still, Alabama’s laws are less restrictive than those in some other states. While drivers cannot use a cell phone to write, send, or read text-based messages, such as text messages and emails, or program GPS coordinates, the traffic code does not prohibit drivers from making phone calls.

Additionally, drivers can use their cell phones if they park on the shoulder or if they program GPS coordinates before driving.

Drivers must not drive while using a mobile electronic device to write, send or read a text-based message, except for the sole purpose of calling 911. Drivers are permitted to use a mobile electronic device if the vehicle is parked on the shoulder of the roadway, or if the device is a pre-programmed global positioning system (GPS). The driver is not permitted to program GPS coordinates while driving.

AL Code § 32-5A-350

6. Alabama Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule

Four-way stop signs can be confusing, particularly when two cars arrive simultaneously.

Under Alabama’s traffic code, if two vehicles approach a four-way intersection at approximately the same time, the driver on the right is permitted to drive through the intersection first. The driver to the left is required to yield the right-of-way and allow the other car to go before them.

When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right.

AL Code § 32-5A-110

7. Alabama Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule

The state of Alabama’s left turn law is actually quite simple. When approaching an intersection and intending to make a left turn, you must yield to oncoming traffic. This “right of way” rule applies if turning left into an alley, driveway, or private road.

A driver who intends to turn left at an intersection, or into an alley, private road or driveway must yield the right of way to drivers approaching from the opposite direction.

AL Code § 32-5A-111

Be sure to keep these seven Alabama traffic laws in mind the next time you get behind the wheel. Not only will this keep you and other drivers safe, but it could also help you avoid a ticket. And as always, drive cautiously and be courteous to your fellow motorists.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>