7 Delaware Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Many Delaware drivers forget critical traffic laws like the hands-free driving rule and not following too closely.

Every state creates traffic laws to keep drivers safe. However, many drivers in Delaware routinely ignore some of the state’s most important traffic laws.

In this article, we’ll take a look at seven traffic laws that Delaware drivers commonly ignore. Knowing and following these laws can help make our roads safer for everyone.

Resources for more information:

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

According to Delaware traffic laws, if you are driving slower than the normal speed of traffic, you must keep right. This means driving in the right-hand lane or as close as possible to the right edge of the road.

You are permitted to leave the right lane to pass another vehicle or turn left.

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 or when preparing for a left turn.

DE Code § 21-41-05-4114

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

The Delaware traffic code prohibits drivers from traveling slowly enough to delay the normal movement of traffic. A minimum speed limit may also be declared for a road.

In either case, you can still drive slower than other drivers on the road if you need to do so to operate your vehicle safely or comply with the law. For this reason, you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket for going the speed limit.

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.

A minimum speed limit, below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, may be displayed on appropriate traffic-control devices.

DE Code § 21-41-05-4171

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

In Delaware, you must pass on the left. You must move completely into the left lane before passing and yield the right-of-way to drivers already in that lane. On two-lane roads, wait to pass until the left side is sufficiently clear of oncoming traffic and return to the right side as soon as possible.

If you are being passed, you must yield the right-of-way to passing drivers that sound their horns. You also cannot speed up until the other car completely passes you.

On a roadway with at least 2 travel lanes proceeding in the same direction and if a travel lane proceeding in the same direction exists to the left, the driver of the overtaking vehicle shall, yielding the right-of-way and proceeding with caution, move completely into the lane to the left before passing.

On a roadway with only 1 travel lane proceeding in a given direction and where that travel lane is too narrow for an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane with the overtaken vehicle or bicycle, the driver of the overtaking vehicle shall move completely into the lane to the left before passing.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle or operator of an overtaken bicycle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the vehicle or bicycle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

DE Code § 21-41-03-4116

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in passing another vehicle unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable.

DE Code § 21-41-03-4118

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

Under Delaware law, you cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” When determining what a reasonable following distance is, you must consider your speed of travel, traffic flow, and road conditions.

The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

DE Code § 21-41-03-4123

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

Delaware prohibits drivers from using mobile phones while the vehicle is in motion without a hands-free device.  Restricted activities include making calls, texting, emailing, playing games, and sending or viewing images while holding the device in your hands.

No person shall drive a motor vehicle on any highway while using an electronic communication device while such motor vehicle is in motion…

This shall not apply to a person engaging in a call with a hands-free electronic communication device while utilizing hands-free equipment and such person does not hold the hands-free electronic communication device in such person’s hand or hands.

DE Code § 21-41-09-4176C

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

If two drivers approach an intersection at the same time in Delaware, the left driver must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right. This means that the vehicle on the right gets to go first.

When 2 vehicles 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.

DE Code § 21-41-04-4131

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

When turning left, Delaware law says you must wait for oncoming traffic to pass. You can complete your turn once it is safe to do so.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

DE Code § 21-41-04-4132

Although it is easy to forget, obeying the law is important for everyone on the road. Delaware drivers should be sure to obey all traffic laws in order to avoid fines and keep the roads safe. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse, so make sure to remember these seven traffic laws.

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 >>