7 Georgia Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Many Georgia drivers ignore or are unfamiliar with basic traffic laws like the four-way stop rule and passing on the left.

On Georgia’s roads, you may encounter drivers who tailgate, fail to yield the right-of-way or pass on the right. Each of these motorists is breaking the law.

Below you’ll find seven Georgia traffic regulations that drivers commonly ignore. By familiarizing yourself with these laws, you can help ensure you drive safely and legally.

Additional resources for Georgia drivers:

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

Georgia law requires slower traffic to move to the right. Any driver not keeping pace with the rest of traffic must stay in the furthest right-hand lane available. You can leave the right lane to pass even slower traffic or make a left turn.

If you are driving in the far-left lane, you must move to the right if another driver is attempting to pass you. The Georgia traffic code also makes it illegal for two cars to block faster traffic by driving side-by-side at the same speed.

Upon all roadways, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing 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.

No two vehicles shall impede the normal flow of traffic by traveling side by side at the same time while in adjacent lanes, provided that this Code section shall not be construed to prevent vehicles traveling side by side in adjacent lanes because of congested traffic conditions.

GA Code § 40-6-40

No person shall continue to operate a motor vehicle in the passing lane once such person knows that he or she is being overtaken from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed. “passing lane” means the most left-hand lane other than a high occupancy vehicle lane.

GA Code § 40-6-184

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

Georgia law imposes a minimum speed to help ensure drivers do not create unsafe conditions by going too slowly. You cannot drive so slowly that you are a hazard to other vehicles moving at a reasonable speed. Local communities in Georgia also have the power to set a minimum speed on a specific road.

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.

Whenever local authorities determine that slow speeds on any part of a road impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, such local authorities may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation.

GA Code § 40-6-184

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

When you go to pass another car on a Georgia road, you are legally required to pass on the left. You must also leave a safe distance between yourself and the other car when you move back into your original lane.

When passing on a two-lane road, you must pay attention to traffic from the other direction. The law states you cannot interfere with oncoming traffic and must avoid coming within 200 feet of a car traveling in the opposite direction when you are passing.

If you are being passed, you must yield to the other driver. You cannot increase your speed while another car moves by you.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

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

GA Code § 40-6-42

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction 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 operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken.

In every event, the overtaking vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and, in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle.

GA Code § 40-6-44

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

There is no specified distance you must leave between you and the car in front of you in Georgia. Instead, depending on the speed of traffic and conditions such as weather, you must leave a “reasonable and prudent” space. Unreasonably tailgating the driver in front of you is against the law.

The driver of a motor 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.

GA Code § 40-6-49

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

In Georgia, holding your cell phone while driving your car or even resting it on your leg is illegal. The law also prohibits texting, reading, or watching anything on your phone while operating your vehicle. This hands-free rule helps keep drivers focused on the road and prevent accidents.

A driver shall exercise due care in operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state and shall not engage in any actions which shall distract such driver from the safe operation of such vehicle.

While operating a motor vehicle on any highway of this state, no individual shall:

  • Physically hold or support, with any part of his or her body a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device;
  • Write, send, or read any text based communication on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device;
  • Watch a video or movie on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device; or
  • Record or broadcast a video on a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device.

GA Code § 40-6-241

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

When two drivers reach a Georgia four-way stop at the same time, the right vehicle can proceed first. Legally, the driver to the left must yield the right-of-way.

If you come to an intersection with a broken traffic light, you must treat it as if there is a four-way stop sign.

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.

When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection with an inoperative traffic light, the driver of each vehicle shall be required to stop in the same manner as if a stop sign were facing in each direction at the intersection.

GA Code § 40-6-70

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

In Georgia, it is against the law to cut off oncoming traffic when making a left turn. Drivers must yield the right-of-way to cars going the opposite direction before making the turn.

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 within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

GA Code § 40-6-71

Remembering these sometimes overlooked Georgia laws is crucial to driving safely. By obeying the law, you are less likely to face a ticket or citation. Plus, following these rules can help reduce the chances of an accident.

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 >>