Maine drivers often forget critical rules of the road, including not following too closely or texting while driving.
Most Maine drivers are familiar with the state’s traffic laws, but some choose to ignore them. While some of these violations may seem minor, they can lead to expensive fines, points on your license, or even car crashes.
Here are seven traffic laws that drivers commonly ignore in Maine. Keep reading to learn how you can make the roads safer for everyone.
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1. Maine Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule
In Maine, if you’re driving slower than the rest of the traffic on the road, you must keep as far right as possible. This rule exists to make sure that faster vehicles can pass freely to the left.
On limited-access roads with a speed limit of at least 65 mph, you must remain in the right-hand lane while driving. You can only use the left lanes to pass another vehicle and must return to the right lane as soon as you can.
An operator driving on a limited-access way with a speed limit of 65 or more miles per hour is restricted in ordinary operation to the right-hand lane and may use adjacent lanes for overtaking and passing another vehicle, but must return to the right-hand lane at the earliest opportunity.
An operator of a vehicle moving slowly shall keep the vehicle as close as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the public way, and allow faster moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.
2. Maine Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule
In general, the Maine traffic code bans driving slow enough to hinder the normal traffic flow. Similarly, if slow vehicles consistently delay traffic on a certain road, the Department of Transportation can set a minimum speed limit.
Exceptions to these rules allow you to drive slower than others to operate your vehicle safely or follow the law. For instance, you may need to drive below a minimum speed limit during a downpour or snowstorm.
A person may not operate 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 of the motor vehicle or in compliance with law.
When the Department of Transportation determines that slow speeds on a public way consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Commissioner of Transportation may establish a minimum speed limit. A person may not operate a vehicle below a posted minimum speed limit, except when necessary for safe operation.
3. Maine Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule
Maine law requires you to pass other drivers on the left. You must maintain a safe distance, stay on the road, and remain to the left until you have completely cleared the other vehicle.
When passing on a two-lane road, make sure the left side is sufficiently clear of approaching vehicles. You must have enough room to pass and return to the right side before you come within 100 feet of oncoming traffic.
If another driver sounds their horn to pass you, you must yield the right-of-way. The traffic laws also prohibit you from speeding up until the other vehicle has passed you.
An operator of a vehicle passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction must pass to the left at a safe distance and may not return to the right until safely clear of the passed vehicle. An operator may not overtake another vehicle by driving off the pavement or main traveled portion of the way.
Except when passing on the right is permitted, the operator of passed vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the passing vehicle upon audible signal; and may not increase speed until completely overtaken by the passing vehicle.
A passing vehicle may be operated to the left of the way’s center only when the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit overtaking to be completed without interfering with the safe operation of an approaching or passed vehicle.
The passing vehicle must return to the right before coming within 100 feet of an approaching vehicle.
4. Maine Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule
Under Maine law, you must keep a “reasonable and prudent” distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. How much space you must leave varies based on how fast you are traveling, the traffic, and the condition of the road.
An operator of a vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles, the traffic and the condition of the way.
5. Maine Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule
Maine prohibits texting while driving, even when you are stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. According to the law, you can only send or read text messages if you pull to the side of the road and don’t move until you have finished.
A person may not operate a motor vehicle on a public way while engaging in text messaging, including but not limited to when the motor vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic light or a stop sign.
A person may engage in text messaging while in the operator’s seat of a motor vehicle if the person has pulled the motor vehicle over to the side of, or off, a public way and has halted in a location where the motor vehicle can safely remain stationary.
6. Maine Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule
When two vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time in Maine, the driver on the left must yield the right-of-way and let the right driver go first. This rule does not apply at roundabouts, traffic circles, or rotaries.
The operator of a vehicle at intersecting public ways has the right-of-way over a vehicle on the operator’s left, and must yield right-of-way to one on its right, except at a roundabout, traffic circle or rotary; or when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
ME Code § 29A-2053
7. Maine Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule
To make a legal left turn, Maine law requires you to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. This means if an approaching vehicle is close enough to be a hazard, you must let them pass through the intersection before you turn.
An operator of a vehicle who intends to turn left must yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction when the approaching vehicle is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
The next time you are driving in Maine, be sure to keep these traffic laws in mind. Keeping the roads safe is everyone’s responsibility, so make sure you are familiar with Maine’s traffic laws before getting behind the wheel. And most importantly, follow them!
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