7 Maryland Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Maryland drivers tend to ignore important traffic laws like passing on the left or ceding the right-of-way when making a left turn.

Maryland rules of the road exist for an important reason: to avoid car accidents. When you head out on the road, you are responsible for observing the law and safely operating your vehicle.

Still, the following seven Maryland traffic laws are ignored more than others. Read on to learn more about these crucial rules for safe driving.

Find more details in these resources:

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

Under Maryland law, you must stay in the furthest right-hand lane when traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic. You also must do so if you are driving at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit. Keep to the right unless you are passing even slower traffic or preparing for a left turn.

Except while passing another vehicle or when preparing for a left turn, any vehicle going 10 miles an hour or more below the speed limit or 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.

MD Code § 21-301

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

There is no statewide minimum speed on Maryland highways. But, if you see a minimum speed sign, you must drive at least that fast. Both the state and local authorities can legally create a minimum speed.

In the absence of a posted minimum speed, you still cannot travel so slowly that you interfere with the normal flow of traffic. The only exceptions are when you must drive slowly due to road conditions or comply with the law.

Unless reduced speed is necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle or otherwise is in compliance with law, a person may not willfully drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

If the State Highway Administration or a local authority determines that slow speeds on any part of a highway in its jurisdiction impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the State Highway Administration or the local authority may establish a minimum speed limit for that part of the highway.

Unless reduced speed is necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle or otherwise is in compliance with law, a person may not drive a vehicle below a minimum speed limit.

MD Code § 21-804

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

When passing another vehicle, Maryland requires you to do so on the left. You also must overtake the other car before moving back to the right. Cutting back to the right before safely passing the other vehicle is illegal.

On a two-lane road, you must leave a safe space for oncoming traffic when passing on the left side of the road. You can only start the pass when the street is clear from approaching vehicles. You also cannot come within 200 feet of an oncoming car before moving safely back to the right.

When another driver is passing you, you have to yield the right-of-way. You also cannot speed up while being overtaken.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle that is going in the same direction shall pass to the left of the overtaken vehicle at a safe distance.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle that is going in the same direction, until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle, may not drive any part of his vehicle directly in front of the overtaken vehicle.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle, on audible signal, shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle, until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle, may not increase the speed of his vehicle.

MD Code § 21-303

The driver of a vehicle may not drive to the left of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the left side of the roadway is clearly visible and is free of approaching traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completed without interfering with the operation of any other vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any other vehicle overtaken.

The overtaking vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and, if the passing movement uses a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within 200 feet of any approaching vehicle.

MD Code § 21-305

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

Maryland law requires you to leave a “reasonable and prudent” distance between the car in front of you. What is reasonable will change based on weather conditions, traffic, and the other car’s speed.

The driver of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the other vehicle and of the traffic on and the condition of the highway.

MD Code § 21-310

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

You cannot read, write, or type a text message or email while driving on Maryland roads. An exception exists for GPS and emergency services.  Drivers under 18 cannot use a cell phone at all, except to call 911.

An individual who is under the age of 18 years may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle.

This does not apply to the use of a wireless communication device to contact a 9–1–1 system.

MD Code § 21-1124

An individual may not use a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway.

This does not apply to the use of a global positioning system or a text messaging device to contact a 9–1–1 system.

MD Code § 21-1124.1

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

In Maryland, if you and another driver approach a four-way intersection at the same time, the right-side driver goes first. The driver to the left must yield the right-of-way and allow the other vehicle to proceed first.

Except at through highways, a vehicle at an intersection has the right-of-way over any other vehicle approaching from the left; and shall yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle approaching from the right.

MD Code § 21-401

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

Before making a left turn, you must yield the right-of-way to any oncoming traffic that would pose an immediate danger. After you let the other vehicles drive through, you can proceed with the turn.

If the driver of a vehicle intends to turn to the left in an intersection or into an alley or a private road or driveway, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and is in the intersection or so near to it as to be an immediate danger.

MD Code § 21-402

Think about these seven Maryland traffic laws the next time you head out on the road. Following these rules will help you avoid tickets and accidents. Remember: the rules of the road help keep all drivers safe.

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 >>