7 Michigan Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Michigan drivers often forget a few rules of the road, such as not following too closely or moving to the right to allow traffic to pass.

Observing traffic laws is critical to avoiding hazards and car accidents on Michigan roads. It is every driver’s responsibility to know and follow the state’s traffic laws. Despite this, many motorists operate their vehicles with disregard for the rules of the road.

Below, we’ve compiled seven of Michigan’s most commonly ignored traffic laws. Keep reading to understand what they are and how you can comply with the rules of the road.

Learn more with these additional resources:

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

In Michigan, you must keep to the furthest right lane when driving on highways with two or more lanes. However, you can move further to the left if you are avoiding lanes occupied by traffic or to get ready to make a left turn.

Upon a roadway having 2 or more lanes for travel in 1 direction, the driver of a vehicle shall drive the vehicle in the extreme right-hand lane available for travel. However, the driver may drive the vehicle in any lane lawfully available when the lanes are occupied by vehicles moving in substantially continuous lanes of traffic and in any left-hand lane for a reasonable distance before making a left turn.

MI Stat. § 257.634

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

If you are on a Michigan freeway with no at-grade intersections, you must travel at least 55 miles per hour. There is no statewide minimum speed on other roadways. But, you must at least maintain a “reasonable and proper” pace based on traffic flow and road conditions.

An individual operating a vehicle on a highway shall operate that vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition existing at the time.

The minimum speed limit on all limited access freeways upon which a minimum speed limit is not otherwise fixed under this act is 55 miles per hour.

MI Stat. § 257.627 (8)

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

Michigan drivers are required to pass slower traffic on the left and then move back to the right as soon as they have safely overtaken the other vehicle.

When you need to cross into the lanes of oncoming traffic to execute a pass, ensure that you do not interfere with any vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. Before going to the left of the center line, ensure that the lane is free and clear of oncoming traffic.

When another vehicle is passing you on the left, you must stay to the right. You also cannot speed up until the other driver overtakes you.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall pass at a safe distance to the left of that vehicle, and when safely clear of the overtaken vehicle shall take up a position as near the right-hand edge of the main traveled portion of the highway as is practicable.

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 or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

MI Stat. § 257.636

A vehicle shall not be driven to the left side of the center of a 2-lane highway or in the center lane of a 3-lane highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the left side or center lane is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of a vehicle approaching or the vehicle overtaken.

MI Stat. § 257.638

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

You must leave a “reasonable and prudent” space between you and the car in front of you in Michigan. What constitutes a reasonable distance is based on three factors: the speed of other vehicles, whether traffic is heavy or light, and the condition of the road.

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

MI Stat. § 257.643

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

In Michigan, it is illegal to type or read a text message if your phone is in your hands or lap when your car is in motion. However, the law allows you to use your cell phone while driving to report an emergency, accident, road hazard, threat to your safety, or potential crime.

A person shall not read, manually type, or send a text message on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in the person’s lap, including a wireless telephone used in cellular telephone service or personal communication service, while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highway or street in this state.

Subsections do not apply to an individual who is using a device to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious road hazard; report a situation in which the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy; or report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the individual or another person.

MI Stat. § 257.602b

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

When two vehicles reach a Michigan intersection at the same time, the driver to the left must yield the right-of-way. The driver to the right can proceed through the stop sign 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.

MI Stat. § 257.649

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

Before you make a left turn, Michigan’s traffic laws require you to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. This rule applies to traffic lights, where you must let vehicles heading in the opposite direction go first.

Once you have adequately yielded the right-of-way and it is safe to proceed, you can begin the left turn. Other oncoming drivers need to yield until you’ve completed the turn.

The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right of way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.

The driver, having so yielded and having given a signal, may make the left turn and the drivers of all other vehicles approaching the intersection from the opposite direction shall yield the right of way to the vehicle making the left turn.

At an intersection at which a traffic signal is located, a driver intending to make a left turn shall permit vehicles bound straight through in the opposite direction which are waiting a go signal to pass through the intersection before making the turn.

MI Stat. § 257.650

Ensuring you comply with Michigan’s traffic code will help you be a safe and courteous driver. Remembering these seven rules of the road can prevent you from receiving a traffic ticket and help you avoid accidents.

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 >>