7 Missouri Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Missouri motorists often forget about basic traffic laws, such as keeping to the right on the highway or using the left lane to pass.

Missouri traffic laws help keep all travelers safe on the road. Each driver is responsible for understanding and obeying all the rules.

Sadly, drivers often fail to comply with some of the most important rules. This article will explain the seven most often-ignored rules of the road. Learning and obeying them will make you a more cautious driver.

Learn more with these additional resources:

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

Missouri law says you must travel in the furthest right lane on highways with two or more lanes. You can move to the left to pass other cars or prepare for a left turn. You can also do so when signs or signals direct you to move over.

All vehicles in motion upon a highway having two or more lanes of traffic proceeding in the same direction shall be driven in the right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when preparing to make a proper left turn or when otherwise directed by traffic markings, signs or signals.

MO Stat. § 304.015.1

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

Missouri has set a minimum speed limit of 40 mph on all interstate highways. On other roads, you must ensure your speed does not slow down the flow of traffic. You can travel below the minimum speed when required for safety or compliance with the law.

No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

No vehicle shall be operated at a speed of less than forty miles per hour on any highway which is part of the interstate system of highways, unless a slower speed is required for the safe operation of the vehicle because of weather or other special conditions.

MO Stat. § 304.011

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

The Missouri traffic code says you must pass on the left. You also can’t cut off the other car when moving back into the right lane. You have to leave a safe distance and completely overtake the other driver before moving back to the right.

If you are passing another car by moving into a lane traveling in the opposite direction, you must ensure that it is clear. You also must complete the pass without interfering with any drivers traveling in the opposite direction.

When another driver is passing you, the law requires you to stay to the right and not speed up until the other vehicle has overtaken you.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle 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 such driver’s vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center line in overtaking and 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 or any vehicle overtaken.

MO Stat. § 304.016.1

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

Missouri defines illegal tailgating as following the vehicle in front of you more closely than is “reasonably safe and prudent.” Weather, traffic, and how fast the other car is going can affect how much space you need to leave.

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

MO Stat. § 304.017.1

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

Under Missouri law, drivers under 21 cannot send, type, or read any texts or emails through a hand-held mobile phone. Commercial drivers can’t use hand-held cell phones for any reason. Noncommercial drivers can use cell phones to make calls while driving.

No person twenty-one years of age or younger operating a moving motor vehicle upon the highways of this state shall, by means of a hand-held electronic wireless communications device, send, read, or write a text message or electronic message.

No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone.

No person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device to send, read, or write a text message or electronic message.

Nothing in this section shall be construed or interpreted as prohibiting a person from making or taking part in a telephone call, by means of a hand-held electronic wireless communications device, while operating a noncommercial motor vehicle upon the highways of this state.

MO Stat. § 304.820

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

If two cars reach a Missouri intersection at the same time, the driver on the right goes first. The driver to the left must yield the right-of-way and wait for their turn.

An exception to this rule exists when one car is making a left turn. When this is the case, the driver turning left must yield the right-of-way.

When two 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 driver of the vehicle on the right. This shall not apply to vehicles approaching each other from opposite directions when the driver of one of such vehicles is attempting to or is making a left turn.

MO Stat. § 304.351.1

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

Before you make a left turn at an intersection in Missouri, you must cede the right-of-way to drivers headed in the opposite direction. You must wait until oncoming traffic has cleared and no longer poses a safety hazard.

The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left 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.

MO Stat. § 304.351.1

Following Missouri’s traffic code will make you a safer driver. It can also help you avoid tickets and other legal issues. If you obey the rules of the road, you can help to ensure you and your loved ones arrive safely. Keep these seven traffic laws in mind every time you drive.

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 >>