7 Ohio Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Ohio drivers are notorious for ignoring traffic laws, such as tailgating or using their phones to send texts while driving.

Adhering to the rules of the road is critical for the safety of all drivers and passengers on Ohio’s roadways. Still, motorists often flaunt the rules and create safety hazards.

Below, we’ve compiled seven traffic laws most commonly ignored by Ohio drivers. Keep reading to find out what they are and how you can avoid breaking them.

For further reading:

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

Drivers of slower cars must keep to the right to comply with Ohio traffic laws. If the pace of traffic is moving faster than your vehicle, you need to stay in the right-hand lane. Remember: unless you pass another car or get ready to make a left turn or exit, stay to the right.

Any vehicle proceeding at less than the prevailing and lawful 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, and far enough to the right to allow passing by faster vehicles if such passing is safe and reasonable, except under any of the following circumstances:

  • When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • When preparing for a left turn.
  • When the driver must necessarily drive in a lane other than the right-hand lane to continue on the driver’s intended route.

Nothing in this section requires a driver of a slower vehicle to compromise the driver’s safety to allow overtaking by a faster vehicle.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.25

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

Ohio does not have a statewide minimum speed. Still, any Ohio highway can have a posted minimum speed of between 30 and 50 miles per hour. If you drive on a road with a minimum speed, you must proceed at least at that rate unless you need to slow down for safety or to comply with the law.

Regardless of whether there is a posted minimum speed, you cannot drive a pace that blocks or impedes the regular flow of traffic.

No person shall stop or operate a vehicle at such an unreasonably slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when stopping or reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.

Whenever the director of transportation or local authorities determine that slow speeds on any part of a controlled- access highway, expressway, or freeway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the director or such local authority may declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall operate a motor vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

No minimum speed limit shall be less than thirty miles per hour nor greater than fifty miles per hour.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.22

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

To legally pass another vehicle in Ohio, you need to signal and then overtake the other driver on the left. The law also prohibits cutting off the other vehicle, so you must complete the pass before returning to the right. If you pass a bike, you must leave at least three feet of space between your car and the cyclist.

When your pass requires you to enter the lanes of oncoming traffic, you have to wait until those lanes are clear. Also, you must be safely back in the right lane before coming within 200 feet of any vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.

The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle shall signal to the vehicle to be overtaken, 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. When a motor vehicle overtakes and passes a bicycle or electric bicycle, three feet or greater is considered a safe passing distance.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle at the latter’s audible signal, and the operator shall not increase the speed of the operator’s vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.27

No vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing traffic, 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 traffic approaching from the opposite direction or any traffic overtaken.

In every event the overtaking vehicle must 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 traffic approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.29

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

Ohio’s laws prohibit following another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent. What is a “reasonable” distance depends on highway and weather conditions plus the other car’s speed.

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 such vehicle, and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.34

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

The Ohio traffic code forbids writing, reading, or sending texts or emails on a cell phone while driving. Drivers under 18 and those with probationary licenses cannot use a phone for any reason while behind the wheel. Exceptions to the mobile phone ban exist for reporting emergencies to police, fire, or medical services.

No person shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property open to the public for vehicular traffic while using a handheld electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication.

This section does not apply to a person using a handheld electronic wireless communications device in that manner for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.204

No holder of a temporary instruction permit who has not attained the age of eighteen years and no holder of a probationary driver’s license shall drive a motor vehicle on any street, highway, or property used by the public for purposes of vehicular traffic or parking while using in any manner an electronic wireless communications device.

This section does not apply to a person using an electronic wireless communications device for emergency purposes, including an emergency contact with a law enforcement agency, hospital or health care provider, fire department, or other similar emergency agency or entity.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.205

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

When two drivers reach an Ohio intersection at the same time, the driver to the left must yield. The driver to the right gets to proceed through the intersection first.

When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different streets or 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.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.41

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

Ohio law requires that you yield to any oncoming traffic before making a left turn. First, let vehicles headed in the opposite direction clear. Then, you can proceed with the turn.

The operator 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, whenever the approaching vehicle is within the intersection or so close to the intersection, alley, private road, or driveway as to constitute an immediate hazard.

OH Rev. Code § 4511.42

Following all the rules of the road will help keep yourself and other travelers safe on Ohio’s streets. Obeying traffic laws will also prevent you from getting a ticket and make you a more considerate driver.

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 >>