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4 Driving Myths in North Carolina

Woman Using Cellphone in the Car — Fayetteville, NC — Britt Carl L Jr

Driving advice offered throughout the years often influences what you think is legal and illegal on the road. While some of the given counsel may be valid, other advice may be myths. Unfortunately, if you do not know the difference between what is legal and illegal, you may need the services of a traffic attorney. Here are four common driving myths in North Carolina.

1. It Is Illegal to Drive Barefoot

A prevalent myth is that it is illegal to drive barefoot. While driving without shoes may pose some issues, it is not based on any laws found on the books in North Carolina. 

Wearing the wrong types of shoes can be just as bad, if not worse, than driving barefoot. The wrong shoes can lead to your foot slipping off the gas or brake or applying the wrong pedal, all of which can lead to an accident.

These actions are called pedal errors and cause as many as 16,000 accidents per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Wrong types of shoes when driving include:

  • Flip-flops
  • Bedroom shoes
  • Heavy boots
  • High heels
  • Loose-fitting sandals

Wearing a securely fitting, flat-soled, light-weight shoe on your foot offers more control of where your foot is and the amount of pressure you use when applying the gas and brake.

2. It Is Illegal to Flash Your Lights to Warn Other Motorist About the Police

Many times drivers will flash their headlights at oncoming traffic to warn the other drivers about police presence up ahead. The imminent danger may be a speed trap or an accident. The flashing headlights are usually advising the oncoming drivers to slow down or beware.

Although there have been numerous cases of drivers ticketed for flashing their headlights, it is not illegal to use lights as a form of communication. These cases fall under the First Amendment right to free speech.

3. It Is Illegal to Talk on Your Phone Without a Hands-Free Device

Legislators sent a hands-free ban bill to the North Carolina Senate in May 2021, but it did not become law. Approximately 25 states have such a law, but in North Carolina, it is only illegal for drivers under 18 to use a handheld cell phone while driving. It is not unlawful for adult drivers to do so.

For your safety, consider syncing your phone to your vehicle or using some other type of Bluetooth device. Better yet, wait until you come to a complete stop or get where you are going to make your call.

While using a phone to make calls while driving is not illegal in North Carolina, texting while driving is illegal. If you are witnessed texting by law enforcement, you can be given a citation and fined $100 plus the court cost.  

4. It Is Illegal to Drive While Wearing Headphones

When driving, you must be aware of all the sights and sounds around you. For example, if you hear the sounds of approaching emergency personnel, you must move over to allow them the right of way.

Driving while wearing headphones or earbuds is illegal in numerous states, but not in North Carolina. However, headphones can distract you while you are driving. For your safety, consider only wearing one earbud or keeping your audio at a level where you can still hear traffic-related sounds.

Numerous traffic laws govern the roads and highways of North Carolina. Even if a practice is legal, many different traffic violations in North Carolina can result in citations.

When you receive a traffic citation, you need a good traffic attorney. Carl L. Britt, Jr., knows how to defend any traffic citation you receive. Give us a call today so we can review and help you resolve your case.

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