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Miscellaneous vehicle and traffic laws

September 18, 2010
By Dave Werner, Franklin County Traffic Safety Board

Writing Did You Know articles about vehicle and traffic law requires reading through the often boring manual of Vehicle and Traffic Law.

However, sometimes we come upon laws that are somewhat obscure but quite interesting.

The following are some of these perhaps little-known laws:

-Driving on mountain highways - the driver traveling through defiles (narrow valley or mountain passes) or canyons or on mountain highways shall hold their motor vehicle under control and as near the right-hand edge of the highway as reasonably possible, and when approaching a curve where visibility is obstructed within 200 feet, shall toot the horn.

-Coasting prohibited - when traveling down a hill, it is illegal to coast with the gears in neutral or the clutch depressed.

-Crossing a fire hose - it is illegal to drive over any unprotected fire hose on any street or private driveway without the consent of the fire department.

-School buses require identification - all school buses purchased or leased after Sept. 1, 1997, shall have their area code and phone number printed in 3-inch letters on the back of the bus.

-Driving on sidewalks - it is illegal to drive upon or across a sidewalk except to gain access to a public highway, private way or in the conduct of work upon a highway, or to plow snow or perform other public service which could not be performed reasonably otherwise, and then at a reasonable speed but never more than five mph.

-Retail sale of frozen desserts - it's a violation to sell frozen dessert to a pedestrian from a vehicle unless that vehicle is legally parked and the buyer is on the side of the vehicle away from traffic.

-Riding in house coach trailers - no person shall drive a vehicle pulling a house coach trailer that is occupied by any person; nor shall any person ride in such a trailer while being pulled on a highway. So, in most cases, two tickets should be issued.

-Rural mail carriers - Vehicle and Traffic law requires that mail carriers operating a privately owned vehicle in delivering US mail must affix to their vehicle a white sign with at least 4-inch lettering that reads: "U.S. Mail."

Know the law, and drive safely.


Dave Werner can be reached at



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