Security and Safety

Do You Know All of Texas’ Obscure Road Rules?

By Rachael Pilcher 5.26.20

Driving is a way of life in Texas, but no matter how comfortable you are behind the wheel, there may be some unique road rules you haven’t heard of — especially if you’re not from around these parts. Before you hit the road, brush up on Texas’ obscure road rules.

Important Safety Laws

These laws are crucial to remember for your own safety and the safety of other drivers in Texas.

  • Click it or ticket: It’s illegal for both drivers and passengers to skip wearing a seat belt. If a passenger under the age of 17 isn’t wearing a seat belt, the driver will be held responsible and risk a fine of between $25 and $250.
  • Texting while driving: Legislation passed in 2017 bans texting while driving — and using email, WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other social media. In short, it’s essential to save conversations for later. Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to have an accident, and if you’re caught driving while using your phone, you could face a wide range of fines — as well as jail time if the accident results in a fatality. Be sure to check your local ordinances regarding cellphone use, since many of them carry stricter regulations.

Specific State Laws

These Texas laws range from the practical to the puzzling.

  • Don’t forget your keys: It’s illegal to leave a key in the ignition of an unattended vehicle, and it could cost you a $500 fine.
  • Pass on the shoulder: Unlike many states, Texas allows you to pass a stopped car on the shoulder.
  • Bumper troubles: If you have anything protruding from your bumper, it must be attached by a chain.
  • Windshield confusion: You must have working windshield wipers at all times. However, you don’t need to have a windshield.

Window Tints

Each county in Texas has its own interpretation of the law regarding window tints, so check with your local DMV. But there are several state rules, too, and noncompliance could result in a fine, court costs, and a failed vehicle safety inspection. Have your tint installer place a sticker on the driver-side window confirming the tints are regulation standard. Statewide legislation passed in 2009 decrees:

  • Front windscreens and windows must have a minimum 25% visible light transmission (VLT) or amount of visible light that can pass through.
  • Any tint on a windscreen must end 5 inches below the top of the windshield.
  • Rear windows and windscreens are unregulated, as long as you have side outside mirrors. Without these, rear windows must have a minimum 25% VLT.

Unique Local Laws

Make sure you know the local rules before you drive across Texas.

  • Doors closed: In San Antonio, it’s illegal to open your doors while your vehicle is in use, even if you’re stopped.
  • Taillights: If you’re riding a horse at night in Texarkana, it needs to have a taillight.

By complying with Texas’ vehicle-safety laws — even the most obscure ones — we can make our Lone Star roads safer and more enjoyable for everyone. If you have any questions about your protection on the road, call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to get an auto insurance quote.

Wondering when you can sell cheese, or whether you can feather-dust a public building? Learn more of Texas’ most obscure laws here.

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