With ever increasing laws, rules, and regulations on how we operate our vehicles, drivers will take any help available to keep things legal. The first place to start is your infotainment system.
State lawmakers across America have been active in past years changing the rules of the road as we know them. Whether for revenue generation or for safety, the fact is these new laws are coming at us faster than ever. And the penalties are getting out of control. In Georgia, a speeding fine can be higher than that for carrying a concealed weapon. Over $1,200 is not unusual. NerdWallet did the math on the true cost of a ticket for traveling 15 MPH over the speed limit in Massachusetts. Including mandatory insurance surcharges, the cost is $1,714.75. Moving violations of any kind often raise your insurance premium for up to six years. Here’s a quick list of four ways you can put your infotainment system to good use keeping you square with the law.
If your wipers are on, your headlights & tail lights must be on, too. It's the law. pic.twitter.com/uY50aDhMgf
— Massachusetts RMV (@MassRMV) June 28, 2018
Headlights On When Wipers Are In Use
One new law that many older drivers may not have an easy time adapting to is to turn on your headlights when your wipers are in use. Daytime running lights don’t count. You need the full headlight and taillight illumination to comply. If you’ve been driving a while, this may not be your habit and you didn’t learn this in drivers ed class back in the ’80s.
It’s easy to forget, so Honda and Acura have your back. In modern Hondas and Acuras, you can modify your vehicle settings to turn on your lights when your wipers are in use. Set it and forget it.
Move Aside For Emergency Vehicles
Across the country, a much-needed push for first responder safety has resulted in Move Over laws in most places. During rush hour, or in any heavy traffic situation, that is much easier said than done. You may not see the first responder in time to safely merge over. That’s where Android Auto and Waze come in handy. Waze is like a navigation system with little icons showing you the location of accidents and police vehicles. You see the icons approaching on your vehicle’s screen before you are even close enough to see the incident giving you ample time to merge. Waze and Android Auto are both free of charge, and both have super-high user review ratings. Waze is now in beta testing with Apple CarPlay, so regardless of which smartphone team you’re on this one is a no-brainer. And these systems have proven to be less distracting to use than automakers’ native systems, so there is certainly no guilt in applying the technology.
Watch Your Speed During Limit Changes
At BestRide, we encourage every driver to obey the law and keep things safe. We also review 707 hp coupes and cars capable of driving at 200 MPH. We realize just how difficult it is to maintain legal speeds in many situations. One situation in particular that we have trouble with is speed limit change areas. You know the scenario, you are cruising along in a 45 MPH zone, nothing changes, but the speed limit suddenly drops to 30 MPH. These make excellent speed trap areas and nobody wants to be caught unprepared. So don’t be. More and more of the vehicles we test now have navigation systems that display the posted speed limit in white. That icon changes to red if you are above the limit. The best new vehicles actually display this in your field of view via head-up displays. We’ve sampled outstanding systems from Mazda in vehicles priced around $30K. Some vehicle models even let you set a warning above a certain limit so you don’t accidentally go too high. The help is there if you want it.
Hands-Free Smartphone Operation
Simply said, if you are driving around looking at or fiddling with a smartphone in your hand you deserve a ticket (or worse). In many states, there are fines for this type of blatant distracted driving. Every modern automobile allows you to use a mobile device by voice or via steering wheel controls. For the love of Mike, please use your vehicle’s BlueTooth connection to enable hands-free calling. Even states with lax distracted driving laws prohibit driving while typing on a phone’s keypad.