Stopping and Speed Limits for Various Scenarios

You have to accept responsibility for your actions, every time that you drive a car. You will have to obey all the traffic laws in Virginia and ensure that you give priority to the safety of you, your passengers, and pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists on the road.
Driving safe is a priority for everyone and you should be relaxed while driving. All drivers must also follow the speed limits and stop appropriately while they are driving in Virginia.

Speed Limits

The speed limit is the maximum speed at which you can drive when the conditions are ideal. You can drive slower than the posted speed limit, but driving faster than the limit is illegal. The law states that you can drive slower than the speed limit if the road construction is bad or the weather is not ideal for driving at the posted speed limit.


You will have to stop the vehicle when driving under the following conditions:

  • At all signs where the traffic light is red
  • When you are enter a street or when you cross over a parking lot, building, alley, driveway or a sidewalk
  • At crossings for railroads that have flashing signals
  • If you are stopped by flaggers who are directing traffic
  • If you see any pedestrians that are looking to cross the street
  • If law enforcement officer stops you. If you don’t stop when a law enforcement officer signals you, and they are killed while pursuing you, then you will be charged with a Class 4 felony.
  • If you are in a car crash caused by you, then you will have to remain at the scene.

School Buses

  • You will have to stop for school buses that show flashing red lights and at a stop sign when you are approaching a school driveway, private road, or highway. You will have to remain stopped till the bus moves again.
  • You will also have to stop if school bus is unloading or loading passengers.
  • You don’t have to stop if the school bus is on the road opposite from your vehicle. However, you should always keep an eye out for unexpected actions by the children that exit the school bus.

Stopping Distance

There are 3 main factors that will determine the overall stopping distance for your vehicle. These are perception time, braking distance and reaction distance.

Perception Time:

It is the overall time that it will take you to identify a hazard.

Reaction Time:

It is the distance that your vehicle has moved before you recognize that a hazard, and the overall time that it takes for you to put on the brakes.

Braking Distance:

It is the distance that your car has to travel after you have put on the brakes.

The perception time, braking distance and reaction distance are all affected by your physical and mental condition, visibility and weather.

The braking distances are also affected by the sped of your vehicle, the condition of the road and the condition of the tires and brakes.

Learn about Yielding the Right-of-Way in Virginia

All drivers should understand about yielding the right-of-way in Virginia. It means that you should stop your vehicle if you are unable to merge with the traffic in a safe manner.

Here are some of the examples of yielding the right-of-way:

  • When there are 2 vehicles that are coming from opposite directions at a stop sign, intersection or signal at different times, the first vehicle has the right to go first.
  • When 2 vehicles from different directions arrive together at an intersection, then the driver on the right can go first.
  • If the traffic lights at the intersection are not working, then the vehicles have to stop, and the driver on the left will yield to the driver on the right.
  • Drivers that enter the interstate from the entrance ramp will yield to the traffic on the highway.
  • Drivers that enter the traffic circle or intersection will yield to the moving traffic.
  • Drivers have to yield to pedestrians and traffic when entering from a driveway or private road.
  • Drivers have to yield to pedestrians that are attempting to cross the street. You should always allow pedestrians to safely cross the road before turning at red lights especially.
  • Drivers must yield to all funeral processions. Don’t interfere, join or cut through a funeral procession. The lead vehicle in the funeral procession has to obey all traffic signals and signs.
  • Other drivers in the funeral procession should follow at a safe distance and should use hazard lights to indicate they are part of the procession.
  • Drivers must always yield to military convoys and never attempt to join on cut through a military convoy.
  • All drivers must yield to fire brigades and ambulances and never attempt to cut them or join them.

Yielding to Vehicles with Flashing Lights

All drivers have to take actions whenever they come across vehicles with flashing lights on roads.

Stationary (Stopped) Vehicles

  • When you are approaching a stationary emergency vehicle that has got flashing lights, you should proceed carefully and change to the next lane safely. If you are unable to change the lane, then you should reduce your speed and move attempt to move over carefully. If you violate an emergency vehicle with flashing lights, then this can result in the suspension of your driver’s license and even cause you to lose points in your driving license.
  • When you are passing stationary vehicles, change your lanes carefully and slow down your speed to below 10 miles to the speed limit of the vehicle. You should pass with a gap of around 2 feet to the left of the vehicle.
  • You should not attempt to park not more than 50 feet from where the fire trucks are parked with their equipment.

You should always check the laws regarding yielding the right-of-way in Virginia in order to ensure that you are not violating any laws that may suspend your license or cause point deductions on it.


Know about Dangerous Driving Behaviors and Protect Yourself

The dangerous driving behavior in Virginia law is defined as intending to intimidate, injure, harass or obstruct another person, while committee a series of traffic offenses such as failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to give way to another vehicle, and avoid a traffic control device. When aggressive drivers are driving, they have a tendency to take out their anger and frustrations on other motorists. The level of frustration is generally high, since they have no concern for their fellow motorists.

They will break by the law by any means, which can be from speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, making unsafe and improper lane changes, running stop signs, tailgating, flashing their lights, honking, screaming and making obscene hand and face gestures.

Protect Yourself

Whenever you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, you should look to protect yourself by staying out of their way. Don’t antagonize them further or challenge them, since the aggressive driver will look to take out his anger on your vehicle. Ignore the shouting, hand gestures and avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers.

If you are charged with aggressive driving and it is proven, then your license may be suspended for a time period of more than 10 days or for a period of 6 months or more.

Distracted Driving

When you are driving, you should give your complete attention to the road, since it is quite easy to get distracted on the road. The main distractions that drivers face while driving are: observing the surroundings outside, talking with passengers, eating, cell phones, and more. When you driving you should attempt to avoid using gadgets, since they can distract you and may cause an accident. Before you engage in any behavior that is distracting, you should pull over at a safe location.

The law in Virginia prohibits that drivers that are under the age of 18 may not be able to use cell phones or any other wireless form of communication when they are driving. Reading text messages or texting while driving is also illegal and according to the statistics almost 20 percent of all crashes in Virginia are caused due to distracted driving.

Why is Distracted Driving so Deadly?

Driving requires attention and you also have to pay attention to other drivers on the road, and distracted driving can cause serious harm that may also result in loss of life. You drivers are more susceptible, since they don’t have much experience in driving and are unable to control their vehicle during an emergency.

You should never let dangerous or distracted driving affect you and take the following precautions:

  • Concentrate – always keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. Make sure that you are alert and looking straight ahead and remain relaxed.
  • Adjust the controls on the vehicle and any other devices when you are in the car and before you drive.
  • Don’t use a cell phone.
  • Maintain a safe distance and make sure that the vehicle behind you has plenty of room to stop.
  • Anticipate the environment and the traffic around you at all times when you are driving.

Different Type of Traffic Signals and Their Meanings

Traffic signals have to be abided by all drivers in Virginia and breaking traffic rules is illegal. These rules apply to all drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, moped-riders, and motorcycle riders.

Red Light

You must stop completely at the red light before the stop line. Drivers have to remain stopped until the signal remains red.

Right Turn on Red

At some signals you may turn right while the signal shows a red light. However, before turning you will have stop completely and check both ways, and also yield the right-of-way to other traffic and pedestrians. You will not be allowed to make a right turn on signals if there is a sign that shows ‘No Turn on Red’ or if there is a red arrow pointing towards the right.

Left Turn on Red

You can turn left once you approach a red light if you are driving on a one-way street or if you are turning left onto a one-way street at a traffic signal. However, before turning you will have stop completely and check both ways, and also yield the left-of-way to other traffic and pedestrians. You will not be allowed to make a left turn on signals if there is a sign that shows ‘No Turn on Red’ or if there is a red arrow pointing towards the left.

Red Arrow

A red arrow means that you are not allowed to turn in the direction that the arrow is pointing. The driving laws in Virginia don’t allow making right and left turns at a signal when the light has turned to red.

Flashing Red Light

When you come to a flashing red light, you will have to stop and yield for pedestrians and oncoming traffic. Once the way is clear you may move and you will have to stop at railroad crossings, even if there is no oncoming train.

Flashing Red Arrow

You will have to stop if you see a flashing red arrow and yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. You can move once the arrow stops flashing.

Yellow Light or Arrow

A yellow light or arrow signals that the light is going to change and you will have to stop once you see the yellow light. It is not safe to speed up in order to beat the signal if you see the yellow light or arrow.

Flashing Yellow Light

A flashing yellow light means that you will have to proceed with caution and slow down. You will have to yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and oncoming traffic at the intersection as well.

Green Light or Arrow

If you see a green light, you may drive ahead if the road is clear. If you see a green arrow, you can drive in the direction of the arrow but you must yield for pedestrians and oncoming traffic at the intersection.

Out of Service Signals

If the traffic signal is not working due to a technical problem or power outage then you must stop at the intersection. If there is a law enforcement office at the intersection, then you will have to follow their directions and signals.


How to Drive Safe in Hazardous Conditions like Fog and Rain

Driving can often become hazardous especially when the weather conditions are atrocious and this usually happens when it rains or snows. You should always drive safely if your visibility has decreased and the road conditions are not suitable for driving. In such events, drivers are requested to increase their space cushion by ensuring that they maintain double the gap distance and turning on their headlights.

Driving at Night

You should turn on your headlights as soon as dusk approaches and the quality of light starts to depreciate. This will ensure that your vehicle is visible to others and all drivers must use headlights from sunset to sunrise. You should use low-beams when you are driving in towns and cities, excepts if the street has no lighting. You should switch to low-beams, whenever you are coming into oncoming traffic to avoid blinding the driver that is coming from the opposite direction. If you are following another vehicle, then you should switch to low beams when your distance is nearly 200 feet of the vehicle ahead of you.

You should use high-beams at night on the highways or if vehicle is within 500 feet of the car ahead of you. If you see a car that is coming from the opposite direction and is coming from ahead, you should avoid looking at the high beams of the vehicle in front of you. Don’t turn your headlights on in retaliation and avoid looking into the high beams till you pass the vehicle.


Fog has a tendency to reflect light and it can even reflect your own headlight back onto your eyes. Therefore it is recommended that you should use low-beam headlights when driving in heavy fog and keep an eye out for road edge markings for guidance. You should drive slowly whenever there are foggy conditions to avoid collisions and accidents.


Driving in rain can be dangerous and you need to make sure that your windscreen wipers are in good working conditions and your headlights are turned on. Make sure that you use the low-beam headlight so that your car can be seen and make sure that you have windshield washer fluid to remove the smear of the windshield. During rainfall the roads may become slippery and you should lower your driving speed.


First remove the snow and the ice from your car entirely, including the rear, hood and roof of the vehicle before you attempt to drive it. If you leave any snow or ice on your car it may fly off and cause hazards for other vehicles. Make sure that all your windows, mirrors and both the front and rear lights are in working order before driving.

Use all-weather snow tires or even chains to prevent skidding on the road when driving in snow and maintain a safe distance from other cars. You should apply the brakes gently and give yourself plenty of stopping time. Drive slowly and cautiously when it is snowing, since the roads will be cold and slippery and there will be less grip of your tires.