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These common driving practices are actually illegal

It is against the law to use the turn lane as a merge lane.

GRAND RAPIDS CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. — In Michigan, drivers are required to pass a test before they receive their license. However, many still find themselves questioning whether certain driving practices are legal.

"Laws have changed over times. So yes, some people, their parents, may have been told one thing and now they’re in driver’s ed and the rules and laws did change or modify," Dave Muma, Owner of Century Driving School said.

Debates over illegal driving habits can be commonly found on social media, and if drivers find themselves on the wrong end of the law, Lt. David Cope with Michigan State Police says drivers could find themselves with a ticket.

"Civil infractions can be upwards of $100 or more depending on the nature of the violation. Some can be two to three points on your driver’s license," he said, noting that insurance rates can also go up in response.

Cope listed these infractions as the most commonly violated:


It's common knowledge at driving over the posted speed limit is illegal and could result in a hefty fine. However, Cope said drivers are often surprised to find they also can be ticketed for speeding while staying within the limit, if they are driving too fast for weather conditions.

"There’s not a set speed limit per say (for weather conditions). Obviously the posted speed limit is the fastest you're legally allowed to go. However, the motor vehicle code states that you are to drive your vehicle in a safe and prudent manner, given the certain weather conditions," Cope said.

He added that in the scenario where a driver crashed due to driving too quickly in the snow or ice, the driver could be ticketed.

Using the turn lane to merge

It is illegal to use the turn lane as a merge lane. Cope said this is a frequent and citeable offense he sees often on the roadways.

"That turn lane is designed for traffic that's traveling on the main portion of the roadway to exit that main portion of the roadway, into the turn lane, decelerate and then wait for oncoming traffic to clear before completing their turn," Cope said.

Muma agreed, saying "The best scenario in that case is if it’s busy, just turn right. Yes it may take you just a little bit longer, but there's a reason why UPS had all their drivers just make right turns. That would lower the risk."

Passing on the right side of the road.

 Drivers are not permitted to pass a vehicle on the right if they leave the main, designated travel portion of the roadway.

"Even if the shoulder is paved, you can not go onto the shoulder to pass the vehicle. Most highways or roadways will have that white line along the right side of the road, which is called a fog line...you are not permitted to leave the main-traveled portion of the roadway to pass someone on the right," Cope said.

There are certain, designated areas for passing on the right shoulder. They are commonly marked with a break to the white fog line and the paved shoulder area extending to the right for traffic to pass safely.

RELATED: Ottawa County Sheriff's Office says passing on the right...isn't right

Failing to clear snow from the car

It is illegal to drive with large chunks of snow and ice flying off of a vehicle, either onto the roadway or onto other vehicles. Cope said it's important to clear every area of a car, from the taillights to the hood, to increase visibility both the driver and others on the road.

"It’s very important that you be able to see out of your vehicle, but also that other vehicles can see you," Cope said.

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For more information about Michigan's driving laws, click here.


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