What Every Driver Should Know About Unusual Texas Traffic Laws

Texas traffic laws range from the common to the downright strange. While some of these laws might seem amusing, they all serve the purpose of ensuring road safety. As a driver, knowing and adhering to these regulations is essential to avoid legal issues and accidents. If you are injured due to another driver's negligence, our Texas car accident lawyers at SJ Injury Attorneys can help you understand your rights and the legal steps that can make all the difference in your recovery and potential compensation. 

Unusual Texas Traffic Laws

Not every traffic law in Texas is unusual or strange, but there are a few that you may find unique. For example:

  • Driving without windshield wipers. The Texas Department of Public Safety’s inspection requirements do not include a vehicle’s windshield as an item of inspection, but they do include windshield wipers. The wipers must be working at all times to pass inspection.
  • Bumper protrusions. Texas law requires anything protruding from your bumper to be attached by a chain. This prevents loose or improperly secured items from causing accidents.
  • Don’t leave your keys in the ignition. While many drivers leave their keys in the ignition of their car without realizing it is a problem, it is illegal to do so in Texas as per section 545.404 of the Transportation Code.
  • No open containers of alcohol. While this might not sound strange to some, Texas takes its open container laws seriously. Texas penal code § 49.031 states that having an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of a vehicle is illegal, regardless of whether the car is in motion or parked on a public highway. 
  • No barefoot driving. Driving barefoot in Texas isn't explicitly illegal, but it's heavily discouraged and could potentially lead to charges if it's deemed to have contributed to reckless driving or an accident. The idea is to ensure that drivers always have proper control over their vehicles.

In addition, there are local laws city laws to consider. For example, in San Antonio, you are not permitted to open your car doors while your vehicle is in use, including when you are stopped at a red light. In Richardson, U-turns are illegal, and in Fort Worth, you must set your parking brake before exiting your vehicle, no matter the terrain. In Lubbock, alcohol proximity is serious business. You can’t drive within arm’s length of alcohol—whether it’s in a bottle, a glass, or someone’s bloodstream. These laws may seem strange, but it’s essential to follow them to avoid legal trouble such as fines.

What to Do If You’re Hurt by a Driver Violating a Traffic Law

If you’re injured by a driver who violated a traffic law, whether it's a common one like running a red light or an obscure one like driving without windshield wipers, you have rights. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Seek medical attention. Your health and safety are the top priority. Get medical help immediately if you are injured.
  • Document the scene. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries.
  • Get contact information. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and gather contact details of any witnesses.
  • Report the accident. Contact the police and file an accident report. Be sure to mention any suspected traffic law violations by the other driver.
  • Consult with a car accident attorney. An experienced Texas car accident attorney can guide you through the legalities of your case, especially if it involves obscure traffic laws. They can assist in gathering evidence, dealing with insurance companies, and pursuing legal action if necessary. They will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
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