Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law Excerpts

Rules of the Road

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Warning These excerpts are provided for information only and NOT as the basis for legal or judicial determinations.  ALWAYS verify them against the most recent available copy of the law.  The entire Vehicle and Traffic Law, sorted by section number, is available from the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Commission. (scroll down to VAT)


Contents

Article 25 Driving on Right Side of Roadway, Overtaking and Passing, etc.
§ 1120. Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions.
§ 1121. Passing vehicles proceeding in opposite directions.
§ 1122. Overtaking a vehicle on the left.
§ 1122-a. Overtaking a bicycle.
§ 1123. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
§ 1124. Limitations on overtaking on the left.
§ 1125. Further limitations on driving to left of center of roadway.
§ 1126. No-passing zones.
§ 1127. One-way roadways and rotary traffic islands.
§ 1128. Driving on roadways laned for traffic.
§ 1129. Following too closely.
§ 1130. Divided and controlled-access highways.
§ 1131. Driving on shoulders and slopes.

§ 1120. Drive on right side of roadway; exceptions. (a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:
1. When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;
2. When overtaking or passing bicyclists, pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway;
3. When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;
4. Where travel on the shoulder or slope is permitted by section eleven hundred thirty-one of this article;
5. Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or
6. Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
(b) In addition, upon all roadways, any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(c) Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by signs or markings designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subsection (a) (2) hereof.

§ 1121. Passing vehicles proceeding in opposite directions. Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite direction shall pass each other to the right, and upon roadways having width for not more than one line of traffic in each direction each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main-traveled portion of the roadway as nearly as possible.

§ 1122. Overtaking a vehicle on the left. The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules hereinafter stated:
(a) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
(b) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

§ 1122-a. Overtaking a bicycle. The operator of a vehicle overtaking, from behind, a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof.

§ 1124. Limitations on overtaking on the left. No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of this chapter and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching vehicle.

§ 1128. Driving on roadways laned for traffic. Whenever any roadway has been divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic the following rules in addition to all others consistent herewith shall apply:
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.
(b) Upon a roadway which is divided into three lanes and provides for two-way movement of traffic a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction when such center lane is clear of traffic within a safe distance, or in preparation for making a left turn or where such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the same direction that the vehicle is proceeding and such allocation is designated by official traffic-control devices.
(c) When official traffic-control devices direct slow-moving traffic, trucks, buses or specified types of vehicles to use a designated lane or designate those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway, drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such sign, signal or marking.
(d) When official markings are in place indicating those portions of any roadway where crossing such markings would be especially hazardous, no driver of a vehicle proceeding along such highway shall at any time drive across such markings.

§ 1129. Following too closely. (a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
(b) The driver of any motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district and which is following another motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing any like vehicle or other vehicle.
(c) Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing other vehicles shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between each such vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger. This provision shall not apply to funeral processions.

 

Rules of the Road