Some driving laws seem to be like the law of gravity — they’ll always be there. Red probably will always mean “stop,” and green likely will always mean “go,” for example. But even though you may have aced your driving test all those years ago, that doesn’t mean that what you learned in driver’s ed always will be the law. Although it’s unlikely that Illinois suddenly would declare that blue means “stop,” it’s important for anyone using Illinois roads and highways to keep up with the latest changes in driving laws.
One significant new Illinois driving law concerns when motorists are allowed to pass bicyclists on the road. The law, which goes into effect in 2018, allows drivers to pass cyclists in a no-passing zone by using the oncoming lane. Previously, motorists were unable to cross into the oncoming lane in a no-passing zone to get around bicyclists, but this created dangerous situations. Drivers would either pass too closely to the bicyclists or stay behind them, slowing traffic down to the speed of the cyclist and creating unsafe conditions.
Under the new law, motorists would be allowed to cross into the oncoming lane to pass a bicycle if the cyclist is traveling at less than half of the posted speed limit, as long as the motorist has enough distance to pass the cyclist safely. Drivers are not allowed to exceed the speed limit and they must provide at least three feet of clearance between their car and the bicyclist while passing. Other provisions of this new law allow bicycle riders to ride on road shoulders and use red taillights at night instead of rear reflectors.
Brush up on the Rules of the Road
This and other periodic changes to Illinois driving laws should serve as a good reminder to brush up on the rules of the road every so often. Although you may drive every single day, it’s possible you may be unknowingly breaking a law, and that can result in being pulled over by the police. For example, you may not be in the habit of carrying proof of insurance in your car or in your wallet, but if you’re pulled over without it, you may be cited.
Take This Quiz
To help you remember some of the more obscure rules of the road in Illinois, here is a short quiz, consisting of sample questions that appear on the Illinois state driving exam:
True or false: Your driving privileges will be suspended if you are convicted of illegally passing a school bus.
True. Passing a school bus while its “STOP” sign arm is extended and its lights are flashing is against the law — even if you are driving in the lane next to it on a four-lane street.
True or false: A driver may pass another vehicle by driving on the shoulder of the road.
False. You are only allowed to pass a vehicle in a designated passing zone by using the lane on the left.
How should a driver proceed if within an intersection waiting to make a left turn and the traffic signal light turns red?
The driver should yield to oncoming traffic and complete the turn as soon as it is safe to do so.
For what distance should a continuous turn signal be given when making a left or right turn in a business or residential district?
Illinois law requires that drivers use a continuous turn signal for no less than 100 feet before making a turn in a business or residential district.
True or false: When waiting at an intersection and the traffic signal light turns green, a driver should look to the left and then right before proceeding into the intersection.
True. Looking both ways is necessary whenever proceeding through an intersection, even when the driver has the right of way.
True or false: A driver does not need to allow as much distance when following a motorcycle as when following a car.
False. Motorcycles should be treated as if they were any other type of vehicle on the road.
True or false: Drivers may pass on a two-lane roadway marked with a single solid yellow line on their side of the center line.
False. A solid yellow line always means no passing is allowed.
True or false: Illinois law requires that headlights be on when atmospheric conditions require the use of windshield wipers.
True. Drivers must have their headlights on whenever using their windshield wipers due to the weather.
True or false: Your car must have a horn that can be heard from a distance of 200 feet.
Within how many feet is a driver required to dim the high beams before meeting another vehicle?
Drivers must dim their high beams within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle.