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Urban Myths About Driving Laws

Urban Myths About Driving Laws

Do police write more tickets at the end of the month? Can you get a ticket for driving barefoot? We’ll help clear up a few misconceptions you may have about traffic tickets! 

Closeup of the Top of a Police Cruiser Showing the Emergency Lights

Whether you are a brand new driver or you’re more seasoned behind the wheel, you’ve likely heard more than a few  stories and tips about driving laws, tickets, and how to avoid fines and other penalties. Who hasn’t heard that you are more likely to get a ticket at the end of the month? Or that it’s illegal to drive barefoot, or that red cars get more tickets than other color vehicles? We are diving into some of the more common myths and tall-tales to give you the truth, once and for all.


It’s Illegal to Drive Barefoot

For some reason, a lot of people believe that it’s illegal to drive without your shoes on, but this is a misconception. There is no state law in Virginia that says you can’t drive barefoot, though drivers are encouraged to wear safe footwear, like sturdy sneakers or loafers, while driving. If you drive without shoes, your foot could more easily slip off of the gas or brake pedal, and if you are wearing slip-ons — like flip-flops — the shoes could fall off and get wedged underneath the pedals, causing a car accident. So while it may not be against the law to drive shoeless, it’s really not a great idea. The smartest thing to do is to drive with securely fastened shoes on your feet, but if you do decide to kick off your footwear, make sure your shoes aren’t sitting down by your feet where they can get kicked under the brake pedal accidentally! Driving barefoot isn’t against the law, but you don’t want your shoes to be the cause of an accident.

You’re More Likely to Get a Ticket at the End of the Month

You may have heard the myth that you’re more likely to get a ticket at the end of the month because law enforcement officers have ticket quotas they have to fulfill every month. According to experts, many police departments in the U.S. don’t set any quotas at all. It’s true that some departments may still have minimums in place, but those quotas tend to be quite low — low enough that they wouldn’t have an impact on the rate of ticketing at the end of the month. 

And if you think it through, getting pulled over for doing nothing wrong is a rare occurrence. The end-of-month timing of your ticket is probably just a coincidence. The best way to avoid being pulled over is to know and follow the traffic laws! 

Driving With Your Interior Lights on is Illegal

This myth has been echoed by parents everywhere: “Turn those lights off, don’t you know it’s against the law to drive with them on?” While driving with your interior lights on isn’t technically illegal in Virginia, from a safety perspective it’s not a very good idea.  It’s more difficult for a driver to see the road clearly at night if the interior lights are on, so stick to using a “map light” — initially developed so the passenger could read a map during travel — if you do need to see something in the dark of a car at  night. Safety and avoiding a traffic accident should always be your top priority when you’re on the road!

The “Red Car Bias” Myth
A commonly held misperception is that red cars receive more speeding tickets than cars of other colors because the bright color attracts the attention of police officers. Another theory goes that red is a more common color choice for sportier (and faster!) models of vehicles. The fact is, according to Carolyn Gorman, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Trade Association, “there is no data to support the assertion that red cars receive more traffic tickets than cars of any other color.” So, when you are deciding which vehicle would be the best choice for you and your family, focus on safety features, not color! That’s what will really matter if you are ever in a car accident.

There are undoubtedly many more driving myths out there, so just be sure that you brush up on the real rules of the road every so often. Safety on the road is important. If you or someone you know has been injured because of another driver’s failure to follow the rules of the road, please contact our team at Burnett & Williams.