Most Texans are aware of more common traffic violations such as speeding, texting while driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and running a red light—but did you know you can also get a ticket for having your key in the ignition at the wrong time? Read on to learn some weird driving laws in Texas that can actually fetch a hefty fine!
1. It’s a violation to open doors while operating your vehicle.
Stopped at a red light and want to dump out your coffee? Rolling into a parking space and want to see if you’re inside the lines? Not so fast! No matter your intention, opening your doors while operating your vehicle (even while stopped) is illegal in Texas. So, you know, make sure y’all turn off your car before reaching for the door handle.
2. You could still be responsible for traffic violations even after selling your vehicle.
Once you’ve sold your vehicle, you’re obviously not responsible if the new driver receives a traffic violation … right? Wrong! Texas law requires the seller to submit a transfer of owner notification while the buyer pays the sales tax and obtains a new title. If the new driver doesn’t obtain a new title, however, their traffic violations could become yours! You are still the owner, after all.
3. Parking brakes must be set when leaving an unattended vehicle.
While setting your parking brakes may only seem necessary when parking on a hill, Texas law begs to differ: No matter where you’re parked or what incline you’re parked on, you’re required to set your parking brakes anytime you leave your vehicle. To make things even weirder, the law still applies regardless of whether your car is running or not.
4. You can’t drive without windshield wipers.
We’re not sure where this one came from, but anyone who’s driven through a heavy (albeit rare) Texas rainstorm can understand: It’s illegal to drive without windshield wipers. While this law is a bit more reasonable than many others on this list, you may be surprised to learn that Texas law doesn’t require vehicles to have a windshield—but you better be sure that your windshield-less car still has wipers.
5. U-turns and for sale signs are not allowed in Richardson.
A long time ago, someone in Richardson decided that u-turns and for sale signs were worthy of a ticket. Maybe they were involved in an accident where someone took a sudden u-turn because they saw a car for sale on the other side of the road? No matter the reason, u-turns and visible for sale signs are illegal in Richardson. Sorry, Richardsonians.
6. Passengers cannot occupy a trailer while in motion.
Sometimes you don’t have enough seats in your car. Sometimes your trailer looks like a great way to add extra room. Sometimes you hitch that trailer to the back of your car and tow your excess passengers like they’re a collection of used ATVs. Unfortunately, unless you’re a licensed hayride operator, this stupidly brilliant idea is illegal in Texas.
7. You cannot leave the keys in the ignition in a vehicle while it’s unattended.
How many times have you left the car running while pulling up to the convenience store to grab a cool drink on a hot day? Don’t actually count since each time you did could’ve earned you a $500 ticket (read: many slushies). The only loophole to this law is if you’re driving a newer vehicle with a keyless push-button start.
8. Tailgating other drivers could result in a ticket.
It’s one thing to tailgate with beers and barbeque, but it’s another thing to tailgate by, well, tailgating. According to Texas law, driving too closely behind another car is enough to get you pulled over and given a ticket. As a result, be sure not to tailgate too closely on your way to your next tailgate.
9. You admit guilt when you pay for a ticket.
It may seem like you’re doing the right thing, but admitting guilt and paying your ticket comes with extra consequences: In addition to losing money on ticket fees and the associated fines and surcharges, points are added to your license and the offense is recorded on your driving record for the next three years. Thankfully, it’s possible to avoid these black marks by taking a defensive driving course.
10. Surcharges on traffic violations have to be paid separately.
When you pay a ticket and the associated fee, you may also have to pay a surcharge, depending on the type of violation or the number of points you’ve accumulated over the years. In Texas, however, you must pay for fees and surcharges separately. It may not seem like a big deal, but you could have your license suspended if you don’t.
Reversing Weird (or Normal) Traffic Violations
While there are some pretty weird driving laws in Texas, most traffic violations can be dismissed by completing a defensive driving course. At Ticket School, you can complete your defensive driving courses entirely online and on your schedule.
For more information on our Texas defensive driving courses, call Ticket School at (800) 558-9887 or enroll online today!