MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With summer airfares so high this year, many families are choosing to hit the road instead of flying to their destinations.
But if you are crossing state lines, be aware that the laws dealing with driving may be different from Minnesota’s laws.
AAA says drivers are often surprised to find out what’s fine in Minnesota is actually illegal in other states, like California and New York.
The biggest differences deal with using phones, teenage drivers and hitching requirements.
So, as you map out the route you plan to take to the East Coast or West Coast, it would be smart to look up the laws in the states you travel through. It’s also important to do if you’re flying and then renting a car once you get to your destination.
AAA says the dos and don’ts of talking on a cell phone seem to give drivers the most trouble.
There are 13 states where it is illegal to talk on a handheld cell phone while driving. Illinois is the closest. Washington D.C. is included.
“So if you are planning a trip to the nation’s capital, don’t hold your cell phone and talk on it while you are driving around the nation’s capital,” said Gail Weinholzer, with AAA. “You can be pulled over and fined in excess of $100.”
And if you plan to have a teenager help you out with a long drive, be aware that the restrictions on young drivers vary as well.
“So if your 15-and-a-half year-old or 16-year-old has a GDL, and you are headed to the East Coast for some traveling, don’t let them drive in state of New Jersey. They can be pulled over and cited for failure to obey graduated licensing laws,” Weinholzer said.
And if you’re stopped, ignorance of the law is unlikely to work as an excuse.
“They won’t care,” Weinholzer said. “In fact, it may make it just that much easier, because you are from out of state.”
If you are pulling a trailer or a boat behind your vehicle, be aware that hitching laws vary state to state.
The rules on how they are connected, the measurements and weights of what you’re hauling, and whether or not safety chains and flags are required, can be different from what we have here in Minnesota.
AAA has a website devoted to each state’s driving laws.
Also, remember to get a tune up and oil change, and check that tire pressure.