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Your Survival Guide to American Traffic Laws/Signs

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This guide is outdated and may not contain updated, recent or correct information. Please bear this in mind if following this guide.

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Double yellow lines will be on most roads in the US (and probably Canada) regardless of if it is a hill or bend etc.

In Canada they'll usually be double broken yellow lines on straights, solid double in turns, broken on your side when coming out of a turn and broken on the opposite side before a turn.

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I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but may I suggest a small edit to this guide? As an American Driver and friend of a real-life trucker, merging traffic having the right of way is simply not the case almost every state. Merging traffic does not get the right of way, and is only allowed to merge onto a freeway or limited access highway when safe, that is, the traffic already on the highway does not need to yield. However, on the server, it is advisable to go left a lane if possible to avoid a conflict if both vehicles reach the merge at the same time. Below are applicable traffic laws from California and Nevada, which are in ATS right now, and for Arizona, which is the next DLC state.


CA Law-- Entering Onto a Highway

Vehicle code 21804 discusses the way drivers must enter onto or cross a highway. If the driver intends to enter onto a highway from a space of public or private property or an alley, the driver must yield the right-of-way to all closely approaching traffic already present on the highway.


Arizona Law-- the merging traffic (ie: the traffic in the lane which is ending) must yield to the through traffic (A.R.S. 28-729). It is the merging traffic's responsibility to wait until there is an opening for their car to safely move into. The through traffic is obligated to stop or slow down to let traffic in *only* when they've have a reasonable ability to do so. Failing to allow a reasonable merge to happen is considered aggressive driving. It is the same as where a person purposefully attempts to prevent someone from merging or changing lanes where it would have otherwise been safe and legal (A.R.S. 28-695).


Nevada Law--NRS 484B.263  Vehicle entering or exiting controlled-access highway: Duty to yield right-of-way.  The driver of a vehicle about to enter or exit a controlled-access highway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching on the highway whose proximity constitutes an immediate hazard and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until the driver may proceed with reasonable safety.

      (Added to NRS by 1981, 863; A 1993, 1445; 2003, 350)—(Substituted in revision for NRS 484.322)


4. Right of Way


In America turning traffic does not have right of way. Traffic continuing straight should NOT stop for them.

On interstates and highways traffic merging onto the interstate or highway has the right of way. You must let them merge.



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It might be helpful to mention the following for navigation purposes. I'm a road/highway junkie so this is all common knowledge to me. US road system is much detailed as far as navigation goes.


Most state highways and all Interstate highways have numbers to dictate their direction and position in relation to the rest of the country.


In general (this doesn't apply to all, but most) all two digit US State Highways:

Nearly all two digit US highways traverse multiple states. Nearly all three digit US highways are trunks of their main highway and tack on a 1-9 digit in front.

Odd number US highways usually run mostly north-south and begin with the lowest number on the east coast and go to the highest number on the west coast.
US-1 runs from the US-Canadian border in the US State of Maine all the way down to Key West, Florida

US-41 runs pretty much on the eastern side of the midway point in the country, from Northern Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way to Florida.

US-95 is on the extreme west side of the country as depicted in the game, however in reality US-95 runs a bit closer to the border on the southern half of Nevada and much more in the middle of the state in Northern Nevada that in is in the game, but the idea is generally the same.

The standout exception to "nearly all multi-state US highways are two digit and trunks are three digit and typically don't traverse multiple state lines" is US-101, which runs from the Seattle area all the way down to the US-Mexico border along the Pacific Ocean. Since back when there was consideration for US-101 to become a state highway and the 1926 numbering plan dictated that all rounds which are primary north-south routes must end in 1, they didn't want this new road to be US-91 and lose US 93, 95, 97, and 99 since the numbering plan dictated that they should follow a numbering scheme lowest in the east and highest in the west


Even number US highways usually run mostly east-west and begin with the lowest number on the north side of the country paralleling the US-Canadian border and the highest number on the south side paralleling the US-Mexico border.


Interstate Highways, to avoid confusion, follow the same pattern except opposite. The highest odd numbered interstate begins on the east side of the country and the highest even number interstate begins on the north side of the country, to avoid "I'm traveling down the 5" "Okay, is that US 5 or I-5?"


Interstate Highways have a lot of bypasses incorporated into their numbering as well. I-105, I-290 and I-670 are just a few. In general three digit Interstate Highways beginning with an even number trunk off their main highway and back onto their main highway, either going right through a central business district (if the main highway goes around it) or around one (a lot of three digit Interstates beginning with a 2 (example I-290 around Chicago, IL, I-280 around Des Moines, IA, I-205 around Portland, OR) go around a central business district). Likewise most three digit interstates beginning with an odd number trunk off their main highway and never return to it. US Highways are willy-nilly when it comes to three digit highway numbers except US-101 and a few others.


Both US highways and Interstate Highways follow a specific numbering plan that indicates that all routes ending in 0 should traverse as much as possible east to west, with the exception of I-50 and I-60 (they don't exist anywhere in the Interstate Highway System) and routes ending in 5 traverse as much as possible north to south. Thusly, I-5 is an important link between Canada and Mexico travelling through Seattle, Portland, east of San Fransisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, and I-10 travels east to west between Los Angeles and Jacksonville, FL through Phoenix, AZ, El Paso, TX, Dallas, TX, just to name a few.

similar to I-80 present in the game, which follows pretty accurately the real world route it takes, travels coast to coast, beginning in San Francisco and ending near New York City. So later on when the DLC is complete, if you need to get cargo from San Fransisco to New York, jump on I-80 (just bring money for tolls through Illinois, Indiana and all the way east from there, real world it'll cost a truck+trailer nearly $500 to get from Chicago, IL to New York City if traveling I-80 the entire way).


Hope this information helps. I've never done research into Europe's highway system so I can't tell if it has specific numbering plans or what n. It looks the same but I can't be for sure.

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Following all the rules of the road and ticket free since 2003!

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  • 9 months later...

For someone who is from Europe but plays ATS, this is so useful. I didn't fully understand the red light rule till reading this post. Thank you so much :)

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The funny thing is, here in America, we need guides for driving in different states sometimes because the roadways are so vastly different. Highways are federally regulated, which alleviates the pressure as you travel across the country, but once you exit and enter a developed area, sometimes the roadways feel like another planet. This is especially true if you drive in New York then take a trip to Los Angeles.




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now the painful issue:  considering the number of players i repeatedly come across ingame.. its clear, not enough have read this thread!!  as a medically retired trucker of 10yrs/1.3M miles... even the convoys in game seem pretty ridiculous, most states would just happily hand out fines for everything from "following too close" to "interrupting the natural flow of traffic"(apparently in NY state, its a thing)

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  • Phon changed the title to Your Survival Guide to American Traffic Laws/Signs

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