Regardless of whether you're driving in upstate New York or NYC, understanding the traffic laws in The Empire State will help keep you safe on the road. It can also help you avoid a traffic ticket from law enforcement.
In this article, you can learn more about New York traffic offenses, driving regulations, and motor vehicle laws.
Use the following driving manuals and vehicle codes to brush up on the New York rules of the road:
The driving manuals and vehicle codes in the bullets above cover many topics. The links at the end of this article also go in-depth about state-specific traffic laws and safety regulations. This page and the linked materials will help you learn about:
- Basic driving laws, like who has the right-of-way, overtaking vehicles, and left turns
- Speed limits for varying public highways, private roads, residential areas, and other roadways
- Crossing paths with an authorized emergency vehicle or school bus
- Regulations unique to for-hire vehicles, limited-use vehicles, and commercial drivers
- Traffic control devices and signals like stop lights, yield signs, and stop signs
- Restrictions on using cell phones, text messaging devices, and other wireless communication devices while driving
- Impaired driving and driving under the influence (DUI/DWI)
- Required vehicle equipment such as headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and license plates
What To Know When Driving in New York City
New York City drivers must follow some additional rules that are unique from state law. This is because of the city's unique traffic conditions and population density. NYC also has significantly more pedestrians, cyclists, and ridesharing vehicles on their roads, calling for different regulations to ensure public safety.
Some of the city's distinctive restrictions to know include:
- No right on red: Turning right on a red light is prohibited in NYC unless a sign is present indicating otherwise
- Bike lanes: Motor vehicles are not permitted to drive or park in designated bike lanes
- Crosswalks: Pedestrians always have the right of way at NYC crosswalks, both marked and unmarked
- Honking: Drivers can receive a ticket and fine up to $350 for unnecessary honking in NYC
Resources for New York Drivers
New York State's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is motorists' hub for vehicle registrations, certificate or title information, driver licensing, and more.
Drivers can visit the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) website for traffic, weather, and roadway updates, including:
- Traffic and accident reports (Use NY511 for real-time updates)
- Work zones and construction advisories
- Traveler information, such as rest stop locations
- Current road conditions, inclement weather, and winter driving tips
- Commuter resources and public transportation guides
Table of New York Traffic Laws
Find New York statutes for specific traffic regulations and violations below.
Traffic Violation? Get Legal Help
If you have been cited for a traffic infraction in the state of New York, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney in your area for legal advice. An experienced attorney knowledgeable about your state laws can review your citation and help you contest the ticket in traffic court. This may save you an expensive fine, points on your driving record, and a spike in your car insurance premiums. It could even prevent a driver's license suspension or revocation.