Debunking 10 Road Safety Myths

Posted on April 3, 2023 at 3:58 PM by

Unraveling the Truth About Iowa’s Driver Laws

Motorcycle and car drivers often have to navigate a web of myths and misconceptions when it comes to road safety. In this article, we’ll reveal the truth behind some of these myths and provide accurate information about driver safety laws in Iowa.

Note: If you’d like to know more about the Iowa Codes we’ll cite here, please see the brief summaries of each at the end of this article.

Buckle up and let’s set the record straight.

Myth #1: Driving a car at night with only one working headlight is legal.

Many drivers believe that having one functional headlight is adequate for nighttime driving. However, Iowa law requires vehicles to have two working headlights. This is to ensure proper visibility and safety on the road (Iowa Code § 321.415).

Myth #2: It’s against the law to drive with interior lights on.

While some people think that driving with interior lights on is illegal, there is no specific law in Iowa prohibiting this practice. However, it can be distracting and reduce visibility, so it’s best to avoid it.

Myth #3: It’s illegal to drive naked in Iowa.

Although driving naked may seem like a bizarre and outrageous act, it is not explicitly illegal in Iowa. However, if your nudity is deemed indecent exposure or causes a disturbance, you could face legal consequences (Iowa Code § 709.9).

Myth 4: It’s legal to drive a riding lawnmower on the road.

In general, riding lawnmowers are not considered street-legal vehicles in Iowa. However, they can be operated on public roads under specific circumstances, such as for agricultural purposes or crossing the street for lawn maintenance (Iowa Code § 321.1).

Myth #5: Golf carts are considered “street legal.”

Golf carts are not typically street legal in Iowa, but local ordinances may allow their use on certain roads with posted speed limits of 25 mph or lower. It’s essential to check with local authorities before driving a golf cart on public roads (Iowa Code § 321.247).

Myth #6: It’s against the law to drive with two feet

No law in the State of Iowa prohibits drivers from using both feet while operating a vehicle. However, this practice may lead to less efficient and less safe driving, particularly in emergency situations.

Myth #7: It’s always legal to drive with high beams on

It is not illegal to drive with high beams on in Iowa, but you must switch to low beams within 500 feet when approaching another vehicle or within 1,000 feet when following one. Failure to do so can result in a fine (Iowa Code § 321.409).

Myth #8: It’s illegal to drive while wearing headphones

We recently did a whole article on the topic of driving and headphones, but the important takeaway is this: Iowa law does not specifically prohibit driving with headphones. However, it’s crucial to remain aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions that may impair your ability to hear sirens, horns, or other critical sounds.

Myth #9: It is illegal to drive with your arm hanging out of the window.

There is no specific law in Iowa that prohibits driving with your arm or hand hanging out the window, but it can be dangerous and may result in losing control of your vehicle. On a related note, we couldn’t find any specific laws in Iowa about passengers hanging their feet or legs out a window, but again, such behavior could potentially be considered unsafe or a distraction to other drivers on the road.

It’s always best to prioritize safety and avoid actions that could increase the risk of accidents or injuries. If you have concerns about a specific situation or behavior, it’s a good idea to consult with a local attorney for accurate and up-to-date legal advice.

Myth #10: It is illegal to use your cell phone while driving.

In Iowa, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use any electronic communication device while driving (Iowa Code § 321.180B). However, all drivers are prohibited from texting and driving (Iowa Code § 321.276).

Bonus Myth: In Iowa, it is illegal to drive barefoot.

No law in Iowa prohibits driving barefoot. However, it may be less safe and could lead to difficulty operating pedals. Again, drive with caution.


As we’ve seen, many myths surround driver safety laws in Iowa. It’s essential to be informed and follow the correct guidelines to ensure a safe driving experience for everyone on the road. If you find yourself involved in an accident, it’s crucial to seek the help of the best motorcycle accident lawyers to guide you through the legal process and protect your rights.

KNOW THE LAW: Iowa Codes Breakdown

In this article, we cited several Iowa codes. We thought it might be helpful to give a brief overview of what each of these codes covers and the penalties for violating them.

Iowa Code § 321.415

This code pertains to the requirements for motor vehicle headlamps. It states that every motor vehicle must have at least two headlamps, with one on each side of the front, positioned at a specific height, and capable of projecting sufficient light for visibility. Violating these requirements is considered a simple misdemeanor under Iowa Code § 321.482

Iowa Code § 709.9

This code refers to the offense of indecent exposure. It states that a person who exposes their genitals or pubes to someone other than their spouse or commits a sex act in public may be charged with indecent exposure, which can result in legal consequences. A person who violates this section commits a serious misdemeanor.

Iowa Code § 321.1

This code provides definitions for terms used throughout the Iowa motor vehicle and traffic regulations. It helps clarify the specific circumstances under which certain vehicles, such as riding lawnmowers, can be operated on public roads. Violations of specific rules regarding vehicle operations on public roads would typically be classified as simple misdemeanors.

Iowa Code § 321.247

This code addresses the operation of golf carts and other similar vehicles on public roads. It states that local jurisdictions can establish regulations for their use, including limiting their operation to roads with posted speed limits of 25 mph or lower. Violating local ordinances established under this section would generally result in a simple misdemeanor.

Iowa Code § 321.409

This code covers the use of high beams and low beams while driving. It requires drivers to switch from high beams to low beams within 500 feet when approaching another vehicle and within 1,000 feet when following another vehicle. Failure to comply can result in a fine. Violating these requirements is considered a simple misdemeanor under Iowa Code § 321.482.

Iowa Code § 321.180B

This code pertains to restrictions on electronic communication devices for drivers under the age of 18. It prohibits these drivers from using any electronic communication device while driving, except in certain emergency situations. Violating this section is considered a simple misdemeanor, and fines increase with subsequent offenses.

Iowa Code § 321.276

This code addresses texting and driving for all drivers, regardless of age. It prohibits the use of a handheld electronic communication device to write, send, or read a text message while driving, with exceptions for certain emergencies and specific authorized uses. A violation of this section is considered a simple misdemeanor, with fines increasing for subsequent offenses.

According to our clients, The Biker Lawyers, PC, are the best personal injury lawyers in Iowa.

With extensive experience representing clients in motorcycle accidents and other road incidents, The Biker Lawyers have your back. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need assistance in protecting your rights and securing the compensation you deserve.

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