Rules of the Road
If you’ve ever been driving a car in downtown Aiken, SC, it’s likely that you’ve been a bit confused. In some intersections, drivers stop at red lights, while at others, they drive straight through them. There are a fair number of one way streets, which adds to the confusion. Locals know to pay close attention to out of town drivers who simply cannot wrap their minds around the rules of the road in Aiken.
Red Means Stop…or Does It?
So, should you stop at a red light or what? Well, when the red light is on a normal street, like anywhere else in this country, you should definitely stop. However, when you enter one of the circular intersections in downtown, you may proceed through a red light as long as you yield to oncoming traffic. Basically, treat it like a roundabout. But unlike a normal roundabout where once you enter you have the right of way, in Aiken you must make sure you yield to oncoming traffic. The circular intersections in downtown Aiken are located at Richland Avenue and Laurens Street, Richland Avenue and York Street and Laurens Street and Park Avenue.
So Red Means Go?
Not so fast. When you approach one of the square intersections in Aiken, the rules are different. At square-shaped intersections, it is not permissible to go straight through a red light, but you can still turn left. If a driver is coming down a one-way street and comes to a red light at a square-shaped intersection, the driver cannot go through that red light. Yet, the driver can turn left at the red light onto the intersecting one-way street, as long as they yield to oncoming traffic.
Clear As Mud
So…now that you’re even more confused, the easiest way to remember is circle-go, square-no. And if you’re still not 100% sure, stop. Wait for the green light. Fortunately, most drivers in Aiken are patient with those who are confused and you won’t get harassed for playing it safe. And for those who get frustrated and try to go around someone who is stopped when they could be going? What you’re doing is illegal and you could be ticketed.
Don’t Forget About the Horses!
One of the most important things to keep in mind when driving in Aiken is that horses always have the right of way. If you encounter a horse and rider, or a horse drawn carriage on the street in Aiken, please be extremely cautious. Horses spook easily and the results can be disastrous. Always take great care in following the signs in the Horse District which read:
Horse Training Area~Slow. Pause. Then Pass.
Live Your Best Life in Aiken
Our advice? The next time you’re walking in downtown Aiken, take some time to observe the traffic patterns at these intersections. It’s really not complicated once you know the rules of the road. And for those who get annoyed when newcomers or visitors don’t understand? Slow down. Take a breath. Look around at the people, shops, and beautiful landscape of downtown Aiken. And remember how lucky you are to be here, living your Best Life.
If you would like more information about driving in Aiken, please contact the Aiken Department of Public Safety.
If you’d like to live your Best Life in Aiken, contact our real estate partners for more information!