Traffic Safety Laws in New Hampshire



There is currently no helmet law for motorcycle riders or passengers 18 years old and over in New Hampshire. The Department of Safety strongly recommends safety helmets for everyone.


Riders who are 16 years old and under must wear a bicycle helmet if they are riding on public roads. All riders must also wear a piece of reflective outerwear if they are riding any time between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.



Headlights must be turned on:

  • From 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • When visibility due to inclement weather is reduced to 1,000 feet or less.

It is a good idea to turn your headlights on any time you are using your wind shield wipers continuously. It is important to remember to dim the high beams when there is on-coming traffic.


Modulating headlights are permitted. Nothing may obstruct your headlight in any way.


When riding at night, your bike must have:

  • A white front light visible up to 300 feet.
  • A red rear reflector or red light visible up to 300 feet.

Electronic Devices and Texting

New Hampshire enacted a hands-free law that prohibits the use of any device that's capable of sending or receiving any kind of communication while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This includes:

  • Cell phones.
  • i-Pods and other MP3 players.
  • GPS devices.

You ARE allowed to make emergency calls to 911, and bluetooth devices can still be used while driving.

Those who are under 18 years old cannot use any handheld device for any except in the case of an emergency.

Seat Belts

Kids under 18 years old must wear a seat belt. The Department of Safety strongly recommends safety belts for every driver and passenger. See the next section on car seat laws for children under 7 years old.

Child Car Seat

Children who are under 7 years old AND are 57 inches tall or shorter must ride in a federally approved car seat or booster. The only time this is not the case is if the child is over 57 inches tall; in which case they can use a seat belt. It is important to use a child restraint system for as long as possible, and to do so based on the manufacturers age, weight and height specifications.

Reporting Drunk or Dangerous Drivers

Call 911 if you suspect a driver of being drunk or a road menace. Provide the driver's license plate number, make, model, location and travel direction. Do not try to stop the vehicle on your own.

Reporting Unattended Kids in Vehicles

Dial 911 if you suspect an unattended child left in a vehicle is in danger from excessive heat or cold. Remain with the vehicle, if possible, until authorities arrive.

Reporting Unattended Pets in Vehicles

Call the local police department or animal control unit if you feel an unattended pet inside a vehicle is at risk.

Give Room To Others Involved in Traffic Emergencies

In many states, including New Hampshire, state law requires vehicles to give attention and space to a wide range of traffic emergencies. The "Mover Over" law has been expanded to include highway workers and tow truck drivers. Specifically, the law requires motorists to slow down and give clearance to stationary vehicles displaying blue, red, or amber emergency lights at the scene of any roadside incident.

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