Rush hour traffic, construction work, broken down vehicles, and car accidents are some of the most common reasons drivers feel the temptation to ride on the shoulder of a highway. While it may appear to be a quick solution to avoid timely delays, this reckless driving behavior puts the safety of other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at serious risk.
Is Driving on the Shoulder of a Highway Illegal?
Driving on the shoulder of a highway to avoid traffic is against the law. While many states have emergency driving laws allowing drivers to pull onto the shoulder for safety reasons, this highway area is not meant to be used as an additional driving lane. Driving on the shoulder can prevent authorized vehicles, including ambulances and highway maintenance crews, from getting through and doing their jobs.
Vehicles using the shoulder lane may receive a moving violation traffic ticket, which carries large fines. If blocking the shoulder delays emergency vehicles from saving someone, drivers may also face jail time.
How Can a Car Accident Result from Using the Shoulder of a Highway?
Using the highway shoulder as a personal passing lane increases the risk for an accident for various reasons. Drivers are less likely to notice a pedestrian who may be in the shoulder changing a tire, waiting for a tow truck, or making a telephone call in a parked vehicle. Other drivers on the road can become disoriented when a car is passing them on the shoulder, resulting in inadvertent lane shifting or swerving on the main roadway.
Research shows that there is an increase in road rage incidents when drivers drive on shoulders of highways. One of the best ways to incite anger in another driver is to use the shoulder to bypass traffic. Some drivers are tempted to make it harder for a car to re-enter the highway by moving in front of the car, blocking the car, or running the car off the road, which can result in an accident.
Can Driving on the Shoulder Lead to a Fatal Car Accident?
Deciding to drive on the shoulder of a roadway to avoid congestion can have fatal consequences. According to data provided by the American Automobile Association (AAA), over 600 people are killed annually by motorists illegally driving on shoulders of highways. This reckless driving behavior is responsible for over 12 percent of interstate highway deaths recorded each year.
What Should I Do if I am Hurt in an Accident?
Motor vehicle collisions occurring on highways can result in catastrophic injuries, requiring years of medical treatment and rehabilitation. Dealing with the aftermath of this type of car accident can place significant financial stress on families.
It is important to speak to a knowledgeable lawyer after an accident. A lawyer will help a car accident victim obtain necessary compensation for the costs of recovery.
Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Protect Those Injured by Negligent Drivers
If you have injuries from a car accident that occurred on the shoulder of a highway, speak to one of our Atlantic City car accident lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm today. We help injured victims obtain maximum compensation for injuries sustained in car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 609-926-3300 for a free consultation. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City and Woodbury.