Driving on the shoulder is not always legal

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Driving on the shoulder of the road is one of the more dangerous things you can do. While it appears similar to a lane, the shoulder is actually not typically used and shouldn’t be thought of as another lane of travel.

In Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Long Island or other areas, drivers may be attempting to get around traffic by driving on the shoulder. This is troubling, since other drivers may not be expecting to see people on that part of the road. Additionally, there could be pedestrians, cyclists or drivers who have pulled over due to their car breaking down on this section of the road, making driving on it a significant hazard.

Are there laws preventing driving on the shoulder?

In Section 1131 of the New York Traffic and Vehicle Law, driving outside the lines of a lane or on the shoulder is banned. The only exception is if a driver is:

  • Being instructed by the police
  • Parking a damaged vehicle
  • Stopping due to extreme weather conditions

Usually, it is only bicycles and vehicles that are specifically classed to drive on the shoulder that are allowed to be there while traveling.

What do you do if you’re hit by someone who was driving on the shoulder?

If you are legally on the shoulder and you are hit by someone who is driving there unexpectedly, you may be able to make a personal injury claim against that driver. The shoulder is a protected area on the road, and only those authorized to be there should be using it. Those who violate the law put everyone at risk.