Picture this: you are on your way home from work, and traffic is moving steadily along the highway. Later on, the traffic starts to slow and then next thing you know, you are sitting in a traffic jam. As you are patiently inching forward (well, maybe not patiently, but at least lawfully), a car suddenly zooms by you on the shoulder in an attempt to bypass the backup.

Everyone has witnessed this type of reckless shoulder abuse at least once in their life. You may have even thought about doing it yourself at one point or another. Hopefully you have thought better of it because driving on the shoulder is not only extremely irritating, but is also illegal and dangerous.

Nevertheless, some drivers dismiss these concerns; they believe it’s their right to use the shoulder as their own personal lane. After all, why should they have to wait when the shoulder is open? Unfortunately, in addition to causing a bout of road rage among other drivers, their self-entitled attitude puts you and your passengers in danger as well.

Suffering the Consequences of Reckless Highway Shoulder Abuse

No matter how safely you drive, many other drivers find it easier to take reckless risks rather than taking the time and effort to obey the rules. When traffic backs up due to congestion or construction, instead of waiting in line they’ll move into the open shoulder and use it as a driving lane to cut in front of traffic. Sometimes, you won’t be able to anticipate a driver’s irresponsible decision to use a shoulder bypass. This action puts every person they pass in danger.

Highway shoulders are designed to provide a safe area for emergencies away from speeding traffic. However, when drivers misuse the shoulders for their own convenience, they run the risk of causing harm to others on the road in at least three ways:

  • Median or divider crashes. When drivers attempt to bypass traffic by using the shoulder, it’s easy for them to forget that it isn’t designed as a normal lane. As a result, sudden dividers, traffic cones, obstacles, or changes in lane layout can cause them to swerve into the main lanes without any warning. If you’re paying attention, you may be able to avoid a side collision by swerving yourself, but this only increases your odds of colliding into a car next to you or the median.
  • Side impact or rear-end collisions. Although using the shoulder to bypass traffic is illegal, once drivers see one person successfully use it, pack mentality kicks in and suddenly you have dozens of cars illegally passing you—all with the potential to swerve into you and your family without warning.
  • Delaying emergency vehicles after an accident. The shoulder is specifically meant for emergencies and emergency vehicles; if you’re in an accident, ambulances and police will use the shoulder to bypass traffic. However, if it is being misused by selfish shoulder abusers, these emergency vehicles may not be able to get by and become dangerously delayed. As a result, your and your family’s accident injuries may not get the treatment they need in time to prevent tragic consequences

For more information about how to pursue an accident claim against shoulder abusers, contact us today at 210-679-1930 for a free consultation. We’ll make sure you get all the information and support you need to avoid paying for the reckless and selfish actions of another. Call today to see how a car accident lawyer can help you. For further reading, consider downloading our free ebook, 20 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Car wreck Case. It discusses common questions most people have following an accident, and explains how to avoid getting underpaid by an insurance company.