What are the Dangers of Passing in the Shoulder Lane?

Front driver side damage to a car

When you are stuck in heavy traffic and you see other drivers using the shoulder lane, it is tempting to follow suit, particularly if you are in a rush. You may wonder, what is the harm in using the shoulder lane just this once? According to the AAA Foundation, approximately 12 percent of highway fatalities occur in shoulder accidents, meaning that roughly 600 people die each year, and thousands more are injured in accidents caused by the illegal use of highway shoulders. Many of these devastating accidents can be prevented by following the rules of the road and avoiding using the shoulder lane.

Shoulders were designed as a safe lane where motorists could pull over in an emergency. Yet, too many motorists consider shoulders to be another lane that they can use to pass other vehicles. If a car moves into the shoulder lane while traveling at a high speed and a disabled vehicle is stopped, this can cause a devastating accident if the fast-moving vehicle crashes into the disabled car.

Risks of Passing on the Shoulder Lane

The next time you are tempted to use the shoulder as a passing lane, keep the following in mind:

  • You could be issued a moving violation ticket. Using the shoulder as a passing lane is illegal. Moving violation tickets can run from $25 to $150. If your actions cause a fatal accident, you could face jail time.
  • Longer wait times. Other drivers usually do not appreciate it when you use the shoulder. When you try to merge back into traffic after passing a line of cars, some drivers may be unwilling to let you move back into the lane. This can cause more of a delay than if you stayed in your lane.
  • Serious accidents. A disabled vehicle is vulnerable to being hit if you are using the shoulder as a passing lane. In addition, pedestrians may be standing nearby waiting for help to arrive. If a pedestrian is hit, the injuries are often severe, if not fatal. Accidents can also occur when attempting to merge back into traffic.
  • Authorized vehicles will not be able to get through. If you are driving in the shoulder lane and there is an accident up ahead, you could prevent emergency responders from getting through quickly, which could endanger the lives of the victims they are trying to reach.
  • Road rage. When you use the shoulder, another driver may become angry and decide to retaliate by blocking you or running you off the road.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Shoulder Accidents

If you were seriously injured in an accident involving another motorist who used the highway shoulder as a passing lane, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our skilled legal team will ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.