View Poll Results: Driving on the shoulder to allow faster trafficto pass
My state allows driving on the shoulder 5 17.24%
My state does not allow driving on the shoulder 19 65.52%
I don't know the law in my state. 5 17.24%
Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-22-2006, 11:31 AM   #1
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Driving on the Shoulder

In Texas, the majority of our 2-lane roads have paved shoulders wide enough for a vehicle to get out of the traffic lane. It is customary here, and completely lagal where not prohibited by signage, to move over onto the shoulder and keep rolling at our same speed to allow faster traffic to pass.

I consider this a courtesy and not a requirement. I will drive at cruising speed on the shoulder only where I either know the highway or I can see sufficient shoulder ahead to be safe. Of course, I will pull off anywhere practical and come to a complete stop if necessary if I am holding up a line of traffic.

I have not driven at cruising speed on the shoulder in other states because I don't know the laws outside of Texas. I am starting this poll in hopes of collecting infrmation about rolling on the shoulder in other states.

Please post the information and mention your state name so that we can build a list of can and can't states.
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:55 PM   #2
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John,
Great question.
In Delaware, motor vehicle code states that "On a 2-way highway where passing is unsafe because of traffic in the opposite direction or other conditions, a slow-moving vehicle (Defined as: One which is proceding at a rate of speed less than normal flow of traffic), behind which 5 or more vehicles are formed in line, shall turn off the roadway wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, in order to permit the vehicles following to proceed.


The law implies that it is not only permitted for a slow driver to pull over, but it is expected when traffic is piling up.



Other relevant Delaware laws:
-You cannot ride in a towed trailer.
-The draw bar between the tow vehicle and the towed vehicle cannot exceed 15 feet in length.
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Old 05-22-2006, 01:34 PM   #3
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Pull over but KEEP moving!?

John -

I am not sure but in reading your post I got the feeling that you meant that you pull over on the shoulder but keep moving at or near speed. Do I have that right? I took the post to mean the 'over but moving' method.

Or did you mean that you pullover on the shoulder and stop?

Minor clarification but then being clear is important.

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Old 05-22-2006, 01:43 PM   #4
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Thanks

In Texas, we pull over on the shoulder, but keep rolling at the same speed we were travelling. I'll go back and reword my first post.
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Old 05-22-2006, 03:10 PM   #5
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Since you have asked . . . . .



I can appreciate someone pulling over as a courtesy, but I don't consider it safe. In most states, the shoulder is considered to be a BREAKDOWN lane

In many areas (even in Texas on the FM roads), the shoulder is not wide enough to safely pull into and drive without hanging out on the driving lane. You could easily loose control of the vehicle if you are determined to drive at highway or near highway speed on the side lane -and as I have observed, most do-, and your chances of actually hitting something on the side of the highway are GREATLY increased since you are now driving in your 'safety buffer' with only inches to spare. I have passed vehicles that have pulled over as a courtesy only to have them nearly swerve right into me as they came up on an obstacle that warranted needed avoiding (like a driveway, dead animal, parked car, etc). The shoulders usually contain some amount of gravel and debris. The debris usually comes back and peppers ME and that really makes me !

I've seen people pull into the shoulder to let me pass in areas that are clearly not safe to do so, like in turns or curves. If it is safe to pass, the striping in the lane will clearly tell me (and the driver ahead of me) what I can expect to do. Also, driving on the shoulder can obscures road signs for the driver(s) behind, especially if they are in a smaller vehicle.

It is one thing to pull over and come to a complete stop to allow traffic to pass. I ALWAYS do this when it is safe to do so, especially when pulling over Colorado's many passes. I will also 'nudge' over towards the right to give an overtaking driver a better view of the road ahead and signal to him it's OK to pass me. But driving in the shoulder is NUTS.

My 2 cents.
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Old 05-22-2006, 03:10 PM   #6
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As far as I know, driving on the shoulder in Illinois, unless there is a sign saying drive on the shoulder, it is only for emergancy stopping. Driving on the shoulder in Illinois as in Texas will get you a ticket upwards of $200 depending on the area you do it.

Don't hold me to this, but I also believe Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are similar in that the fine might be different, but the shoulder issue the same.

As a matter of fact I seem to recall doing that in Wisconsin and someone on a cell phone called the Police on me while on the Interstate. The only reason I wasn't cited was that the officer didn't see it, there was no witness and of course I didn't volunteer any additional info beside to ask if the officer was sure he had the right car as there are a LOT of Impalas out there and same year Caprice Classics can look similar.
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Old 05-22-2006, 03:11 PM   #7
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To better answer the questions, I believe it is illegal to do this in Colorado. The roads are NOT wide enough.
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Old 05-22-2006, 06:08 PM   #8
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Oregon requires you to pull over in a designated slow vehicle turn-out lane if you have 5 or more vehicles behind you. In Florida, nobody cares if you pull over or you don't....they pass you at 90 whenever they can regardless of how fast or slow you go or what you are doing!!
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Old 05-22-2006, 08:21 PM   #9
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Here in sunny Floriduh, the emergency lane is for emergency stopping only. Most folks also don't seem to realize it can be used, when space is available, to use the emergency lane as an acceleration lane to match the speed of traffic before executing a sharp left at 10 MPH into traffic moving at 90 (see Lewster's post above). Someone does this to me every time I tow our trailer on the Interstate. But I digress. No driving on the shoulder, except in emergencies.
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Old 05-22-2006, 08:39 PM   #10
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Thumbs up

Lew is right. We towed for the first and I hope the LAST time on the interstate in Florida. WOW!! what an experiance!!!!. There is no safe side lane. They drove 90 in every lane, even the turn outs and parking lots. We're home now and safe .
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Old 05-23-2006, 12:12 AM   #11
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I think its a great idea but I alway see "Soft shoulder ahead" in the states I travel and it can be hair raising and white knuckling at times. When I lived in Texas, it was common but regardless of the law, It can be interesting if you don't know the roads. If I remember, passing on the right is OK in Texas too as was drinking and driving, provided the driver was not intoxicated. Have they changed that law yet? Hopefully.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:19 AM   #12
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Ah so many issues on this thread I just had to add my 2 cents worth.

Most important: Posted speeds are "limits" and to be exceeded at your peril$$. Safe speed for large vehicles and or combination vehicles may be under the max posted speed.

Shoulder turn outs: Some states and highways have passing lanes, for passing. Often the state highways are so poorly maintained that the shoulder is a collection area for dangerous tire killing debris.

I just returned from a two week sales trip into the western NC mountains. On some of the twistiest roads you'll often find paved or gravel turnouts and as a courtesy slow moving traffic should allow trailing traffic to pass. That said if you're asleep at the wheel and I slow to allow you to pass or merge, you better get on that right foot pedal 'cause I'm only giving you a moment to react.

BTW if you're merging from the on ramp, and I can move over into the left lane I will. But if you can't find the right hand pedal to match highway speeds you need to go back to school.

My pet peave is $50,000 SUV's and luxury cars that somehow got manufactured without turn signals.
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Old 05-23-2006, 07:38 AM   #13
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Not allowed here in Georgia. That does not, however, stop the ever increasing number of RUDE drivers here in the Atlanta area from doing so anyway.

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Old 05-23-2006, 08:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 Overlander
I think its a great idea but I alway see "Soft shoulder ahead" in the states I travel and it can be hair raising and white knuckling at times. When I lived in Texas, it was common but regardless of the law, It can be interesting if you don't know the roads. If I remember, passing on the right is OK in Texas too as was drinking and driving, provided the driver was not intoxicated. Have they changed that law yet? Hopefully.
Texas has an "Open Container Law" now. Not only can the driver not drink, but passengers can not legally drink. Of course, there are those that decant their alcohol into coke bottles and the like.

For those in other regions, I should point out that a very large percentage of Texas roads have paved shoulders 8' or more wide that are at least as good as the main lanes in many stats that I visit. We also can also often see a mile or more ahead. Add the shoulder to a 12' main lane and there is plenty of space for two vehicles. Debris on the shoulders is not commonly a problem and, since roads are not sanded, neither is getting dusted by gravel.

What we do have here is a large number of ignorant drivers who will pass in the face of oncoming traffic and cut you off to get back in the lane. I tow at 60; the speed limit is 75 and traffic moves at 80. Last Sunday, I towed several hundred miles of mostly 2-lane. I probably moved over to allow 50 to 60 vehicles to pass. I never had to take an evasive action because someone tried to pass unsafely. Long experience here tells me that if I had not moved over, I would more than once either have had to take evasive action to avoid being sideswiped or witness a head-on. I would much rather take the shoulder at my choosing where I can see a sufficient distance ahead.
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