How To Avoid Traffic (Illegally)

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Absolutely no one likes sitting in backed-up traffic. It’s the bane for any driver. Some drivers respond by engaging in various illegal ways to avoid snarls. Each of these maneuvers carry 2 DMV points, roughly a $150 fine and, most importantly, is very dangerous.

Let’s start with entering and exiting a highway. In New York, there is only one way to legally enter a highway, expressway, parkway or thruway (using the entrance ramp) and only one way to legally exit (using the exit ramp). Under Vehicle and Traffic Law (“VTL”) Section 1130(2), these rules apply to any roadway with “controlled-access” and the only exception is when directed otherwise by a police officer or traffic control device.

The most common time that motorists violate VTL Section 1130(2) is when the highway becomes stopped due to an accident or other obstruction. In such cases, impatient motorists will drive out (or back up) an entrance ramp, a very dangerous maneuver. For those who back out, they can also be charged with unsafe backing under VTL Section 1211(b) which specifically prohibits backing of any type on a controlled-access highway.

Another no-no (depicted above) is using a break in a highway dividing barrier to make a U-turn. This dangerous maneuver violates VTL 1130(1) and, when a sign prohibiting such U-turns is posted (as is most of the case), also violates VTL 1110a.

Impatient drivers will try to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic by driving on shoulders and slopes. This unsafe action violates VTL 1131 and epitomizes an accident waiting to happen. One can only drive onto the shoulder to stop, stand or park in an emergency (or if directed by a police officer).

Off the highway, a common maneuver to illegally bypass traffic is cutting through a parking lot or other establishment. Unsafe motorists take this action to avoid an intersection or traffic control device. This move is illegal and is particularly dangerous to pedestrians. VTL 1225. Similarly, driving on the sidewalk is generally illegal unless one is actually trying to access lands adjacent to the roadway. VTL 1225-A.

The bottom line that your should be on the look out for the above knuckle head maneuvers so you don’t become an accident victim. And, for those of you who are considering a “creative” answer to a traffic jam, PLEASE don’t lose patience. It’s much more important to be safe than sorry.

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