Is It Legal To Drive On The Right Shoulder Of The Road In Texas?
Driving in Tyler, Texas is a bit of a challenge sometimes. Oh, who am I kidding? It's a challenge EVERY SINGLE TIME you get behind the wheel. Whether it's to make a burger run to Whataburger or grocery run to Walmart or just head to work, but the challenges drivers face every day are not just happening in Tyler, they're also happening in Longview, Athens, Gilmer, Jacksonville, and Lindale too!
Last weekend while on my to Longview for a station appearance, I was on Hwy. 31 East leaving Tyler and headed towards Kilgore. I was in a 'pack' of vehicles and witnessed a car in front of me pass another car on the right-hand shoulder. I was shocked this happened because we were doing the speed limit. Plus, a few years back TXDOT made a huge safety improvement to this once extremely deadly road by adding specific alternating passing lanes every few miles for both directions of travel to allow for slower traffic to move right and faster traffic to pass on the left. After witnessing this, I was wondering if the move the driver completed was legal or not.
Can you drive on the right shoulder of a roadway?
Technically the answer is yes, but what he did was illegal to do. According to the Texas Transportation Code Chapter 458 Section 058, driving on an improved shoulder has to be done in a safe manner and if the following conditions are met:
- to stop, stand or park
- to accelerate before entering the main traveled lane of traffic
- to decelerate before making a right turn
- to pass another vehicle that is slowing or stopped on the main traveled portion of the highway, disabled or preparing to make a left turn
- to allow another vehicle traveling faster to pass
as permitted or required by an official traffic-control device
- to avoid a collision
However, to blatantly use the improved right shoulder to drive on and pass another vehicle is illegal and the move I witnessed Saturday morning was pretty dangerous that driver could have been issued a citation if it were witnessed by a law enforcement officer.
Bottom line is, using the improved right shoulder of the roadway to outright pass another vehicle is against the law, but it is permissible under certain circumstances.