Driving Issues the USA Teaches Badly: Pulling Straight Off the Shoulder

Do not drive on the shoulder!  It’s a state law in many states but we have yet to encounter any Federal agency or state government in America that actually teaches this subject well… meaning for best safety!

The video clip above is being shown here by means of a ‘share’ from YouTube. Advanced Drivers of North America does not own the copyright and if the copyright owner does have an issue with its use here, please contact us with suitable evidence of ownership and it will be removed immediately.

Sadly, vehicles pulling out into active traffic lanes at slow speed is far from being a rare event;  many, many drivers do it.

Bear in mind that on most highways, vehicles that are catching up to you from behind are typically travelling at more than 100 feet per second — the equivalent of a full football field in less than three seconds.  Even if you are in a very powerful sports car and you are prepared to “floor” the gas pedal — which might be a far-from-wise situation to put yourself in — it still takes a few seconds to reach highway speed, and in a regular car, pick-up or SUV it is likely to take at least twice as long, even if you really go for it.

Photograph of an SUV rejoining a highway at very slow speed after having been static on the shoulder.
An SUV rejoining the I-90 interstate highway at walking pace after having been at a standstill on the shoulder.  This is a very risky and potentially fatal maneuver.  (Copyright image, 2014.)

You simply cannot afford to put yourself, your passengers and everybody in the approaching vehicles in that much danger.

Together with how and exactly where to stop if you do need to use the shoulder, how to best protect the safety of yourself and your passengers (who are all incredibly vulnerable to a secondary collision) while stopped, how best to mark your vehicle for maximum safety, and what not to do while the vehicle is stopped, this is just one of dozens of safety issues and remedies that we cover in depth and with research-based &/or best-practice accuracy on our corporate defensive and advanced driving courses at Advanced Drivers of North America, so if you want maximized safety training for your employees, ADoNA is your best choice.


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Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at: http://www.advanceddrivers.com/ceochief-instructors-resumecvbio/

6 thoughts on “Driving Issues the USA Teaches Badly: Pulling Straight Off the Shoulder”

  1. This is why you must always:
    •Maintain forward visibility of shoulder areas ahead
    •Be prepared for the need to lane change left whenever parked / slow moving vehicles are on the shoulder areas.
    Notice the poor positioning of the camera car in the video clip. The driver is camped out in the passing lane, just behind and to the left of the large truck. With no forward visibility of the shoulder, the driver of the camera car is totally unprepared for what transpires as the truck swerves to the left. Stay back from large vehicles that block your view or pass them on the left decisively with no lingering.

  2. Excellent article Eddie. Those of us with international experience know how poor, weak and flawed American driver training is. It’s not just about standards, or the lack of them but perhaps just as important, it’s also about standardisation. In a country with so many ”United” States, with so many conflicting laws, road safety is also a victim as well as those that suffer from it.

  3. Eddie, as others have noted, driver training in the US is downright pathetic. My older daughter has just about completed her required learner’s hours. And yet she still needs considerable experience and knowledge to be truly capable. But she will easily qualify for her license. Working in transportation I try to take every opportunity to brief her on all of the defensive strategies, but unfortunately the average teen doesn’t have access to that. At this point all of the behind the wheel time is with a parent, which means the “training” is conducted by people that are often totally deficient in the knowledge and skills to properly train our young drivers. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for kids, teens, and young adults in the US. It isn’t surprising, but what is surprising is our unwillingness to address it.

    1. Very well addressed, Jake. I wish a much larger proportion of the population were as open-minded and receptive to the issue as you so clearly are!

      I hope you continue to post comments and observations here, and also that by using the ‘search’ and ‘archives’ categories on all of our website pages (right-hand side-bar) you will be able to find plenty of topics and facts to drip-feed to your daughter and her younger sibling/s.

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