Tag Archives: whitte lines

Driving across the “gore” is illegal

The in basket: Gary Crehan writes, “My friends and I have been trying to figure this one out. On approaching some exits, the freeway is painted with white lines that end up showing the division of the exit lane from the freeway traffic lane.
As one gets closer to the actual exit, these two lanes diverge forming (usually) a V and having what would be like an island in the middle, some quite wide, (where) I have seen motorists, construction trucks, city vehicles, and police vehicles occasionally parked between the lines essentially between the freeway traffic, and the exit lane traffic.
“Is it legal to even cross these lines? I know I have come upon my exit rather quickly and not having paid enough attention, have crossed this painted area to make my exit.
“I cannot find any place that tells me that these lines are anything more that a way to provide guidance and information. We have looked in the drivers manual, and in the rules of the road and cannot find any information. I think there is even a name for these V-shaped areas that occur on different parts of the highways. Can you tell us anything more about these?”
The out basket: Yes, those areas are called “gores,” and whether their use as driving surfaces is legal most often involves crossing them while ENTERING a freeway, often to get around a car not traveling fast enough for the driver doing it.
It isn’t legal to drive across them, so Gary committed an infraction when he did it, as do those who cross them when entering a freeway. That’s a $124 infraction called driving off the roadway.
Gores are equivalent to shoulders, except that you can’t legally stop in them except in an emergency. Missing one’s exit might seem like an emergency, but I doubt that it would qualify if a patrolman saw one do it.
Shoulders can also be used to stop to read a map, use a cell phone, deal with children or any of the other things that make freeway driving more dangerous if done while in motion.
Krista Hedstrom of the local State Patrol detachment said doing those things in the gore would constitute illegal parking and be punishable by a $20 fine. But its enforcement is so rare she had to look it up and found it in RCW 46.61.570