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When is it Okay for My Car to Block Traffic?

Drivers who block traffic are often honked at, yelled at, and generally not liked. But they also pose a risk to other drivers and can cause a crash or related accident. There are several situations in which your car may end up being a major roadblock, but in general you should steer clear of traffic and avoid putting your car in the path of other vehicles.

When a car blocks traffic, it goes past just annoying and becomes illegal in certain cases. Blocking traffic can even be considered reckless driving if there is no circumstance that requires the driver to enter the roadway. A car is often only in the middle of the roadway when it shouldn't be, and could have been prevented. Here are some of the more common ways to get a ticket or fine (in addition to being in a dangerous situation):

Car in the middle of an intersection. Cars that are blocking cross traffic often do so because they ran a red light or did not pay attention to stopped traffic in front of them. Especially during rush-hour, many cars attempt to "make the light" only to realize they have nowhere to go. This is highly problematic when turning into a lane that is full, yet drivers continue to try to fit into the small space. This is a great way to cause an accident if cross-traffic is not paying attention or mistakes how much space there is. It can also be grounds for a police ticket for blocking an intersection or running a red light. In some parts of Austin signs are specifically posted directing drivers to not block the intersection due to so many traffic problems.

Car illegally parked. Sometimes cars are double parked or parked so poorly that they block traffic. For example, downtown spots are often tight and congested. However, drivers that are sticking out may require other drivers to change lanes or risk dinging their own car. This can cause unnecessary traffic and danger to the other drivers.

Unexpected lane changes. Sometimes it happens-you realize that you are in the opposite lane than you need to be in for whatever reason (blame Siri, your GPS, or your own navigational skills). However, last-minute switches often cause drivers to take up an entire roadway while their car is horizontal. This is dangerous to you and may prevent a lane from moving forward while other lanes are stopped. This kind of stunt may lead to criminal charges on the grounds of reckless driving.

There are also cases when it is legal to block traffic: such as if you are involved in an accident that prevents you from moving your vehicle or safety necessitates you do not move. Texas currently has a "steer it, clear it" law, meaning that for minor accidents if you can safely operate your vehicle you have an obligation to move if off the roadway or onto the shoulder. However, do not move a vehicle in an unsafe manner simply to avoid a ticket.

The law also works both ways. Pedestrians are also subject to not blocking traffic. Whether it be for a protest or simple jaywalking, those blocking traffic by foot without a permit are also subject to fines and tickets.

If you have received a traffic citation or violation for blocking traffic with your car, you can call our office today to find the best way to fight it or get it removed from your insurance record.

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