Driving in the Gore
Many individuals are unable to describe which part of a highway is referred to as the “gore”, which a median between a highway lane and an entrance or exit tramp rather than a traffic lane. In the state of Georgia, it is unlawful to drive in this area and being cited for such an offense can result in a motor vehicle driver facing significant penalties. Even though it is much safer to maintain an individual’s lane with other traffic when the gore area ends, each year a number of accidents are caused by motor vehicle operators who end up driving in the gore. When individuals in Georgia are charged with these types of offenses, it is frequently a wise idea to retain the assistance of a skilled and experienced attorney who knows how to best respond to such a charge.
The Gore Area Explained
As already established, the gore is the dividing section between a highway lane and either an entrance or exit ramp. There are several characteristics that should make the gore area readily distinguishable to motor vehicle drivers. The gore area frequently features raised pavement markers to make the area stand out, a dashed pavement marking, and a wider line so that motorists know to avoid traveling through this area of the road. Also installed in many gore areas are impact attenuators, which are cushion-like devices that are designed to reduce damage to motor vehicle drivers, passengers, and vehicles by absorbing the kinetic energy of moving items from a motor vehicle collision.
The gore area exists for several specific reasons. These areas of the road help motor vehicle drivers who are entering the highway estimate how much time the drivers have to match the speed of traffic on the highway. The gore area also exists to warn motor vehicle drivers who improperly exit the highway that the motorists are about to run out of road.
When a motor vehicle enters the highway, the entrance ramp connects a motor vehicle with the lanes of the highway so that a motor vehicle driver can safely merge with motor vehicle traffic that is on the highway. On a motor vehicle driver’s left is located the gore, which in addition to its various functions can also indicate to motor vehicle drivers when it is safe or legal to switch lanes and merge with traffic that is present on the highway.
When a motor vehicle exits the highway, an exit ramp often veers to the side of the road and rises above the highway to help motor vehicle operators safely exit the highway. As the motor vehicle driver travels off the exit ramp, the gore is located on the driver’s left. The gore area in this position helps motor vehicle drivers determine when it is safe to exit the highway.
Applicable Georgia Law
Georgia law prohibits vehicles from being driven on, over, across, or within any gore or barrier, dividing space, paved shoulder, or section separating the lanes of a divided highway. While gores were built on Georgia highways with the intention to help better organize motor vehicles that were entering and exiting the freeway, there are a number of ways in which driving in the gore can cause serious accidents and collisions.
Some of the most common situations in which motor vehicle drivers end up driving unlawfully in the gore include:
- Coming Down an Entrance Ramp. Motor vehicle drivers who cut across the gore before a highway lane merges with the highway area considered to be unlawfully traveling across the gore.
- Missing an Exit. Motor vehicle drivers who should be getting off at an exit that they have just missed sometimes cut across the gore in order to reach the off-ramp. This type of driving behavior is considered illegal in the state of Georgia.
- The Wrong Ramp. When motor vehicle drivers exit off the wrong ramp and attempt to cut back across the gore onto the highway, drivers in the state of Georgia are considered to be unlawfully driving across the gore.
The Consequences of Driving in the Gore
Motor vehicles drivers who are charged with driving in the gore can face a variety of potential penalties including points being placed on the individual’s driver’s license. The accumulation of fifteen or more points within a twenty-four month period can result in an individual’s driver’s license being suspended. Individuals can also expect to face increased insurance rates. A skilled attorney can prove beneficial in helping an individual lessen the severity of some types of charges.
Potential Defenses to a Charge of Driving in the Gore
Fortunately, there are several available defenses for individuals who have been charged with driving in the gore.
Motorists can argue that driving in the gore occurred due to an emergency including situations where an individual experiences difficulties with their motor vehicle. Individuals who remain in the gore for a short period of time due to these reasons are often able to raise strong defenses. Similarly, motor vehicle drivers are frequently able to raise strong defenses if the individual drove into the gore in an effort to avoid being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
Sometimes, motor vehicle operators are able to raise a strong defense that the gore was not clearly marked which can occur on roads that are not properly maintained or old roads with highway lines that have begun to fade.
There are some defenses that will not prove successful in response to a charge of driving in the gore. Individuals are unable to raise successful defenses by arguing that driving in the gore occurred because the individual almost missed an exit. Instead, motor vehicle operators are expected to use other safer options in these situations including taking a safer route. Motor vehicle drivers are also able to raise successful defenses by arguing that the motorist drove across the gore in an effort to merge into traffic faster.
An experienced attorney can prove particularly helpful in reviewing all of the available evidence in a driving in the gore case and making sure that these defenses are successfully raised.
Retain the Services of a Knowledgeable Georgia Traffic Attorney
At the law firm of Yeargan, Barber & Kert our legal counsel understands the various complicates and the potential penalties that can result from being charged with driving in the gore. Our law firm understands how to best create strong defenses in response to such charges and is able to evaluate all of an individual’s potential options. Contact our firm today to begin taking control of your traffic ticket case.