Most of us have been there – traffic is backed up and people are frustrated. And just to our right there is a perfectly empty parking lot just begging us to cut through. The temptation may be great, but you should take caution before you use that parking lot to make your great escape.
What many people don’t realize is that “cut-through” driving can be incredibly dangerous, and in some places, is illegal.
Dangers of Cut-Through Driving
Cut-through driving can be dangerous for several reasons. First, by the time someone decides to cut through, they are already frustrated and likely are in a hurry to move on. This can lead to impulsive behavior, which can impact reasoning and reaction. Drivers who are in a hurry to beat a light or get ahead of traffic may also be distracted, which is a leading cause of auto accidents.
Cutting through parking lots is also dangerous because usually, people are parking and walking in those areas. Parking lots are designed for slower speeds and yielding to pedestrians. Many auto accidents are caused by cut-through driving because the driver is not behaving appropriately for the environment.
Is Cut-Through Driving Illegal?
Most states have laws about obeying traffic signals and not evading them. Several states have made it illegal to cut through parking lots in order to avoid traffic backed up at red lights or stop signs. In these states, there are penalties for being ticketed for evading a traffic signal, including points on a driver’s license and fines up to $250.
In California, it is not illegal to cut through a parking, but it is often advised against in order to prevent snarls and auto accidents. It is always best to obey traffic laws and signals, and practice patience and common sense.