Crossing the gore area is not allowed

Map illustrating the gore area of a roadway

Gore area: the space between a through roadway and an entrance or exit ramp. If it’s been a while since you studied up on the Arizona driver license manual, you might not recall that it is against the law to drive through a gore area ... or that it's three points against your license if you violate this traffic rule.

But your driving record isn't the only thing to worry about – crossing through the gore area is a dangerous move.

DPS Officer Carrick Cook explains that in 1998, DPS Officer Doug Knutson died after being struck by a vehicle that had crossed into the gore area. Officer Cook says that shortly after the tragedy, a law was passed making it illegal to cross or park in the gore area.

That law is very much enforced out on the roads in this state...

DPS statistics show that in just over three years, Arizona DPS officers have issued nearly 6,000 tickets to motorists for driving through the gore area. In that same time frame (July 2009 through earlier this month) officers have also issued 1,983 warnings.

Avoiding the gore area
Motorists should easily be able to identify a gore area – there are a few characteristics that are included in their design to aid drivers in recognizing the gore, according to ADOT State Traffic Engineer Al Zubi.

“We have included features to the marking of a gore area, such as a wider line, raised pavement markers on the side of the line to better delineate it and a dashed pavement marking configuration and end point to emphasize that the motorists need to keep out of the gore,” Zubi said.

Drivers who have no other alternative except to park in the gore area likely won’t receive a ticket. Officer Cook says if a car is disabled, the driver can stop in the gore area if that’s their only option, but it is recommended to pull into in the emergency shoulder lane or exit the freeway if at all possible.

“The simple fact is that it’s such a short area,” Officer Cook said of the gore. “People don’t anticipate crossing that line and it could cause some significant injuries … it’s a dangerous violation that we take very seriously.”

Read the state statute concerning gore areas. For more rules of the road, check out the Arizona driver license manual.