What does “shoulder” mean in driving?
I just got my permit and I went on my first practice drive today! I saw a road sign I didn’t understand, though, that said “Soft Shoulder”—what does “shoulder” mean in driving?
Answer provided by
Congratulations on getting your permit! Getting to know your road signs is a great practice for any new driver—here’s a breakdown on what the shoulder means in driving.
Essentially, a road sign referring to a “shoulder” is talking about the part of the road that falls outside the outer lane. This area is also known as the breakdown lane and is designed for use in emergency situations—like when a car needs to pull over to change a flat tire.
A “Soft Shoulder” sign is warning that the gravel is unpaved in the breakdown lane. Some other common road signs referencing the shoulder of the road include:
- Low Shoulder—there is at least 3 inches of elevation difference between the road and the shoulder
- Shoulder Drop Off—there is a sharp drop-off in elevation between the road and the shoulder
- Right Shoulder Closed—the right shoulder is inaccessible up ahead
- Shoulder Narrows—the shoulder loses width and may be inaccessible up ahead
Knowing what road signs mean is a great way to protect yourself on the road—as is having good car insurance. With Jerry, you can instantly find the lowest rates available to you.
The app is free to use and offers custom quotes from over 50 top insurance companies to shop and compare. The average user saves $887 a year on car insurance, so it’s definitely worth a look!
Here to save on car and home insurance? Great, you do that. We’ll do everything else.
Sign up in under a minute.
No need to fill out forms or shop around. Sign up in 45 seconds to start saving. Jerry does the rest.
Jerry collects and analyzes your current coverage.
Say hello to Jerry, your new insurance agent. We’ll contact your insurance company, review your current plan, then find the coverage that fits your needs and saves you money.
Get the best options before your renewal.
Jerry does all the picky, busy work by comparing prices and coverage from more than 50+ insurance companies. We compare what we find to your current policy and offer you the three best options before every renewal.
Browse More Content
What others are asking
Can I book my driving test without an instructor?
I just turned 16, and I’m going to go for my driving test soon. I already know how to drive a car. Can I book my road test without hiring an instructor?
Feb 03, 2022
What is reckless driving in NC?
I’ve read that cops can issue a reckless driving ticket in North Carolina based on their own judgment. It seems like such a gray area—I hope I never have to deal with that. What is considered reckless driving in North Carolina?
Feb 03, 2022
How much can I make driving Uber in Chicago?
Would I be able to make a lot of money as an Uber driver in Chicago? I moved here pretty recently and I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding work, but I do have my car with me. It seems like I would be able to make some good money working for Uber, but I’m not sure if I would actually be able to support myself.
Feb 03, 2022