We’ve all been there. Maybe you’re running a little late for work or you’re trying to get there early, in either case, you run upon a red light where you can turn right on red and there are 3 cars ahead of you that are staying straight. In your mind, you’re angry because you want to get to work in a timely manner and these other cars are blocking the ability to do so. So in anticipation, you look to your right, and there’s a gas station that connects to the other road you are turning on. You take the opportunity to avoid the traffic signal by cutting through the parking lot and continue to race against time. It seems to not harm anyone at the time of the event, so it can’t be considered illegal. Right?
I see this all the time driving down Gulf to Bay Blvd and stopping at the Belcher signal. Driving west and coming from Tampa, the CVS Pharmacy’s parking lot is on the right side of the signal on state road 60 and is used as a way to avoid the approaching red light when there are cars continuing to head straight and are stopped. It is also used in avoidance of the local mass transportation. Motorists cut through the CVS Pharmacy’s parking lot and exit a little further down the road from the traffic signal. It seems harmless but is it truly legal?
Not in Florida
Cutting through parking lots is affectionately called “rat running” is the practice by motorists of using secondary roads, parking lots, or residential side streets instead of the intended main roads in urban or suburban areas. It is a tactic, as described before, used to avoid heavy traffic, long delays at traffic signals or other obstacles, even where there are traffic calming measures to discourage its use or laws against taking certain routes such as in the state of Florida .
Florida statute 316.074 begs to differ. It states, “(2) No person shall drive any vehicle from a roadway to another roadway to avoid obeying the indicated traffic control indicated by such traffic control device.” This statue covers any scenario of a person driving a motor vehicle and trying to use another way to avoid stopping at a signal. Cutting through a parking lot is essentially a part of that group. The statue also states that the “violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as moving violation as provided in chapter 318”. So if you do get caught crossing through a parking lot to avoid waiting for a red light and a cop catches you, you will be ticketed and fined a civil penalty.
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People who cut across parking lots run into the possibility of hitting another car or person. Since parking lots normally have a structured way of getting in and out, most motorists take these actions at a safe speed. If you cut across and try to beat the traffic from the road, you are more than likely speeding through a parking lot where people are expecting cars to be much slower. If it so happens that as you are cutting through the parking lot and you fatally hit someone, it states “the person [you] cited may be required to perform 120 community service hours, in addition to any other penalties.”  Bottom line, don’t do it.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
It’s understandable as to why people do it. Considering the fact that the Clearwater area is home to many businesses, the roads are usually filled with people getting to and from work during the same hours. With heavier traffic and straining attitudes, individuals try to cut corners (pun intended) to get to work in an efficient manner. You have a right to recover those losses you have suffered as a result of another driver’s negligence. You should seek to receive compensation for items such as medical bills, lost wages, and for pain and suffering. Having a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive the amount you deserve. At the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida, we will thoroughly investigate your case to identify any possible negligence claims related to your accident. We will ensure that you are able to bring forth any necessary causes of action in order to ensure you receive nothing less than adequate compensation. Call us today and schedule a free consultation with one of our team’s skilled attorneys if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Our number is (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765