Rules of the Road: Can you drive in center of crowned county roads?


Question: Some county roads are quite crowned in the center. Great for draining water off, but it also causes the car to fall off to the right side of the road. Is it legal to center the car on the road to keep the car level and running straight?

Answer: No, you are required to stay to the right of the center line while driving, unless you are legally passing another vehicle.

Q: What do you do if you have car trouble (run out of gas, car stalls, etc.) driving around city streets? What about on the freeway? What should you do with your vehicle: Stay in it and wait for emergency vehicles to pass by, leave the car with hazards flashing and go in search of help, call 911?

A: Great question. Your best course of action in any of these instances is to hopefully be able to pull off the roadway and onto the shoulder of the road before losing all power. Stay in your car, activate your emergency flashers, then try to determine your best course of action. If you are off the roadway, try to call either a tow company or other company for assistance.

If you are blocking a road, call 911 and tell them what the issue is so they can have someone respond to provide traffic control until help can arrive.

If you leave your vehicle in the road to go "in search of help" and law enforcement shows up, it may be on a tow truck by the time you return.


Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.

Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.

For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to

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