Driving on Divided Highways Jury Instruction in Accident Cases

Transportation Article Section 21-311 Driving on Divided Highways: You are instructed that it is the law of this State that at all times, consistent with the requirements of this section, on any divided highway:

(1) A vehicle may be driven only on the right-hand roadway, unless directed by a traffic control device or a police officer.

(2) A vehicle may not be driven over, across, or within the dividing space, barrier, or section except, unless specifically prohibited by public authority, through an opening in the space, barrier, or section or at a crossover or intersection; and

(3) A vehicle may not be driven on the median strip, unless permitted to do so by public authority.

Miller & Zois Analysis

This is a relatively standard jury instruction. Many other states (Idaho, Rhode Island and Texas for example) have a virtually identical instruction. It is not particularly complicated. It sets forth that a vehicle should be driven on the right side of the road (distinguishing Baltimore from London for the naïve driver!) and notes that a vehicle cannot drive on the median strip (which often assists in establishing negligence in auto accidents that occur on median strips to show the at-fault driver was not permitted to be where he was). In personal injury cases in Maryland, lawyers typically do not need this jury instruction to establish negligence in auto accident cases.

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