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The Marceaux Law Firm

Is it illegal to block an intersection?


Sometimes you absolutely hate living on Holly Hill. Why? Because of the intersection at Dumbarton. It seems like every single time you’re at that intersection, you wind up having to sit through three rotations of lights before you can cross. But not today. Today you’re going to get through it no matter what.

There are only three cars in front of you as you approach Dumbarton, which should give you a good chance to get through. You try to gauge the traffic on Holly Hill past the intersection, and although it’s a little backed up, three cars should be able to fit. The light turns green and as you’re gearing up to go through, the car directly in front of you decides to just sit there. As the light turns yellow, you honk your horn to get the car to move. Although the light turns red by the time he’s through—you follow close behind him. Unfortunately, the traffic was a little more backed up then you realized, and your car’s back end is now blocking the intersection.

Suddenly you see flashing red and blue lights in your mirror. A police car is signaling you to pull over—Darn it! Are you going to be ticketed for running the red light, or is blocking the intersection a ticketable offense?

Legal Ramifications of Blocking an Intersection

Every state, city, and county can have varying rules and laws regarding blocking an intersection and impeding traffic. Some are more lenient than others, and depending on the circumstances and how long you were blocking the road, you may be let off with a warning, or not pulled over at all. However, although leniency depends on the state, blocking an intersection and intentionally impeding traffic—for any reason—is illegal, and can have severe legal ramifications.

There are three specific instances, where blocking an intersection will not only land you a ticket and possibly put other’s lives at risk, but could also be grounds for imprisonment.

  • Blocking emergency vehicles. If you’re blocking prevents an ambulance, police car or other emergency vehicle from getting through, you could not only be ticketed for blocking the intersection, but you could also be prosecuted for reckless endangerment.
  • Causing a collision. When your decision to block an intersection directly causes an accident that severely injures or kills another person, you’ll not only be ticketed, but also prosecuted for endangerment, reckless driving, and possibly vehicular manslaughter.
  • Running a light or disregarding traffic signs. Sometimes, police may overlook you blocking an intersection, as long as it isn’t for a long time. However, if you are witnessed breaking another law which leads to the blocked intersection, you’ll not only be more likely to receive the intersection ticket, but you may also be cited for running the red light or disregarding the posted signs.


Since the risks are extremely high, it is always better to avoid taking chances at intersections. It’s simple, if you don’t think you have enough time or space to get through without potentially blocking traffic—don’t even attempt to do so. Not only will you prevent frustration and possible retaliatory actions from through traffic, but you could also prevent a ticket, an accident, or imprisonment. Stay safe, use good judgment, and try to think about the risks of your actions before it’s too late.

Knowing this information could save your family and friends a lot of grief, time, and suffering. Make sure they’re aware that their actions have consequences by sharing this page with them via email, Facebook, or Google Plus. You never know whose life you may save by simply sharing information. Click the media icons above to instantly share, and help keep our roads safe and clear.

Need more information about intersection accidents or injury claims? Contact us today for a free consultation and review of your case. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions, provide you with your legal options, and give you the peace of mind you deserve. Call now.