Know the Road with the CHP: Can I legally pull to the shoulder on the freeway?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: can I ever legally pull over on the freeway? If I'm having an emergency, where can I pull over?

"It is illegal to stop on a freeway if it is a non-emergency," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "If you travel down the freeway and find yourself in a situation where you need to pull over, it's always best to exit the freeway in a safe location. It can be a very dangerous place due to the speeds of the vehicles that are passing by."

"If you find yourself in an absolute emergency and you have to pull over, make sure you do so safely. You clear over your shoulder, activate your turn signal and pull over safely to the right shoulder. We highly recommend that you never stop in the center divide unless you absolutely have to," Pennings explained.

"You always want to pull to the right shoulder if you have to make an emergency stop on the freeway. If the situation allows you, we recommend that you make it off the freeway if at all possible."

For other answers from the CHP, go to

If you have a question about the rules of the road, fill out the form below for a chance to be featured on Know the Road with the CHP.

(mobile users tap here for form)
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.