the area between a highway lane and exit, marked by stripes

(Circled in red)

Is there an official name for the portion of road between the road and an exit? What is it called?

  • 1
    I wonder where that photo was taken. They drive on the left; the roundabout sign looks very British; but the warning signs are American diamonds and the speed limit is in km/h. South Africa, perhaps?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:59
  • 6
    @AndrewLeach It's from New South Wales, Australia
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 1, 2015 at 21:22
  • 2
    @AndrewLeach There actually are some left-side highway exits in America, but you're right that the other things don't fit at all. Jun 1, 2015 at 23:05
  • 1
    The direction of traffic of the roundabout in the signs is a dead giveaway of a left-side driving country too. Jun 2, 2015 at 3:59

8 Answers 8


Gore (road):

  • A gore, gore point, or gore zone is a triangular piece of land found where roads or rivers merge or split. When two roads merge, the area is sometimes referred to as a merge nose.

  • Gores on freeways in the United States and Canada are frequently marked with stripes or chevrons at both entrance and exit ramps.

    • the term is more commonly used among "insiders," such as road construction crews, police, traffic engineers, and so on. (Wikipedia)


  • a triangular tract of land, especially one lying between larger divisions. (Random House Dictionary).

enter image description here

  • 1
    Wow! I have never heard of this. Originally I had been used to calling it a divider but a divider made more sense as something in the middle of a highway, as opposed to something off an exit. Very cool word, thanks!
    – yuritsuki
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:08
  • 1
    OED only records (approximately) this sense as A triangular piece of land, or An angular point, a promontory. I don't think even the road maintenance people would recognise this usage in the UK. Jun 1, 2015 at 19:27
  • Gore: a triangular tract of land, especially one lying between larger divisions. (Random House Dictionary) dictionary.reference.com/browse/gore
    – user66974
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:42
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers And I notice that the OED has an example from the 9th century (c893). That was during the reign of Alfred the Great. I never before realised that the Saxons had motorways.
    – WS2
    Jun 1, 2015 at 19:48
  • 1
    I've never heard the term as a Western AmE speaker who (like most Western AmE speakers) spends a lot of time in a car on highways. I would have guessed that it was a subtype of berm. I'm so glad you asked this question! Jun 2, 2015 at 14:50

On the East Coast (US) it is often colloquially referred to as "the zebra stripes":

There is a disabled car on the zebra stripes by Exit 5.

  • 1
    But as you can tell from Josh61's picture above that in California there aren't any Zebra stripes. So that could be misleading if there aren't any zebra stripes in that particular area.
    – yuritsuki
    Jun 1, 2015 at 23:35
  • 7
    I've primarily heard the phrase "zebra stripes" used to refer to pedestrian crosswalks. This is the first I've heard of it used to reference the "gore" area. Jun 2, 2015 at 3:33
  • @blanco cayo - I guess if there aren't any stripes, nobody would use the term in that area. I don't know how many ordinary folks would understand "gore". I suppose most people would go with "shoulder" - even though it's not technically correct.
    – Oldbag
    Jun 2, 2015 at 10:11
  • @RoddyotFP- I've only heard "crosswalk" to describe the crosswalk.
    – Oldbag
    Jun 2, 2015 at 10:18

From an engineering point of view, definitely, that is not a gore (because a gore has a physical front and is an object) but in AASHTO it is referred as "neutral area".

Neutral and gore locations

Image on page 874 from, A policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets by AASHTO, 2001.

Image FOR Illustration fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/07045/inp.cfm

MANUAL: AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets, Page 10-96


On page 32 of this PDF prepared for the California Department of Transportation the term used is "Hatch Striping".

Hatch Striping

  • I believe the usage of "hatch" in this picture comes from the definition: hatch: a shading line in drawing or engraving. (see definition 3-3: dictionary.reference.com/browse/hatch) Jun 2, 2015 at 19:57
  • 2
    I mean, that the term "hatch striping" seems to just describe what is drawn on that particular segment of road, and is not the name for the segment itself. Much like the rotary center is labelled "Mounded Central Island", however "Mounded Central Island" is not the catch-all term for a rotary center. Jun 2, 2015 at 20:02
  • @HarrisonPaine: It seems that "Central Island" is the catch-all term for the rotary center, see for instance page 27. In the specific case on page 32, in which the fact that the central island is mounded is significant, it is labeled as "Mounded Central Island".
    – dotancohen
    Jun 2, 2015 at 20:34

In the UK we call them hatched area or chevron marked area: see pages 62-66 of this official guide

  • 2
    Nope, you've mistaken the name for the thing with a description of one of its non-unique identifying characteristics. (Is there a name for this kind of error in metaphysics or rhetoric?) The pamphlet you link to makes clear that the portion of the road in question is typically hatched or chevron-marked, but that's not its essential characteristic. It's as if I said that your name was "Short-haired brunet wearing a plaid shirt in his avatar." Jun 2, 2015 at 14:48

It is a triangle patch of land you do not drive in. While this may not be technical, I've never heard a driving instructor, peace officer, or court refer to this patch as a gore (road). It's pretty short for a road, which is probably why we don't drive in it.

In addition, does this usage apply anywhere else besides the place the Wikipedia author lives, ie, I mean, seriously, like in (other) English-speaking countries?

If it is a technical term, as used within an industry, discipline, profession, or field of study, I as a layman reserve the right to use non-technical terms.

  • I couldn't believe it myself, although I would say that it is an area to indicate a slip road is imminent, or that it's strictly forbidden to park. I Googled it and sure enough.... gore exists, but perhaps only in the States. books.google.it/… and books.google.it/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 2, 2015 at 10:44
  • 1
    @Mari-Lou A Thanks for the results. It seems a technical term that not even driving instructors use. There a lot of things in English that have technical terms that the average layperson does not have to know or use, and is fully expected to have a non-technical term, or terms, for.
    – pazzo
    Jun 2, 2015 at 17:44

gore |gôr|

  • noun a triangular or tapering piece of material used in making a garment, sail, or umbrella.

  • ORIGIN Old English gāra ‘triangular piece of land,’ of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geer and German Gehre, also probably to Old English gār ‘spear’ (a spearhead being triangular).

(Oxford Dictionaries)


AN Island. No body's Ireland . NONE IS SUPPOSED to enter but for rescue purpose only. Pedestrian lost can stand for a while, while traffic are passing on both sides of the road. If you drive IN IT, it is a nomads land. Do not dare myfriend, you gonna be fined.

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