Mike, a white man in his 50s, was in a bad spot: He was stuck idling in traffic on New York City’s Riverside Drive, running late for a meeting, and he needed to get to the Upper East Side pronto. Hopping on the shoulder to bypass the other cars wasn’t the right thing to do, he told VICE, but he’d seen other people get away with it before.

Mike, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, said he knew it was risky—especially because the borrowed car he was driving didn’t have a license plate, let alone a registration under his name. He decided to roll the dice anyway. Right away, bad news: a traffic checkpoint, and cops pulling people over.

“That was probably the tightest spot I could’ve been in,” Mike said. “Because [the offense] could’ve been ‘driving without a plate,’ ‘driving with no registration…’” By driving on the shoulder, too, Mike was driving illegally in at least three different ways.