How to Choose: Right or Left Lane?
On roads with multiple lanes, drivers often see signs that say “Slower Traffic Keep Right” or “Keep Right Except to Pass.” While this seems self-explanatory at first glance, there is a strong debate about what these signs truly mean. Are they polite guidelines, meant to remind us how to drive courteously? Are they legal mandates for which we can receive tickets and fines? What is “slower traffic”? Some of the confusion stems from the fact that laws on passing lanes differ from state to state. Another problem is the lack of public awareness regarding the specifics of traffic related laws. It is important to know how and when to use the left lanes safely and legally on all the different types of roads.
It is a common misconception that “slower traffic” refers to those who are driving under the speed limit or those who are planning to exit soon. Those who are in the right lane are not necessarily driving slow but actually are not passing another vehicle. The left lane is saved for those currently passing. It is a very simple, yet effective rule that helps drivers stay safe and minimizes traffic congestion.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=”” seperator_1=”” ts_row_bg_effects=”” ts_row_bg_image=”” ts_row_bg_source=”full” ts_row_break_parents=”4″ ts_row_zindex=”0″ ts_row_min_height=”100″ ts_row_bg_position=”center” ts_row_bg_position_custom=”” ts_row_bg_size_standard=”cover” ts_row_bg_size_parallax=”cover” ts_row_bg_repeat=”no-repeat” seperator_2=”” ts_row_parallax_type=”up” ts_row_bg_alignment_v=”center” ts_row_bg_alignment_h=”center” ts_row_parallax_speed=”20″ seperator_3=”” ts_row_automove_speed=”75″ ts_row_automove_scroll=”true” ts_row_automove_align=”horizontal” ts_row_automove_path_h=”leftright” ts_row_automove_path_v=”topbottom” seperator_4=”” padding_top=”30″ padding_bottom=”30″ margin_left=”0″ margin_right=”0″ single_color=”#ffffff” seperator_5=”” gradient_angle=”0″ gradient_color_start=”#cccccc” gradient_start_offset=”0″ gradient_color_end=”#cccccc” gradient_end_offset=”100″ seperator_6=”” video_youtube=”” video_background=”” video_mute=”true” video_loop=”false” video_start=”false” video_stop=”true” video_controls=”true” video_raster=”false” animation_view=”” css3animations_in=”” animation_scroll=”false” animation_speed=”2000″ el_file1=”” el_file2=””][vc_column width=”1/1″ seperator_1=”Viewport Animation” animation_view=”” css3animations_in=”” animation_scroll=”false” animation_speed=”2000″ el_file1=”” el_file2=””][vc_column_text]
What If There Are More Than Two Lanes?
This is a common question that new drivers ask, but the answer is fairly simple. When entering a large expressway with multiple lanes going the same direction, start out in the lane farthest to the right. Only move to the next left lane if traffic in your lane is going slow enough to cause you to pass. Stay in that lane until you need to pass again.
Let’s Get Specific
Although these general guidelines can be helpful and courteous to other drivers, each state approaches the topic of passing lanes slightly differently. It is important to know the law of the state one is currently driving in. Let’s look at several Midwestern states specifically:
In Illinois, it is only permissible to be in the left lane if a driver is passing or turning left. This means that drivers can get tickets for cruising in the left lane for no reason.
Michigan’s law is more loose. It states that drivers should keep right but provides exceptions for times of heavy traffic or roads with three or more lanes.
Ohio allows drivers to have their vehicles in the left lane as long as they are driving the speed limit.
In Indiana, the left lane of an expressway is designated for passing.
Why Is This Important?
One reason that new drivers need to learn when to use the left lane is to avoid getting a ticket. Everyone wants to avoid the hassle and financial stress of getting pulled over for breaking traffic laws. Another reason is that if all drivers use the passing lanes the way they were intended, it is possible for traffic to run smoothly, helping people get to their destinations more quickly. Even more significant is the increase in road safety when drivers use the passing lanes correctly and consistently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]