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Keep Right Driving Laws

“Keep Right” Driving Laws

Many states have some form of law that regulates driving in the left lane. In some states, it is illegal to drive in the left lane consistently, and the left lane can only be used to pass other vehicles. Other states have rules and regulations for left lane driving to prevent the flow of traffic from being obstructed. This article gives an overview of how the rules vary amongst states. If you get a ticket for left-lane driving, can help!

Statistics Show “Left Lane” Driving is a Common Cause of Accidents

Many people assume speeding is the most common cause of accidents. However, studies show that consistently driving in the left lane or driving slowly in the left lane is a common cause of traffic accidents. Regardless of whether the driver in the left lane is following the posted speed limit, driving slower than the speed of traffic in the left lane causes bumper-to-bumper traffic. This often causes accidents when higher-speed drivers attempt to drive around the slower driver.

Left lane driving laws are intended to prevent such traffic accidents. Many people believe that if they drive the posted speed limit, then they are following the law. In many instances, you may still be violating the law if you are driving consistently in the left lane or not yielding to faster vehicles. The laws differ in each state, but many states have some form of left lane driving laws to prevent traffic accidents.

How the Laws Differ Among the States

The laws regarding driving in the left lane differ in each state. You can find a full list of each state’s left lane laws and the pertinent statutes here.

Left Lane as “Passing Lane” or “Left Turn” Only

Some states only allow the use of the left lane to pass a slower vehicle or to turn left. Once the driver has passed, the driver must return to the right lane. The left lane is designated as a passing only lane or for left turns. The states that implement this kind of law are Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. In these states, driving consistently in the left lane can get you a traffic ticket, even if you are driving the speed limit.

Left Lane as “Fast Lane”

Most states follow the Uniform Vehicle Code, which states that any vehicle driving slower than the “normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing” must drive in the right-hand lane. This is the common use of the term fast lane. This means that if you are driving slower than the speed of other vehicles, even if you are driving at the posted speed limit, you must remain in the right lane. The normal speed of traffic differs depending on the circumstances but is usually determined by the general speed of the other vehicles on the road. If you are traveling the speed limit at 70 mph, but the rest of the vehicles on the road are traveling at 75 mph, you must yield to the faster drivers and drive in the right lane. States that follow the Uniform Vehicle Code are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In these states, you may receive a traffic ticket for obstructing faster traffic by driving at a slower rate in the left lane.

Left Lane as “Yield Lane” or “Other”

A few states state that drivers must move to the right lane if they are blocking the flow of traffic in the left lane. These laws are not dependent on speed or the normal flow of traffic, only whether there is a traffic blockage caused by a left-lane driver. States with left lane “yield” laws are Florida, Georgia, Utah, and Virginia.

Some states have laws that are a mix of different kinds of traffic regulations. For example, Michigan requires that drivers use the right lane only to pass unless there is heavy traffic or the driver is driving on a highway with three or more lanes. Other states with laws that do not fit within one category are Arkansas, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The specific left lane rules for each of these states can be found here.

States with No Right Lane Restrictions

The remaining states contain rules that either permit left lane driving without any restrictions, or allow drivers to drive in the left lane under any condition so long as the driver is driving the posted speed limit.

Currently, South Dakota is the only state that does not require drivers to remain in the right lane. States and territories that allow drivers to drive in the right lane at the speed limit are Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Puerto Rico. In these states, drivers will not be ticketed for driving in the left lane if they are driving at the speed limit.

Violating a Keep Right Law Could Lead to a Ticket or Worse

You may think that driving the speed limit will keep you in the clear while driving on the highway. However, failing to keep right in heavy traffic or using the left lane as a driving lane may lead to a ticket. If an accident occurs, you may even face liability for causing an accident. Keep right laws should be taken as seriously as any other traffic law, for both the safety of you and other drivers.

If You Have Received a Ticket for Left Lane Driving, TicketVoid Can Help!

If you have been ticketed for violating a keep right law, visit TicketVoid can advise you about what to do and help you with your ticket. TicketVoid will match you with a traffic ticket attorney for a free consultation so that you can fight your ticket. Do not deal with your traffic ticket on your own. Fill out the quick form on today to be matched with a traffic ticket attorney.


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