Laws Regarding Driving Slow in the Left Lane

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Driving slow in the left lane is not a good idea. It increases the chances of an accident and makes roads less safe.

Today, some states have passed laws restricting left lane driving. Some states require you to stay in the right lane when driving below the speed limit, for example. Other states require you to use the left lane only when passing.

As a driver, knowing left lane speed laws is crucial. If you are caught violating the law and get into an accident, then you could face issues with your insurance claim.

Today, we’re explaining laws regarding driving slow in the left lane.

Laws Regarding Driving Slow in the Left Lane

All States Have Certain Right and Left Lane Laws

All states have passed regulations governing lane usage.

All states have “Keep Right Laws”, for example. These laws require drivers to travel in the furthest right lane if they are moving slower than the normal speed of traffic.

Each state defines “the normal speed of traffic” in different ways. In many cases, it’s up to the discretion of a police officer to determine the normal speed of traffic. Sometimes, the normal speed of traffic could be much higher than the speed limit.

All states also allow drivers to use the left lane to pass – assuming there are at least two lanes on that side of the highway.

Most states restrict the use of the left lane by slow-moving traffic that is not passing. If you are driving slowly in the left lane without passing somebody, for example, then you need to move over.

Some states have made left lane passing the law: in certain states, the left lane is only used for passing or turning left. If you are not passing, then you need to leave the left lane.

Some states also have yield laws, where drivers are required to move into the right-hand lane if they are blocking traffic in the left lane.

Finally, most states follow the Uniform Vehicle Code, which requires drivers to keep right if they are going slower than the normal speed of traffic (regardless of the speed limit).

Some states have limited laws regarding lane usage. Several states do not require vehicles to keep right, for example. Some states always allow vehicles to remain in the left lane – as long as they’re maintaining the speed limit.

Times are changing, however. Some states have passed laws designating the far-left lane as a pass-only lane. In these states, it’s illegal to travel in that lane if you are not passing another vehicle.

Left Lane Driving Laws: State-by-State Breakdown

Certain states prevent vehicles from driving slow in the left lane. If you are caught driving slow in the left lane, then you could get a ticket.

Each state has different laws governing left lane usage when driving. Law firm Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer recently published a state-by-state breakdown of each state’s left lane driving laws.

Here’s a summary of how each state treats slow left-lane drivers:

Alabama: Slower traffic must keep right. Vehicles proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic must be driven in the right lane.

Alaska: Motorists must travel in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles driving slower than the maximum speed limit must be driven in the right-hand lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Arizona: Motorists must travel in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Slower traffic must keep right. Someone driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right-hand lane except when passing.

Arkansas: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists cannot impede traffic in the left lane of a multi-lane road.

California: Slower traffic must keep right. Any driver driving on a highway at less than the normal speed of traffic (regardless of the speed limit) must drive in the right-hand lane except when passing.

Colorado: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic must keep right. It is illegal for someone to drive in the left lane when the speed limit is 65mph or higher unless they are passing another vehicle or if traffic volume does not allow them to safely merge into a non-passing lane.

Connecticut: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Commercial vehicles, buses, trailers, and school buses are not permitted to drive in the far-left lane on designated highways with more than two lanes. Any vehicle driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must use the right-hand lane except when passing or turning left.

Delaware: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Florida: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing. Slower vehicles in the left lane must yield to faster vehicles (i.e. move to the right lane).

Georgia: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be driven in the right lane. Slower vehicles in the left lane must yield to faster vehicles. Commercial trucks may not use the far left lane except to pass or turn left.

Hawaii: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Idaho: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Illinois: Motorists may only use the left lane for passing other vehicles. Vehicles cannot drive in the left lane on an interstate highway or fully access controlled freeway unless passing (does not apply to congested traffic or empty roadways).

Indiana: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Iowa: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving slower than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Kansas: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Kentucky: Slower moving traffic must keep right. You cannot drive in the left lane of highways with speed limits of 65mph unless passing. Drivers moving slowly down a highway must keep the vehicle as closely as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the highway.

Louisiana: Drivers must travel in the right lane except when passing. Slower traffic must keep right. Any vehicle traveling on a multi-lane highway at a speed slower than 10mph of the maximum speed limit must be in the right-hand lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand boundary.

Maine: Motorists driving slowly must keep the vehicle as close as practicable to the right-hand boundary and allow faster moving vehicles to pass. Motorists must keep right except to pass on any road with a speed limit over 65mph.

Maryland: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving 10mph or more below the maximum speed limit must drive in the right lane.

Massachusetts: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing or when preparing for a left turn.

Michigan: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction).

Minnesota: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Mississippi: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Missouri: Motorists must drive in the right lane except when passing. Motorists driving at less than the normal speed of traffic must be in the right lane.

Montana: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). A motor vehicle may not be driven at a speed slow enough to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

Nebraska: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

Nevada: Drivers must drive in the right lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Slow-moving vehicles must travel in the right lane if impeding traffic.

New Hampshire: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only. Vehicles proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

New Jersey: Drivers must drive in the right lane. The left lane can be used for passing or preparing for a left turn. No person shall drive a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with the law.

New Mexico: Drivers must drive in the left lane and use the right lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

New York: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

North Carolina: Drivers must drive in the right lane except when passing. Any vehicles proceeding below the speed limit must be in the right lane.

North Dakota: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only. Drivers must stay in the right lane except when passing. Vehicles proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

Ohio: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the speed limit must drive in the right lane.

Oklahoma: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with four or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the speed limit must drive in the right lane.

Oregon: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only. Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

Pennsylvania: Drivers must drive in the right lane except when passing. The left lane may be used for passing, traveling at speeds greater than traffic flow, and preparing for a left turn.

Rhode Island: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only. Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

South Carolina: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

South Dakota: Slower traffic must keep right. Drivers must drive in the right lane unless it is impracticable to travel in the right lane or when passing. Drivers proceeding slower than normal traffic must be in the right lane.

Tennessee: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

Texas: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane.

Utah: Drivers must drive in the right-hand lane except when passing (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Slower traffic must keep right. Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right-hand lane. Slower vehicles moving in the left lane must move right to let faster traffic past.

Vermont: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right-hand lane.

Virginia: Drivers must drive in the right lane unless passing or if it is impracticable to travel on that side of the highway. Slower traffic must keep right. Drivers moving slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right-hand lane.

Washington: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction).

West Virginia: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Slower traffic must keep right.  It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multi-lane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.

Wisconsin: Drivers must drive in the right lane except when passing or preparing for a lawful left-turn or U-turn. Drivers proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right-hand lane.

Wyoming: Drivers must drive in the right lane and use the left lane for passing only (does not apply to roads with three or more lanes in one direction). Vehicles proceeding slower than the normal speed of traffic must drive in the right lane. No driver shall operate a vehicle in the extreme left-hand lane of a controlled-access highway for a prolonged period in a manner that impedes the flow of other traffic traveling at a lawful rate of speed.

Final Word

Each state has laws regulating the use of the left-hand lane while driving. In most states, you are required to use the right-hand lane at all times except when passing or unsafe to do so.

Most states also require you to use the right-hand lane at all times when driving below the “normal speed of traffic” (regardless of the speed limit). Some states require you to use the right-hand lane any time you are driving below the speed limit.

Familiarize yourself with your state’s slow left-lane driving laws to avoid receiving a fine.

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