Everything You Need to Know About Highway Etiquette When Passing in the Left Lane

Lane courtesy is just one important piece of highway etiquette that governs the everyday driver’s commute. For as long as we’ve had an interstate, it would seem that passing on the left has been an unwritten rule of the road…that is until some states created actual laws to enforce the practice for the safety of drivers, such as the North Carolina Left Lane Law.

Now you might be wondering, “does my state have slower traffic keep right law?” And while only a few states ban left-lane driving in an effort to decrease speed-related collisions, it is crucial to understand the dangers of left-lane driving to protect yourself and others on the road.

highway etiquette

What makes slow-driving on the highway so dangerous?

In many states, the left lane of the interstate is designated as a passing lane while lanes to the right are considered travel lanes. The far right lane typically sees more variable traffic as drivers enter and exit the highway. You may have even seen slower traffic keep right signs to help govern the flow of traffic.

As with any posted highway driving rules, they exist to protect every driver who shares the road. Research has shown that only a few slow cars can obstruct traffic. Driving in the left lane is discouraged because it can lead to traffic congestion and ultimately increase the chance of an accident happening.

Is it illegal to drive in the left lane?

While some states ban left-lane driving and encourage road users to drive right when they are not passing, traditionally, it is not enforced. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be! Police in any state with a left-lane driving law may enforce the rule if they spot slow traffic traveling to the left that endangers other drivers.

Three reasons for lane courtesy

If you’ve made it this far, you understand how important it is to drive right when you’re not passing. But if you still need more convincing, here are three more reasons why you should practice lane etiquette whenever you head out on the road.

  • 1. You’ll save money – Maintaining your speed by sticking right is actually one of many ways you can save gas. And when gas is expensive every bit you save counts.
  • 2. It helps with driving anxiety – Not only does know what to expect help with driving anxiety, but you may also find that by staying right instead of weaving through traffic to get to your destination, you actually feel less stressed.
  • 3. It’s safer – Protect yourself and your passengers. Keeping the left lane free for passing makes it easier to get around slow vehicles and, ultimately, get to your destination quicker under safer circumstances.

The bottom line.

We encourage you to brush up on your local state’s highway safety laws and to practice good driving etiquette, like passing left and staying right when appropriate. After all, when we use lane courtesy, it’s safer for everyone who shares the road.