Few things cause as much frustration on the highway as the fast lane and the ways in which people use it. Chances are you’ve been annoyed at one time or another by someone either wanting to pass you on the road or not wanting to let you pass. But who’s in the right? You may not know that most states actually have laws governing the use of the highway’s left lane. And they give a pretty clear answer to that question—the person wanting to pass is almost always in the right.

What if you’re driving the speed limit in the left lane? Should you still get over if someone wants to pass you? The short answer is: yes, you should. These laws are designed with safety in mind, and having a lane set aside for faster drivers minimizes the risk of an accident. But there are still some things to keep in mind before blindly changing lanes any time a car appears in your rearview mirror.

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What is the Law in Idaho?

Many states have begun strictly enforcing laws dealing with use of the left lane, going so far as to issue fines up to $1,000 and charge repeat offenders with a misdemeanor. Idaho doesn’t do this quite yet, but they do have laws that put the burden on you to use proper fast-lane etiquette:

Proper Fast-Lane Etiquette

 

  • Use the left lane for passing only. Hanging out in the left lane causes a lot of the problems these laws are trying to fix.
  • Move to the right if someone is trying to pass you. This is true in almost every case, even if you are traveling at or above the speed limit. The law states that “any vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed of traffic” should remain in the right lanes.

 

Failure to follow these guidelines could result in a ticket. Idaho law sets a standard $90 fine for “other moving traffic infractions,” which this ticket would likely fall under. If you hate getting tickets for driving too fast, just imagine your frustration at being hit with one for going too slow.

Staying Safe in the Fast Lane

In spite of these laws, people will inevitably misuse the left lane. You can help minimize the chance of an accident by applying the following advice:

Don't tailgate

This is tempting, and may seem justified considering what we just discussed. But it’s dangerous and only makes the problem worse. By following too closely, you increase the risk of an accident by reducing possible reaction times and putting stress on the other driver, among other things.

Be careful passing on the right

Only pass on the right if it is safe and legal to do so. If the lane to your right is sufficiently free of traffic and you’re not driving in a restricted lane (like an HOV lane), you’re good to go. If you are in a restricted lane or traffic is heavy, wait until it is safer to pass.

Driving only becomes more dangerous as speeds increase, so it makes sense that there would be laws concerning the use of the highway’s fastest lane. Since the proper use of the left lane varies depending on the current state of traffic, it can be hard to keep track of when you are doing the right thing. But by keeping these guidelines in mind, you can avoid a ticket and help keep the highway safe.

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a highway accident, we’re here to help. Contact us today and tell us about your case, and we will do all we can to get what you need.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay and Michael Gaida