By on June 9, 2015

Passing_vehicle_I-15_rural_Utah_July_2011

For those who despise being stuck behind left lane hogs, days could be short thanks to a handful of states cracking down on slow drivers.

Indiana is the latest to establish fines on motorists who choose to remain in the left lane rather than moving back onto the right to let faster motorists pass by, The Detroit Bureau reports. The fine would be up to $500/ticket for a driver caught driving in the left lane 10 mph under the speed limit.

Georgia, New Jersey, Florida and Michigan are among those with similar policies, with Florida docking three points on a motorist’s license in addition to a monetary fine, and Michigan fining drivers who remain in the left lane after passing; said law is rarely enforced, especially in metropolitan area due to high traffic levels. Overall, a total of 40 states have left lane legislation on the books, with states like Oregon and Ohio planning to join soon.

Critics of such legislation believe penalization of slower left lane drivers would only serve to encourage speeding, while advocates and experts counter by stating encouraging said drivers to remain or return to the right lane leads to greater passing and overall traffic safety. Leaving slow drivers in the left can create situations leading to greater chances of injury and death by forcing faster motorists to pass on the right.

[Photo credit: Garrett/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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142 Comments on “Indiana Latest To Penalize Slow Left Lane Motorists...”


  • avatar
    Lythandra

    I have never seen anyone drive 10 mph under the speed limit while in the left lane on a highway or interstate. I’m sure it has happened at some point but I think its pretty rare.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Yeah 10 is too generous. Should definitely be 5 under.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I’ve seen big rigs drive 10 under in the left lane… because their time to go 1mph faster is surely more precious than the ten cars they’re holding up from going 15mph faster. Oh, let’s put those worms back in the can.

        But seriously, 10 is too generous, at least for cars and trucks. $500 fine (max) for 10 under in the left lane? I would LOVE to see someone get hit with that.

        • 0 avatar
          HD1974

          Truck drivers that hog the left lane have their own little lake of fire in my private hell.

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            California solves that problem by limiting multi-axle trucks and vehicles pulling trailers to 55mph–keeps them out of the fast lanes; good public policy…doesn’t totally fix the LLB problem though. Those people generally consist of the clueless/elderly/inexperienced or worst of all– self righteous a-holes.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @dartman the slower truck speed limit is what causes the Left lane bandits and trucks in the left lane in CA. You have the truck that can’t make the grade with his load at the truck speed limit and the truck behind him that can so he pulls out to pass the other truck and the problem is that he is often only going 2 or 3mph faster than the truck he is trying to pass.

            It also means that if you get out of the left lane after you pass one truck you won’t get back into it to pass the next truck until you’ve let many people by. The only option is to stick in the left lane.

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            I never see big rigs in the left lanes in the urban freeways of NorCal (2 axle trucks are excepted-they are not limited to 55) On the 4 lane (2 ea. side) interstates like I5 you will see occasional passes of big rigs–but they better hope a CHP isn’t around if they are attempting to pass a rig running the legal limit. These days truckers cannot afford the points and dings on their license–by the way CDL drivers are not eligible for safety courses to eliminate violations.

            In CA all two lane undivided highways are deemed to be a maximum limit of 55 for everyone–even if they have occasional passing lanes. I got a warning for exceeding 55 in a passing lane coming back from Yosemite while passing a motorhome pulling a car. That’s how I learned this tidbit. Nice CHP officer who let me off with a warning and explanation.

            On the big grades like the Grapevine, Altamont etc there are multi lanes and the big rigs stay to the right–always. One downside is the right lanes take a hell of a beating because of the constant truck traffic. if you want to ride smooth in Cali-use the left lanes; but keep a close eye on your mirrors, signal, and move over when someone is closing in on you at a higher rate.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Every single time I travel to CA I see it in the unpopulated areas of I5 where there are only two lanes.

          • 0 avatar
            dartman

            So have I. It seems to be the worst between 8pm and Midnight, when I have seen what appears to be one line of trucks from the Grapevine to the Altamont. There are no grades on this 240 mile stretch of farmland. The whole passing thing by the truckers I think is just a way of staying alert–they certainly don’t gain any ground, and it does create jams and dangerous conditions as faster passenger vehicles vehicles come up on the passing truck. They always will pull back to the right as soon as possible or risk a big ticket.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Should be more than 5 seconds spent in the left lane with someone behind you; unless you are actively in the process of passing someone in the lane to your immediate right, and you are making the pass at a speed differential of, at the very minimum. 6mph.

        And, fines are always and everywhere nothing but blatant robbery. License revocation, or jailtime, are much more appropriate responses to any so called “violation.”

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Seriously? Here in CO speed limit is 75. Routinely you will some gomer with east coast tags and cruise control set to 65 with zero intentions of moving to the right lane. Utterly infuriating.

        • 0 avatar
          Reino

          Hell on the sections of 25 and 70 where the limit is 55 mph, the left lane typically moved at 70 mph. They’d have to ticket people going ten mph OVER as ‘slow drivers’.

    • 0 avatar
      HD1974

      So… you must not be from Florida…

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      I guess you have never driven in Florida.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      “I have never seen anyone drive 10 mph under the speed limit while in the left lane on a highway or interstate. I’m sure it has happened at some point but I think its pretty rare.”

      You sir have never been to Washington state. Happens all the time. Even 20 under isn’t too rare.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      Either you don’t drive very much, or you need to come to my state sometime.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      I see it frequently in Chicago

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I guess all the toyota dealerships in Indiana will be closing down.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    This is so rare, and will be so seldom enforced, that it will only work on a few people to serve as a mental note. And let’s face it, the people going 10 under in the left lane are probably A) terrible at all driving and B) elderly. It’s sort of like how there’s a regulation now that says you can’t go 10mph over the speed limit. Only matters if there’s a cop to catch you.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I took the article to say that the fine would be up to $500, for a driver going under the limit by 10mph or more. I assume you’ll get a smaller fine for a smaller speed variance.

      And while driving 60mph in the left lane is rare during normal to light traffic, I would say I encounter people traveling less than 70mph in the left lane at least several times a week.

      The biggest problem is once traffic volume starts to pick up. During medium traffic, someone who does not wish to travel faster than average traffic and sits in the left lane immediately road blocks traffic and forces traffic volume up behind them. This is what I imagine is the biggest target for the law. I will say that in heavy traffic volume, all lanes are needed to try to spread traffic as much as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Rare? When I make one of my 3,000 mile (one way) trips out west, I see it all the time. Whats worse is when someone decides to pace a semi doing 55 in a 70 by doing 55.1mph next to him.

      While supposedly not doing anything wrong, people doing things like that, as well as remaining in the left lane after passing, provoke drivers into swerving over to the right lane to fly around them and cut them off to “show ’em”.

      I dont take it that far, but its hard not to get irritated when someone blocks traffic by remaining in the “passing” lane because theyre too involved with whoever theyre talking to (on the phone or in the car) or day dreaming off in their own little world to realize that they passed that U-Haul 15 miles ago and the 33 cars behind them have no idea if they should wait, flash lights, pass on the right or pull over and give up.

      I take driving very seriously. I wish others would do the same. I dont care if Im the only car within 50 miles in any direction, Ill still use my turn signal, remain in the right lane unless Im passing, pay attention to my surroundings, maintain a steady (safe, not necessarily slow) speed and keep in-car distractions to a minimum.

      • 0 avatar
        SlowMyke

        I like your driving style. It’s like insult to injury when someone finally moves out of the left lane and doesn’t signal to do so.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenn

          “Insult to injury,” for me, is when the left lane “speed limit enforcer” finally chooses to move to the right… and speeds up (as if to show me that I was being unreasonable to want to pass him).

          • 0 avatar
            Liger

            Exactly. why do they speed up after they’ve passed?

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Why do they speed up after they’ve passed?”

            @Liger, my best theory on that is their hands have to move (to move the steering wheel for the lane change) and some part of their pea-brain makes their feet either reflexively or subconsciously move whenever their hands move. I doubt it’s a conscious function- their underdeveloped frontal lobes were already task-saturated by the act of keeping the car in a straight line at less than the natural speed of normal traffic.

            Or to put it simply: because they’re stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        JohnTaurus, do what I do- when you get around them then get in front and give them a loooonnnnng spray of the windshield washers

        – It’s a little bit satisfying (better than nothing)
        – It keeps your window clean
        – Urinating on them is illegal but you can pretend with the washer thing

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        If I’m on a rural stretch of interstate, and no other cars are around, I’m staying in the left lane. More time to react to deer running from the tree line.

        • 0 avatar
          ttacgreg

          However you are on a lane with little or no shoulder between you and the dirt. The right lane has the shoulder and the left lane and is the safe one as a result.

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        “I dont care if Im the only car within 50 miles in any direction, Ill still use my turn signal, remain in the right lane unless Im passing, pay attention to my surroundings, maintain a steady (safe, not necessarily slow) speed and keep in-car distractions to a minimum.”

        I love you, my brother. You should write an article. Or better yet, a book.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        LLBs have some sort of deep-seated need to control, so they decide to be judge, jury and executioner! As I always say, leave speed enforcement to folks with guns and badges!

        Northwest Ohio on I-75 is the worst; Toledo’s “rush hour” would be easier to handle if the do-gooders would get into the center lane where they belong.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “legislation believe penalization of slower left lane drivers would only serve to encourage speeding”

    Let’s hope so. Allowing the flow of traffic to set the speed is generally what should happen on a divided limited-access highway.

  • avatar
    Rasputin

    A better law on the books now that needs stricter enforcement is “Keep Right Except to Pass.” No judging of speed necessary. If you can move right, from any lane, and do not, you deserve a ticket.

    In addition to increasing safety, enforcing this will drastically reduce road rage. Win, win.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      I once got a ticket for “excessive lane changes” because I was passing but pulling back in after every pass.

      In a state that has a keep right except to pass law.

  • avatar
    jsmd

    It doesn’t matter if the left lane hog is going below or above the speed limit. If he is impeding the flow of traffic at any speed so that is he is slower than the prevailing speed of traffic in the left lane, then he should pull over to the right lane and failing that be subject to a penalty. This will prevent right lane passing the ridiculous convoy that forms behind such left lane hogs. This will do more to promote safety on our highways than the idiotic speed enforcement in the middle of nowhere USA.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      This post is the answer. Impeding traffic, even if you’re doing the speed limit, is the problem. I have this dark fantasy that traffic schools instructs new drivers, as follows: “The least amount of traffic lane changes are in the number 1 lane. So, move into it as quickly as you can, set the cruise at 65 and you can ignore everything around you.”

    • 0 avatar
      HD1974

      That’s a dangerous amount of common sense you’re displaying there jsmd, dial it back a notch.

    • 0 avatar
      pheanix

      The problem with this is the state of modern highways in the US. In certain states the right “truck” lane is so horrible it’s like a lunar surface. I’m talking gaping holes. So drivers switch to the left lane at least to avoid particularly bad sections (and blown tires), but here’s the thing: a driver might switch to the left lane but not be willing to exceed the speed limit by more than say, 5 miles (so 75 on a 70 highway), and wouldn’t you know it, soon enough he or she is tailgated by some jerk wanting to go 85. See that a lot.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Virginia will probably make it a criminal offense. Clogging the left lane? Prepare for some jail time.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Washington state has a law already on the books, also rarely enforced.

    RCW 46.61.100

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      The WA law is awesome, it’s too bad they never enforce it. It’s really well written, with no reference to absolute speeds. If you’re going 100 in the left lane and there’s two cars behind you trying to pass, you’re still breaking the law.

      “(4) It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      An ex-girlfriend of mine got a ticket under that code section. She was a relatively inexperienced driver on a highway at night, doing 55 in a 65 zone. I don’t know why she wasn’t in the right lane.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I was the victim of a rolling roadblock this morning. Where is armageddon when you need it?

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Lol! I laughed. Here we call it “cock blocking.” The term serves as a double entendre; the act, when deliberate, is absolutely infuriating.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGrieves

      When there are 2 semis traveling the same speed in the left and right lanes (creating a rolling roadblock), my wife uses the phrase “truck f—“. I was once behind a “truck f—” for about 40 miles going down the Indiana Toll Road. When the truck in the left hand lane finally got over to the right, he flew the bird to each car that went past him.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        @MrGrieves, “truck f___,” that has a lot more edge to it than “turtle race.” I would have got in front of them in the right lane and slowed them both waaaaaay down. A-holes hate it when you turn the tables on them.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Have done that a few times. Now, that tendency is tempered by the reality that the idiot may a) use their vehicle (truck) as a battering ram, or b) find some other weapon.

          A buddy of mine was a volunteer firefighter who worked a horrific, multi-fatality accident resulting from speed, and reacted by vowing to never exceed underposted numbers again; a couple times, I nearly ** tried to put my foot around the console to smash his foot down ** to get him to move — yep, 55mph entering the freeway when the oncoming traffic was going 70mph, it didn’t matter!

          Until the day someone at the head of a line behind him as he negotiated a left-land offramp came around to his right and cut him off severely enough that his only option was to drive into the grassy ditch. No damage to him or the car, but I did tell him it served him right! He’s now more reasonable, driving with traffic within reason.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    A picture with an older Buick Century in the left lane would have been perfect…I think ALL States need this law…Left lane hangers definitely create more hazardous scenarios that whatever additional speed might be gained if the left lane was ‘clear’…

  • avatar

    I’d also like for police (because they always seem to be around me) to penalize trucks who think it’s okay to tailgate me when I’m passing at a decent clip (10 MPH or so faster than the traffic in the right lane), because I’m not “passing fast enough”. I deal with that a lot more often than I deal with people who are in the left lane that outright shouldn’t be…

    • 0 avatar
      palincss

      There’s never a justification for a truck to tailgate you. I’d love to see us adopt the German approach to tickets for tailgating on the autobahn: the fine is based on your net worth. A year or two ago I saw a story about a tailgater who was fined the equivalent of $25,000.

    • 0 avatar
      skeeter44

      WHEN your driving a truck it is very important to maintain your speed. If you brake, getting back up to speed takes time and may require you to pull right again without passing.

      Perhaps you could just press the accelerator – just a little – to get out of their way – your cruise control will still stay at your set speed of 65.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        Which is more important when you’re driving a truck: safety or speed? Most of us are *not* being paid to drive, thus relegating our driving status to amateur rather than professional. Professional drivers may have incentives to prioritize speed, but your visibility and livelihood are subject to amateur discretion in some cases, and professional (LEO) discretion in others.

        It would be nice if the majority of drivers were aware and shared a sense of teamwork on-the-road but you and I both know this is a fantasy. Prioritize speed over safety accordingly…

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        This business of “trucks take a long time to get back up to speed” is malarkey. Let’s be honest- that truck puttering up one hill going 70-65-60 gets right back up to speed going down the other side. When one of them cuts off faster moving traffic because he’s going 66 and wants to pass another truck going 65- that’s crap! Admittedly, half the time he’s let in by a car that is already holding up the left lane, driven by some ninny who is petrified at the thought of passing anyone.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I am not sure that criminalizing this driving behavior is the right way to go for a number of reasons:

    1. Driving in the slow lane in annoying but not dangerous so let’s not criminalize it.

    2. You can’t legislate for common courtesy on the highway. The focus should be on better driver training and awareness campaigns (but that costs money and fines make money)

    3. This will most likely be just another reason to pull over drivers and ask them to pay a fine to fund state and local coffers.

    Just say no to more ways to fleece the driving public and yes to better driver education.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “You can’t legislate for common courtesy on the highway.”

      Lane discipline is legally mandated in much of the developed world. The US has been an exception to the rule.

      “The focus should be on better driver training and awareness campaigns (but that costs money and fines make money)”

      The ineffectiveness of driver training is well established.

      Ultimately, lane discipline will have to come from popular demand, combined with higher driving speeds. If it becomes socially unacceptable to hog up the lane, then people will move over because of peer pressure.

      The fact that speed limits are on the rise in the US could help to instill this belief, as the increase in limits implicitly runs counter to the “speed kills” arguments that have been prevalent since the 1970s.

      Some drivers park themselves in the left lane because they have been allowed to be self-righteous about it, and the legal changes provide less fuel for that mindset. This could be similar to anti-smoking laws, which help to support social pressures that now make it socially unacceptable to smoke in the wrong places. Smokers once smoked everywhere and had no regard for those who disliked it; now, they have to restrain themselves and can expect a backlash from others if they don’t moderate themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      … Driving in the slow lane in annoying but not dangerous so let’s not criminalize it…

      It is absolutely dangerous.

      Driving slow does not kill.

      Driving fast does not kill.

      Speed differential kills, and there is a ton of research that shows that people causing a choke point in the left lane are every bit as dangerous as someone speeding at the same percentage over the limit.

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      Speed doesn’t kill – inattentiveness and lack of skill do.

      The first gets you into trouble, and the second keeps you there.

      I agree with you regarding better training, but it should be a cultural, rather than a legal, thing.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Can you really train drivers to not be a**holes? All drivers hogging the fast lane should be ticketed. Even if they’re going 100 mph. At that point, they should get a ticket for doing 100 mph too, but the ticket for holding up other motorist should be the greater fine.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    That sure doesn’t look like Indiana in the photo :( (boy I wish that’s what it was like)

  • avatar
    palincss

    People are routinely ticketed for “failure to keep right except when passing” on the New Jersey Turnpike.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    We’ve had this kind of law on the books in Arkansas since 1997 (Arkansas Code 27-51-301.) Is it enforced? No. Does anybody care? No. Does anybody even know of its existence? No. The penalty is pretty steep too. Nobody cares. Nothing in the statute mentions a speed limit either. Arkansas law says if you’re in the left lane and impeding traffic you’re guilty. Period.

    Another traffic law on the books in Arkansas for a very long time is truck speed limits. Any truck over 1½ ton capacity cannot exceed 10 MPH below the stated limit on automobiles on any state or federal highway (Arkansas 27-51-201.) Is this enforced? No. Does anyone even know of its existence? Apparently not.

    So good luck with this new law Hoosiers. It will be forgotten about… 5 minutes from now.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “…for a driver caught driving in the left lane 10 mph under the speed limit.”

    That’s not the right criteria. It’s moving so slow as to force people to pass on the right. That could and usually does occur at speeds above 10 MPH below the posted limit.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I honestly don’t care about that. I don’t care about passing lanes or obstructing people who drive too fast. When we switch over to automated driving, all that will go away, anyway.

      I would rather have a median speed (not a limit) and ticket anyone that drives more than +/- x from that speed. Driving is easier/safer for everyone if people go about the same speed. Install turn lanes to remove the braking/slowing in a through-lane of traffic. Eliminate those who think they have a right to go as fast they want.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “I would rather have a median speed (not a limit) and ticket anyone that drives more than +/- x from that speed.”

        This would be reasonable, but harder to manage.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          The closest thing would be variable speed limits (even per-lane) like that present on the Autobahn.

          • 0 avatar
            beastpilot

            We actually have those in Seattle (per lane speed limits).

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            We also have variable limits in general on some freeways here in the greater Seattle metro area. They can be really annoying because sometimes they goof up and have everyone doing 25-35 when there’s no reason for it (and absolutely everyone does 10-25+ over when this happens).

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    I’ve long argued that the concept of SAFE is too nebulous and subjective to be the basis of traffic laws and instead, we should use more objective standards such as PROFICIENT and ATTENTIVE.

    The fact that there are anti-left-lane-bandit laws now is a ray of common sense, which in this context means that just because you’re going slow, doesn’t mean you’re doing it better than the guy going fast.

    It’s like how one can go a lifetime without getting a ticket but never really get to be a GOOD driver, if you define “good” as “proficient,” because a lack of tickets can be taken as evidence of a lack of initiative.

    Do you seriously think pro drifters and other race drivers got good at their chosen craft by “being safe,” obeying the traffic laws and only honing their skills at track days at the local road course?

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskeyRiver

      “The fact that there are anti-left-lane-bandit laws now…”

      That language takes me back to the great Car And Driver days of 1974…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Race driving and street driving are fundamentally different things and require different skill sets & attitudes. There is no way in hell that I want to share the road with race drivers. It a fallacy to think that if someone is good at driving fast they are a ‘good’ street driver.

      You are absolutely correct that never getting a ticket is not an indicator of a ‘good’ driver. Driving slow is NOT inherently safer than driving fast. The best situation is when everyone on the road drives at the same speed–in that condition, it does not matter what lane people choose and lane changing is a non-issue. Driving at the same speed minimizes vehicle interactions and prevents jams (actually–those are caused more by failing to maintain proper following distances, but that’s the result of people either wanting to go faster and thus creeping up on slower drivers or drivers going slowly & erratically who don’t accelerate out of slow spots soon enough or with enough gusto).

      I cannot release “safety” as a priority for good driving. It is an absolute fact that speed differential creates unsafe conditions. Driving too fast and too slow are both problems, and for what it’s worth, society is too hung up on the fast side and does not address the slow side enough.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Do you seriously think pro drifters and other race drivers got good at their chosen craft by “being safe,” obeying the traffic laws and only honing their skills at track days at the local road course?”

      I was with you until your last paragraph. I’ve heard this argument around here before. What, exactly, are you implying? That we should tolerate reckless driving so at-the-limit skills can be honed off the racetrack on public roads? A couple of doofuses around here wrapped their Mazdaspeed6 around a tree testing their nascent racing skills on a public road. Thankfully the only people killed were in that Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “Do you seriously think pro drifters and other race drivers got good at their chosen craft by “being safe,” obeying the traffic laws and only honing their skills at track days at the local road course?”

      I’m pretty damn sure that Schumacher, Vettel, Montoya, Gordon, Stewart, etc, did *not* get good at their craft by going a few percent over the speed limit in street cars. Your implication is so absurd it’s difficult to even process, and suggests that you have an almost complete lack of understanding both of what it means to drive a race car *and* what it means to drive a street car.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    Usually idiot northerners do it here (Florida). They set the cruise at 70 and travel in the left lane even though at posted 70 you can get away with 78 and not have a problem with the police state.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “Usually idiot northerners do it here (Florida).”

      True statement, but be that as it may, I see just as many offenders sporting Florida (and neighboring states) license plates. Pretty sure it’s not northerners behind the wheel in all those 10-15 year old domestic sedans and pickups rolling on temporary spares, “salt life/ain’t skeered/Ed Hardy” stickers in the back window, favorite SEC team superfan flags flapping… holding up the left lane because “I have a left turn coming up [in five miles].”

      I only wish the idiot southerners knew how to use cruise control (it’s usually the button next to the high beam switch they don’t know about either). Cruise control would make it easier to pass them as the prevailing traffic speeds up and slows down.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    In the US it seems like the first thing everybody does upon joining the expressway is risk everything to force their way into the passing lane at which point their brain then shuts down for the next few hundred miles. I typically find the right lane is virtually empty. The worst piece of road for this that I have ever seen is I-55 leaving Chicago. EVERYBODY sits in the passing lane.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Passing lane” is a misnomer. Most states do not require the left-most lane to be reserved for passing only.

    • 0 avatar

      I think keep right is all thats really required. In CT if it’s 3 lanes I don’t think you have to keep right this is further complicated by a large number of left exits in urban areas. All of which combines to a hard to enforce law so it’s not. In CT I believe you are supposed to travel at least 45mph in clear conditions on the highway

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Park in the left lane with the speed set at exactly the speed limit even though all lanes are running 8+ mph.

    Note license numbers of the cars passing you in the transit lane on the left after following you for many miles.

    Then turn them in!

    **Don’t bother. I’ve tossed the “informational brochure” into the fireplace unopened and will continue to do so. Thanks soooooo much for contributing to highway safely!**

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    If this law passes in Ohio, who will be left to drive?

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Why does everyone want to go so fast all the time?

  • avatar
    Rday

    My GF was pulled over by the KHP for hogging the left lane at 2am or so. She was also weaving from having driven from LA to KS straight thru; I drove most of the way and she took over when i started to nod off. Just a few miles further is where the KHP pulled her over. No ticked just checking to see if we had been drinking. she hogs the left lane all the time. Pisses me off. I learned to drive in Deutschland and hogging the left lane can be a serious offense if you are not assaulted by another motorist before the Polizei track you down.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    In case any of the left-lane-blocking-effers are reading this, I don’t get frustrated with you because you’re blocking me. Although I do wonder why: (a) you care that I want to go faster than you; or, (b) you are so ignorant that you don’t realize you’re violating traffic laws, common sense, common courtesy, etc..

    No, I get frustrated because you are creating a dangerous situation by impeding the free flow of traffic and creating a bottle-neck and consequential lane-changing and erratic behavior. Trust me. I’m not trying to “beat” you. I just want to find a nice quiet patch of open space where I can settle in and drive at an efficient and safe speed to reach my destination in one piece. You, however, are playing games and doing your best to kill me and everyone else around you because of some unresolved ego issues. Stop it.

    And notice that we never see similar behavior in lines at movie theaters, banks, etc….

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      In most states, camping out in the left lane is NOT illegal. The claim of “violating traffic law” is therefore typically NOT valid.

      “Impeding the free flow of traffic” is not a dangerous situation. Driving at a different speed than other vehicles, however, is. The greater the speed differential, the greater the hazard. If a vehicle is traveling much slower than everyone else, it shouldn’t even be on the road, period, regardless of lane. If you actually cared about creating a safe road, you would drive the same speed as everyone else, not faster.

      Changing lanes is not “erratic” behavior unless you are doing it wrong. I will venture a guess and say that you are actually more of a problem on the road than the random driver in the left lane that you come across.

      • 0 avatar
        doublechili

        Your guess would be wrong!

        You said: In most states, camping out in the left lane is NOT illegal. The claim of “violating traffic law” is therefore typically NOT valid.

        I guess those “slower traffic stay right” and “left lane for passing only” signs I see are just suggestions and not the law. My argument is more about safety than “the law” anyway, so I’ll withdraw my comment. ;)

        You said: “Impeding the free flow of traffic” is not a dangerous situation. Driving at a different speed than other vehicles, however, is.

        I mostly agree with the 2nd sentence (with the caveat that of course there will be some variation, but extremes are dangerous). Re: the first sentence, IMO creating a logjam where one need not exist IS creating a dangerous situation (or at least more dangerous than if vehicles were spread out). And then of course there is the situation of knuckleheads getting mad at lane blockers and pulling stunts (which group you incorrectly seem to assume I belong to).

        Here’s an example: Say we have a divided highway with a 65mph posted limit. In scenario #1, everyone is staying to the right except to pass, the majority of drivers are going around 65-70, and someone passes in the left lane going 77mph. Is that a dangerous situation? I would say no.

        In scenario #2, same thing, except we have one driver remaining in the left lane for miles and going 60mph, creating a backlog and jam of vehicles travelling in close proximity at relatively high speeds. I would say that situation is dangerous, or at least more dangerous than it needs to be. So I disagree that “impeding the free flow of traffic” is not dangerous.

        You said: If you actually cared about creating a safe road, you would drive the same speed as everyone else, not faster.

        I would ask, do you mean literally the same speed? How does that happen? And who picks the speed? You? In my experience, on divided highways in my state and nearby, most traffic generally travels at about 10-20% above the posted limit (65ish in a 55mph zone, 70-75ish in a 65mph zone). That’s where I usually am, so I do drive within the speed range of the general traffic. I don’t tailgate. I wait (and sometimes wait and wait and wait) for someone to get over to the right. My main goal, as I wrote earlier but you seemed to miss, is to stay away from other traffic, because I’m pretty sure I won’t have a 1 vehicle accident.

        Also, I have to ask, based on the last-quoted comment above, do YOU drive in the left lane at the speed you think other drivers should be driving?

        You said: Changing lanes is not “erratic” behavior unless you are doing it wrong.

        I agree. I change lanes all the time on divided highways. I get to the left to pass slower traffic in the right lane, and then as soon as I safely can I get as far to the right as I can. What I meant by “erratic behavior” is drivers passing on the right and cutting in and out to try to get around left-lane-blockers. That is dangerous.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Most states do not require traffic that is traveling with the flow or at the limit to yield the left lane.

          The laws against impeding traffic are generally interpreted to mean that they are applied to those who are traveling a lot more slowly than others and below the limit. The impeding traffic statutes are trumped by the speed limits, which are given priority.

          The Indiana law is unusual for the US because it requires drivers to yield the lane to a faster vehicle, even if the slower vehicle is already traveling at or above the limit or with most of the flow of traffic.

          Redav got this one right, and you didn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            doublechili

            You’re saying three words in my relatively lengthy post were wrong, where those three words were not the crux of the post? Okay, no problem. As I said in my reply to Redav, I’m more concerned with safety here.

            What is the point of traffic laws, and specifically speed limits? First and foremost safety, right? So if someone driving at the speed limit is causing a dangerous situation by creating a backlog/jam, who really is “right”? I’ve witnessed many times someone driving slower than the prevailing traffic in the left lane and the results (cars cutting in and out, near rear-end collisions, etc.). Never mind if the people behind the blocker are idiots, why create the situation in the first place? To personally enforce the speed limit (the purpose of which is safety)? And create a pack of fast-moving traffic bunched together? Yeah, really safe….

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Drivers who at the lower end of the speed scale may be annoying and perhaps their behavior should be illegal — personally, I favor strict lane discipline — but what they are doing isn’t dangerous.

            The inability to control ones impatience is the danger. If a slow car makes you freak out, then you need to chillax and calm down instead of blaming the other guy for your emotional state.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          In Ohio, you end up in the left lane if you wish to drive within those reasonable parameters anyway — that is, until you come upon the idiot one-quarter mile ahead doing the underposted numbers, as well.

      • 0 avatar

        This if some one is going 69 in the left lane and traffic is moving at 65 in the right it would seem in most states that would be fine and the person zooming up from behind would be creating the dangerous situation.

  • avatar
    210delray

    I think this is much ado about nothing, as in nothing will change. It never fails to amuse me though to be going the speed limit in the right lane, often all alone, with a line of cars nearly nose-to-tail all staying in the left lane with hardly any pulling into the right lane, even after they are WAY ahead of me. Are they afraid of getting blocked by a slow driver?

    Have a question though, in my state of VA, the signs say “slower traffic keep right.” Whereas in New Jersey, they say “keep right, pass left.” Any real difference?

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “VA, the signs say “slower traffic keep right.” Whereas in New Jersey, they say “keep right, pass left.” Any real difference?”

      There are subtle differences in how the laws are written in various states. Some even have a yielding clause, some are pretty vague, and most are in the middle. You could do a web search- there is enough material out there that explains the legal details pretty well.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Virginia has a more specific statute that requires traffic in the left lane to allow faster traffic to pass, even if the faster vehicle is speeding. Mandatory yield laws like that are not typical in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “. . . with a line of cars nearly nose-to-tail all staying in the left lane with hardly any pulling into the right lane, even after they are WAY ahead of me. Are they afraid of getting blocked by a slow driver?”

      No, they’re just drafting. Saw it on Nascar. Don’t want to get out on the marbles either.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      In my state, “slower traffic keep right” refers to vehicles that are below the general speed of traffic, such as bicycles, construction/farm equipment, various trucks, etc. Driving in the left lane when others want to go faster than you is not a violation, so long as you are not below the general speed of traffic.

      We also have a requirement (*only* where posted) for “left lane for passing only.” In those areas, you cannot camp out in the left lane, regardless of how fast you drive. However, I doubt anyone gets ticketed for it.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    This x speed in x lane is way too arbitrary and inflexible. Make it simply Keep Right Except To Pass and be done with it.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Whuuuuut? Are you saying that all manner of vehicles–in all conditions driven by drivers of all skill and experience levels–driving precisely x speed is NOT the answer???

      Crazy talk!

  • avatar
    50merc

    Atrocious merging habits (bulling onto the highway as if the “yield” sign is just for people already on the highway; drivers in the right lane braking sharply to “courteously” allow entering traffic a clear shot) do encourage clinging to the left lane.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      And the tendency in the past 10 years or so for the majority of the motoring public to NOT accelerate to the prevailing speed by the end of the offramp! (50 into 70+! WTF??!!)

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Nobody will get ticketed. It’s easier to nail people for “speeding” at 6mph over the limit.

    Really the rule should be, leftmost Lane you must move right to let people pass, regardless of speed, while passing on the right is not permitted except when in high traffic where normal flow does not occur.

    Speed shouldn’t apply. No impeding traffic in the leftmost lane. Period.

    Of course it would also help if we had realistic speed limits. 85-90 I think is about right. I wouldn’t be opposed to 100mph even. Most would drive 80-85 I suspect and keep right. Eliminate nailing people for revenue. Eliminate those doing 80 from thinking “I’m already going over the speed limit I don’t need to move over”. Those who want to can make better time. Cars of today are vastly more capable and safer than the 60s and 70s yet we have the same speed limits. It’s absurd.

    • 0 avatar

      That would run afoul of existing laws in most states. I know here in the north east most states speeding is never allowed even to pass. What you propose would encourage speeding. Thats not to say we couldn’t increase the speed limits but it most likely should not go much higher than 75 mph given the age of the daily driven fleet here in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        85% of drivers will drive well within the reasonable limits of their car’s handling on a given stretch of road. There’s no reason to set a speed limit on limited access highways. None. Just mark blind corners, obstacles, upcoming traffic (where applicable), and make sure people stay right except to pass. Teach drivers that speed differential kills (safe passing speed is ~15mph delta to adjacent lane or less) and to be aware while driving. The only exception should be for active roadwork (workers physically present) since they’re basically stationary and could be killed.

        We’d have no more accidents after people became accustomed to it, less traffic, and better road utilization. In fact, it’s possible that accidents would even go down.

        Downsides are less ticket revenue (reckless driving should still be enforced, which extends to excessive speed – if you’re in the top-15% of drivers in speed and you’re not driving safely, you should get a ticket) and tickets that are issued would be a serious mark against you (insurance companies would lose all this revenue from frivolous speeding tickets, too).

        Of course, the chance of this happening is basically nonexistent.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Why not enforce the laws already on the books? We do not need more reasons to be pulled over and hassled. “There ought to be a law!”
    Careful for what you wish for. Most states already have “stay right except to pass” laws.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Most states already have ‘stay right except to pass’ laws.”

      No, they don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        Explain please.. most states have either stay right except to pass or something similar (yield, slower traffic must stay right etc)
        on the books. I stand by my statement- more laws are not needed, we have enough.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Pretty much every US state has a can’t-impede-traffic law, but traffic that is traveling at or near the limit is usually not considered to be impeding under those laws.

          Most US states do not forbid overtaking on the right, as is the case in Europe.

          Only a few US states obligate drivers in the left lane to yield the lane irrespective of how fast they are going.

          To have lane discipline, faster drivers should be kept out of the outside lanes and drivers should avoid the inside lanes except for overtaking. That is not the legal norm in the US, where drivers pass whenever and however they want.

          • 0 avatar

            True but then whats the point of speed “limits”. I would think having traffic in the left lane controlled by people not exceeding the speed limit by much effectively acts as a natural valve slowing traffic as a whole. If we want to do away with speed limits fine but otherwise the two seem at odds.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            On a limited access divided highway, the safe speed is usually determined by the flow of traffic.

            The purpose of a speed limit should be to identify the 85th (or so) percentile speed of the prevailing flow of traffic. There should be a good reason to set it at a level below that, and those reasons aren’t usually applicable on a highway that is relatively straight, has a divider and lacks cross traffic because there are fewer potential contact points (opportunities for vehicles to hit one another.)

            In other words, a highway speed limit should be a democratic act except in those few instances when the prevailing travel speed is unsafe for conditions. It reflects what most of us are already doing, anyway. By choosing the speeds that we do, we are literally voting with our feet to establish the percentile.

            In practice, US speed limits are often arbitrary acts of state legislatures, with little regard for the guidelines that traffic engineers would use if they were allowed to do their jobs properly.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Haven’t encountered many left lane bandits. Seem to remember Olds pop center lane hogging. But that were an eighties thing. You’d look for the silhouette of the fedora or a non-cancel to know.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    Why all the hate for the lane blockers? They’re just doing what everyone loves to do: control others’ behavior. They’ve just chosen the highway as their preferred place of control-freakdom. Some people use the vote to control others, some use a car in the left lane. Goose meet gander. And for the record, I’ve had a dozen tickets in my life, I ain’t blocking nobody.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Left lane bandits, a perennial car enthusiast favorite topic.

    My opinion lands on both sides of this issue.

    1. Keep right except to pass, even if you are doing the speed limit or above.

    2. If you are flying down the road at 10, 15, 20 mph more than the limit, don’t expect others in the left lane in front of you to immediately move over for you. They have a right to pass slower traffic by a sane 5-10 mph margin without you climbing up their tailpipe because you want to do 90.

    If folks would just lose the behind-the-wheel superiority complex and pay attention while driving, neither of these would be difficult.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    The picture attached to the article sure wasn’t taken in Indiana!

    There are no mountains in sight from any of the places I’ve been to in Indiana. We’ve got more beaches than you’d think, though.

  • avatar
    carve

    It’s nice to see this is a concern finally, but it’s a poorly written law, and the fine is too high. I’ll routinely go more than 10 under when things are clogged up.

    I’ve always thought the law should be “it is illegal to BE passed on the right”. If someone can pass you on the right, you’re in the wrong lane.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Judging by this photo (the Indiana Alps?), the Hoosier State is a lot more scenic than I realized.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      As a Hoosier originally, I can tell you that zero parts of Indiana reach anything near that level of elevation. Also Indiana plates are just very plain these days, greyish white with blue numbers.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Did you know that the Hoosier Alps is where they raise, herd, and sheer the Alacntar? The Alcantar, which is the Alpaca-Ostrich hybrid whose wool is spun into Alcantara seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Judging from the photo, Indiana is a Midwestern, Mormon-free version of Utah.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ha, oh there are Mormons in Indiana. I had one as a college professor. There are also Menonites, whatever that means, and Amish.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I do believe that I was kidding…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Sorry, am unfamiliar with whether you have intimate knowledge of rural Indiana or no. You normally never kid, only write long serious things.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point that I was making is that the photo was taken in Utah.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Yeah, yeah, there are Mormons everywhere.

            But they are only the dominant culture in Utah.

            This only matters because Utah, especially Provo, is the most culturally foreign place I’ve ever been to. It’s more foreign than the actual foreign countries I’ve been to. Which is how the people who live there like it! It’s a surprise if you get off the plane and aren’t expecting to be a foreigner, though.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Mennonites, as they are usually spelled, are an Anabaptist, pacifistic group similar to the Amish, in that they often live in communities seperate from nonbelievers. Hutterites are also similar; unlike the Amish, the Mennonites and Hutterites embrace some modern creature comforts, like automobiles (but almost always in black) and wraparound sunglasses. I usually see Mennonites in groups at farm shows, looking at all the new farm equipment.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    By the way, B&B, that picture is a stock one I recognize from a few articles about left lane laws in the last couple years.

    Don’t think too much into the mountainous terrain in Indiana… at least it isn’t a stock photo of tundra wasteland or the Great Pyramid.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    I frequently fantasize about rear ending left lane blockers. They are the Bane of my driving existence….better than this would be to restrict semi trucks to the slow lane and to raise passing lane speed limit by 10 mph over the slow lane. Then make the minimum speed the passing lane max. So if the slow lane was 55, make the fast lane legal limit 55 to 65.


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