By on March 31, 2018

passing lane left lane fast lane

Back in November, Oklahoma passed a law making it extra illegal to use the left lane on all divided highways for any purpose other than passing. This law is already in effect throughout most of the U.S., but enforcement is tricky and highly dependent on traffic flow. Plenty of overtaking occurs above the posted limit, meaning drivers maintaining that speed often feel justified in staying in the left-most lane.

To clarify, Oklahoma already had a law forbidding motorists from hogging lanes on multi-lane highways. The November edict simply tacked on a fine (typically around $230) and a notice from the highway patrol that it wouldn’t tolerate the behavior anymore. “Basically, in simplest terms is, if you’re not passing a vehicle or overtaking a vehicle and you’re in the left lane, you’re in the wrong lane to drive,” State Trooper Clayton Fredrickson explained last year. 

Initially, authorities said they’d pull people over to remind them of the law and issue a warning. But the The Oklahoman has since reported the crackdown resulted in dozens of tickets in the past few months — most of which appear to have been issued by a handful of troopers.

“I wasn’t even aware of [the law],” explained 25-year old Darren Fields, who was ticketed in November. “That was called the fast lane; as far as I knew, and right lane was for the slower drivers.”

Fields said there was no traffic to impede and felt the left lane was probably the best place for him, given his speed. He remained in the lane for several miles before moving to the right, where he was pulled over by a state trooper.  He was issued a citation for impeding the flow of traffic in the left lane, speeding, and subsequently arrested for driving under the influence.

“I was probably just going about 5 or 6 over, but it’s the fast lane,” he said. “I think it’s just to get money out of people’s pockets.”

According to Jalopnik, which also covered the citations, Oklahoma prohibits driving in the center of a three-lane highway except when passing. The outlet also referenced a social posting from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol citing the new left lane law. However, upon closer inspection, the departmental announcement was actually from 2014 — meaning authorities have been struggling with the issue for some time.

“For all you folks who like to drive in the left lane on a divided highway, guess what? You’re breaking the law. The left lane is a passing lane,” read the department’s status.

At the time, the public’s response to the posting was fairly negative. Many said that if law enforcement wants them to move to the right, it should encourage the state to improve the condition of its roadways.

While we’re all for getting lollygaggers out of the passing lane, the decision to have individual officers decide when the flow of traffic reaches a point where more lanes can be taken up is a gray area rife with complications.

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115 Comments on “Oklahoma’s New ‘Left Lane’ Law Yields 60 Citations Since November, Some Complaints...”


  • avatar

    Strict “Keep Right Except to Pass” behavior is the best law – UNRELATED to the speed limit. When it is possible to pull back to the right, regardless of the speeds involved, do that.

    It is, of course, one of the secrets to the fact German Autobahns have a slightly lower fatality rate per miles driven than US Interstates.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      And this comparable or better deaths per mile traveled vis a vis Autobahn and Interstates utterly undermines the meme here in the States that says “low speed differential in freeways contributes to safety”. As in let’s all be sheep and drive in a herd. B.S.

      Fast lane and slow lane? Sorry Eagles (“life in the fast lane”), on a freeway, all lanes are the fast lanes. The ones to left are the passing lanes.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        The difference is the number of run-off-road fatalities that occur disproportionately on poorly marked, poorly lit rural interstate without adequate run-off barriers (obviously). US long haul trucking plays a role as well.

        The fatality differences say nothing about the inherent danger or lack thereof regarding speed differential.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          They do say that if speed differentials were THAT insurmountable of an obstacle to safety, the Autobahn would stand out like a sore thumb, compared to lower differential freeways.

          • 0 avatar
            sgtjmack

            There is also the fact that on US incident reports, officers are limited to what they can check off as a reason for the incident, Speed being one of the main ones often misused.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “officers are limited to what they can check off as a reason for the incident, Speed being one of the main ones often misused.”

            The other reason they like to check off ‘speed’ is so the person can say to the media, “The veeeehicle was traveling at a hiiiiigh raaaaate of speeeed…”

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            @ stuki

            Fair, but I think people overestimate the amount of unrestricted land miles on the autobahn and the number of left-lane bandits.

    • 0 avatar
      YaCar

      Exactly. I wish my state had and/or enforced such a law. It would really help.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    “Many said that if law enforcement wants them to move to the right, it should encourage the state to improve the condition of its roadways.”

    Does not compute. People stay in the left lane because American drivers are so awful they don’t know how to deal with traffic merging from offramps. Better roadway conditions would not change that.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Hell yes they don’t! They divebomb me from onramps where I can’t move over or scrub off enough speed so I just blast them with the airhorn. If they hit the brakes, I’ll nail the gas and hope the don’t crash out.

      “Merging” should be a whole chapter in the Driver’s Handbook.

    • 0 avatar
      bachewy

      I’ve been on some Oklahoma roads where the right lane was so worn down and bumpy thanks to overloaded trucks, it’s actually smoother in the left lane.

      However, I always got to the right when someone faster came up from behind.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I-76 northeast out of Denver years ago actually has signs advising use of the left lane to even out wear, Many years ago thankfully.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “The right lane is bumpy” can be a fair point and OK isn’t the only place where some roads are like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Goatshadow

          One of the many reasons to stay out of Mississippi, or to get out of there as soon as possible, is the fact that onramps don’t have a lane to merge safely onto interstates. They just taper into the right driving lane from the point that they meet. Real geniuses at work in that state.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ Goatshow yeah there are a few like that in VA. Perhaps if its still there the on Emporia in Emporia that dumps you right on the highway. Another good one would be the short merge on 64 between Bad News and Billy burg. Traffic routinely goes 10-15 over in the right lane and that on-ramp is short with a yield and I’ve seen people have to stop and accelerate and merge on the highway at less than 40 mph pulling into traffic going 70-80 mph.

            And at the other end of the spectrum you have the now newly completed 3 lane highway with a feeder road that merges with the highway off of cloverleaf. ITs really neat and one of the better designs since it allows traffic to exit and enter the highway with long lanes to allow plenty of time to decelerate and accelerate except… THE DUMB BASTARDS will ride the lane out and merge at well below the posted limit.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “… ride the lane out and merge at well below the posted limit.”

            Isn’t there room on the shoulder for you to go around them?

            Just kidding… or am I?

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            No wonder ’em rednecks like their NASCAR tuned V8s so much, and complain about the lack of safety of Obamaboxes.

          • 0 avatar
            ozzypriest

            I live in Mississippi, and this post made me laugh. I would like to point out that we have the highest traffic fatality rate in the country. And also, it’s lack of money. They build things shitty here because no $$$$. Also, the roads are so bad that a UN representative who recently visited, called MS the Dominican Republic of the US, he was so taken aback by the road and bridge conditions, and general horrific rural poverty.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The merge leaving Oakmont Plaza on the PA turnpike very nearly got me last year. There’s literally 100 yards to merge in with 75 mph traffic, which would be fine, with no “no merge area” signage nor statewide expectations of non-existent merge lanes indicating what you’re in for. Which isn’t fine at all.

          • 0 avatar
            road_pizza

            You should check out the PA RT.18 exit off the PA Turnpike… YIKES!!!

      • 0 avatar
        sgtjmack

        Overloaded trucks? How about you blame what is the problem, the poor construction of the roadways in order to repair and rebuild them in the near future so that people can make money. Trucks are heavily regulated.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      I shift left when I see a clot of cars coming up the onramp up ahead, to make their merge easier. It’s just common courtesy. Of course, first I check my mirrors beforehand to see what’s coming up behind me in the left lane, because that’s courtesy, too.

      Maybe a strange concept to some, but I try to be courteous to everybody on the road- even the old lady, timid driver who pokes along ahead of the slow lane. I have more consideration to them, because maybe that’s the bast they can do. I have much less regard for the guy who feels entitled to do 20 mph over the speed limit.

      Are they going to come and take away my “Car Guy” card now?

      • 0 avatar
        docsoloman

        What grinds my gears is when I’m merging into light traffic and a dumbass will not move over when he could easily. The other is when I’m cruising along in heavy traffic when I meet someone merging and I can not move over. These dumdasses fly down the merge lane and feel they MUST jump in ahead and make the flow panic break, when they should slow down and safely drop in behind the flow before they run out of room. Professional drivers know the secret to safe driving is what I call “working the traffic”, knowing when to safely make a move and when not to. It is incredible how many occasional interstate drivers do not have a clue how to work traffic.

        • 0 avatar
          ozzypriest

          IN my current state – Alabama – the law states that is the legal obligation of the vehicle to the left of the vehicle merging to get out of the way. But clearly, nobody is aware, Of much of anything, actually

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            ozzy, I’ve live almost my entire life in Alabama, and I’ve never heard that the cars in the travel lane must move over for cars in the merging lane. The people who write the Drivers License Manual must be confused too, because this is what it states:

            “Drivers on the freeway should allow room for those entering, but you must yield to them if they do not.”

            “Should” is a not a legal obligation, “must” is.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        People need to learn to merge. You would be doing them a bigger courtesy by maintaining your speed and lane position instead of enabling their terrible driving.

        • 0 avatar
          docsoloman

          Bingo, so many folk seem to believe they must slow down and let them in. I have a rule I drive by, if I have nothing in front of me to slow me down, and someone in the lane next to me has a slow car up ahead, it is their responsibility to slow down, not mine.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I don’t think, american drivers know right from left. period.

    • 0 avatar
      downunder

      Personally I think it is universal problem with all drivers not being able to merge correctly. I have seen the same behaviors in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. You get the people who balk and come to a stop when trying to merge, those that just sit a a steady speed and push into the lane, and rarely somebody who actually matches the speed of the traffic and merges successfully. On the other hand you have the drivers that won’t allow anybody to merge, who speed up just to close the gaps, and the other type who slow down to let traffic in, which gets the following drivers irate, who then speed up, blast their horns and start doing stupid things to get around and close the gap again. It’s time for Disney’s road rule movie to be shown again!

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Maybe it’s time for some outside-the-box thinking. How about positive reinforcement from law enforcement?

        Cops should stake out onramps to find the rare person who merges correctly. When they do spot this person, chase them down and pull them over. Then give them a sort of “reverse ticket,” a “get out of jail free” card, if you will. A written citation stating,

        “This citation entitles the recipient, ________, due to his/her (circle one) demonstrated ability to properly merge into fast traffic without driving like a little b****, to get out of one (1) ticket for, up to and including, speeding up to 30mph over the limit (as long as it is not in a school zone or a construction zone in which actual construction work has been performed in the last month), or a careless driving charge (but not reckless or impaired), or any lesser charge (such as failing to signal, excessive use of the horn, etc.). This citation is not transferable to any other bearer. This citation has no expiration date. This citation may be subject to reciprocity restrictions in other jurisdictions.”

        Make sure the dash cam and body cam are both working. Then post the thing online and let it go viral.

        Positive Reinforcement by Law Enforcement. I think it’s a great idea!

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          They should scan their license plates and send them the courtesy card by mail. For me the cost of citations is no problem. It’s the time wasted waiting for the cops to write me up.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          I’ve seen several accidents and lost count of the near misses caused in the process of traffic stops. Cop makes an aggressive merge off the shoulder and guns it to 90 mph to catch up with his mark, other traffic responds with a wholly unpredictable combination of slowing down, moving over, or not noticing what isn’t directly in front of them.

          Then there’s the encore of merging back into heavy 70 mph traffic from the shoulder.

          Doing it by mail loses some of the reinforcement effect but not doing it by mail literally kills.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Umm, Dan, my comment was tongue-in-cheek, just a dumb joke out of frustration about people who can’t figure out how to depress their gas pedal more than a quarter inch… or apparently not press down on it at all on downhill onramps, which I have witnessed many times (one of life’s great mysteries!!).

            I mean, unless you seriously believe it’s a good idea to give people a “reverse ticket” for driving properly- in which case I’m open suggestion.

    • 0 avatar
      Booick

      Americans also don’t know how to STEP ON THE GAS, and merge onto the freeway at a comparable speed to freeway traffic. If you’re merging onto the freeway, it’s you’re job to merge into traffic without impediment, if you can’t do that, you continue onto the shoulder and slow to a stop (as my state taught me in drivers ed)

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Southbound I-85 from Petersburg, VA to the NC line has a right lane that is an apocalyptic moonscape from heavy trucking use. The last time I drove my pickup truck down that highway the axle bouncing was so bad I got wheelspin enough to cancel cruise control, and that was with about 500 lbs of cargo in the bed. Any car with minimal wheel travel or low-profile tires would be forced into the left lane or risk being disabled.

      And yes, that ramp from I-95 southbound onto US-58 East in Emporia has a nonexistent merge last I saw it a few years ago. They were doing some improvements. The entire diamond cloverleaf at 95/58 is a bit of a mess.

      • 0 avatar
        Junes

        cdotson, you’re absolutely right about that stretch from Petersburg to NC. Highway madness. I’ve been driving back and forth from DC to NC a few times a year for more than a decade, and I believe there has been a major roadworks project through that stretch the entire time. Seems to be perpetually under construction, and it makes me think that some individuals have a vested interest in it never being completed. Once you’re on the NC side the road suddenly gets much smoother and more pleasant.

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      Back when I had my learner’s permit, the section of I-88 in Illinois that is untolled was so bad, driving in the right lane was like driving on the moon.

      No, this doesn’t justify all left-lane banditry, but on some stretches of road it is real.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The law is also for bandits parking in the left lane then never using their *mirrors*, totally oblivious to whoever’s unfortunate enough to be behind them, even at 5-10 mph over the limit, otherwise they’d see the cop from a ways back.

    You gotta love this!

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      You can relate to this one. I was eastbound on free flowing 6 when at about Kipling I encountered a mass slowdown. A some point I could see far enough ahead that there was wide open highway ahead of the hundred or so car clump.
      since the right lanes were oozing forward I joined in. Just past Sheridan as I got past, lo and behold, there was a brand new BMW with a temp plate parked in the left lane.GRRRR

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        In America, instead of just moving broken cars and/or scrapmetal off the roadway as soon as possible to make traffic flow again; the important thing is to not touch anything for hours. To make sure the ambulance chasers gets to run around and “determine” who was “at fault” for whatever inanity may have occurred.

        Remember; like all else, a roadway’s primary purpose is to serve as yet another conduit for ambulance chasers to rob everyone else. That it can also be used to get from A to B, is merely incidental, and must always subordinate to the prime directive.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    In this case, this person was guilty of at least 3 violations: (1) speeding; (2) driving constantly in the left lane while not passing; and (3) DUI. I don’t feel sorry for him. Why is he crying over this? He was a danger to other motorists and seems to be refusing to take the blame for his actions.

    I’m glad I, my wife, or daughter and grandson was not out there the same time he was. The trooper was doing exactly what he was hired and paid to do by the taxpayers of Oklahoma.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I laughed at that part too, like waaaaait a second. I have a feeling this guy wasn’t exactly steady in the left lane and the cop was following him for a couple minutes, then use the left lane law as a means to smell the guy’s breath. Sorta like how a burned out license plate light or gently rolling through one stop sign with no other traffic around isn’t what got Smokey’s attention, it was your impersonation of a drunk driver/been away for 24 hours/high on meth/maybe you’re having a medical episode.

      The strangest part of this story is how anyone could get a DUI from Oklahoma 3% beer!

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The problem with traffic law enforcement in Oklahoma is that some cities and towns enforce traffic laws primarily as a source of revenue. It’s ambiguous what situations you’re allowed to drive in the left lane besides for passing. For example, moving to the left lane to give room for a driver to merge into the right lane. I don’t trust a town like Kiowa not to ticket normal defensive driving.

        There is no shortage of stronger beer from Oklahoma. Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb! from Tulsa is 13% ABV, for example. The weird Oklahoma state beer law was that only bottles and cans of weak 3.2% by mass beer could be sold cold. Anything stronger had to be sold at room temperature.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      You have too much faith in armed revenue agents, and place too much importance on victimless crimes.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      I was going to post same thing; sure sounds like a “pretext” stop for me, just like illegal window tint or a taillight. A left-lane violation (or speeding) is much easier to document than probable cause for a DUI. Makes prosecution of the DUI much simpler when the defense can’t try and pick apart the reason he was pulled over.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I was probably just going about 5 or 6 over, but it’s the fast lane,”

    No, it is the passing lane. This is why you got the ticket (that and the fact you were drunk).

  • avatar
    bachewy

    This is an excellent revenue-maker for law enforcement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen folks jump on the highway, and immediately get to the center or far left lane, even when NO one is in front of them.

    From the article, “25-year old Darren Fields”, is a dumba$$. Signs all over read “Keep right except to pass”. Doesn’t get any simpler than that.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      You know what? Fine everybody to oblivion for this. I’m cool with that. Loved what someone said above… on an interstate, EVERY lane is the fast lane. The left is the passing lane.

      Now how small of a gap in the middle lane should we mandate the driver dive into, provided they maintain their speed differential and will therefore be passing the next car as well? Forcing people to change lanes too often carries its own risks. How long of a passing ‘streak’ should one be allowed, provided there is no visible evidence of even faster passers behind them? This would be an interesting question to me.

      [I have seen too many situations where moving over for stopped emergency vehicles and law enforcement, which is a law I follow religiously – or put hazards if i can’t move over – creates its own tricky situations because a shocking number of people have a shockingly hard time executing a clean lane change].

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        If people are not confident in their passing ability, they shouldn’t pass. Get over to the right and stay in your place.

        I say this as someone who has been in both positions. In America I’m the passer. When I go to rural Europe, I am the passee. Some people are comfortable driving at higher speeds than others, and that’s OK. the best course of action is for everyone to stay out of everyone else’s way.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “many times I’ve seen folks jump on the highway, and immediately get to the center or far left lane, even when NO one is in front of them.”

      NJ. This enforcement should go to NJ

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Happens all the time here in Chicago. People will get on the Dan Ryan and immediately go to the far left lane, same with the ones on Lake Shore drive. What I don’t understand is the ones that get mad when you pass them only to speed up just to get in front of you as if there’s some sort of point to prove.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    “Fields said there was no traffic to impede and felt the left lane was probably the best place for him, given his speed.”
    Wrong buddy. Having the shoulder to your right, and lanes to your left is the safest place to be. The left lane usually has no shoulder, and often a wall. There is much less margin for error in the left lane.

  • avatar
    Fred

    What about people who won’t drive the right lane to avoid merging traffic and put along in the middle lane. Then we all start weaving around them. If you ever watched the last 50 laps of a NASCAR race, that’s when the trouble starts.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    At quitting time cops and other “un-ticketables” want that left lane open so they can cruise 90 in a 70. They don’t want to be held up by the prol doing 75.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I noticed that I drove faster on the way home, compared to going to work. Of course now that I’m retired, I have plenty of time and drive slow, well, closer to the limit, most of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I was so happy when then governor of nj crashed speeding @ 91mph. In fact, this is good that he survived. Dead he wouldn’t suffer.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Florida has a similar law, passed just a few years ago. It is focused more on left lane bandits who impede the flow of traffic. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to do anything as it hasn’t stopped the practice and I never read or hear of any enforcement of the law.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    I should just be able to pay, on January 1, the required annual tribute to the state–maybe $2000–and get a special endorsement on my license.

    Cop sees me making a technical violation of the law that’s hurting exactly no one, like being the only guy on the road and traveling in the left lane? He can pull me over and use that as an excuse to make sure I’m not drunk, but they can’t use it for revenue generation. No ticket.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I think about 25% of merging issues are the fault of cars already in traffic, either not paying attention or just not letting people in. The remaining 75% are those merging into the traffic pattern. Most of the blame falls on those who attempt to merge too slowly (or in some cases coming to near stops) and the rest falls on those who don’t know the capabilities of their cars. If you’re driving a Mitsubishi Mirage you’d better try to plan ahead as much as possible or risk having to brake when your lane ends. I have, in a few cases, seen people merge too quickly, pick a spot, cut over, and then get parked out behind a truck and have to lay on the binders, lol. Funny stuff as long as nobody crashes.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Oklahoma, where the troopers comes sweepin’ down the lane.
    And the weavin’ perp can sure get hurt
    When the Crown Vic comes behind to blame.

    You know you belong in the slam
    And the slam you belong to is grand!

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    This story is bound to stoke the autobahn fantasies of your Type A readers, but hold your horses, pardner. This could only work in a deserted place like OK, because traffic. It’s absurd to expect us all to keep the left lane empty and unobstructed in city traffic. You can say it’s for “passing,” but when the other lanes are already doing 5-10 over the speed limit, there’s no justification for passing at all. And certainly no justification for leaving an expensive highway lane empty, for the exclusive use of folks driving at illegal speeds.

    Enforcement of this rule would be ridiculous at rush hour. Would the cops simply pull over and ticket every left-lane driver who wasn’t passing another car at that precise moment? At that point, freeways are serving as waiting queues and parking lots, not racetracks. So enforcement would become just a rural practice, just another excuse for the County Mountie to pull you over and check you out as he wishes. For some of Colorado’s finest, perhaps?

    Be careful what you wish for. This rule is worse than the non-problem it tries to fix.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      I’ve been on many highways near downtown areas where there’s nowhere to pull over if you get lit up in the left lane, you may have to travel several miles before there’s a safe place to stop during rush hour. What then, an arrest for “evading”? Yeah, this is more of an open space thing, the NYS Thruway would be a real cash cow for this law if they ever wanted to enforce it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If you think this is a “non-problem” you are a moron. The law already has an out for traffic. Even the Germans don’t enforce this in heavy traffic.

      Though 60 citations in 4 months?? That is just sad. Here in Florida they could probably write 60 citations a minute for this if they wanted to.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        Florida had this trap they used, I don’t know, like 25 years ago, where they’d put up a sign that read “Drug Search Ahead”. They’d then pull over every vehicle that made a u-turn, lol, they were bagging drug runners left and right. It was quickly ruled unconstitutional though.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I like it the way it is. A lot of people pull into the left lane but then they just roll along in a line-abreast formation/rolling roadblock alongside the vehicle they were just behind.

      Maybe they pulled out at the end of a long straight stretch, then the road makes a few bends, and they’re not comfortable going faster and pass right now. Well ya shouldda stayed put in the right lane! I’m pretty sure they’re convinced that it since it would be dangerous for them to go any faster, on that stretch of road at that very moment, then there is no chance in the universe that anybody *else* would or possibly could safely go faster. The other one is when people pull out to pass at the bottom of a hill but then do the rolling roadblock up the hill- because the driver is oblivious to the law of gravity (aka push harder on the gas pedal). Next time pay attention and look up the road more than a few seconds.

      *** Drivers who do these things deserve a ticket or at least a warning for driving while dumb. ***

      I see this stuff every day, in the same places, on my daily commute and on road trips. It’s like clockwork and it really is dumb!

      If there is no room to pull back into the right lane but you are making progress passing the traffic… then you’re good- and don’t worry about it.

      The other way to solve this epidemic would be to allow one day of each month when it is legal to bump people from behind when it’s the slowpoke at the front of the line.

      /rant not over yet

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      So, you’ve never been in a denser area in a pack of traffic moving along at a reasonable pace, just to grind to a halt when you come up to two or three cars basically pacing each other?

      I can tell you this – in Southern Ontario, the lanes tend to get denser and denser the further to the left you go. The right lane is pretty much wide open except for the odd transport, the middle lane becomes the default for all the sanctimonious “if I’m doing the speed limit, I should drive in whatever lane I want because you want to break the law and drive faster” dickwads, and then everyone who wants to drive 70-80 MPH on the highway (like every other civilized society) get crammed into the left lane. Until one of the aforementioned sanctimonious types decides they have a reason to drive in the left lane as well. But again, this is compounded by our asinine desire to hang onto outdated 60mph limits.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        @Maymar, don’t sell yourself short. Those are outdated 62mph speed limits. 62.1mph no less!!

        That traffic pattern you describe, especially prevalent on the QEW towards Niagara, after the carpool lanes end, is also prevalent on the Florida Turnpike between Orlando and Miami.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Obviously police would use discretion. For example police aren’t going to give you a ticket for driving in the wrong lane if a tree blocks the yours. This is silly.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    drove to DC and back this week from indiana.

    ohio, w. virginia, pennsylvania, maryland, virginia, you all suck for left lane lollygagging.

    it was amazing when i got back to my home state and people actually saw me approaching them from behind in the left lane and moved over! (more often than not)

    i actually thought we were bad until this last trip east. florida is terrible, too. don’t remember as many issues in ky, tn, or ga, on our way to florida. or, it may just be that florida is so bad it has made the other states seem better than they are.

    honestly, though, i have found that flashing my brights usually gets people’s attention and they move over. pretty convinced most people are completely unaware and/or do not realize they should be in the right lane if not passing.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “drove to DC and back this week from indiana.

      ohio, w. virginia, pennsylvania, maryland, virginia, you all suck for left lane lollygagging.”

      Yeah–but your license plates used to say “Wander Indiana,” and you people took that *literally*.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Went to the Twin Cities with my folks for a 50th-anniversary party in September, 2016, and found the same basic thing!

      The LLBs become less numerous as you go west through IN, and by the time we hit Illinois, the speed of the traffic at the southern end of Chicagoland was around 75 to 80 all lanes! Heading north on I-39, I couldn’t get over..LANE DISCIPLINE!!!! All the way through MSP!

      Coming back, there were a few gregarious LLBs keeping everyone at the limit! Guess what! Every car whose driver was playing judge and jury had..you guessed it..OHIO plates!!!

      Proves what I’ve said before..Ohio drivers take speed limit zealotry (and general idiocy behind the wheel) to a new art form!

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I have heard that Ohio has draconian speed enforcement, am I right? If so, the Ohio drivers are just in their habitual rut.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Being from Ohio, and being there when I was a newly minted driver, seeing a State Highway patrolman if you were going more than 5 over the limit would truly make you shat yourself. You WERE getting pulled over. No ifs, ands, or buts…

          In NM I love that I can drive between 75 and 85 on the interstate and law enforcement doesn’t blink.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          It’s pretty much “nine you’re fine, ten you’re mine” now.

          The problem of slow mergers has probably overtaken the LLBs a little; I’ve usually got my hazards on behind a pack following a slow merger at least once a day. Maybe once or twice a week, I’ll be stuck behind an egregious LLB.

          Usually my drive home is better than the drive TO downtown Toledo; I consider a “good” drive to be when my ACC doesn’t vary more than 5mph from my set speed, and if I don’t have to disengage it. Extra points for being able to stop at the front of the line at the last intersection before the southbound ramp to I-75 (otherwise, you’ll be crawling at 50mph merging into 65mph traffic, whereas at the front of that line, I can be the first in line, and enter the freeway at 70+), and if I can pass the feeder ramp from the Ohio Turnpike and another local route, where in most cases, the Ohio Highway Patrol could write tickets all day for impeding traffic flow, WITHOUT having to barge into the line, lest I have my hazards on again to alert the drivers behind me that I’m only going 45mph thanks to the $hits-for-brains in front of me who failed merging in driver’s ed.!

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “for-brains in front of me who failed merging in driver’s ed.!”

            You’re being generous to assume that they teach this at all in driver’s ed, never mind have it on the road test.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Freeway merging isn’t on the Ohio road test; basically a drive around the block (with a left turn into dense traffic), followed by the so-called “maneuverability test: drive down a twenty-foot marked course, going right or left around the cone in the center per the examiner’s direction, and stop when your car is parallel to the course and the back bumper is even with the cone, then reverse back through, stopping with the front bumper even with the beginning of the course. Stopping to check progress or bumping a cone is immediate failure.

            What I’d like to know is how does one certify that various things like backup cameras and parking sensors are disabled! Certainly, you can’t trust the kid taking the test! Does the parent do this? Does the examiner simply tape a piece of paper over the infotainment screen and call it good? One wonders!

  • avatar
    Mike-NB

    Why is keeping left except to pass so hard to comprehend for so many people? I really don’t understand this. I like that this law is clear that the left lane is for PASSING and not just for faster traffic. I think allowing left lane use based on relative speed is a big part of the problem. Someone going 1 mph faster than the vehicles in the right lane should be in the right lane. (As an aside, while they are technically passing, it also irks me when people take forever to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Its easy to understand: 1) they think they have a duty to enforce the speed limit so they drive in the left lane at precisely the limit (or a little less to be extra safe) to prevent anyone from breaking the law. or 2) they are lazy asses who don’t like having to use turn signals and mirrors to pass, or dealing with merging traffic, so they stick in the left lane to reduce the stress of driving. or 3) they are English or Australian or Japanese tourists and think the left lane is the “right” lane.

      • 0 avatar
        Spike_in_Brisbane

        I am #3 (Australian). I lived in Ca for 5 years and learned left from right. However, with regards to your point #1, in Oz, if I am behind a car doing 98kmh and want to pass, I have to do it at 100kmh even though it is discourteous and arguably unsafe because if I do it at 105kmh I am likely to be booked, fined several hundred dollars and earn three demerit points on my licence. I am sympathetic to your concern but speeding here is enforced like serial muder.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Spike in Brissy,
          Um ….. are you from Oz?

          Freeway speeds are generally 110kph, are they not?

          • 0 avatar
            Spike_in_Brisbane

            Tried driving to the Sunshine Coast or down for the Commonwealth games lately Big Al? 110 is a thing of the past.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Spike,
            I did a couple of weeks ago. I drove from the CBD down to Coolangatta, watched a bit of the Surf Pro.

            The speed limit is dropped for the duration of the games, a month or so. Plus, the Gold Coast Motorway is really an urban freeway. The lower speed limit really didn’t affect my speed due to traffic conditions.

            I understand when a posted speed limit is not attained many become frustrated, but we must take into account road conditions, traffic and all else.

            Also, the traffic on the stretch of highway between Bribane and the Gold Coast is huge, even during non peak hours.

            4 lanes each way is not enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        stingray65,
        It a total lack of adequate driver training and enforcement. It’s a cultural issue.

        The US like Australia many believe it’s an entitlement to be given a licence. I do think it should be made a privilege (maybe even gun ownership should look at this approach).

        Most are self absorbed, thinking of themselves totally unaware or not caring about anyone but them. Does this sound like America?

        So, why do we have this driving problem? It’s cultural.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “Why is keeping left except to pass so hard to comprehend for so many people?”

      Well, to start with, you have to be actually DRIVING first before you can execute on that concept.

      It’s the passengers behind the wheel that you keep running into.

  • avatar
    TW5

    There is no need for this sort of regulation, unless you’re dealing with professional drivers in heavy-duty commercial transport vehicles that are known for causing fatalities and tearing up roads.

    The amateurs in light-duty vehicles can self-regulate by blaring their horns, flashing their headlights, and making obscene gestures to lollygaggers.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Unfortunately, that only stiffens the resolve of the idiot in front of you to enforce their moral superiority upon you (and the line forming for an area code behind you)!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      TW5,
      One some of our highways it is enforced for trucks to use certain lanes (“slow lanes”).

      In the UAE on some highways trucks are not allowed to use any other lane than the RH lane, even on four lanes. This keeps trucks where they should be, away from cars and lighter vehicles. Trucks in the UAE are not allowed to use the left lane at all.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        @ Big Al from Oz

        We have similar rules in the US, but they are not federalized. The right lane rule exists in certain states and localities, and it is also enforced on specific roadways or sections of roadway to improve safety.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “For all you folks who like to drive in the left lane on a divided highway, guess what? You’re breaking the law. The left lane is a passing lane,” read the department’s status.

    F*** you, you f***ing thugs. Don’t pull this its just the law bullshit. There are at least 23,000 pages on Federal statutes *thirty five years ago*.

    ***The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. – Tacitus***

    The LT or Chief ordered you to do something you know is wrong? So you’re just following orders? Hmmmmm… where have I heard that before?

    The cost of running a muni patrol car as I was quoted in 2012 was $60/hr. State police is probably more, and adjusting for inflation its probably at least $100/hr to run a car in OK. You are either part of an extortion ring or worse, the entire exercise is a money losing operation designed to intimate your fellow citizens. Does being a bully make you feel good, punks? Peacefully disobey unjust orders or be proud of the lighting bolts you wear on your collar. Oh and remember, karma’s a real b!tch.

    “In 1982, while at the Justice Department, Mr. Gainer oversaw what still stands as the most comprehensive attempt to tote up a number. The effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages”

    https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110729115543AARxhUi

  • avatar
    hifi

    “I was probably just going about 5 or 6 over, but it’s the fast lane,”

    The “fast lane” is simply slang. There is no such thing as a fast lane. The left lane(s) are passing lanes. If you are going the same speed as the guy in the right lane, then get in front of them or behind them. Unless you are in total gridlock traffic, there’s no reason to be in the passing lane for any longer than it takes to pass the vehicle on the right.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Nevada just passed an interesting law. It is now illegal to drive BELOW the posted speed limit in the left lane.

    1] It was always illegal to go ABOVE the speed limit in the left lane. So now, if you are going ABOVE 65 or BELOW 65, you’re breaking the law. I hope your speedometer is REALLY accurate.

    2] I have yet to see any rush hour enforcement, when the entire freeway is going 15-30mph, including the left lane. Why are police not ticketing everyone in the left lane??

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      Seriously? You do realize that LEO’s have discretion as to when and where they write a ticket. During rush hour, it is understood that there will be a lot of people in all lanes, not traveling fast at all.

      As for the “Above/Below 65” again, it is up to the LEO, and most of them give you up to a certain safe for conditions speed to travel. Usually, the right lane is for slower traffic, the middle lane will be for speed limit to just above the speed and the left lane will be for above the speed limit in a safe manner.

      In the early 90’s, Georgia, I was pulled over for going too slow in the middle lane. We were going 60, posted limit was 60 and it was around 3 a.m. and no one was around. I think he just wanted to see if we were drinking etc., and needed an excuse when he came up to the car.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    There should be a National driving course that is about a year long. It should cover not only driving during day time hours, but also night time driving. The students should learn how to change a tire and perform a simply jump start, as well as other simple maintenance. There should also be slippery/rainy/snowy/windy conditions driving, even if simulated. The written test should be a little longer as well. The actual driving test at the end should be more than a 30 minute trip around the block with a parallel parking spot at the end. I also think that there should be a section that teaches everyone how to properly drive a manual transmission. Another thing they should do is at least have the students ride in a tractor trailer, so that the new drivers will have a little understanding as to what a big rig driver is going through, and how long it takes one of those trucks to stop and react, so you won’t be tempted to pull in front of them. There should also be a motorcycle course. Not that everyone will need to own a motorcycle, but again to show the new drivers how a motorcycle operates, and bring the motorcycles to their attention, so that the new drivers are more aware of them on the roads.

    The “Drive Right, Pass Left” needs to be ingrained into their memory so much that it is second nature.

    The law should mandate that anyone who comes into this country needs to go through the same teaching and testing procedures before they can simply go to the DMV, show their license from another country and get a new card allowing them to terrorize us with what is considered “Good Driving… in their country” and not have any idea as to what they are doing on our roads.

    Heck, even when I wend through driving school when I was 14, I had to spend several months behind the wheel. Yes, 14 in Texas you can get a hardship license and my grandfather needed assistance getting to the V.A. on a regular basis.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      I’ll agree to mandatory universal tractor trailer familiarization rides on one condition: if the driver’s seats of all tractor trailers are outfitted with an electroshock device that automatically activates when the driver is going up a hill in the left lane and decelerates below 5mph under the speed limit. I’d like to say 1mph but I’m feeling generous today.

      • 0 avatar
        sgtjmack

        Wait a minute. Are you telling me that there is one CDL driver in your area that is not driving properly? He needs to retire already…

        But seriously, I understand what you are saying, from both sides of the wheel. Most big rig drivers need to continue their momentum when going up the hills, and unfortunately there are a few times when you need to overtake a slower truck. But they should try to get back over a.s.a.p. and usually do. I know it sucks when we get behind them, but simply look at the clothes you are wearing and remember that a truck driver brought them to the store you bought them from, and take a deep breath, flash your lights when you see it is safe for him to move to the right, and he will usually do so.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          In Ohio, trucks in the left lanes are a problem! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it bottlenecks an entire freeway. (When the Turnpike was two lanes each direction between Cleveland and Toledo, a friend of mine ended up behind a truck which took ** 25 miles ** to pass another! I burned out a horn on my car when I had several encounters on I-75 with trucks in the left lane over a week’s time, and when my usual practice was to ride the semi’s bumper, making sure my brights could be seen in the idiot’s mirror, while leaning on the horn.)

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Between Windsor and Oshawa Highway 401’s right lane is often bumper to bumper with transport trucks doing 105 km/h. The center lane, more often than not, is also plugged with transport trucks passing trucks in the right lane at 105.5 km/h for miles. Motorists without a death wish stay far far away from them. That leaves the left lane. Go much over 120 km/h and Ontario Provincial Police sharpshooters on the overpasses with radar guns, particularly near Kitchener, will pick you off especially at month end when enforcement quotas are tallied.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    I believe that a lot of road rage will be eliminated with enforcement of the “left lane camping” laws. It has worked in Washington. A few years ago the highway patrol there started enforcing those laws and it has lowered the amount of road rage incidents, as well as other collisions on the freeways and highways there.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This new “Left Lane Yield” law will come into direct conflict with the “Stand your ground” statutes in many states.

  • avatar
    docsoloman

    Problem with limiting the left lane. I drive for a major automaker, so I see a lot of traffic negatives. Trucks wear out the right lane, and many of them are quite rough. Those “gator” truck tire scraps you see on the highway do not come off slowly, they can be very explosive. I have seen them fly across two lanes with incredible speed, and tear off the whole front of a truck. If you are forced to stay in the center lane, every time you pass a semi, you putting you and your family in danger of those sudden explosions. I pass semi’s as quick as I can, never stay beside them. If you are going fast enough to keep to the traffic flow safe, you should not have be forced to be put in danger with the center lane. Other than excessive speed, many lawmakers do not have a clue of some of the dangers on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The exploding truck tire problem is a thing that law enforcement lets them get away with. I’ve seen a car tire explode (loudly blowout) on the freeway exactly once, seen truck tires do it a few times, and seen lots and lots of those gator carcasses all over the place. Don’t know why the taxpayers can’t make a bit of money off of steeper fines. Your trucking company blows out too many tires? Good, pay big fines. Do that and the invisible hand of the marketplace will solve the safety problem soon enough.

      Speaking of passing but not sitting beside trucks, what really grinds my gears are the super-timid car drivers who hang out next to and behind the trucks, never passing them at all but also never getting back into the right lane. Those guys deserve the tickets that started off this article.

      I get it, the economy needs trucks to make their deliveries on time. But all those other people using the highway, the economy needs them to be on time too.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here’s an interesting link;

    http://www.businessinsider.com/germanys-autobahn-vs-us-highways-compared-2016-3/?r=AU&IR=T/#german-drivers-are-especially-good-because-of-a-strict-licensing-test-system-2

    It comes down to education and certification and enforcement of the driving regulations.

    But, hey the German’s are socialists, aren’t they?

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Seems like a good racket for any state that wants extra revenue.

    Step 1: divert money from road repair to the general fund and to pet projects like bike lanes, walking/bike trails, subsidies to electric cars, etc

    Step 2: wait until right lanes of roads get so bad that most people elect to drive in the left lanes

    Step 3: pass law to make driving in the left lane illegal even if people are driving posted speed limit

    Step 4: issue tickets to people driving speed limit with tailgaters on his tail

    Step 5: post more enforcement units down the road to write speeding tickets

    Step 6: back to step 1.

  • avatar
    Booick

    A couple easy, proven, ways to fix left lane bandits and all sorts of other traffic congestion problems…The question is, do states and municipalities want to fix traffic issues? I’m going to say a big N, followed by an O.

    In this case, not only allow drivers to go 10 MPH over the posted speed limit in the left lane while-over taking slower moving traffic, but highly encourage it, as in, if you are in the left lane and you’re going BELOW the posted speed limit, that’s a ticket for impeding traffic.

  • avatar
    Erikstrawn

    Being an Okie, I LOVE THIS LAW. Contrary to Mr. Fields’ complaints, it was publicized better than usual, and there was plenty of Facebook commenting before it went into effect. I’m sure if they’d have instagrammed it the younger kids would have known, too.

    I normally stay to the right except to pass anyways, and since this was passed people are moving to the right more.

    Another thing we do: about half a mile before construction zones, there are signs saying, “MERGE NOW”. If you don’t merge early, you can get a ticket. Also, we tend to bumper-up and not let the late mergers in.

    We don’t tolerate a whole lot of dirtbaggy driving in Oklahoma.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Up in Canada, we’ve been doing the opposite: the zipper merge. They’ve been putting up signs encouraging you to use the lane right to the end and then merge there during heavy traffic.

      http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/all-hail-the-zipper-merge-how-canadian-politeness-is-killing-the-efficiency-of-our-highways

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    As an OKC resident I have zero sympathy for anyone receiving a citation for this offense. The OHP should pass out thousands of tickets per year. When this law went into effect in Nov, media comments exploded with people too stupid to understand the concept of keep right except to pass. Oklahomans have a selfish, self-entitled driving style coupled with a “ain’t nobody gunna tell me what to do attitude” which leads to some of the worst left lane riding dicks you can imagine. Hopefully the OHP keeps up enforcement of this law so the roadways can be safer through the use of lane discipline.

  • avatar
    Aron9000

    People need to know that you put your damn foot to the floor-board when you merge onto the interstate. The ramp near me, its not very long, the merge area at the bottom of the ramp is short. In my little 2.4 liter 5 speed Tacoma, that means you keep your foot buried and shift at a high rpm, you will be doing 60-70 at the end of the ramp in 3rd or 4th gear.

    Nothing pisses me off more than somebody who is going halfway down the ramp and stops accelerating at 35, 40, 45, 50mph. You know traffic is doing a good 65-75mph at the end of this damn ramp, and that it is straight uphill at the end of the ramp as well. People that do this, I honk at them and flash my high-beams to try and get them to speed the fuck up. Sometimes it works and they put down their cell-phone, sometimes they are like fuck you, I’m going to merge at 45-50mph in front of that truck or car, make him change lanes and slam on his brakes and force you onto the shoulder.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    ^^^

    *fudge


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