Max Zachary: When Are Trucks Allowed to Drive in the Fast Lane?

trucks in the left lane fast lane
Written by Max Zachary

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aND Brandpoint — Most drivers know the frustration of being stuck behind a truck traveling in the fast lane. Or maybe you’ve found yourself cut off by a truck using the left lane in an attempt to pass another vehicle.

On major highways and two-lane roads, the left lane is supposed to be the passing lane. The passing lane is reserved for those who are going faster than the flow of traffic in the right lane.

In some states, slower drivers and large trucks are not allowed to drive in the left lane, and for roadways with more than two lanes, that applies to the far left lane. In other states, trucks have limited usage of the left lane and are supposed to use it only for passing to help keep motorists safe.

Is it a good idea to keep slower drivers in the left lane?

The far left lane of any multi-lane roadway is usually reserved for people who are passing other vehicles in the right lane. However, when a big truck wishes to pass amd goes into the left lane, it irritates those who are driving at higher speeds  Worse, it can be dangerous to switch lanes, especially if the truck has limited visibility.

Some truck drivers prefer to drive in the left lane because it decreases the chances that they will have to avoid a car that is merging onto the highway or interstate.

The reality is that too many motorists consistently drive in the left-hand lane, which can lead to dangerous conditions and is usually the cause of traffic. It is a fact that many highway accidents are caused by motorists switching lanes suddenly or moving in and out of the lanes to pass quickly. The more movement there is in and out of the lanes, the more likely it is that a collision will happen.

Truck laws about riding in the left lane

Some states have tried to tackle the problem of trucks changing lanes and risking accidents by limiting which types of vehicles are allowed to drive in the reserved left lane. Some states insist that slower-moving traffic stays in the left lane, while others limit the mobility of trucks and certain classes of vehicles to the right lane only.

Six States that have laws about left lane usage:

Six states currently have laws about left lane usage. Those are:

Indiana: State law prohibits “slowpoke” drivers from driving in the left lane and preventing other drivers from passing. Those who drive slowly in the left lane may be subject to as much as $500 in fines.

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California: According to California code, any vehicle that is moving slower than the speed of traffic must drive in the right lane unless they are passing another car.

Oregon: In Oregon, trailers, campers, and any truck that weighs in excess of ten thousand pounds are only allowed to use the right lane when traveling on interstate highways. Although there are exceptions, those exceptions are made on an individual basis.

Washington: tate law  bans any commercial vehicle from driving in the outermost left lane if there are three or more lanes available.

New Jersey: Trucks are not allowed to use the left lane at all in New Jersey and can be fined as much as $300 for doing so.

Hawaii: A recently-submitted bill states that vehicles weighing over ten thousand pounds are not allowed to use the farthermost left lane when there are three or more lanes available.

Lane usage

Whether a truck or commercial vehicle is allowed to travel in the left-hand lane is decided upon at the state level. That is why it is important for truckers to know what the rules are when they cross state lines. What is legal in one state might not be in another. To ensure the safety of other vehicles on the road and to be in compliance with the law, it is imperative that truck drivers know the rules of the road.

If you were involved in a car accident involving a truck that was using the left lane illegally, it is imperative that you hire a truck accident attorney to ensure you are compensated for any damages and injuries you sustained.

For ABP, I’m Max Zachary.
Cover image: Quora.