Want to ask a question? Click here

When traveling a major road with two lanes in the same direction, does the left lane work as a passing lane?

Patrick Gannon
StarNews

If you’ve ever been stuck behind someone going slow in the left lane, you’ve probably wondered the same thing.

The simple answer is if you’re going slow (slower than the speed limit), stay in the right lane.

In Chapter 4 of the N.C. Driver’s Handbook, it states: “When you are moving slower than the posted speed limit on a multi-lane highway, drive in the extreme right lane unless you are passing, turning left or avoiding an obstruction.”

In fact, when appropriate, signs have been posted, such as “Slower Traffic Keep Right,” it is illegal to impede traffic in the inside lane at less than the speed limit, except when preparing for a left turn.

Other than common courtesy, the law is there because slow drivers can often obstruct the flow of traffic, which causes tailgating, road rage and ultimately, more accidents. (It’s also the reason you see wide stretches of open highway, and then a large cluster of cars stuck behind one vehicle.)

The wording of the laws regarding left-lane driving can be found in N.C. General Statute 20-146.

If you surf the net, you’ll find all sorts of discussion from both sides; those who are angered by drivers going slow in the left lane and people who feel other drivers shouldn’t be going faster than the posted speed limit in the first place.

Regardless of the infighting, the law is the law. According to the statute, all vehicles should stay in the right lane except when passing, avoiding an obstruction or preparing to turn left. But the law excludes highways with three or more marked lanes and one-way roads.

User-contributed question by:
Anonymous

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!


Bookmark and Share

2 Responses to “ When traveling a major road with two lanes in the same direction, does the left lane work as a passing lane?”

  1. On July 7, 2009 at 10:20 am guest 1949 wrote:

    (Regardless of the in-fighting, the law is the law. According to the statute, all vehicles should stay in the right lane except when passing, avoiding an obstruction or preparing to turn left.)

    According to what you quoted above, it only applies IF you are going SLOWER than the posted speed limit.

  2. On July 7, 2009 at 5:24 pm sturtle wrote:

    In North Carolina drivers who over take or pass the slower driver ought to do so curtiously. I notice most who overtake along I-40 immediatly cut off the car being passed. As in returning to the slow lane too soon.
    Drivers -Ed here need to teach drivers how to pass correctly. IE: wait till the car’s headlights are both visible in the rearview mirror. Not side door mirror. Not as soon as you want to. But when your car is at least 3 seconds ahead of the car you just passed.



X
Ask a question
X

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.





Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Yes
Your question:

Post a comment
X

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.





Your comment: