Left Lane Loafing – Laws for Proper Use of the Fast Lane

Have you ever been stuck behind a car going slower than the flow of traffic in the fast lane? It seems to happen every day on Utah freeways and there is a law against it. Many drivers don’t even know that a law exists, and if they do, they are not sure what it really means. Let’s take a look at the facts.

The Law

The Utah State Motor Vehicle Code states that:

“The operator of a vehicle traveling in the left general purpose lane shall, upon being overtaken by another vehicle in the same lane, yield to the overtaking vehicle by moving safely to a lane to the right and may not impede the movement or free flow of traffic in the left general purpose lane.” 41-6a-704(2ab)

This means that if a car in the ‘fast lane’ is driving so slowly that cars behind it cannot keep up with the flow of traffic, they have to move over. This law has been on the books since 2008.

What’s New?

Utah Highway Patrol has started stricter enforcement of this law in recent months. They are trying to reduce congestion and accidents on Utah freeways. Signs are posted in the center divide with a clear message: “It’s the Law: Slower Traffic Keep Right.” Utah is one of 6 states with left lane laws.

What Can You Do?

We all have the responsibility to be courteous drivers, even when we are stuck behind a ‘left-lane loafer.’ Keep your cool and be patient. Follow at a safe distance for your own protection and safety.

A Note on Passing to the Right

If you find yourself stuck behind a left-lane loafer, passing on the right MAY BE an option. Before you pass, consider your situation and these rules. If you answer ‘NO’ to any of the following questions, passing on the right is not advised.

  • Can you pass without speeding? Remember that the rules of the road, especially speed limits, apply to this situation as well.
  • Are you in an unrestricted lane? If you are in the carpool lane or other lane where you would have to cross double lines or where changing lanes is illegal, stay where you are. Don’t risk a ticket just to pass a slow driver.
  • Can you pass the car safely? If passing the car could put you or anyone else on the road in harms way, don’t try it.

If you need more information on passing to the right, you can read the state code HERE.

For a closer look into the issue, watch the two-part news piece below, or read the article on FOX 13.

Photo copyright to Nayu Kim 

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

1 Comment

  1. John Doe

    “This means that if a car in the ‘fast lane’ is driving so slowly that cars behind it cannot keep up with the flow of traffic, they have to move over.”

    Really?

    That’s not what it says at all. We should call this the “road rage enabling law”.

    Reply

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