Texas law prohibits driving in the left lane of multiple lane roadways unless for the purposes of passing other vehicles or making a left turn.
If you enjoy driving in the fast lane, you may want to think twice before moving to the left.
As you drive across Texas, you will find signs saying the left lane is for passing only, and law enforcement agencies are writing tickets to people who are driving in the left lane.
“This is a reason you will see people pulled over in many areas of the roadway on 44, 77, around this area as well as all over the state,” said DPS Sgt. Nathan Brandley.
Department of Public Safety Sergeant Nathan Brandley, said it’s a law that gets broken as often as speeding, and it is an important measure to improve public safety on Texas highways.
“In order to keep traffic from being backed up, people who are driving in the left lane may be as fast as the people in the right lane or slower, they are going to cause some type of backing up on the traffic, which could cause an accident. We have had a rash reports in larger city areas of this thing happening which ends up turning into road rage. It was one of the reasons that this law was put into affect, yes,” said DPS Sgt. Brandley.
Yet, time and time again some drivers decide to ignore it, and just like speeding, those caught breaking the law could face a fine of up to $200.
“That is not to say that there could be other fees attached if there are other violations that come in with that stop” said DPS Sgt. Brandley.
“Either they don’t realize it is a law, or they are just failing to adhere to the signs that are posted,” said DPS Sgt. Brandley.
In Texas, it’s only the law to use the left lane for passing only in areas where signs are posted.
Drivers can simply avoid the consequences by following the law.
Not obeying the posted signs is considered a Class C Misdemeanor with a ticket fine starting at $200 and going up from there.
Officials add that drivers should not attempt to drive slowly in the left lane to prevent others from speeding.
Drivers are still expected to obey speed limits and all other traffic laws as always.
The maximum speed limit on most interstate and state highways in Texas is 75 miles per hour, although in some areas the speed limit may be higher because of fewer people traveling on certain roads.
Speed limits on state highways can and often are set lower than the maximum and drivers should always be alert for changes in posted speed limits and driving conditions.
Observing speed limits means more than driving faster or slower than the posted speed: it means driving to conditions.
When it’s raining or foggy, when ice is on the road, when traffic is heavy or when road construction is ahead, adjust your speed accordingly.
Watch for signs on Texas multi-lane highways that read “Left Lane for Passing Only.” These signs let you know that the left lane on a divided highway is not a “fast” lane; it is a passing lane.
After you pass someone, move into the right lane once you’ve safely cleared the vehicle. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine of up to $200.
When you approach a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing, state law requires that you:
- move a lane away from the emergency vehicle, or
- slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $200.
Give Yourself a Break
If your eyes close or go out of focus, you can’t stop yawning, your thoughts wander or you’re drifting between lanes, wake up: you’re a “drowsy driver.” Stay alert by doing the following:
- Get plenty of rest before your trip.
- Get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs every two hours. Rest for 15-20 minutes during each stop.
- Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Don’t drink and drive – even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment and your reaction time.