Tag Archives: left lane travel

Trooper tackles left-lane ‘camping’ head on

Raise your hand if you’ve found yourself in this situation: cruising down the highway, you come upon a car camping out in the left lane, the driver seemingly oblivious to his responsibility to move into the right lane of traffic.

I think we’ve all been there, staring at the bumper of a clueless motorist (And maybe some of us can admit that we, too, have forgotten to get over).

But here’s the bottom line: left lane camping is illegal.

Troopers do pull over motorists for hanging out in the left lane. They’re often met with this answer: “I didn’t realize it was against the law.”

The state law is quite clear. RCW 46.61.100, section 4 states “It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.”

Here’s the rules, the state patrol said in a press release:

Washington State’s Keep Right Law requires all vehicles stay to the right except to pass and the left lane is used primarily as a passing lane when there are two or more lanes moving in the same direction.  All vehicles towing trailers or vehicles over 10,000 pounds are prohibited from using the left lane when there are three or more lanes moving in the same direction.

“We understand it can be frustrating for drivers when you have other motorists camped out in the left lane,” said WSP Captain Ron Rupke, District 5 commander.  “But this also doesn’t mean motorists can drive in an aggressive manner or use the left lane to speed.”

Slower moving vehicles traveling in the left lane create unsafe conditions which can include:
•  Causing other drivers to make dangerous passes on the right side.
•  Frustration with the left lane drivers leading to aggressive driving.
•  Slower response time for emergency vehicles responding to collisions or calls for service.

Allowing faster moving traffic to pass is always the best choice.  Frustrated drivers that travel in an aggressive manner often choose to weave in and out of cars that travel “too slow” by their standards.  Remember that if a driver chooses to exceed the speed limit in the left lane it is much easier for troopers to stop them for the violation if the slower moving vehicles are not in the left lane.

The law for left lane travel (RCW 46.61.100 – Keep right except for passing) states it is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.  The left lane does not include high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.  The fine for failure to keep right except for passing is $124.

When there are three or more lanes moving in the same direction, additional restrictions are placed upon all vehicles towing trailers or vehicles over 10,000 pounds.  These vehicles are prohibited from using the left lane except to prepare for a left turn at an intersection or exit ramp.  These restrictions do not apply to a vehicle using an HOV lane.  The HOV lane is not considered the left-hand lane of a roadway.  The fine for illegal use of the left lane is $124.

On certain stretches of interstate freeways and state highways, speed limits are posted for passenger cars and trucks.  The word “trucks” on signs giving notice to maximum speed limits means vehicles over 10,000 pounds and all vehicles in combination.  This restriction applies to all vehicles towing a trailer regardless of the size of vehicle or trailer (RCW 46.61.410).  Fines for speeding are based on miles per hour over the posted speed limit.