Passing Lanes in Texas Aren’t Fast Lanes

by Terry Bryant

Many drivers in Texas view the left lane as a “fast lane” that allows them to speed past other vehicles to reduce travel times. Some drivers get in the left lane and drive slower than other cars, causing frustration and congestion. Being in the left lane does not give you permission to break the speed limit or to drive slower than surrounding traffic. This lane is designed only for passing.

Driving Too Fast in the Left Lane

Driving too fast in the left lane allows you to pass multiple vehicles and get to your destination faster, but speeding poses a risk of accidents and injuries. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was a factor in more than one-fourth of all fatal car accidents in 2016, leading to a total of 10,111 deaths during that year.

Speeding is also illegal. Failing to follow the speed limit in Texas, whether you are in the left lane or another lane, can lead to expensive traffic tickets, points on your license, and higher insurance rates.

Driving Too Slow in the Left Lane

Driving too slow in the left lane can also have negative consequences for everyone on the road. When you engage in “slowpoke” driving or “left-lane camping,” you block the natural flow of traffic, preventing faster drivers from passing slower ones. This leads to increased congestion on the highway, which can raise the risk of accidents. Driving slowly in the left lane is also frustrating for other drivers who wish to drive at higher speeds. This can result in road rage, tailgating, and passing on the right, all of which are dangerous behaviors that make accidents more likely to occur.

In some states, driving slow in the left lane is even illegal, but  in the state of Texas, no such “slowpoke law” exists. Nonetheless, driving too slowly in the left lane is never a good idea and can even lead to catastrophes.

Using the Left Lane Safely

Using the left lane safely is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of accidents on the highway. When driving in the left lane, always remember to:

  • Drive the speed limit.  Even though you are in the left lane, it is not a “fast” lane. Speed limit laws still apply and should be obeyed even when passing other vehicles.
  • Move over for faster traffic.  If you aren’t actively passing another vehicle, stay out of the left lane so it will remain open for cars traveling at higher speeds.
  • Drive defensively.  Even if you are using the left lane properly, other drivers may not follow the same rules. Pay attention to other drivers’ behavior so you can react accordingly.

Taking Action after an Accident

Even when you take precautions on the road, accidents can still occur. If you have been involved in an automobile accident that was caused by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. For example, if a driver speeding in the left lane caused a crash that led to injuries and property damage, you may be able to recover damages from that driver. To learn more about filing a claim after a car accident, please contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today to schedule a free consultation.