June is Lane Courtesy Month

June 9th, 2016 by Attorney Julie Butcher

Courtesy can be a rare commodity on the roads today, but it’s key to keeping traffic moving smoothly and safely. June is Lane Courtesy Month, according to the National Motorist Association. It’s the practice of using the left lane on highways and interstates only when passing slower vehicles. The right lane is the travel lane.

There can be any number of reasons for drivers to travel in what is meant to be the passing lane:

  • A driver may feel that if there’s a speed limit and his vehicle has reached that speed it should be OK to drive in any lane.
  • Some believe that traffic flows better in the right lane.
  • A motorist might feel it’s safer to travel in the left lane to avoid vehicles entering the highway from the right.
  • Some may not realize which lane they are in due to distraction, fatigue, intoxication or inattentiveness.

If we stay to the right, pass only in the left and show each other lane courtesy this and every other month, it will help make for safer, more efficient and friendlier roads.

  • You may be a firm believer in speed limits, but other drivers will break that limit; and two wrongs (one vehicle speeding and a slower driver both in the passing lane) will not make a right — it will make driving dangerous.
  • By not obstructing faster moving vehicles, traffic flows smoother, which leads to less congestion, less travel time and fewer accidents.
  • We will enjoy better fuel mileage from steadier speeds.
  • There will be less stress and frustration, leading to less road rage.

When the left lane is used by a vehicle going the same speed as, or slower than, the traffic flow it may cause a number of safety problems. Commercial trucks are especially challenged when there’s a left lane sightseer.

  • On a two-lane highway, faster commercial trucks will need to pass on the right in the same lane where vehicles are trying to speed up to merge onto or slow down to exit the highway.
  • With slower vehicles in the left lane, faster commercial trucks will need to weave back and forth between lanes, creating a danger to those in the trucks’ blind spots.
  • If the truck is following too closely to a slow vehicle in the passing lane and the driver of the slower vehicle “brake checks” a commercial truck, it might rear-end the vehicle or the truck may lose control trying to avoid a collision.

When we’re on the road, we need to understand we’re not the only ones trying to get where we need to be. Lane courtesy is just one way we can work together so we can all reach our destinations safely. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a driver improperly using the left lane in Kentucky, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form to talk about your case and your legal options.