If you ask your friends to list their biggest highway pet peeves, slow driving in the left lane will probably be near the top.
But it’s not just annoying and frustrating – slow driving in the left lane is illegal, and it’s dangerous.
South Carolina law requires drivers to travel in the right lane except when passing, when approaching an emergency vehicle on the right, or when the right lane is closed or blocked. Anyone ticketed for using the left lane inappropriately can be fined $100.
In some cases, driving in the left lane when a car is not passing can be evidence of liability against the other driver. Or, it could be evidence of liability against you that may reduce or bar your recovery at trial…
Pending Legislation in SC to Increase Fines for Driving in the Left Lane
SC lawmakers are considering a bill that would add $200 to the fine for driving in the left lane while not passing. It is unclear if the measure would make much of a difference, though, since the existing law is rarely enforced.
State troopers wrote 1,132 tickets for driving in the left lane in 2017, and anyone who drives on SC interstates knows that number represents only a fraction of slow drivers in the left lane.
Sen. Ross Turner, R-Greenville, who proposed the new bill, says he isn’t sure how the measure would be enforced but hopes the increased fine will encourage drivers to move over.
What’s Wrong with Driving Slow in the Left Lane, Anyway?
When everyone stays in the right lane except when they need to pass – and then moves back to the right lane after getting around slower vehicles – traffic moves much more smoothly.
Slow drivers in the left lane cause other drivers to constantly speed up and slow down. When they cannot pass because someone is moving slowly in the left lane, they will start switching lanes quickly, looking for a break.
They may start following too closely, and as more drivers do the same behind them, traffic backs up, cars travel too close to each other, cars start passing each other in the right lane, and the likelihood of an accident goes up significantly.
Why Should Speeders Get Preferential Treatment?
But, the speed limit is the speed limit. Why should I have to stay in the right lane if I’m doing the speed limit? Why should people who are breaking the law by speeding get their own lane?
According to the SC Highway Patrol, anyone driving the speed limit is legally justified to use the left lane. However, the left lane is intended for passing, and, when people just cruise there, it causes traffic disruptions and increases the risk of accidents.
The best ways to prevent accidents on the highway are to lose our ego while driving and to follow the rules of the road. Stay in the right lane unless you are passing, and do not be the one who causes a multi-car accident on the freeway…
SC Highway Accident Personal Injury Lawyers in Myrtle Beach
The SC auto accident attorneys at Coastal Law will help you to determine who was at fault in your accident and collect the evidence – such as a citation for driving in the left lane – to prove the other driver’s liability.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.