In Texas and many other states, the law requires drivers on multi-lane highways to use the left lane only for passing. The intent of the “Texas Slowpoke Law” is to reduce the risk of vehicle crashes and ensure the smooth flow of traffic. But it’s not uncommon to see motorists tooling along in the left lane on highways.
The Texas Department of Public Safety dedicated a day in 2013 to enforcing the left-lane law, mainly to raise awareness of its existence. State troopers issued warnings or tickets to motorists who were staying in the left lane instead of using the left lane to pass.
Texas DPS Sgt. Gordon Schneider told the Houston Chronicle that “a rash of road-rage incidents” had been attributed to people who were driving well below the speed limit while in the passing lane.
Incidences of road rage may begin when a faster driver follows another driver too closely, in an attempt to get the slower driver to move out of the left lane. The leading driver may resent being tailgated and decelerate or refuse to switch lanes. The rear driver may become increasingly angry and in a heightened emotional state, may make poor decisions that could lead to a car crash.
A highway is no place for a battle of wills. Slower drivers who follow the law could avoid becoming entangled in a road-rage incident.
People who live in Austin know that I-35 and MoPac traffic can be nightmarish. Commuters may be stuck in slow-moving lines of cars for what seems like an eternity. In these situations, antsy drivers begin jockeying for a better position.
Assuming traffic is heavy, but moving, a fast driver who switches into the left lane could be caught off-guard by a driver ahead moving slowly. In bumper-to-bumper conditions, the faster driver may not have time to brake adequately when approaching the slower car, and the result could be a rear-end collision or a crash that results from the faster driver’s having to swerve to avoid the car ahead.
Changing lanes frequently is risky, especially when distracted or worrying about getting to the office on time. Aggressive drivers who encounter slow cars in the left lane may make sudden lane changes without checking their blind spots or using their turn signals. They may also switch into another lane without adequate space in front of or behind them – another common precursor to road-rage incidents.
Slower drivers who stay out of the left lane may help reduce the number of cars weaving in and out of traffic.
Slowpoke Law: Common Courtesy
Irritable and inconsiderate motorists make the roads less safe for everyone. To remind drivers about the importance of being respectful, the National Motorists Association designated June as Lane Courtesy Month.
The NMA says lane courtesy improves traffic flow, prevents accidents, and can even reduce gas costs. When cars maintain an even speed and aren’t accelerating and decelerating in traffic, they burn less fuel; maintaining a safe distance from cars ahead can also reduce brake wear commonly associated with stop-and-go traffic.
If you have questions about how left-lane driving laws might apply to your situation, discuss it with The Evans Law Firm. As injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. We offer small law firm attention with big law firm results. Call today at 1-855-414-1012 or use our contact form to find out how we can help you.