Picture this: You’re driving down the highway, wanting to pass the slowpoke in front of you, only to realize you’re blocked by an even slower car taking its sweet time in the left lane.
Most of us have gotten frustrated over slow drivers in the left lane before. But what does Indiana law saw about driving in the left lane?
Indiana Law Tells Slow Drivers to Move Over
On July 1, 2015, a new law in Indiana went into effect that required slow vehicles to move out of the left lane if they weren’t keeping up with the speed of traffic.
What does this mean? Essentially, if the speed limit is 55 but everyone around you is going 70, you might be the one pulled over if you’re going 55 in the left lane, not the speeding cars around you.
The goal of the law wasn’t to give a free pass to cars that speed, but instead to ensure “individuals who are driving in the fast lane slowly are properly incentivized to get out of your way,” former State Rep. Jud McMillin told The Indianapolis Star in 2015.
The law doesn’t apply in a variety of situations, including:
- Bad weather
- Traffic congestion
- When paying a toll
- While exiting on the left
- When pulling over for an emergency vehicle
In July 2016, a year after the legislation went into effect, Indiana state troopers reported that they had issued more than 100 tickets to slow drivers in the left lane, according to WNDU. In addition to more than 100 tickets, state troopers also wrote more than 1,500 warnings.
Safety Tips for Passing Other Vehicles
Left lanes are intended to allow vehicles to pass each other. Make sure you’re passing safely by following these safety tips:
- Use your turn signal. Signal at least 100 feet before you make a lane change.
- Make sure that road signs or road markings indicate that it is legal to pass.
- If you are entering a lane of oncoming traffic in order to pass, make sure you have enough time to pass and move back to your lane before you encounter oncoming traffic.
- Maintain a safe distance away from the vehicle in front of you while you’re determining whether or not it’s safe to pass so you don’t accidentally rear end it.
- Use your mirrors and look over your left shoulder to check behind you before you pass to make sure someone else isn’t coming toward you in the left lane.
- If you’re passing a motorcycle, make sure you respect its space. Don’t encroach on its lane as you pass; treat it as you would any other vehicle.
- If you’re passing a semi truck, pass as quickly as possible without illegally speeding. You want to get out of the semi truck’s blind spots as soon as you can.
If someone is trying to pass you, slow down a little bit and let them re-enter the lane ahead of you. Don’t try to speed up, even if you’ve realized that you’ve been driving below the speed limit, until the other vehicle has passed you and re-entered the lane.
What About a Person Turning Left?
Now that you know how to pass and use the left lane safely, you should also learn about what Indiana law says about drivers who get into accidents when turning left.
Many people mistakenly believe that if you get into an accident while turning left, you’ll automatically be found to be at fault in the car accident. That’s just not true.
While the person turning left is more likely to be found at fault because Indiana law requires vehicles that are turning left to yield to oncoming traffic and wait until it’s safe to turn left, the other driver going straight in the accident may be found at fault if they were speeding or running a red light.
Help from an Indiana Car Accident Attorney
Slow drivers in left lanes increase in the likelihood of accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident because someone was driving too slowly in the left lane or was turning left when they shouldn’t have been, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.