Keep Right Unless Passing
The Massachusetts State Police will use the month of June to further educate motorists about the dangers of improperly using the left lane for travel on our highways. In accordance with Massachusetts General Law 89-4B: Motorists are required to "drive in the lane nearest the right side of the way when such lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle".
Notwithstanding the requirement of the law to keep to the right, significant reasons for keeping to the right include the following:
A motorist who uses the left lane strictly for travel may find themselves exceeding the posted speed limits. Motorists should only use the left lane to pass other motorists. Then they should return their vehicle to the right lane when it is safe to do so after passing.
" Smoother flow of traffic."
Slower moving vehicles improperly using the left lane results in increased travel times for all motorists. These same motorists improperly using the left lane may force other motorists to improperly pass them on the right.
" Safer accessibility for emergency vehicles."
When an emergency exists, it is imperative that responding emergency vehicles have an avenue to respond. Improper use of the left lane often leads to longer response times for emergency personnel. It is imperative that emergency personnel are not impeded during their response to a scene because seconds can make the difference between life and death in many instances.
" Aggressive operators."
A large number of road rage incidents begin when drivers become irritated as they attempt to get around slower moving vehicles that are improperly using the left lane. These irritated drivers sometimes abruptly change lanes. This can cause serious crashes and often escalates driving incidents. Some of these escalated driving incidents result in injury or death. Nearly all lead to criminal charges.
As a final reminder, proper use of our highways' travel lanes will result in greater traffic safety, more efficient traffic flow and shorter travel times for all motorists.