Passing on The Right Is Dangerous

On behalf of The Berger Firm June 22, 2020

You’re driving along on the interstate, passing people in the left lane. Then you come up behind a slow driver who has camped out in the left lane and refuses to move over. Why they are in the passing lane is unclear, as they’re going 10 miles per hour under the speed limit.

What should you do? Most drivers just feel annoyed, switch to the right lane, pass on the wrong side, and then switch back to the left lane to pass the next car. It’s something we have all seen happen or that we have experienced ourselves. But should you do it?

You really shouldn’t, just as that other driver should not be in the left lane when they’re not passing someone. The reason is that passing on the right is more dangerous. It congests traffic, especially if other cars are trying to enter or exit the highway on that side.

It also forces you to make one or two unnecessary lane changes. Changing lanes is so dangerous that it’s something you want to do as little as possible. Some studies have found that a mistake during a lane change in the United States leads to a car accident every two minutes. Clearly, staying in the same lane as much as possible is better for everyone.

That said, you’re not in the wrong here. The other driver is. They are supposed to keep right except to pass. They should move over when they see you behind them. If they do not do so, or if they make other mistakes that directly lead to an accident, be sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation.