Safe&Sound: Are you a Left Lane Slow Poke?

Is this you? You’re traveling down the left lane of the highway with your windows down, enjoying a beautiful Virginia day, singing along with your favorite new single when suddenly you hear loud honking from behind. You look in your rear view mirror and notice a not-so-nice gesture from the driver behind you. What’s wrong with this guy? Where’s the fire? Does he think he owns the road or something?

Whether you’re on Route I-81, I-95, or another Virginia interstate, come July 1st a new law will be focused on you, possibly to the tune of a $250 fine for left lane dawdling. In fact, Commonwealth law already requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. But adding a new penalty behind it means Virginia law makers are more serious about enforcement.

Our auto claims expert, Bruce, is very concerned about the growing number of traffic fatalities related to distracted and impaired driving, as well as speeding. Last year was the deadliest on Virginia roads since 1966 with 700 deaths for the whole year. 

But he also acknowledges obvious safety issues with drivers traveling under natural flowing traffic speeds on interstates, especially in a lane designated by Virginia law for passing.

So here are 3 things to consider before you poke down the left lane: (If you think your doing more of the honking, we have a blog post for you too!)

1. It’s the law 

Many Virginians don’t know it’s a law. And now you actually might get a pricey ticket for doing it. In fact, every state has “courtesy lane laws” and some, including Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are passing similar legislature to enforce them with increased fines.

2. It’s safer

Staying over to the right allows faster traffic to keep moving on the left and decreases chances of dangerous lane changes by those trying to get around slower drivers. Staying in the left lane to “teach a speeder a lesson” is bound to bring trouble, including road rage. It’s best to mind your own business and let officials enforce speed limits. You can always dial #77 on your mobile phone to report aggressive driving on any of Virginia’s interstates.

3. You’ll feel better and probably get there faster. 

Staying over in the right lanes will not only help you avoid the stress of aggressive drivers, it will also help you save on gas and may keep your auto insurance rates lower. Plus, get this: research shows allowing faster traffic to move freely to the left helps to cut down on gridlock. And every Virginian would feel better about that! 

Let’s hope Virginia lawmakers got it right with passing this new law and will continue to make the Commonwealth’s roadways safer. By keeping slower traffic to the right and obeying posted speed limits, all of us on the roads should be a little more safe and sound. Now, put down that phone!

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