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Failing to Drive in the Rightmost Lane

Drivers often grumble about those who fail to use turn signals when switching lanes or gun their engines when they see a light change at intersections. Ultimately though, one of the biggest complaints is likely to be about drivers who go slow and travel in the left-hand lane when driving on highways and interstates. Under Nevada law, this lane is meant primarily for passing vehicles, and drivers are required to stay in the rightmost lane to ensure traffic flows smoothly. In addition to infuriating other drivers and subjecting you to a ticket, not being in the appropriate lane can also increase your risk for car accidents and injuries.

Why Staying in the Right-Hand Lane Is Important

The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS 484B.200) specifically states that motorists are required to

drive in the right-hand lane as much as possible. Not doing so could result in a traffic ticket for a moving violation that will cost you several hundred dollars, in addition to resulting in up to four demerit points on your driver’s license. If the incident occurs in a roadway construction zone, the penalties are even more severe. The law does allow for five situations in which drivers are permitted to be in the left lane:

  1. When overtaking and passing another vehicle headed in the same direction;
  2. When the right-hand traffic lane is closed due to construction;
  3. When the highway you are traveling on is divided into three lanes, leaving you free to travel in the center lane;
  4. When a highway is designated for one-way traffic;
  5. When the width of the highway itself is not sufficient to accommodate two complete lanes.

Driving primarily in the right-hand lane reserves the left for faster moving traffic and provides a safer, easier way for drivers to pass other vehicles. Passing from the right is more challenging and potentially dangerous, as it is harder for drivers to see oncoming vehicles approaching from the right. Right rear-view mirror images are often distorted and there is likely to be a larger blind spot on that side of the vehicle.

Penalties for Going Too Slow in the Left Lane

In addition to requiring drivers to remain in the right lane, Nevada does penalize drivers for going too slow in the left lane as well. According to the Nevada Driver Handbook, it is illegal to travel in the left lane at less than posted speed limits, other than in the following situations:

  • If you are driving on roads within a city or town;
  • If you are preparing for a left-hand turn at an intersection;
  • If you are directed by law enforcement officials to travel in the left lane;
  • If you are performing official duties or operating an emergency vehicle;
  • If traffic, weather, or road conditions make it unsafe to travel in the right-hand lane;
  • If you are overtaking another vehicle driving in the same direction.

Driving too slowly in the left lane can leave you vulnerable to tailgating, which can lead to a wreck. If you do happen to be involved in a crash, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Las Vegas car accident attorney for help.