Stay in the “Right Lane”

Fatal Toronto crash

Stay Right

A basic rule of driving safety is to stay in the right lane. It’s not only a good guideline, but in many states it’s the law: stay right unless passing then get back over. Some highways ban commercial vehicles from the far left lane.

The right lane is the traveling lane for commercial vehicles.

Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport has put out a video reminding drivers to stay in the right lane or “right” lane.

There are a number of good reasons the right lane can be safer. One reason is that the right lane less kinetic than the left lane. Traffic is usually a little slower and on a divided highway, there’s more space separating your vehicle from oncoming traffic.

Another important factor is giving yourself an “out” (remember the Smith System), if you need to get over quickly.

If there are multi-lanes going in the same direction, with a lot of heavy traffic leaving the road or merging back on, then sometimes the center lane is a safe bet to avoid stop and go traffic, but leave plenty of following distance in case traffic does stop.

Dec 27 2016 Fatal Bronx Crash

On Dec 27, 2016, three occupants of this pickup traveling in the center lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway were fatally injured when the tractor trailer in front of them stopped, but the one behind them did not. 

Of course there are times you need to go to the left lane. If you are coming up on a left-leading exit, then pre-positioning your vehicle for the exit lane is a good idea.

Tip: Keep white on the right. A solid white line on the right hand side of the vehicle means you are travelling in the correct direction. A yellow line on your right side could indicate you are travelling in an oncoming lane!

It is the law in every state to move over a lane if police or emergency vehicles are in the right lane or on the right shoulder. Even if it’s not the law, it’s a safe driving courtesy to give extra space to broken-down vehicles on the shoulder.

Another good rule to follow is to avoid making any unnecessary lane changes. Lane changes are considered a hazardous maneuver.

In our last blog, a recent single-vehicle collision was highlighted, resulting in a number of steel beams cutting through the cab. Wouldn’t you know it . . . the driver wasn’t in the right-most lane . . .

Left lane collision

Thank you for reading this. Many thanks to Andrew Scharff of Covenant Transport,