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Old 03-14-2016, 09:21 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,791 times
Reputation: 18

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I was driving along a city street, 2 lanes and was in the left lane. A truck pulls in front of me, coming very close to my right bumper. I tapped my horn to let him know it was very close. I continued to drive another block and get into the left hand turn lane. The other driver is waiting for me and rolls down his window. I was stupid and decided to roll down my window to see what he wanted. He tells me that the left lane is for passing only. I was going the speed limit (35) and there was very little traffic (residential street @ 10 am). I thought that was bull but then he flashed his police badge ( I think since I couldn't see it that well and vehicle was not marked). I then ignored him. Is he correct, is the left lane in a residential street only for passing?
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:16 AM
 
757 posts, read 1,332,758 times
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In some states, the law is clear you need to stay right unless passing. Virginia isn't that clear. They say that you need to stay right if moving slower than traffic at the time or if someone is over taking you, neither which appears to be the case in your situation, so while it is good practice to stay right and in some states you would be breaking the law, I don't believe you were in VA. Note I'm not a lawyer.


Here's the applicable code:

46.2-804. Special regulations applicable on highways laned for traffic.

Bills amending this Section
For the purposes of this section, "traffic lines" includes any temporary traffic control devices used to emulate the lines and markings in subdivisions 6 and 7.
Whenever any roadway has been divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic, drivers of vehicles shall obey the following:
1. Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, shall be driven in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or where right lanes are reserved for slow-moving traffic as permitted in this section;

46.2-842.1. Drivers to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highways.

It shall be unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic when driving a motor vehicle to the left and abreast of another motor vehicle on a divided highway. On audible or light signal, the driver of the overtaken vehicle shall move to the right to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass as soon as the overtaken vehicle can safely do so. A violation of this section shall not be construed as negligence per se in any civil action.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,027 posts, read 19,853,706 times
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He was wrong. You were on a city street, not a highway. On a highway, yes, the left lane is for passing.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:41 AM
 
529 posts, read 541,888 times
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I have seen in some states, it's clearly marked in freeways that Left lane if for passing only (for e.g. PA).
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:46 AM
 
757 posts, read 1,332,758 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
He was wrong. You were on a city street, not a highway. On a highway, yes, the left lane is for passing.
Virginia vehicle code almost never distinguished between a city street and what you would call a highway. For law purposes, a highway is just about any roadway within the state, as defined below:

"Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel in the Commonwealth, including the streets and alleys, and, for law-enforcementpurposes, (i) the entire width between the boundary lines of all private roads or private streets that have been specifically designated "highways"by an ordinance adopted by the governing body of the county, city, or town in which such private roads or streets are located and (ii) the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place used for purposes of vehicular travel on any property owned, leased, or controlled by the United States government and located in the Commonwealth.
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Chicago IL
472 posts, read 513,568 times
Reputation: 495
Rule of thumb is to just let people pass in the left lane, and yield to faster traffic. It's not your job to enforce the speed limit.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:02 AM
 
16,722 posts, read 14,608,301 times
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Just move over if you have no good reason to be in the left lane.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,427,128 times
Reputation: 1033
Seems to me the OP had a perfectly good reason to be in the left lane. He was going to be making a left hand turn very shortly. The notion of reserving the left lane for passing is good in theory and works well in uncongested and ideal driving conditions. In general, I personally try not to drive in the left lane unless I'm passing or know I will be making a left hand turn in relatively short order - but, if I'm in a congested driving environment, and my left hand turn may not be coming up for a mile or two, I'm not going to move over to the right lane so some jerk who wants to exceed the speed limit can beat me to be next red light. It's pointless and, moreover, changing lanes often, particularly in a congested and/or high speed environments, is a pretty common cause of accidents.

OP doesn't sound like he was driving in congested or high speed conditions, but he was about to make a left hand turn. The other driver sounds like the dangerous driver cutting in front of you to make a point and then subsequently lecturing you and flashing some badge, which I doubt was a police badge. I would have had a tough time not waiving at him with only one finger.
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Old 03-14-2016, 01:45 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,791 times
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Thanks for everyone's response. Normally I do drive on the right lane but I was only driving 2 blocks total before I had to turn left so I didn't think I needed to be in the right lane for what felt like to me, a short distance. I guess I will have to shorten the distance I feel justified in traveling in the left lane when I anticipate an upcoming left turn.

That is interesting that Virginia do not distinguish between city streets and highways.
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Old 03-15-2016, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
3,829 posts, read 2,782,202 times
Reputation: 3680
Quote:
Originally Posted by frostopsy View Post
Rule of thumb is to just let people pass in the left lane, and yield to faster traffic. It's not your job to enforce the speed limit.


Forcing people to pass on the right is dangerous.
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