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Is It Ever Legal for a California Driver to Pass on the Right?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Richard Alexander

When a driver sees a slow moving car in the left lane, they are presented with a choice: wait until the driver moves to the right lane, or pass them on the right. In this situation, it’s usually more tempting to pass them on the right, but is that always legal?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is almost always yes in California, although there are guidelines as to when drivers are allowed to pass on the right. Also, just because someone is allowed to pass on the right doesn’t mean he/she can break any other laws in the process (no speeding, driving on sidewalks, etc.). If the vehicle being passed on the right is making a left turn then it’s legal to pass them on the right. This is a fairly simple and smart rule since a driver turning left may have to stop before they turn.

Passing on the right is also allowed on one way streets. Highways are a little bit more complicated. In highways outside of a business or residence district, there has to be multiple unobstructed lanes moving in the same direction. Highways inside business or residence districts only require that there is enough room for two or more lanes of cars in the same direction. The lanes do not need to be marked by lines. Passing on the right is also allowed on highways that are divided into two separate roadways where each one moves in only one direction.

It is worth noting that all of these laws only apply to California. If you leave the Golden State the rules differ and it would be wise to research the rules of the specific state you will be going through to make sure that you obey all of its traffic laws. It’s also important to note that even though drivers are allowed to pass on the right in any of these scenarios, slow moving drivers still have the duty of moving as far to the right as they are able to.

If you or someone you know was severely injured in an accident while driving, contact Alexander Law Group, LLC. Our lawyers will work to get you the maximum settlement possible.

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