Slow left lane drivers who use the left lane for general travel rather than for the limited purpose of overtaking and passing slower vehicles in the right lane may be violating the Michigan Vehicle Code Law. These so-called “left lane squatters” are required to drive in the right lane unless they are passing.
Enforcing these Michigan left lane laws – and educating drivers about them – is important because drivers who “park” themselves by driving way too slow in the left lane create a dangerous situation for themselves and all the irritated drivers around them. This causes traffic backups and lots of car accidents when drivers try to maneuver to get around these left-lane slow poke drivers.
The blog post is intended to serve as a reminder for all Michigan drivers that the left lane of the highway is reserved for passing motorists – it’s not the lane where you can drive slow, set the “cruise control” and just relax.
What is the Michigan left lane law?
According to the Michigan left lane law, on roadways with 2 or more lanes of traffic going in the same direction, the left lane may only be used to overtake and pass vehicles. However, on freeways with 3 or more lanes of traffic in the same direction, any lane – including the left lane – may be used for travel.
Below are the specific laws for drivers’ use of the left lane on Michigan roadways and freeways:
- The “driver of a vehicle shall drive [his or her] vehicle upon the right half of the roadway except … when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction …” (MCL 257.634(1)(a))
- “Upon a roadway having 2 or more lanes for travel in 1 direction, the driver of a vehicle shall drive the vehicle in the extreme right-hand lane available for travel . . . However, the driver of a vehicle may drive the vehicle in any lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction of travel when the lanes are occupied by . . . vehicles moving in substantially continuous lanes of traffic.” (MCL 257.634(2))
- The law does not “prohibit a vehicle traveling in the appropriate direction from traveling in any lane of a freeway having 3 or more lanes for travel in the same direction.” (MCL 257.634(3))
- “On a roadway that is divided into 4 or more lanes and provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle must be operated within the extreme right-hand lane except if overtaking and passing, and must not cross the center line of the roadway except if making a left turn.” (MCL 257.642(1)(b))
Is it illegal for drivers to drive slow in the left lane in Michigan?
According to Michigan law, it is illegal for drivers to drive slow in the left lane when their speed is “less than is reasonable and proper” given the traffic conditions. Additionally, the law prohibits slow left lane drivers whose speed impedes “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”
Below are the specific Michigan laws that apply to slow left lane drivers:
- “An individual operating a vehicle on a highway shall operate that vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not . . . less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition existing at the time.” (MCL 257.627(1))
- “The minimum speed limit on all limited access freeways upon which a minimum speed limit is not otherwise fixed under this act is 55 miles per hour.” (MCL 257.627(8))
- In the case of slow left lane drivers, Michigan law states “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or to comply with law.” (R 28.1409a – Michigan Administrative Code for the State Police, Bureau: Special Operations Division, Title: Uniform Traffic Code for Cities, Townships, and Villages)
Michigan State Police – ‘Driving in the left lane when not passing’
On its “Traffic Laws FAQs” page, the Michigan State Police states the following:
Q. Is it against the law to drive in the left lane when not passing another vehicle?”
A. Here’s what MCL 257.634 has to say about lane driving. If the road has two or more lanes in one direction, vehicles shall be driven in the extreme right-hand lane. If all lanes are occupied by vehicles moving in substantially continuous lanes of traffic then a driver can use any lane available. A driver may also use the left lane for a reasonable distance when preparing for a left turn. On a freeway having 3 or more lanes, a driver may use any lane lawfully available. MCL 257.642 gives further direction and states in part, “…Upon a roadway with 4 or more lanes which provides for 2-way movement of traffic, a vehicle shall be driven within the extreme right-hand lane except when overtaking and passing, but shall not cross the center line of the roadway except where making a left turn.”
Have questions about slow left lane drivers causing and injuring you in a Michigan car accident? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law now!
Slow left lane drivers on Michigan highways are dangerous and can cause accidents. If you were injured in a car accident due to someone driving too slow in the left lane , call now (800) 968-1001 for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. There is no cost or obligation. You can also visit our contact page or use the chat feature on our website.
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