Minnesota’s new “left-lane law” makes it one of 14 states that ticket drivers who don’t move into the right lane to allow faster traffic to pass on the left. The penalty – a $50 fine plus court costs – puts teeth into laws already on the books requiring slower traffic to keep to the right lane of travel. Minnesota State Troopers wrote 88 tickets and warnings for left lane violations in the first 10 days after it became law on August 1, 2019. While some left-lane hogs seem to believe that using their own vehicle to keep the speed down in the left lane is an act of public service, the truth is such behavior may lead to more car crashes than simply moving over for faster vehicles to allow traffic to flow more freely.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one in a crash, we strongly recommend you contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. A good car accident attorney will investigate to establish all the factors leading to a crash, including any violations of traffic laws. He or she will work with insurance companies directly, allowing you to focus on recovering and rebuilding your life.
Following the “Slower Traffic Move Right” rule cuts down road rage incidents. We’ve all seen it happen: Drivers who feel stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle respond by engaging in dangerous behavior such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and racing forward at high speeds whenever a stretch of open road becomes available. Aggressive lane changes and speed variances create chaos for those nearby.
Drivers who move over when it is safe to do so and who maintain a steady speed reap other benefits beyond greater road safety: They enjoy a less stressful driving experience, save gas, and may even arrive at their destination more quickly, thanks to avoiding traffic jams that can form when vehicles move slowly across all lanes.
What Do You Need to Know About Minnesota’s New Left-Lane Law?
Here’s a rundown of the new “slowpoke” law in Minnesota:
When am I required to move to the right?
The new law says that when you’re driving on interstates or multi-lane roads, you must move out of the left-most lane to allow another vehicle to pass. You should only change lanes when it is safe to do so, and if you are in the process of passing slower traffic, you can complete your passing maneuver before you move into the right lane. If another vehicle comes up behind you as you’re passing a long string of vehicles, move over when practical to allow the speedier car to go by.
What about smaller roads?
A less-publicized portion of the new law states that when you are on a road with only one lane in the direction of travel and are driving so slowly you are creating a traffic hazard, you must move “as close as practicable” to the right-hand curb or edge of the road.
Does the new law make speeding ok?
No. Nothing in the left-lane law allows a driver to exceed the speed limit.
What if I need to make a left turn?
Drivers preparing to make a left turn or to use an exit on the left side of a controlled-access highway are allowed to stay in the left lane. Motorists must signal their intention to turn for at least 100 feet before the turn. The slowpoke law also does not apply to a lane that is designated for a specific type of traffic.
Does this mean I should no longer move over for parked emergency vehicles?
The “move over” law requires drivers to move into lanes farthest from authorized vehicles with activated flashing or warning lights that are stopped on the side of a road, or to slow down if lane changes aren’t possible. You should still follow this law, notwithstanding the left-lane law.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident * and it was the other driver’s fault, contact us today. Suk Law Firm has focused exclusively on personal injury law since 1988. We’ve recovered more than $125 million on behalf of victims, and we are ready to assist you.
Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”