How Fast Can You Go in the “Fast” Lane?

Jan 10

Many people like to use the passing lane, or the left lane, so they can get where they need to go faster. But how fast can you go in the “fast” lane, and is it a good idea? Learn more in this article about driving in the fast lane, and if you were in a car accident recently because of another person’s negligence, the Indiana car accident attorneys at Blackburn Romey can help. When you hire one of our trusted injury lawyers, we will take care of all steps in the claim, from investigating the cause, to negotiating with the insurance company and going to trial, if necessary.


Speeds In The Fast Lane

How fast you can go in the passing lane depends on the highway, state, and locality you’re in. You can often drive a few miles per hour faster than other traffic. Police tend to let people go a bit faster than the speed limit to get around slower traffic. But if you go more than 10 MPH over the speed limit in the passing lane, there is a good chance that you will get pulled over. However, there are other reasons you should not drive too fast in the passing lane on the highway.


The Fast Lane Has More Accidents

As the nickname suggests, people tend to go faster in the passing lane, which is usually the far left lane on any highway or interstate. When we drive faster, there tend to be more car accidents, and they also are usually more severe. It takes longer to slow down from faster speeds, and higher speeds mean bigger collisions. Also, it isn’t unusual for people in the passing lane to go 70 or 75 MPH, then they may need to slam on the brakes for someone going slower, which can cause serious crashes.

Additionally, there are more accidents in the passing lane because there are fewer places to go if there is an emergency. If you travel in the middle lane, you can usually move to either side to avoid trouble. If you are in the right lane, you can usually move onto the median in an emergency.


There’s More Road Rage

Unfortunately, many people don’t use the left lane as they should. They may use it for a minute then move back to the right lane, then go back into the passing lane again. This can cause you to cut off other drivers, increasing the chances of road rage. Moving into the left lane occasionally is okay, such as when you come across a slow vehicle like a commercial truck. But doing it always can upset other drivers and lead to accidents.


Should You Speed To Pass The Car In Front Of You?

If the car in front of you is going a few MPH slower than you are and the drivers around you are going much faster, it can be tempting to do the same thing. But as AAA points out, speeding doesn’t usually save you much time, and you are more likely to get pulled over or have an accident.

Speeding is the most common moving violation in the US and there are many penalties if you get a ticket. You will get a hefty fine, and points on your license, and you may have to pay higher insurance rates. If you drive too fast over the limit, you could get a ticket for reckless driving and have to go to court and pay bigger fines and court costs.

If you do decide to move into the passing lane to pass a slower car, there are ways to do it legally and without getting into an accident:


Make Sure It’s Legal

If you are on an interstate or highway, passing slower cars is usually legal. But if you’re on a two-lane road, you should look for a safe time to pass. You also should look for signs that say you shouldn’t pass, and remember that a solid yellow or white line means you shouldn’t pass.


Make Sure It’s Safe

Even if it is legal to pass on the road you are on, you’ll need to use your best judgment to determine if it’s safe. For example, it could be dangerous to pass in these situations:

  • If there isn’t sufficient space for you to speed up to pass, or you are coming up to a curve.
  • If there are too many cars to pass.
  • If the car in front of you is trying to stop or turn.
  • If there is a steep incline in front of you or you don’t have enough sight distance.

You should also remember that accelerating up a hill can affect fuel economy, and passing downhill can make the vehicle harder to control. Also, bad weather can make passing more hazardous. Rain and snow affect the vehicle’s handling and also can affect how others drive. You may be better off waiting to pass when the weather isn’t good.


Pass Properly

With your mirrors, check that the passing lane is free of traffic. Turn on your turn signal, move into the left lane, and pass safely. After you pass the car, use your mirrors to check there is enough space to move back over.


Pay It Forward

Passing people in the passing lane would be easier if everyone would drive as they should. Part of this means driving politely when other cars are passing you. Don’t try to speed up and prevent the person from passing you. If anything, you should slow down so the other car can pass you and return to the right lane. If you drive in this manner, fewer people will speed and there will be fewer accidents.


Contact Our Indiana Car Accident Attorney Today

If you were hurt in a car accident because of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact one of our Indiana car accident attorneys at Blackburn Romey today for a consultation.


Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.