Troopers target left lane ‘campers’



    If you drive in the left lane of multiple-lane highways and aren’t passing, be warned: If you do it in Washington state you could be in for a fine.

    The Washington State Patrol is sending a message to drivers — stay out of the left lane unless you’re passing. The patrol is conducting a statewide campaign June 20-22 to curb drivers “camping” in the left lane. 

    Drivers who don’t could get a $136 ticket.

    When motorists stay in the passing lane for long periods, it can lead to road rage, aggressive driving, traffic and congestion, said WSP. Last year, troopers stopped 16,453 drivers who wouldn’t leave the left lane.

    It’s never safe to hold up traffic in the left lane. Even in the slow lane, excessively slow speeds can lead to accidents. Best to go with the flow, being mindful of weather conditions and the speed limit.


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    In California, you MUST use pull outs (if they are available) if five or more vehicles are behind you on a two lane roadway, regardless of your speed. (21655 CVC).

    You can also be cited of you are driving at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. (22400(a)).

    The devil is in the details. Many people believe that if they are driving the speed limit, they can lead a long parade of cars, legally. Not so! “Normal and reasonable movement of traffic” is the key phrase. If you are in the #1 (fast) lane on a four lane freeway and are doing 65 mph, and stacking up traffic, you can be cited.

    In my 29 years of law enforcement, this is probably the most misunderstood traffic law on the books.

    A good example is I-5 in Southern California. During off hours the average speed on some stretches of this freeway is in excess of 80 mph, even though the speed limit is 65 mph. If you are leading a parade of angry drivers in the #1 lane at 65 mph, you could get a ticket. And not to point fingers, but some of you folks driving electric cars have a bad habit of reminding the rest of the motoring public of the legitamacy of your environmental activism by driving the speed limit in the #1 lane. You are not the speed limit police! Move over please!

    The best rule of thumb is to use the #1 (fast) lane for passing only. And on those two lane country roads, do yourself and everybody else a favor and use those turn outs!!

    Note: this is the law in California. As they say, your mileage may vary in your home state.


    So, what WSP said there is… because some people can’t control their tempers or drive anywhere near the supported limit, we should ticket the safer RV driver who is keeping his 80′ rig out of the traffic churn at exits?

    Yep, that’s “government think”…


    Against the motor vehicle code in Texas unless you are passing.


    I agree, impeding traffic can cause irritation and accidents. I often travel on two lane highways and sooner or later I get a little import or underpowered American car behind me who can’t pass safely simply because he was too cheap to spend an extra $10 on a few more horsepower. At 57 feet long with my 5th wheel, how much responsibility do I owe to the guy/gal driving a crap car or one who doesn’t know how to drive.


    I-5 in Washington state is a nightmare. Trucks have one speed while (55?) and cars can go 65. This creates a scenario where trucks use both lanes to constantly pass each other making the faster traffic back up…..lots of frustration and road rage there.

    Robert Steele

    Unfortunately there are far too many highways in this country where the right lane pavement is so broken up that it will beat you to death when towing. Usually the left lane is a little better. I have had to slow to 50 miles an hour in a 70 zone (also a bad idea for safety reasons) in order to mitigate this merciless pounding. For those situations I will move to the left lane as long as there is no one within a mile or so behind.