Trucks and RVs: Move over to the left lane – Why?

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By Jim Twamley
When piloting a big rig like an RV or an 18-wheeler, the general advice is, “Stay in the right lane except to pass.” There may be an exception to this sage advice, as RVers and truckers share something in common besides the road. So why would you move to the left lane?

We both have control of large and heavy vehicles which require more forethought when maneuvering through traffic. Today’s smart and safe RV tip is to merge into the center or left lane when approaching a truck weigh station.

The next time you come to one of these commercial transport weigh stations you’ll notice the truckers who move on over to the center or far left lane. They do this because they know chances are good that a truck will be emerging from the re-entry ramp on the other side of the weigh station as they pass by. They are too large and heavy to accelerate or brake quickly, and if another vehicle is in the left lane preventing them from moving over it could create a problem. So to avoid all this, they simply move over well before they get to the weigh station re-entry ramp.

My advice? RVers should follow suit and practice this same safety procedure.

Related:
Lane-savvy driving – the safe way to travel
Way stations scale locations from AllStays Pro

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Robert
2 days ago

The left lane is the passing lane. Truck drivers who move over to let people merge are not breaking the law. It’s the a-holes who stay in the left that are breaking the law. Those people know they are breaking the law yet they continue to do it. In Texas a video of them hogging the left lane is all it takes to get them a visit from the police.

Wayne
2 months ago

California, Oregon and Washington. Middle lanes and speed as fast as the traffic all the way. Safest place to be.

Ray
2 months ago

I just got done reading the comments on this topic, some informative some respectful some self centered and some just plain stupid. Like the person ticketed in Utah at 2 am for being in the left lane,that just gives LE probable cause to pull you over for a DUI. Or the person has drive left lane so they can control their RV,sounds like a suspension problem. Come on folks whatever happened to common courtesy? I’ve seen a increase of accidents Involving LE, tow truck operators and first responders, yes I move over for truckers, I just fear that the idiot passing on the right is going to cut me off. That’s my opinion. Have a great and safe day.

Nick
2 months ago

What?!? Why would the 18 wheeler not be going into the weigh station. Does he have some kind of special dispensation? I am keenly aware of the need to plan ahead while piloting a 40ft+20ft RV/toad combo. Am I missing something here?

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick

IIn some states, if your company has a good record for not being overweight, good safety record, and pay for a ‘bypass’ pass, you get to stick this thing on your windshield. It sends a signal to the weigh station which in turn recognizes the gadget and you get to not stop at the weigh station. This is especially handy when the line stretches for 20-30 trucks. My company got this wonderful ‘perk’ taken away when some drivers ripped them off the windshield of one truck and pasted them on another truck. Since these were assigned to individual tractors and were not transferrable (and the state discovered this maneuver), that was the end for us. Grrrr.

Ray
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Yes,you are missing alot!!!

Matt Johnson
2 months ago

This is illegal in several states. For example, C*****forina it is illegal to tow anything in any lane other then the far right two lanes, except within a mile of of an interchange requiring you to be in a different lane (but then they usually have a truck bypass you must use). Also in many states the left lane is reserved for passing only. And yes in Utah I got a ticket for that. Even though I was going about 5 over the limit I was written for being in the left lane even though nobody was around me at about 2am.

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Johnson

I think that some states do not repair the horrible pavement in the right lane just so people use the smoother left lane. Then they bust them for being in the left lane.

Actually, I don’t really believe that but it makes for a good story . . .

Phil Atterbery
2 months ago

As for me, I scan the on ramps for merging traffic whenever I’m behind the wheel. On 4 lane interstates I do the same thing, especially since some states believe the left lane belongs to LE & emergency services.
Some of this can be traced back to schools that have dropped drivers ed from the curriculum.

Chris Smith
2 months ago

One other reason is on the long open interstate the harmonics differ with each vehicle. For example I had a 33 foot. Class A that shook like an old egg beater in the right lane in rural Colorado at any speed, but could go 60 to 65 smoothly in left lane. I did look out behind me and move to the right as other faster vehicles overtook me. This was the same issue with my pickup with or without my 22 ft TT attached. Road maintenance in the west varies from almost impassible at any speed to very very smooth. Just my opinion based on experience and many many miles. ( I’m 70)

Gene Bjerke
2 months ago

The same advice applies when passing an exit.

Rich
2 months ago
Reply to  Gene Bjerke

when we’re in an urban area and there are three travel lane i try to stay in the center lane.

Bob McC
2 months ago

Since the speed limit has increased to 80 mph on some freeways which means a lot of vehicles are travelling 90 or more I can not move to the left lane. .I will be rear ended.
I am especially concerned since most do not have lights on. When are Daytime Driving Lights going to become mandatory?

Colin Grant
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob McC

I agree. As a Canadian it has been mandatory for a long time and our cars come that way.

Glenn
2 months ago

Amazing!

Dick & Sandy from near Buffalo, NY now in Florida
2 months ago

I can only speak about my experiences and life lessons. There are good and bad drivers in all types of vehicles, public and commercial. Yes it would be nice if all drivers of any large RVs had some type of driver training and driver education. Fortunately I have been driving on public roads since I was 13 (yes it was illegal but I can say so because that was over 65 years ago). And that leads to the point that you can not buy or teach experience. There are some basic rules of the road for large vehicles that will assist in a better driving experience. Moving over when able near truck weigh stations or any on ramps is always a good idea for almost any vehicle. When there are three lanes available I stay in the middle lane to avoid off ramp traffic,on ramp traffic, any type of vehicle on the right hand shoulder, especially repair, construction and any emergency vehicles on the shoulder. If you are in the right lane and can not move over, please slow down. Stay safe, Stay well

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago

When we head for Quartzsite from northern NV we travel Hwy 95 all the way down, which means through Vegas (Gasp!). 95 is a two laner until you pass the ‘fed’ town of Mercury, then it goes to four lanes. I stay in the right lane. As you head into Vegas lanes begin to appear on your right. A couple more lanes show up on your left as freeways merge. I’ve learned if I just stay in my original lane, eventually all those other lanes disappear and VOILA – I’m in the correct lane to leave Vegas.
I learned this when I was still working and pulling triples through that town. Nobody wants to let a set of triples into their lane!

zipper
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

who’d you work for?

Tommy Molnar
2 months ago
Reply to  zipper

Reddaway, out of Reno.

Bob
2 months ago

Another reason to move over is upcoming overpasses. Clearance is normally higher on the left lane.

Dan
2 months ago

I developed the habit of moving to the left lane of divided highways whenever traffic is trying to merge or enter the highway. I figure it’s easier to give someone else the right lane instead of competing for it. In an urban area with dense traffic it’s often easier to just stay in the left lane. Dense traffic means more dense drivers. This comes from over fifty years of traveling by motorcycle. It’s a matter of self preservation.

Dave
2 months ago

I also notice when you do pass a semi, they will typically flash their headlights on and off to signal that you have enough room to re-enter the right lane in front of them. I have started to do this as well when being passed by large trucks.

Jim B
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

If you do this you will also notice the semi will blink his tails a couple times as a thank you. I usually hit my four way flasher for a couple blinks as I re-enter the right lane as a thank you for that headlight flash.

Rica Shepardson
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Yep, I do this as a courtesy to them as well…some recognize, some do not…but I think it’s a nice thing to do…I also let them get in front of my RV if they have to change lanes due to closure or wreck, and no one wants to let them over…

Engineer
2 months ago

Every Class A owner should be required by law to obtain a Class C Non CDL license before being allowed to leave any dealers lot. Some of the most inconsiderate and dangerous drivers I’ve witnessed are behind the wheel of Class A coaches.

Bob P
2 months ago
Reply to  Engineer

That’s because the biggest thing they’ve driven before then was the toad behind them.

Winnebago Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Engineer

I agree you’re driving a vehicle that just as large as a semi truck. The semi driver had to get training and testing before he could legally drive. The typical Class A motor driver has driven nothing but a sedan his entire life. The RV dealer could care less, as long as he/she doesn’t wreck it on the test drive. Usually the salesperson directs them to take less traveled streets, NOT the interstate.
This special RV drivers license has been brought up by a few states and it is quickly out lobbied by the RV Manufacturers, claiming that RV is a private vehicle. Idea would hurt sales.

Gary
2 months ago
Reply to  Winnebago Bob

“couldn’t” care less… :<)

Gary Mayberry
2 months ago
Reply to  Winnebago Bob

I have a class “A” non-commercial Pennsylvania license. I down-graded from a class “A” commercial CDL license shortly after I retired from the Commonwealth of Pa as a commercial and non-commercial drivers license examiner after more than 17 years. Had no reason to keep the CDL and spend the additional license fee anymore. I can drive any size RV with the “A” non-commercial license.

John
2 months ago
Reply to  Engineer

I once asked a dealer/salesman why there wasn’t a special driver’s license required for RVs of all kinds and he said that the RV industry has a large lobbying group in DC because otherwise they would lose 50% of the business.
Scary.

Bob
2 months ago
Reply to  Engineer

Texas requires a class B or better license for all RV’s with a GVW greater than 26,000 pounds.

Wayne Caldwell
2 months ago

I try to look ahead at all of the freeway access ramps for merging traffic and move over to allow them access when I can. It lets me see and prepare cor slower traffic and gives them room as needed. It makes life easier for everyone involved.

Neil 57
2 months ago

Trucks also move over when the scale is open if they have the prepass electronic bypass system on their truck. This is to allow non prepass trucks to slow and enter scale.