Hogging the left lane: Colorado drivers and the law - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Hogging the left lane: Colorado drivers and the law

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A lot of people have opinions on the way other people drive. Answers come quickly when asking people walking down the street about how Colorado drivers treat the left passing lane. "People just treat it as a regular lane instead of using it as a passing lane."

"We got pulled over and we thought what could we have possibly done," said Dana Watts. She and her husband were driving in the left lane and an officer on patrol pulled behind them. While they watched him in the rear view mirror, he counted the number of signs they passed saying the left lane in Colorado is passing only. "He said you got a ticket for hanging out in the left hand lane and we thought what the heck is that."

Watts is not alone. "Last year, 2016 we stopped approximately 4,200 people for the left lane violation," said Colorado State Patrol, Master Trooper David Conway. A large number of citations, but the number is dwarfed by the millions of driver hours that happen on Colorado roads.

You can break down left lane laws across the nation into four categories.

  • Move to the right to let faster traffic pass 
  • Move to the right if moving more slowly than traffic.
  • Move to the right if moving slower than the speed limit.
  • And in Colorado and eleven other states, always move to the right except when passing or turning left.

People on the street say the law is rarely followed in Colorado. “When people take advantage of that left lane it ruins everything."

State Patrol says all the people stacking up in the left lane wanting to go faster end up slowing down traffic with congestion. It also leads to safety issues. "Aggressive lane changing, following to close, passing, bad passing,” said Conway

It is a tough message to sell, but Trooper Conway says more than enforcement, the best solution is willingness among drivers to move on their own to the right. “Just slow down and move over, and leave plenty of following distance congestion would not be a problem.”

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