“Road Rage” Law

Florida “Road Rage” Law

We’ve all been there; driving on a multi-lane roadway when traffic ahead slows. You don’t want to speed but you would like to at least do the speed limit. You pull over into the left lane to pass only to meet another driver in the left lane who is driving slower than the speed limit and holding traffic back. It’s frustrating and, in some instances, dangerous.

A lot of people refer to the left lane as the “fast lane” but there is actually no such thing as a “fast lane”. There is however a passing lane and it’s the far left lane. It exists to allow drivers who want to get around slower moving traffic to pass. The only reason for a driver to be in the left lane is to pass or to make a left turn. Once you have passed the slower traffic, you should move, as soon as it is safe to do so, back into the right hand lane so that others may pass.

Some drivers have the feeling that, “As long as I’m doing the speed limit, I have a right to be in the left lane and anyone who wants to pass me is speeding and needs to slow down.” That’s a dangerous attitude to have.

A recent study of road rage from Expedia revealed that left lane drivers who are driving below the speed limit are the third top reason to get other drivers’ blood boiling, right after texting while driving and tailgating.  Don’t worry texting is still number one.

“SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT.” Signs like this and its closely related cousin (“KEEP RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS”) are posted on highways around the country. The messages might seem like mere suggestions to drivers, but here in Florida it is the law.   Florida State Statute 316.081 makes it a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation for any driver to dawdle in the left lane proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic and who doesn’t get out of the way of approaching vehicles.

This law is designed to cut down on dangerous, aggressive driving and road rage incidents. The goal of this law is to reserve the left lane for faster cars, so that traffic flows smoothly and vehicles have no need to rapidly switch lanes left and right to pass.

The Lady Lake Police Department wants to remind you there are some measures you can take to keep this from happening to you. The easiest adjustment to make is to never drive in the left lane of traffic unless you are passing someone or are planning to exit or turn left within a mile or less. If you are in the left lane, pay extra attention to your rear view mirror; and move over to the right lane if you see a vehicle approaching at a high rate of speed from behind.

Finally, don’t put yourself in a position to get rear-ended. You can get yourself hurt or killed.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.