“Keep Right Except to Pass” Laws for I-5 States

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Keep Right Except to Pass | I-5 Exit Guide

Driving slowly in the fast lane is more than just annoying, it’s also illegal in many states. The left hand lane of an Interstate highway is designated as the passing lane. The right lane in this system is called the travel lane. If there are 3 or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction the far left lane is designated as the passing lane. The far right lane is typically used for those to safely enter or exit the highway at speeds less than the speed limit. The center lane or lanes are the travel lanes. Consider right to left lanes as slowest to fastest.

Below are excerpts from laws and statutes for the individual states that comprise the I-5 corridor. Enforcement, fines and penalties vary from state to state.

California: Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: California Vehicle Code, Division 11m Chapter 3, Article 1 – “Notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits, any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.”

Oregon: Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Oregon 2017 ORS 811.315 Failure of slow driver to drive on right – “A person commits the offense of failure of a slow driver to drive on the right if the person is operating a vehicle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing and the person fails to drive: (a) In the right-hand lane available for traffic; or (b) As close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

“This section does not apply under any of the following circumstances: (a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing passing in ORS 811.410 (Unsafe passing on left) to 811.425 (Failure of slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle). (b) When preparing to turn left at an intersection, alley or private road or driveway.”

Washington: Keep Right Except to Pass

From: Washington 46.61.100 – “Keep right except when passing, etc. upon all roadways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, except (a) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (b) when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow, (c) when moving left to allow traffic to merge, or (d) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit, or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted. On any such roadway, a vehicle or combination over ten thousand pounds shall be driven only in the right-hand lane except under the conditions enumerated in (a) through (d) of this subsection.”


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