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Ask a Trooper: Use left lane only to pass

Questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota may be sent to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56560. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or email him at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us

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Minnesota State Patrol advice: Use the left lane only when you are passing another vehicle who is traveling below the posted speed limit. It's also the law. And move to the left lane, if it is safe to do so, when another vehicle is entering your lane from an on-ramp. Minnesota Department of Transportation photo

Question: In light of the fact that most drivers exceed the posted speed limit, especially on interstate freeways, will I get a citation for obstructing traffic if I drive the speed limit? This is especially a concern in and around the Twin Cities freeways like Interstate 94, etc.

Answer: You will not get a citation if you are driving the speed limit; however, there is a new traffic law that modernizes existing language related to lane usage.

The law says that when practicable, drivers need to move out of the left lane in order to allow vehicles to pass.

Some drivers might think they can travel over the posted speed limit if they’re impeding traffic under the new law. This is not true. The posted speed limit is the speed limit. Nothing in the modernized law allows vehicles to speed in the left lane.

Unfortunately, not everyone obeys the law and some drivers will exceed the limit. A good way to prevent road rage and to drive with reduced stress is to simply move over and allow others to go around.

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This is why it’s important to be a defensive driver and keep your eyes on the road. It could help you avoid a crash caused by another driver’s unsafe driving practices.

Make it a habit to drive in the right lane and use the left lane only when you are passing another vehicle who is traveling below the posted speed limit. And move to the left lane, if it is safe to do so, when another vehicle is entering your lane from an on-ramp.

This new law was intended to keep traffic flowing at a safe pace with all vehicles traveling at or below the posted speed limit.

Remember that the posted speed limit is not always the safest speed. When visibility is reduced by rain, fog or snow and road conditions are poor due to snow, ice or wet roads, we must drive with due care and reduce our speeds to safely operate our vehicle.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA STATE PATROL
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