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ASK A TROOPER: Mostly steer away from left lane on four-lane roads

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lifestyles Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
customer support
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

What’s the deal about driving in the left lane on four-lane roads? It must not be against the law because everyone does it. I always get stuck behind those drivers because they go so slow and ride beside the car in the right lane for long periods of time. I have seen those left-lane drivers cause a lot of problems for other drivers.

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In some states, driving in the left lane of a four-lane road (with some exceptions of course) is against the law, but not in Minnesota. Our law does state that drivers who are driving slower must keep to the right and it is against the law to impede traffic.

Nationally, driver instructors teach drivers not to ride in the left lane of a four-lane road unless passing a vehicle or preparing to make a left turn ahead. We want drivers to leave the left lane open as much as possible. 

One good reason to drive in the right lane instead of the left lane is because the left lane is where we are having the most head-on collisions. Other good reasons include avoiding lane blocking, impeding traffic issues and road rage issues. Many drivers complain about not being able to get past a “Left Lane Louie” or Left Lane Louise.” Traffic flows much better when the left lane is left open for traffic that is traveling faster.  

Make sure you are still moving over to the left lane for right-lane hazards, stopped emergency vehicles, road maintenance vehicles, stalled vehicles, etc. Also, watch all traffic signs for lane closures, lane shifts, road construction and other special driving situations that you may need to adjust to when traveling. Don’t forget about two-lane roads, too. If you drive slower than the speed limit on a two-lane road, you should pull over and stop to let faster vehicles pass.

SEND QUESTIONS regarding motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota to: Ask a Trooper, c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, Minnesota State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN 56401, or email questions to curtis. mowers@state.mn.us with “Ask A Trooper” in the subject line. Questions are edited.

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