On most New Hampshire highways, we only have two lanes of traffic. While some of that is set to change in the future with 93 being widened, it still leaves a lot of highways with only two lanes of traffic. In order for things to run as smoothly as possible on these two-lane highways, it’s important not to impede the flow of traffic. What does that mean and how can you avoid it?

Man Driving in a Car

Sections 265:64 (I) and 265:16 (II) state:

“A person shall not drive a vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

“A person driving at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

As of January 2019, drivers who impede the flow of traffic are no longer just a headache — they can be subject to fines starting at $50. The law is also called a “stay-right” law.

While we are all told that we should respect the speed limit within 5 miles per hour over it, we also need to consider the actual flow of traffic on a highway. When you get on a highway, the average speed of the highway can vary, especially based on the weather conditions. Clear skies may lead drivers to travel faster than normal, and you may find yourself pushing eighty to keep up with other drivers. While we don’t encourage anyone to break the law and speed, if you struggle to keep up in the left lane, chances are you are impeding traffic in that lane. What should you do?

The answer is easy: get out of the left lane.

The left lane of any driving area is generally used for overtaking or passing other cars, not for general traveling. Ideally, the left lane, or “fast lane” is only supposed to be used when passing someone else. Someone traveling in the right lane can get into the left lane when needing to pass a slower vehicle, but is expected to exit the left lane when finished with passing. This way any driver that needs to pass another driver can quickly enter and exit, and safely do so.

However, all too often drivers use the left lane to travel in, mostly because of our two-lane system. Drivers can congest traffic and cause backups when they travel too slowly in the left lane. Even if they are traveling the speed limit or slightly over, they can be blocking the proper usage of the lane and causing a massive traffic to build up behind them. Rather than being that person, why not just move over to the right lane and let people pass you?