The left lane is not just another travel lane.
The other day I was driving south on the Spaulding turnpike, just south of exit 9, when a police car, with his lights and siren on passed me in the left lane. I watched as the police officer was forced to apply his brakes when a driver refused to yield to the right, and the officer had to pass him on the right when there was sufficient space to get around him. I was surprised to see someone blatantly violating the law and obstructing the forward progress of a patrol car that was obviously responding to an emergency. RSA 265:16 states that “Upon all roadways any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall be driven in the right-hand lane then available for traffic, or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, 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.” Notice that it does not say less than the speed limit. Even if another vehicle is exceeding the speed limit, you must by law yield to the right unless you are overtaking and passing another vehicle. If you are traveling at the same speed as the driver to your right, then you are not overtaking and passing them, and should speed up and move over so that others can get by. Lane courtesy, the practice of yielding the left lane to faster moving traffic, strongly influences highway safety, traffic flow, congestion, and the entire driving environment. Disregarding lane courtesy creates more congestion, and in turn, it contributes to speed fluctuations, both of which increase overall fuel consumption and increase your chances of getting into an accident. When driving on our highways, please drive with courtesy and yield the left lane to faster moving traffic. For more information on how you can make your driving experience safer and more efficient, please go to www.motorists.org.