Keep Right Except to Pass | I-95 Exit Guide

“Keep Right Except to Pass” Laws for I-95 States

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-95 corridor, north to south. Enforcement, fines and penalties vary from state to state.

Maine – Keep Right Except to Pass

From: Maine Revised Statutes 29A-2052(6) – “An operator driving on a limited-access way with a speed limit of 65 or more miles per hour is restricted in ordinary operation to the right-hand lane and may use adjacent lanes for overtaking and passing another vehicle, but must return to the right-hand lane at the earliest opportunity. This requirement does not apply to an authorized emergency vehicle, or to a vehicle otherwise directed by posted signs, a law enforcement officer or a highway maintenance crew.”

New Hampshire – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: New Hampshire Revised Statutes 265:16 – “Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:  (a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement;  (b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the way; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the way within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard;  (c) Upon a roadway divided into 3 marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon;”

“Upon any roadway having 4 or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for 2-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under I(b) hereof.”

Massachusetts – Keep Right Except to Pass

From: Massachusetts General Laws 265:16 – “Upon all ways the driver of a vehicle shall drive in the lane nearest the right side of the way when such lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing for a left turn. When the right lane has been constructed or designated for purposes other than ordinary travel, a driver shall drive his vehicle in the lane adjacent to the right lane except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing for a left or right turn; provided, however, that a driver may drive his vehicle in such right lane if signs have been erected by the department of highways permitting the use of such lane.”

Rhode Island – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Rhode Island General Laws Chapter 31-15 – “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. Violations of this section are subject to fines enumerated in § 31-41.1-4. “

Connecticut – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Connecticut Laws Chapter 14-230(b) – “Upon all highways, each vehicle, other than a vehicle described in subsection (c) of this section, shall be driven upon the right, except (1) when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, (2) when overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of the highway, (3) when the right side of a highway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair, (4) on a highway divided into three or more marked lanes for traffic, or (5) on a highway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”

New York – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1120 – “Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (2) When overtaking or passing bicyclists, pedestrians, animals or obstructions on the right half of the roadway; (3) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (4) Where travel on the shoulder or slope is permitted by section eleven hundred thirty-one of this article; (5) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (6) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.”

“Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by signs or markings designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under subsection (a) (2) hereof.”

New Jersey – Keep Right Except to Pass

From: New Jersey SA  39:4-88 – “A vehicle shall normally be driven in the lane nearest the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway when that lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn.”

“Upon a highway which is divided into 3 lanes, a vehicle shall not be driven in the center lane except when overtaking or passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or unless the center lane is at the time allocated for traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is sign posted to give notice of that allocation.”

Pennsylvania – Keep Right Except to Pass

From: Pennsylvania Statutes 75-3301 – “Except as provided in paragraph (2) and unless otherwise posted, upon all limited access highways having two or more lanes for traffic moving in the same direction, all vehicles shall be driven in the right-hand lanes when available for traffic except when any of the following conditions exist: (i) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. (ii) When traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow. (iii) When moving left to allow traffic to merge. (iv) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection, exit or into a private road or driveway when such left turn is legally permitted.”

Delaware – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Delaware Code 21-4114(b) – “Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (3) Upon a roadway divided into 3 marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (4) Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”

“Upon any roadway having 4 or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for 2-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by signs or markings designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under this section.”

Maryland – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Maryland Code 21-301 – “On every roadway that is wide enough, a vehicle shall be driven on the right half of the roadway, except: (1) While overtaking and passing another vehicle going in the same direction, under the rules governing this movement; (2) Where there is an obstruction that makes it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway, but the driver of any vehicle doing so shall yield the right-of-way to any other vehicle that is traveling in the proper direction on the unobstructed part of the highway and is so near as to be an immediate danger; (3) On a roadway that is divided into three or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic, subject to the rules applicable to these roadways; (4) On a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic; or (5) On a roadway that is marked or signposted in a manner indicating that a contrary rule exists.

“Roadway with four or more lanes and two-way movement of traffic.- (1) On any roadway that is divided into four or more clearly marked lanes for vehicular traffic and that provides for two-way movement of traffic, a vehicle may not be driven on the left of the centerline of the roadway, except: (i) Where authorized by a traffic control device designating a lane to the left of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use this lane;”

Virginia – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Virginia 46.2-804(1) – “Any vehicle proceeding at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions existing, shall be driven in the lane nearest the right edge or right curb of the highway when such lane is available for travel except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or where right lanes are reserved for slow-moving traffic as permitted in this section;”

“Except as otherwise provided in subdivision 5 of this section, on a highway which is divided into three lanes, no vehicle shall be driven in the center lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or in preparation for a left turn or unless such center lane is at the time allocated exclusively to traffic moving in the direction the vehicle is proceeding and is signed or marked to give notice of such allocation. Traffic-control devices may be erected directing specified traffic to use a designated lane or designating those lanes to be used by traffic moving in a particular direction regardless of the center of the roadway and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device;”

North Carolina – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: North Carolina Statutes 20-146(b),(e) – “Upon all highways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the highway except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (3) Upon a highway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (4) Upon a highway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”

“Upon any highway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the centerline of the highway, except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the highway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes or except as permitted under subsection (a)(2) hereof.”

South Carolina – Slower Traffic keep Right

From: South Carolina Statutes 56-5-1810(b) – “Upon all roadways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement. (2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway. Any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance so as not to constitute an immediate hazard. (3) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon. (4) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.”

“Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center line of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under item 2 of subsection (a).”

Georgia – Keep Right Except to Pass

From: Georgia Code 40-6-40, 40-6-184 – “Vehicles to drive on right side of roadway; exceptions (a) Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway, provided that any person so doing shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such a distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (3) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (4) Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.”

“Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the center of the roadway except when authorized by official traffic-control devices designating certain lanes to the left of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes or except as permitted under paragraph (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section.”

Florida – Slower Traffic Keep Right

From: Florida Statutes 316.081(2) – “Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows: (a) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (b) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (c) Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (d) Upon a roadway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”

“Upon any roadway having four or more lanes for moving traffic and providing for two-way movement of traffic, no vehicle shall be driven to the left of the centerline of the roadway, except when authorized by official traffic control devices designating certain lanes to the left side of the center of the roadway for use by traffic not otherwise permitted to use such lanes, or except as permitted under paragraph (1)(b).”

Disclaimer: This information may not be the most recent version. Individual states may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to. Please check official sources.