Washington State Patrol Warns Drivers to ‘Know the Rules!’

It’s nearly summer time, which inevitably means that more and more of Washington State residents are going to be hitting the highways for family trips and quick weekend getaways. It also means that many of those people will likely have something to bring with them, such as a trailer or boat hitch.

In an attempt to correct some of the trends the Washington State Patrol has picked up on in recent years, troopers urge the people of Washington State to educate themselves on often overlooked rules of the road.

“Troopers often stop drivers for continuously driving in the left lane and the motorists often state, ‘I didn’t realize it was against the law,’” reads a release from the Washington State Patrol on Wednesday.

Washington State’s Keep Right Law requires the drivers of all vehicles to remain in right lanes except to pass, in addition to prohibiting all vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds or with trailers from driving in the left lane when there are three or more lanes moving in the same direction.

These laws attempt to create a bit of order among drivers who must share the long stretches of Washington State roadways. Slow moving vehicles that drive in the right lane, according to the release, create situations that cause other drivers to make dangerous passes, often because they are impatient. Frustration easily leads to aggressive driving and, therefore, higher risk of a crash.

“We understand it can be frustrating for drivers when you have other motorists camped out in the left lane,” says WSP District 5 Captain Ron Rupke. “But this also doesn’t mean motorists can drive in an aggressive manner or use the left lane to speed.”

Keeping slow moving vehicles out of the left lane also makes the troopers’ jobs easier. “Remember that it is much easier for troopers to stop [speeding drivers] for the violation if the slower moving vehicles are not in the left lane,” the release added.

The Washington State Law for driving in the left lane states that it is a violation to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic. Also, it should be noted that the HOV lane does not count as the left lane.

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