Daily Archives: March 11, 2010

Right of passage

I’m channeling my buddy Ryan McKeen here, but, the other day on the local listserve someone mentioned that a client had been given a ticket for “passing on the right“. It’s one of those things that we all do (you can admit it here, we’re all friends), like “following too closely” and don’t ever expect to get ticketed.

But since there are over a thousand crimes on the books, passing on the right being one of them* should come as no surprise. Being the intrepid blogger, it is my duty to inform you of the following:

The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only when conditions permit such movement in safety and under the following conditions: (1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or has signified the intention to make a left turn; (2) when lines of vehicles traveling in the same direction in adjoining traffic lanes have come to a stop or have reduced their speed; (3) upon a one-way street free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles; (4) upon a limited access highway or parkway free from obstructions with three or more lanes provided for traffic in one direction. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the highway except where lane designations, signs, signals or markings provide for such movement. Violation of any provision of this section shall be an infraction.

So, to break this down, you can pass on the right pretty frequently and in most driving conditions. For example, subsection (2) is horribly ambiguous. What does “lines of vehicles” mean? For that matter what does “reduced their speed” mean? If I’m in the left lane of a two-lane highway and the cars ahead of me start to slow down, from say 70 to 50, can I switch to the right lane to overtake? I assume the use of the plural “vehicles” eliminates an argument that the stupid car ahead of me was going 70 in a 65 zone and I’m late to work dammit so get out of the f*cking way you damn red Nissa-oh, hi there.

Subsection (4) is great to know. Most highways in CT have 3 lanes in some stretches; some like interstate 91 have 3 lanes for most of their journey. I shall pass on the right with impunity henceforth.

You can thank me later.

[Apparently, this is quite the hot-button issue that perplexes many. Check out the Google result for the search.]

*yes, I know that an infraction isn’t a “crime”, but stop getting in the way of my flow.