State "keep right" laws

All states allow drivers to use the left lane (when there is more than one in the same direction) to pass. Most states restrict use of the left lane by slow-moving traffic that is not passing. The table below describes the law in effect in each state.

A few states permit use of the left lane only for passing or turning left. These have "yes" in the "keep right" column. Some states require drivers to move right if they are blocking traffic in the left lane. These have "yield" in the "keep right" column. Most states follow the Uniform Vehicle Code and require drivers to keep right if they are going slower than the normal speed of traffic (regardless of the speed limit; see below). These are listed as "slower". A few states either do not require vehicles to keep right ("no"), or permit vehicles moving at the speed limit to drive in the left lane regardless of traffic conditions ("< SL").

State "Keep Right" Laws
StateKeep Right?LawComments
Alabama Slower


Alaska < SL

13 AAC 002.50(b)

Arizona Slower


Arkansas Other


Law prohibits obstructing traffic by driving continuously in the left lane.
California Slower

CVC 21654(a)

The duty of slower traffic to keep right applies "notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits."
Colorado Slower 42-4-1001(2), 42-4-1103(3), 42-4-1013

The left lane is reserved for passing where the speed limit is 65 or higher. A state brochure discusses the law.

Connecticut Slower


Passing on right on Interstate prohibited when only two lanes: 14-233(4)

Delaware Slower


Florida Yield

316.081(2) and (3)

Slower traffic keep right and all traffic yield left lane to traffic approaching from behind.
Georgia Yield

40-6-40(b), 40-6-184

Slower traffic keep right and (since 2014) all traffic yield left lane to traffic approaching from behind.
Hawaii Slower


Honolulu prohibits driving more than 5 MPH under the limit in the left lane. ROH 15-7.4.

Idaho Slower


Illinois Yes

625 ILCS 5/11-701(b), (d)

Keep right except to pass on limited access highways since January 1, 2004.
Indiana Usually


As of July 1, 2015 the left lane of a multilane highway is for passing.

Iowa Slower


Kansas Yes

8-1522(c) 8-1514(b)

Keep right except to pass on rural roads since July 1, 2009.
Kentucky Yes


Keep right except to pass where speed limit is at least 65.
Louisiana Yes

R.S. 32:71

On multilane highways keep right except to pass and move right if blocking overtaking traffic.
Maine Yes


Keep right except to pass where speed limit is at least 65.
Maryland < SL


Keep right if driving 10 MPH under speed limit, or slower than speed of traffic if conditions require speed below limit
Massachusetts Yes

MGL 89-4B

Passing on right prohibited on undivided two-way road, MGL 89-2.

Michigan Maybe


Keep right except to pass except in heavy traffic or on freeways with three or more lanes.
Minnesota Slower


Mississippi Slower 63-3-603(d)
Missouri Right

304.015 5(3), 6

Montana Slower


Nebraska Slower


Nevada Slow


Slow-moving vehicles must move right if "imped[ing] ... movement of traffic."
New Hampshire Slower

RSA 265:16

New Jersey Yes


Keep right except to pass. Passing on right prohibited unless vehicles are in "substantially continuous lines." 39:4-85.
New Mexico Slower


New York Slower

V&TL 1120

North Carolina < SL


Keep right if below speed limit. Some highways are posted "slower traffic keep right."
North Dakota Slower


Ohio < SL


Oklahoma Slower

47-11-301, 47-11-309

One law requires vehicles below the speed limit to keep right. Another requires vehicles below the normal speed of traffic to keep right.
Oregon Slower


Pennsylvania Usually 75-3313(d), 75-3301(b) May also use left lane to allow traffic to merge or "when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow."
Puerto Rico < SL Title 9 §5123
Rhode Island Slower


No passing on right on two-way street. 31-15-5.

South Carolina Slower


South Dakota No


Only "slow moving vehicles" need to keep right.
Tennessee Slower 55-8-115(b)

Yield to faster traffic in left lane effective July 1, 2016.

Texas Slower


Most rural interstates are posted "left lane for passing only" pursuant to 544.011. Passing on right prohibited except on one-way roadways. 545.057.

Utah Yield

41-6a-701, 41-6a-704

Must move right to let faster traffic pass.
Vermont Slower


Virginia Yield

46.2-804(1) 46.2-842.1

Yield left lane to faster traffic on signal. State police say this applies even when faster traffic is speeding.

Washington Usually


May also use left lane to allow traffic to merge or "when traveling at a speed greater than the traffic flow."
West Virginia Slower


Wisconsin Slower 346.05(3)
Wyoming Slower


Since July 1, 2005, it is illegal to obstruct traffic moving within the speed limit by driving in the left lane for a long time. 31-5-304(c)

The Uniform Vehicle Code states:

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 ...

This law refers to the "normal" speed of traffic, not the "legal" speed of traffic. The 60 MPH driver in a 55 MPH zone where everybody else is going 65 MPH must move right. Contrast Alaska's rule, 13 AAC 002.50, allowing vehicles driving at the speed limit to use the left lane, and Colorado rev. stat. 42-4-1103, prohibiting blocking the "normal and reasonable" movement of traffic.

Enforcement is inconsistent. Toledo police used to ticket truck drivers for driving at the 60 MPH speed limit in the left lane. Police looking for criminal activity frequently use the "keep right" law as a pretext to stop a suspicious car. On the other hand, a New York judge announced that he would not convict drivers for blocking speeding traffic, People v. Ilieveski, 175 Misc. 2d 943; 670 N.Y.S.2d 1004 (Monroe County N.Y. 1998).

See also the speed law list.

Do the right thing!: June is lane courtesy month.

This page by John Carr.

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