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Proper lane usage when there are 3 lanes in each direction?
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Proper lane usage when there are 3 lanes in each direction?

When there are three lanes in each direction on a highway, I was always under the impression that the right lane was used primarily for slower vehicles to enter the highway and for vehicles preparing to exit the highway, the middle lane was used for normal cruising at the speed limit (or more, which is usually the case most places), and the left lane was used for passing vehicles that were in the middle lane.

My question is do you think this is incorrect or correct? If you say incorrect, please try to elaborate a little bit and say exactly what you think proper lane usage on a highway with 3 lanes in each direction would be. Thanks!


Your answer is the correct answer. However, as most American drivers know nothing about lane etiquette, it really doesn't matter.

In a perfect world, yes, the right lane for slower and on- and off-going cars; the middle for trucks and people with cruise control on, and the left for passing. But have you noticed that people get really greedy with the left lane the closer you get to city? When there's more cars on the road, they hate being all pushed over in those two lanes, so the traffic spreads out onto that left lane. Frustrating isn't it?

I would say the right is for getting on and off the highway and slower cars and simi trucks. The other two for passing. Some highways have a car pool lane too.

You are correct. But this is wishful thinking in a lot of cities. A lot of times people camp out in the left lane and people have to pass in the middle and right lanes creating an unsafe situation for traffic merging on the highway. I have seen people go into the left lane after entering the highway even when there's nobody in the middle lane to pass. And of course you see those idiots who are in the left lane and cross over several lanes of traffic to make their exit.

You're right that the right lane is for traffic entering and exiting the highway. The middle lane is for through traffic. Semi trucks are usually restricted to the 2 right lanes and they usually use the middle or 2nd right lane so they won't have to deal with merging traffic. And the left lane is to pass someone in the middle lane. If more people understood this, the left lane should be free for passing most of the time. Traffic would flow better. But if traffic is heavy, that should be the only reason why the left lane won't be free, but it should be moving faster then the middle lane.

And it doesn't matter what the speed limit is or how fast someone is driving even if they are going 20 miles over the speed limit, nobody should be in the far left lane unless they are passing someone in the middle lane. My theory is if the speed limit is 55 mph, traffic in the right lane would move about 45-60 mph, traffic in the middle lane would move about 60-70 mph (traffic in the middle lane should move faster then the slow right lane), and traffic in the left lane should move about 70-85 mph and be passing someone in the middle lane (when passing is complete, move back to the middle lane). The middle lane is the travel lane. Regardless of the speed limit, anybody in the left lane should speed up to any speed necessary to pass if you are committed to pass and then move back to the middle lane when the pass is completed. And if someone doesn't want to go 30 miles over the speed limit to pass, they should move back to the middle lane. Sometimes, there's someone in the left lane driving side by side with a car in the middle lane for mile upon mile and traffic coming behind the left lane car gets pissed and road rage kicks in. One time here in Nashville, TN a few years ago someone caused an accident in a fit of road rage and the idiot was sent to the hospital because he didn't let someone pass him. I think the driver passed him illegally in the left side emergency lane and then cut off the driver in the left lane causing him to lose control. And then he kept on going (didn't stop) to his home. Someone must have got his license plate number because the police found him. If you ask me, the driver who was sent to the hospital had it coming, but he recovered. Staying out of the left lane and moving to the middle lane when you are done passing or when someone comes up behind you wanting to go faster would have prevented the situation/accident.

highway/freeway slower cars to right is where every one gets on and off middle is drive lane and you pass on the left
city streets doesnt matter but should but if one knows your making a a turn then that lane it the lane you should be driving in right or left middle lane most of time flows better since there is turning from both left and right lanes but passing can go either way nope you got it right you slow to get off speed up to get on hold a speed in the middle pass on the left

It is true but the lanes have names and should definitely be used accordingly. Lane 1 is a merge lane and most people cannot merge you must get up to highway speed in order to do this correctly or you can cause a bad accident. Middle lane(s) are called cruise lanes and are used for traffic at highway speed. Last lane is passing and yes it should be used for just that, not driving because you dont want anyone people infront of you. And after you pass you should return to the cruise lane(s) as soon as possible to allow for free flow of traffic. I Europe they are so strict that if you are caught or videoed doing anything illegeal on the highway , you'll get a ticket in the mail or in person depending on the time of day amd if you think your not going to pay it they will come and tow your car!

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