The left most lane

Mention that you are frustrated by drivers harrasing you in the left most lane on social media and see the response. It's fun.

 ยท 3 min read
 ยท Andy McKay

What I'm are referring to here is the "passing" lane on roads. In right side drive countries, it's the left side lane and in left side drive countries the right lane.

I've seen multiple social media posts that go something like this:

"I find it intimidating driving because cars are always driving close behind me in the left hand lane and flashing their lights, even when I'm driving the speed limit"

Eventually you'll get multiple replies:

"Move over to the right, it's the law."

The suggestion is that it's the drivers fault for driving at the speed limit. They are being intimidated by those who want to speed. They'll claim that it's the driver in the left hand lane's fault because they haven't moved over, which the MVA says they should.

The law

(3) A driver of a vehicle in the leftmost lane must exit the lane on the approach of another vehicle in that lane, if it is safe to do so, except when
  (a) overtaking and passing a third vehicle,
  (b) allowing traffic to merge,
  (c) preparing for a left hand turn at an intersection or into an exit, a private road or a driveway, or
  (d) passing an official vehicle stopped on the side of or on the roadway.

BC Motor Vehicle Act

When it is safe, drivers in the left hand lane should move over to the right as per the conditions. But it's up to that driver to do so at their discretion, not the driver behind them.

We all know it's not about the law. It's about that driver wanting to go as fast as they want, until they meet another car, repeat the process and so on. There are two things going wrong here:

  • A driver speeding, acting aggressive or being impatient.
  • A driver not moving over to the right.

Which is more dangerous

The driver staying to the left is not causing a dangerous environment. The situation is created by the driver speeding, because if everyone was driving at the speed limit. It doesn't matter what who's in what lane.

This seems to be backed up by legal responses:

One difficulty that I faced was a traffic court justice that told me not to bring fail to keep right tickets into her court unless the driver was traveling less than the posted speed limit. If they were following the limit, she would not convict.

Drive Smart BC

The number of accidents:

The way enforcement is applied:

Speeding is the problem

The police, the courts and ICBC see that speeding is the problem. These groups are the ones that help people after an accident, they know what's going. And it's the speeders, the ones who are impatient with other drivers who are the problem - not the ones driving at the speed limit. Almost 1/3 of accidents have speeding as contributing factor and the police ticket 3,710 times more people for speeding than they do for people being in the left hand lane.

One of these problems is much bigger than the other.

  1. Sections 146 Speed limits, 147 Schools and playgrounds, 148 Excessive speeding etc... see the MVA for more definitions. 

  2. That's section 151.1 of the MVA. Set the section number filter to 151.13 to see this.