The highways are always packed with small and large vehicles like semi-trucks. Different rules are made by the concerned authorities to control the flow of traffic on roadways. Separation of lanes is a rule to specify a portion of the road to specific vehicles.
Can Semi-Trucks Drive in The Left Lane? Semi-trucks are not allowed in the left lane; they are allocated with only the right lane to avoid accidents and allow a smooth traffic flow. But these trucks can use the fast lane while taking turns, overtaking a vehicle, or in an emergency. The drivers are charged with fines ranging from $100 to $500 for violating the lane rule, depending on the state’s law.
Trucks can also be challenging to handle on the roads and cause traffic jams on the roads.
What are traffic lanes?
In each state of the USA, Traffic management departments have their own rules to regulate traffic flow on the roads.
These rules are made by higher authority, and traffic police officers ensure the implementation of these rules on the highways. Traffic lanes are also part of such a rule to control the vehicle traffic on the roadways.
A traffic lane is the portion of the roads allocated to a specified line of vehicles for driving. These tracks are longitudinal lines that are painted on the road with white paint. These lines are drawn in the direction of the traffic on the road.
A road can have two or more lanes, like right, left, and middle lanes. They are usually represented by numbers. The left lane is called number 1, the lane to the right side is called number 2, and the middle lane is called number 3.
The left lane is also known as the fast lane. Its width varies from 10 to 12 feet in different states of America.
What lanes are allowed for semi trucks?
Semi trucks are heavy vehicles, and each state has imposed strict laws to regulate the traffic of these trucks. USA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the flow of semi-trucks on highways and roads.
They allocate a specific lane for the trailers, campers, and other trucks to control the traffic. Usually, the lane allocated to semi trucks depends upon the number of lanes present on the road.
In case of only two lanes, semi trucks are allowed to drive in the right lane. In the case of three lanes, these vehicles are allowed in the very right lane on the road. In the case of four lanes, these trucks can drive in two farthest right lanes.
They are not allowed to go in the middle and the right lane. The left or fast lane is reserved for small vehicles. In California, the long highways have truck-only lanes that are used to separate the big vehicles from the small automobiles.
Why are semi-trucks not allowed to drive in the left lane?
Heavy trailers and trucks are not allowed in the left lane.
Avoid traffic accidents
The semi trucks are difficult to drive and handle due to their massive size and weight. They pose a significant threat of collision to small vehicles.
Only a minor collision with a small automobile can result in a loss of precious life and destroy vehicles. These trucks are usually slower than other rucks and vehicles due to their weight and size.
It can cause small automobiles to slow down or decrease their speed on the road. Changing speed abruptly causes this vehicle to collide, and accidents can happen.
Thousands of accidents have been reported in the USA due to this type of collision. To overcome this issue, the authorities strictly ban driving semi-trailers in the left lane.
Another reason is the blind spots and the braking distance of the semi-trucks. These vehicles have larger blind spots and braking distance. Their drivers cannot see another vehicle while driving in the left side.
That’s why it is difficult for drivers to handle their vehicles on the road. These trucks also have larger braking distances due to their big size.
They take longer to stop than other vehicles and can cause inconvenience for other automobiles. That’s why they are restricted to driving in the far most left lane to avoid these troubles.
Allow smooth traffic flow
Driving small and large vehicles on the same lane can also cause disturbance in the smooth flow of these vehicles. All of them have different speed limits and braking distances. Cars and motorbikes drive at higher speeds than trucks.
It is annoying for a fast-moving driver to drive behind a slow-moving vehicle. It can also distract the drivers and cause them to make mistakes while applying the brakes. The left lane restriction rule helps prevent these troubles by separating small and large vehicles.
In what conditions the semi trucks are allowed to drive in the left lane?
The semi trucks are allowed to drive in the right lane, but certain conditions permit them to use the left lane. Here is a brief description of all of them.
It is allowed to use the fast lane when you are taking a left turn. It will not get you into any trouble due to violation of laws.
When semi trucks overtake or pass other automobiles on the right side
It is allowed to use the left lane when the right side is blocked for reasons like construction.
You will not be liable for any penalties in case of any emergencies. You can take the fast lane in case of the presence of any emergency vehicle on the right side.
The semi-trailers can also use the fast lane in case of low road traffic.
All these conditions will set you free to choose the left lane to prevent other issues.
Penalties for violating the left lane restriction laws
The states of America have different penalties for violating the left lane restriction rules for semi-truck drivers. FMCSA is responsible for the regulation of traffic and the implementation of all the rules. The same authority held the drivers accountable for violating the left lane rule.
In Indiana State, you have to pay a fine of 500 on the first offense against this rule. In West Virginia, the driver has to pay a fine of $100 on the first offense. If it happens again, they have to pay $200.On the third offense, they have to pay $300.
In California, the driver has to pay $100 on the first offense. They have to pay $200 on a second offense within the same year. For a third-time offense, they have to pay $250.
In New Jersey, the drivers have to pay a $50 to $250 fine or imprisonment for more than 15 days. In Oregon, you will have to pay a fine of $1000 or $2000 for violating the lane rules.
You have to undergo more dangerous consequences upon subsequent repetition of offenses. The FMCSA has the authority to cancel or suspend driver’s licenses. The regulating authority should also warn the employer of the driver.