Jason Stephens | August 26, 2021 | Truck Accidents
Except in emergency situations, the lane of a highway furthest to the left is reserved for passing. Texas law prohibits driving slowly enough to impede the flow of traffic in the left lane. There are also highways throughout Texas with signage indicating the left lane is for passing only.
Large commercial trucks tend to move more slowly than other vehicles. You might wonder whether it’s legal for such trucks to use the left lane at all in and around Fort Worth, TX.
In some states, speed limits restrict large trucks from traveling at the top speed that might be permitted for cars, motorcycles, and other such vehicles. This requirement essentially makes it illegal for trucks to drive in the left lane.
The issue is slightly more complicated in Texas. This overview will cover what you need to know.
Trucks in the Left Lane in Texas: A Complex Matter
Texas does not have a statewide law prohibiting truck drivers from using the left lane of a multilane highway. However, Texas does have a law allowing local governments to make driving a truck in the left lane illegal.
That means there are some stretches of highway throughout Texas where driving a truck in the left lane is against the law. On these stretches, truckers typically may only use the left lane to avoid hazards or exit the highway.
How Texas’ Left Lane Passing Law Affects Trucks
Texas does have “left lane for passing only” laws that apply on many major highways. There may be instances when a vehicle in front of a truck is moving so slowly that a trucker is justified in using the left lane to pass them. These are rare occurrences.
If a trucker must use the left lane to pass traffic, they must also move over as soon as they have passed the other vehicles and can safely switch back to their original lane.
Why Driving a Truck in the Left Lane in Texas is Dangerous
Truckers should avoid using the left lane of a highway except when absolutely necessary. Driving a large commercial vehicle in the left lane can cause serious truck accidents.
There are several reasons why this is the case. First, a truck can’t accelerate as quickly as smaller vehicles. If a truck moves over to the left lane to pass others, they may impede the flow of traffic in the left lane. A motorist driving more quickly in the left lane may be unable to avoid running straight into a truck in these circumstances.
Trucks are also difficult to maneuver and control. Therefore, truck drivers should minimize changing lanes as much as possible. The more often a trucker changes lanes, the greater the odds they’ll lose control of their vehicle or cause a lane change crash.
Proceed with caution if you ever spot a truck in the left lane of a major highway. Use your best judgment to determine whether to speed up and pass the truck or slow down until they return to another lane. You must gauge the flow of traffic to determine the safest way to proceed. If you ever are involved in a truck accident in the Fort Worth area, contact an attorney to learn more about your options.