Q: Are there any exceptions to Alabama law regarding drivers staying in the left lane too long?
A: Yes. A press release issued by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency days before the anti-road rage law took effect in September 2019 states that a vehicle cannot be driven in the lane of left of an interstate highway for more than 1.5 consecutive miles unless the vehicle completely passes at least one other vehicle, or unless it is necessary due to the following traffic conditions:
» inclement weather, obstacles or hazards.
» Compliance with a law, rule, ordinance or traffic control device.
» Exit a roadway to the left.
» pay a toll or user fee at a toll collection facility.
» Driving an authorized emergency vehicle while on duty.
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» driving a vehicle during maintenance or construction work on a road or in a construction zone.
The law applies to vehicles on freeways, but reducing the time drivers spend in the left lane is a good idea on any freeway.
When vehicles stay too long in the left lane, which is usually reserved for passing, other drivers may feel angry or aggressive.
“If you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass you, move over and let them pass,” says a road rage pamphlet from the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“You may be ‘right’ because you are driving at the speed limit, but you may also be putting yourself at risk by angering the drivers behind you,” the brochure reads. “In many states and provinces, you are required by law to travel in the right lane and use the left lane only for passing. Also, it’s a simple courtesy to move around and let other drivers pass.