Seattle has received national recognition for it’s traffic problems. In our city, we also have a reputation of having drivers that are “too nice”, as opposed to the speeding, road raging drivers you might come across in Los Angeles. As a Seattle motorcycle accident attorney, I often see drivers who are traveling in the far left lane, hovering just below the speed limit. In order to get your driver’s license, you have to know the rules of the road. One of those rules is that the furthest left lane is reserved for passing vehicles only. According to this news article from the Seattle PI, other parts of the country follow this law remarkably well.
There’s a reason we have laws about how to drive. By keeping the left lane open for passing, you create a sense of predictability on the road. According to State Trooper Christina Martin, “If you’re in the left passing lane and you’re holding up traffic…there’s a chance you could cause road rage, or having people getting angry and passing you on the right, which is dangerous.”
One concerned Seattle stated, “The way they drove in Europe seemed a lot safer because it was very predictable. You knew that people would come up behind you and pass you, but you never had to worry about cars flying by you on the right side like you do here. Basically its easy to anticipate what people are doing there, and no nearly so easy here.” The State Patrol doesn’t enforce the law restricting the use of the passing lane because it doesn’t lead to many traffic-related deaths each year. However, I have to believe that many car accidents in Seattle occur each year because of our extreme congestion, and some of that might be alleviated if our traffic was regulated better.