We’ve all been there before. While driving the highways through one of the major cities in Nevada, it is just a matter of time before we come across a driver who is “camped out in the left-hand lane”.
It seems so obvious that the left lane is for those traveling at a higher rate of speed than those on the right but not everyone apparently gets it. For those that do not understand that basic rule of driving there is a Nevada Revised Statute that discusses it. NRS 484B.208 not only references this issue but by having it on the books, it allows law enforcement officers (mainly Nevada Highway Patrol) to enforce it.
What Does the Law Say About Driving on the Left-Most Lane
The statute reads as:
NRS 484B.208 Duty of driver to move out of left lane when traveling at a certain rate of speed: When required; exceptions.
At face value, the average reader (or driver) may not fully comprehend what this law is about. There is additional verbiage that goes along with it though. For instance:
Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, on a controlled-access highway which has two or more clearly marked lanes for traveling in the same direction, a driver may not continue to operate a motor vehicle in the extreme left lane if the driver knows, or reasonably should know, that he or she is traveling at a rate of speed which is less than the posted speed limit for that portion of the controlled-access highway and is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.
This aspect of the statute is very forthright and adequately explains how drivers need to operate their vehicles on Nevada Highways. Just as it states, when there are at least two lanes of traffic heading in the same direction, Nevada drivers need to stay out of the extreme left lane if they are traveling at a speed that is deemed to be slower than those drivers on the right-hand side.
If the driver is unaware or it is too dangerous to move to the right lane then that would be understandable and is referenced in the NRS. But when a driver is in the left lane for much longer than necessary then it becomes obvious to all other drivers (and NHP) that they are oblivious to what is going on.
Law enforcement personnel will also look at a situation like that with the idea that something else might be wrong. If a driver is that oblivious to be driving in the left-hand lane with cars zooming and passing on the right consistently then what else is wrong with that driver? Are they impaired or not capable of safely operating a vehicle?
A Nevada Trooper would want to know that information and if someone is camped out in the left-hand lane then there is reason to pull them over due to this Nevada Revised statute.
You should contact Ticket Busters if you ever feel that you were pulled over without due cause. Even if you were cited due to be in violation of a statute here in Nevada you should still seek out help with our firm. In many cases, we can get your citation reduced and sometimes even dropped depending on the circumstances.
Common Exceptions to NRS 484B.208
1. Overtaking and Left-hand Turns
One should note that subsection 1 mentioned above does not apply in certain situations. These would include when a driver is preparing to make a left-hand turn at an intersection and/or when a driver is passing another car traveling in the same direction.
2. HOV Lanes
There are other exceptions as well. One major one involves HOV lanes. HOV stands for high occupancy vehicles and can be found in the larger cities of Nevada like Las Vegas, Reno and Henderson. These types of lanes won’t typically be found in the rural areas or on smaller highways such as US-93.
High Occupancy Vehicle lanes are intended for cars with more than one person. They were designed for people to be incentivized to carpool which, in turn, would lead to fewer automobiles on the road and less traffic.
More commonly found on Interstate 15 or Interstate 80 (I-80), these lanes can often be found on the far left-hand side of the road. If there is a driver with someone else in the vehicle then they are authorized to use the HOV lane and in that case, do not need to abide by NRS 484B.208.
In that scenario, even if cars to the right are traveling at a faster rate of speed, the driver does not need to exit that lane. It is advised that the driver in the HOV lane maintain a speed that is comparable to the posted limit to not be a nuisance to traffic (not to mention, one can be ticketed for driving too slow).
Ticket Busters has been serving Las Vegas and the Nevada community for many, many years. We are a trusted source for you get help in all legal matters. If you are ever ticketed for violating a Nevada Revised Statute pertaining to traffic then please reach out to us.
3. Presence of Construction and Other Weather Related Events
A few more exceptions are written as part of NRS 484B.208 that spell out the various situations when it is actually ok to be in the far left lane while cars on the right are passing.
Engaged in the construction, maintenance or repair of the highway, including, without limitation, the removal of snow.
When traffic conditions, inclement weather, obstructions or hazards make it necessary to drive in the extreme left lane.
This one seems a bit obvious. If there is some kind of construction blocking lanes on the right-hand side then a driver would be automatically prevented from being in those lanes. Those in the southern part of Nevada near Las Vegas probably do not have to worry much about snow removal; however, that can be an issue in other parts of the state.
Reno and anywhere along the Interstate 80 corridor can get hit with large snow storms in winter months. That could include the small towns of Elko and Winnemucca. Even smaller towns in the southern half of the state can get some big storms including Tonopah, Goldfield, Pioche, and even Caliente which is only a couple of hours north of Las Vegas.
Other types of inclement weather can occur in the Henderson and Las Vegas area which could include wind storms causing poor visibility due to dust and even monsoon rain storms certain times of the year.
4. Other Exceptions
When compliance with an official traffic control device or the directions given by a peace officer makes it necessary to drive in the extreme left lane.
To the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in the course of his or her official duties.
To a driver operating a motor vehicle within the geographical limits of a city or town.
Another obvious reason to not be in the right lane is if law enforcement officers directing traffic instruct you to move. When there is a traffic cop giving directives then that is the precedence and rules such as this NRS can be on a second level compared to what the traffic officer is telling drivers what to do.
NRS 484B.208 is really the “move over” law which translates to the idea that if you are driving slower than others, simply move to the right and let the cars driving faster pass you on the left. It seems like common sense but anyone driving in Las Vegas or nearby can see it’s not always the case.
Do not get frustrated by this if you are the faster driver. Simply stay patient. Road rage can be quite common especially in the stressful times we all live in but it’s not worth it. Staying calm and collected is the best thing to do if you find yourself in a frustrating position on the road. Just remember that in all aspects of driving, taking things slow and not being in a hurry can oftentimes prevent an accident.
If Nevada Highway Patrol or Las Vegas Metropolitan Police witness a car moving slower than traffic (but at or below the speed limit) in the left lane then they are authorized to issue a traffic ticket per this statute.
If you are ever given a traffic ticket by any branch of law enforcement in Nevada then you should reach out to Ticket Busters. If you do contact us for help, you will be in the company of more than 50,000 other residents of Southern Nevada that have reached out to our office for assistance. Regardless of your problem or situation, whether it be a DUI, warrant, criminal charge or a simple traffic citation, Ticket Busters has the skilled legal professionals you need to handle any case you bring to us.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can I drive in the left lane?
You can generally drive in the left lane when it is necessary to pass other vehicles, when road conditions, inclement weather, obstructions or hazards make it necessary to do so. What the law says is you cannot camp out there especially if you are driving slower than the flow of traffic.
What are the exceptions for driving in the left lane?
The exceptions include when compliance with an official traffic control device or the directions given by a peace officer makes it necessary, to a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle in the course of their duties, and within the geographical limits of a city or town.
What happens if I am caught driving too slow in the far left lane?
If you are caught driving too slow in the far left lane then you may be issued a citation. It is best to reach out to Ticket Busters if you receive a ticket so that you can get legal help from experienced professionals.