Q&A - Another Take On Slower Traffic Failing To Keep Right

Q&A ImageI have a question for you and hope you can answer it.

You're driving from Kelowna to Vancouver on the Okanagan Connector. There are two lanes for your direction of travel. The fast lane seems to be pretty clean with bare pavement. The slow lane is covered in snow and doesn't look safe. You have winter tires and everything, but bare pavement always beats compact snow.

You are driving in the left lane (fast lane). There's another vehicle gaining on you from behind. Do you:

  • Pull into the right lane to let them pass although the compact snow doesn't look so safe at that speed.
  • Ignore them and let them pass on the right since they obviously feel more confident.

In my mind, if the highway has two lanes but one of them is covered in snow and ice, it might as well be a one lane highway - which means no passing should be happening until conditions improve - and therefore the slower driver should stay in the left lane cruising at whatever speed they feel comfortable, and the person behind should make peace with that.

What's your take on this?


Maybe, It Depends on the Weather...

Let's take a quick look at the law before we get started on the answer.

Driver on right

150 (2) The driver of a vehicle proceeding at less than normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing must drive the vehicle in the right hand lane then available for traffic, or as closely as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction, or when preparing for a left hand turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.

If you are traveling less than the normal speed of traffic and it is practical to do so, you need to use the right hand lane or drive as closely to the curb. So, if it is impractical to use the right lane, or the other vehicle is an oddity rather than traveling at the "normal" speed of surrounding traffic, you are not required to move right.

The vehicle you describe may indeed pass you on the right. If that happens, you have no control and if he makes a bad decision could involve you in a collision. If you choose to be inconvenienced, you may be able to safely slow down and move right briefly, letting him carry on. In this fashion you maintain control and have greater influence over your own safety.

Sometimes the decision is not an easy one and I can certainly understand why you would opt for dry pavement over what you perceive as being unsafe.

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