Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: How should cars pass others in HOV lane?

When driving in the carpool lane, such as here at the South 19th Street overpass over Highway 16 near Tacoma, cars looking to pass you should move to the right and use the “fast” lane.
When driving in the carpool lane, such as here at the South 19th Street overpass over Highway 16 near Tacoma, cars looking to pass you should move to the right and use the “fast” lane. The News Tribune

Question: What is the protocol for driving the speed limit in a designated carpool lane on the freeway when the vehicle behind you obviously wants to go faster than you are going? Do I change lanes to let them pass, or do they go into the “fast” lane to the right to pass?

Answer: The HOV or carpool lane on the freeway is designed to move large numbers of passengers in vehicles. It is not designed as the fast lane of the freeway. Vehicles that wish to pass you should move to the “fast” lane to go around you. That being said, as you are driving in the HOV lane, you should be traveling at about the same speed as the majority of those vehicles. If you begin to see a large number of vehicles (especially buses) behind you, you might want to move to a slower lane.

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who serves on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road/.

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