Roadside Chat - Keep in right lane unless passing ya' filthy animal

Roadside Chat TemplateIt’s the winter travel season and there are plenty of frustrations to go around. If you’re on a multi-lane road, one of those frustrations might appear when slower drivers use the left lane.

Your safety isn’t an issue because of the lane you’re in, it’s how fast you’re going compared to other traffic. Traffic safety professionals like us call this the “speed differential,” which is just a fancy way to say that if traffic is not going at about the same speed. When this happens there is more risk of crashes.

Iowa law does have a statute on the books that addresses this issue - Iowa Code 231.297. It says that a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway. There are a few exceptions and one of those includes allowing for driving in the other part of the road when overtaking and passing another vehicle.

Most drivers see the right lane as the “driving” lane where traffic is expected to be at or below the speed limit, and the left lane as the “passing lane” where traffic is at the speed limit or above. Yes, going above the speed limit is illegal, but it happens. 

NOTE: The highway safety messages you see on this blog and on highway signs on Fridays have been part of Iowa’s Zero Fatalities Campaign. Starting this week, a new What Drives You campaign replaces Zero Fatalities. The new campaign is based on research that showed that messaging focusing on loved ones resonated more with Iowans and may have a greater impact on changing unsafe driving behaviors. Please join us in making Iowa’s roads safer for everyone and connect with us on:

In Iowa in 2022, there have been 333 deaths in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of two since last Friday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

Thank you for this post. Good information for drivers.

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