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In many states, passing on the right is an unsafe or even illegal driving maneuver. However, driving laws vary by state. Whether you live in Virginia or you’re just passing through, it’s good to be aware of basic driving laws.
Is it illegal to pass on the right in Virginia? It’s time for a quick review of the rules of the road in Old Dominion.
Passing on the Right: What to Know About Virginia’s Laws
Most drivers learn in their driver’s education class that passing on the right is generally a move to avoid.
Passing on the right can increase the risk of an accident, as a car in the left lane might not notice you in their blind spot. Since the right lane tends to be reserved for slower traffic, drivers often feel it’s safer and easier to use the left lane as the passing lane.
That said, the laws in Virginia are a bit more lax than in many other states when it comes to passing on the right.
Virginia’s laws regarding passing on the right are laid out in the state’s legal code, which specifies three scenarios where Virginia drivers can pass on the right and describes the conditions under which this driving maneuver is considered both safe and legal.
Avoiding a Left-Turning Car
First, Virginia law allows drivers to pass on the right when the vehicle ahead has its left turn signal on.
A driver performing a left turn typically has to wait for oncoming traffic to clear. This can result in the left-turning driver having to make a complete stop in the middle of the road. Drivers are permitted to avoid slowing down or stopping entirely by passing the left-turning driver on the right.
As in any driving situation, the passing driver should use their turn signal to indicate that they’re moving into the right lane. They also need to make sure the lane is clear and it’s safe to perform the lane change. In this situation, oncoming vehicles already traveling in the right lane have the right-of-way.
On Highways With Two or More Lanes
Unlike some states, Virginia law allows drivers to pass on the right on highways. However, certain limitations help reduce the risk of a crash. For one, you must be traveling on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in each direction.
The law also specifies that passing on the right on a highway should only be done when the road is unobstructed. You shouldn’t pass on the right if you see any of the following:
- Stalled or parked vehicles
- Construction crews
- Emergency response vehicles
- Anything that makes passing unsafe
When in doubt about whether it’s safe to pass, it’s best to slow down and continue in the left lane until you pass an obstruction.
State law also specifies that drivers can’t pass on the right by driving on the shoulder or crossing into a bicycle lane. However, generally speaking, Virginia drivers are allowed to pass on the right on highways.
On One-Way Streets
The final situation in which Virginia drivers can legally pass on the right is on a one-way street. This law is similar to the highway law. You can only pass on the right on a one-way street if there are two or more lanes for traveling in the same direction and the road ahead is unobstructed.
Fault in the State of Virginia
Virginia is an at-fault state. This means that when two cars are involved in a crash, one of them is determined to be at fault. Typically, the driver who breaks a driving law is the one who is considered to have acted negligently.
Being deemed at fault for a crash can have serious financial implications. Depending on the type of auto insurance policy you have, it can leave you without compensation for your own injuries and vehicle damage, even while your policy pays for the other driver’s injuries and property damage.
Virginia’s at-fault laws mean that if you illegally pass on the right and end up in a crash, you can face significant negative financial consequences.
How a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been in a crash in Virginia that involved you or another driver passing on the right, you should get in touch with a Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
A lawyer will investigate the crash and work to interpret the driving laws in a way that proves the other driver was responsible. In an at-fault state like Virginia, you often need to prove fault before you can recover the injury compensation you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
In Virginia, Is It Illegal to Pass on the Right?
If you’re wondering, “Is it illegal to pass on the right in Virginia,” the answer is “sometimes.” You can legally pass on the right on a two-lane highway or one-way street, or to get by a left-turning car.
Is it Legal to Cross the Double Yellow Line While Passing?
While passing on the right is sometimes legal in Virginia, crossing the double yellow line is always illegal.
What Should I Do If a Driver Passed Me Illegally and Caused a Crash?
If you’ve been involved in a Virginia crash and you believe the other driver passed you illegally, talk to a Virginia car accident attorney about your options.
Consult a Car Accident Lawyer at Commonwealth Law Today
Passing on the right is sometimes legal in Virginia, but not always. If another driver passed you on the right and caused a crash, a car accident attorney may be able to help you recover compensation.
Contact Commonwealth Law today to speak with an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.