Most drivers have heard that it’s safer to pass on the left when road conditions permit. In fact, some people are under the impression that passing on the right is illegal—which it often is. This leads people to wonder whether the right-side driver can face liability for an accident that occurred while attempting to pass on the right. As is often the case with legal matters, the answer depends on the circumstances.
Below you’ll find basic information about the legal issues involved with passing on the right. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney to discuss your case in detail, call our office today.
Virginia Motor Vehicle Code Applies
Passing on the right side is not necessarily illegal, dangerous, or negligent. In fact, it is expressly permitted at certain times. Per Virginia Motor Vehicle Code §46.2-841(A), a vehicle driver may pass on the right only:
- When the overtaken vehicle is making or about to make a left turn, and its driver has given the required signal
- On a highway with unobstructed pavement, not occupied by parked vehicles, of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction
- On a one-way street or on any one-way roadway when the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles
Another limitation with passing on the right: A driver may not drive on the shoulder, off the pavement, or off the main traveled roadway unless driving on paved shoulders is permitted pursuant to lawfully placed signs (Virginia Code §46.2-841(B)).
So we know that when conditions permit, passing on the right does not violate the law. Whether the driver on the right is negligent (and therefore potentially liable) raises other issues and requires thoughtful legal analysis, experience, and knowledge.
Why Is Passing on the Right More Dangerous?
Right-lane passing is inherently more dangerous because:
- Traffic in right lanes moves slower because of on- and off-ramps, exits, curb cuts, disabled vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles parked in the shoulder
- Poorer visibility
- More distractions
Were You in a Car Accident? Did the Other Driver Pass on Your Right?
If a car hurt you while passing improperly, work with an attorney experienced with motor vehicle crashes. You must show that the other driver was driving unsafely (negligent). If the other driver broke the law and was cited with a ticket, your case may grow more compelling. A skilled attorney will also help you understand the damages to which Virginia law may entitle you, such as medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and your physical and emotional pain.
Call an Experienced Richmond Car Accident Lawyer Today
If someone tried to pass you on the right and injured you in an accident, you may recover compensation for the losses you sustained. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of Emroch & Kilduff’s auto accident attorneys in Richmond, Virginia, call our office today at (804) 358-1568 or contact us online.