When Is Passing on the Right Permitted in San Diego, CA?
David Muñoz | October 19, 2023 | Car Accidents
An analysis of data by the National Safety Council (NSC) revealed that improper lane usage was a factor in approximately 6.6% of fatal auto accidents. This umbrella term includes practices such as changing lanes without signaling, passing with insufficient clearance, and passing traffic on the wrong side.
When driving, you are likely to come across a car or truck in front of you that you must pass and overtake. This maneuver involves changing lanes, and in most cases, you must pass the other vehicle on the left-hand side to avoid a car accident. However, drivers in California are not completely prohibited from passing another vehicle on the right-hand side, as long as they comply with the applicable law.
Conditions To Legally Pass on the Right in San Diego
Suppose that you are driving on a road with two lanes traveling in the same direction. As you drive in the inside lane behind another vehicle, that vehicle begins to slow down to turn left. You may wonder if you can use the outside lane to the right to go around the slower-moving car.
California Vehicle Code Section 21755 provides the answer. This statute authorizes California drivers to pass another vehicle on the right if the following two conditions are fulfilled:
You Cannot Leave Paved Road Designed for Travel
Firstly, in passing another vehicle on the right, you cannot leave the paved roadway to accomplish the maneuver. If there is no open lane of traffic consisting of a paved roadway that you can use to get around the vehicle in front of you, you cannot pass on the right.
Instead, you would have to slow down or stop until the vehicle either maneuvered out of your way, or you could legally pass to the right or to the left.
In other words, this portion of the statute prohibits drivers from using a roadway’s shoulder to pass on the right. A road’s shoulder is not a portion of the road designed for vehicular traffic to travel on; it is designed for emergency stopping. Because of this, it does not matter what material the shoulder is made from or whether it has been paved.
Similarly, a driver cannot go into a bike lane or any other lane on a roadway that is not part of the main portion used for vehicular travel. In order to satisfy this first condition of the statute, the lane being used to pass on the right must be a full lane that is regularly used by and designed for vehicular traffic.
The Move Must Be Completed Safely
Secondly, you must complete the passing maneuver safely before attempting to pass on the right in San Diego. This means there must be sufficient visibility and clearance for you to change lanes from one to the other and back again without endangering any other driver on the road in either lane of travel.
While completing the maneuver, you should also use turn signals and give other drivers plenty of space so as to avoid a rear-end crash. A driver might not expect you to try to pass on the right, so it is crucial that other motorists be given a reasonable amount of time to see you and react to your passing maneuver.
Stay Safe When Passing on the Right
California law recognizes that drivers may sometimes want to pass other traffic on the right. While this move is sometimes allowed, the law places the burden on the driver attempting to pass on the right to do so safely and attentively.
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