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7.14.23 – Kansas City Star

The left lane on a multi-lane roadway can come in handy. If you’re running late and stuck behind a driver going below the speed limit, it can provide a safe way to pass so you can get to your destination on time.

The left lane is oftentimes referred to as the “passing lane” or the “fast lane,” and while drivers may use it for various different reasons, Kansas law has rules on when it should and shouldn’t be used.

Here’s your refresher on the rules of the road, so you don’t find yourself with a warning for incorrectly using the left lane.


Kansas law dictates vehicles cannot drive at a slow enough speed that disrupts “the normal and reasonable movement of traffic” unless the reduced speed is necessary for safety reasons.

Furthermore, state law says anyone driving less than the normal speed of traffic should stay in the right lane or as far right as possible, unless preparing for a left turn.

For any three-lane roadway that provides two-way traffic, Kansas law states a vehicle can not drive in the center lane unless passing another vehicle going in the same direction in a safe manner. It can also be legally used to make a left turn.

Kansas law dictates traffic must remain to the right on “all roadways of sufficient width.” However, there are a few exceptions. You can use the left lane if:

  • You are passing another vehicle
  • When an obstruction exists preventing use of the right lane
  • You are preparing to make a left turn
  • You are directed to use it by traffic control devices or other law provisions

The same rules apply to the far left lane in a three-lane highway in Kansas.

Emergency, law enforcement and Kansas Turnpike Authority vehicles are exempt from this law. Additionally, any vehicles performing construction are also exempt.

Officers can issue a warning to drivers using the left lane for nonexempt reasons, under the state law.

In all instances, traffic-control devices can be used to direct traffic to use any lanes, no matter the location of lanes. Additionally, devices can also be used to prohibit changing lanes, and “drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device.”