You may remember sitting in driving school many years ago and learning highway etiquette from antiquated video or a monotone instructor. That etiquette goes something like this: stay to the right unless you're planning on passing another vehicle.


For decades in Maine, this simple piece of etiquette applied to every portion of highway that existed within state lines.

But as time passed and a part of the Maine Turnpike expanded, an updated law was put into place that drivers regularly ignore, whether they mean to or not.

Maine Turnpike Authority
Maine Turnpike Authority

According to the Maine Turnpike Authority, when traveling along the section of the Maine Turnpike that has three lanes, tractor trailers are forbidden from using the far left lane, or else they could face a fine.

Thus, the center lane of the three lanes is the "passing" lane for those large trucks.

Etiquette would suggest that regular travelers of the Maine Turnpike would move to the right lane to allow tractor trailers the ability to pass. Of course, that isn't always the case.

semi tractor trailer driving on the highway in the evening

Many drivers use the center lane as their coasting lane. It's a chance to stay away from the slow-moving vehicles and the on/off ramps that exist on the right, while still allowing the faster-moving vehicles access to pass them on the left.

Winter driving - commuter traffic on a highway - expressway - snowfall

Maine law requires drivers on any limited access road with a speed limit of 65mph, like the Maine Turnpike or I-295, to remain in the right lane unless they are actively passing other vehicles.

After passing vehicles, the law requires drivers to return to the furthest right lane. For portions of the Maine Turnpike, many drivers use the center lane as their hovering lane, likely breaking the law without even realizing it.

Drive smartly and safely.


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