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Massachusetts Traffic Laws for Passing on the Right

by Guy Yosub

According to most driving regulations, the proper way to pass a vehicle is on the left-hand side. Left-hand lanes on highways are known as “passing lanes” because of these regulations. Massachusetts is one state where the left lane is specifically designated as a passing lane, and it is therefore generally not allowed to pass someone on the right-hand side. On highways, you are not allowed to use the far left lane as a traveling lane at all. There are fines in place to enforce this regulation, and it is possible to be ticketed in Massachusetts if you are caught using the left lane for more than passing. However, there are circumstances when passing on the right-hand side is allowed and even recommended. In Massachusetts, there are a few instances when passing on the right is permitted.

Left Turn

If the car in front of you is making a left turn and is clearly stopped and signaling as such, you are permitted to pass it on the right. It is not possible at that point to pass the car on the left (as it is turning), so passing on the right is allowed.

One-Way Street

If you are driving on a one-way street, and the car in front of you is in the left lane, you are permitted to pass on the right. As always, it is important to clearly signal and obey speed limits when doing this.

Restricted Passage

If traffic is restricted in a left lane, forcing cars to pass on the right, then passing on the right-hand side is permitted. Please pay careful attention to any instructions posted in such situations and keep in mind that safety comes first.

Safety First and Obey the Law

Keep in mind that safety always comes first. If hazardous conditions on the road leave no other option than to pass on right, then you are allowed to do so. Also, if there is clear, official signage expressing permission to pass on right, then you are allowed to do so.

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