When you approach a slow moving vehicle, one may question if it is legal to speed when passing. Though it may seem you’ll avoid a car accident by passing more quickly, speeding in any circumstance is still illegal. If a police officer finds you speeding in order to pass a vehicle, you are under the discretion of the officer whether or not you will receive a ticket for speeding. Being aware of your legal responsibilities and duties for when you can pass, not pass and more is important. This knowledge could help prevent you from being seriously injured or worse due to a crash.
It is always important to be aware of your surroundings when driving. Taking an extra moment of care and caution could save you from being involved in a car crash.
To learn more about your responsibilities and duties when passing others you can review the relevant RCWs found in the Washington Rules of the Road below or go online to learn more.
RCW 46.61.110: Overtaking on the left
The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions and special rules hereinafter stated:
- The driver of a vehicle overtaking other traffic proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken traffic.
- The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian or bicycle that is on the roadway or on the right-hand shoulder or bicycle lane of the roadway shall pass to the left at a safe distance to clearly avoid coming into contact with the pedestrian or bicyclist, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken pedestrian or bicyclist.
- Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, overtaken traffic shall give way to the right in favor of an overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase speed until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.
RCW 46.61.115: When overtaking on the right is permitted
- The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
- When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
- Upon a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two or more lines of vehicles moving lawfully in the direction being traveled by the overtaking vehicle.
- The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the roadway.
RCW 46.61.120: Limitations on overtaking on the left
No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing other traffic proceeding in the same direction unless authorized by the provisions of RCW 46.61.100 through 46.61.160 and 46.61.212 and unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the operation of any traffic approaching from the opposite direction or any traffic overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to an authorized lane of travel as soon as practicable and in the event the passing movement involves the use of a lane authorized for vehicles approaching from the opposite direction, before coming within two hundred feet of any approaching traffic.
RCW 46.61.125: Further limitations on driving to left of center of roadway
- No vehicle shall be driven on the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:
- When approaching or upon the crest of a grade or a curve in the highway where the driver’s view is obstructed within such distance as to create a hazard in the event other traffic might approach from the opposite direction;
- When approaching within one hundred feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing;
- When the view is obstructed upon approaching within one hundred feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel;
- When a bicycle or pedestrian is within view of the driver and is approaching from the opposite direction, or is present, in the roadway, shoulder, or bicycle lane within a distance unsafe to the bicyclist or pedestrian due to the width or condition of the roadway, shoulder, or bicycle lane.
- The foregoing limitations shall not apply upon a one-way roadway, nor under the conditions described in RCW 61.100(1)(b), nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road or driveway.
RCW 46.61.130: No-passing zones
- The state department of transportation and the local authorities are authorized to determine those portions of any highway under their respective jurisdictions where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway indicate the beginning and end of such zones. When such signs or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions thereof.
- Where signs or markings are in place to define a no-passing zone as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, no driver may at any time drive on the left side of the roadway within the no-passing zone or on the left side of any pavement striping designed to mark the no-passing zone throughout its length.
- This section does not apply under the conditions described in RCW 61.100(1)(b), nor to the driver of a vehicle turning left into or from an alley, private road, or driveway.
Tri-Cities Washington Car Crash Attorney
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