The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for traveling. Whether you are hosting a holiday party, driving to a relative's house, or jumping on a plane, there's no busier time of the year for mass amounts of drivers than late December. During Christmas weekend, my wife and I drove from Iowa to Minneapolis, to Somerset, Wisconsin, and back to Iowa, all in 3 days.

On our way to Minnesota, we happened to see the best Christmas tree in Iowa, which gave us a pretty good laugh. Something else we also noticed was...the amount of people on the road. When you're driving during this time of the year, you'll come in contact with all types of different drivers. Drivers who speed, slow drivers, drivers who don't use their blinkers, drivers who stay in the right lane, and the worst of them all...drivers who drive slow and stay in the left lane.

If you come across someone going 5 under in the left lane, can you legally pass them on the right in the state of Iowa? Is this super obvious or is it illegal and we all just ignore some old out-of-date law?

Unsplash - Cristofer Maximilian
Unsplash - Cristofer Maximilian

Passing Drivers on the Right in Iowa

Anyone who drives regularly has been in a situation where some idiot is driving slower than the speed limit in the left lane. You've been taught your whole life that the left lane is for passing or as some drivers call it "the fast lane." If you pass someone in the right lane, you hope to get past them as fast as you can and pray they look over their shoulder before they realize they're driving slow and holding up other cars.

According to Legis Iowa, Code 321.302, you aren't breaking the law passing on the right.

Unless otherwise prohibited by law, the driver of a vehicle may overtake and, allowing sufficient clearance, pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction either upon the left or upon the right on a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for four or more lines of moving traffic when such movement can be made in safety. The driver of a vehicle shall not drive off the pavement or upon the shoulder of the roadway or upon the apron or roadway of an intersecting roadway in overtaking or passing on the right or the left.

You may not like or even want to pass someone on their right but if you do, you aren't breaking the law. Did you know there are 8 states where it's illegal to drive in the left lane unless you're turning or passing someone?

Illegally Driving in the Left Lane

It's important to not only know the driving laws of the state you live in but also know the laws of states you could travel to. For example, if you're traveling through Illinois or Kansas, you'll want to avoid cruising along in the left lane.

According to Auto Insurance, there are 8 states where it is illegal to drive in the left lane except for turning or passing. If you travel through Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, or West Virginia, you'll want to cruise in the right lane and pass/turn in the left.

Drive safe this holiday season and bring on the New Year!

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