Do You Know About Tennessee’s “Slowpoke” Law?

When an interstate or highway has three or more lanes of traffic flowing in the same direction, the far-left lane is designed to be used for passing only. For years, that’s been an unspoken rule that not all drivers knew about or observed. But in 2016, it became illegal in Tennessee for drivers to “hang out” in the far-left lane when they weren’t actively passing another vehicle.

On July 1, 2020, the law expanded to include all highways and interstates with two or more lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction. That means the law now applies to countless roadways throughout the state.


Although it seems like the law would slow down traffic by keeping more drivers in the right lane, especially on two-lane highways, it’s designed to speed up and improve the flow of traffic. That’s because keeping the left lane available for drivers to pass means that there won’t be situations where traffic is held up by multiple slower-traveling vehicles.

When the left lane is always open, drivers can freely pass slower-moving vehicles, which significantly reduces the impact they have on overall traffic flow.


Drivers who are cited for hanging out in the left lane for too long and with no intention of passing slower-moving vehicles can be fined $50, plus court costs. The next time you head out on a state route, highway, or interstate, keep this law in mind to avoid a citation and to improve traffic flow.


Although not all drivers are aware of this law, all drivers should be aware of laws against speeding, texting while driving, and driving while impaired. When negligent drivers cause crashes, we hold them liable.

Contact the Nashville auto accident lawyers at Ponce Law after a crash that wasn’t your fault. We want to help you get maximum compensation.

Originally published July 20, 2022.


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