Q: When traveling in the HOV lane at the posted speed limit, are you required to move over to the next lane to your right to allow speeding motorists to pass you? Or are they required to move over to the next lane to go around you and then return to the HOV lane? — Linda
A: We should pause and note that Linda seems like a thoughtful, courteous driver.
Rare is the person who thinks about the vehicles he or she is potentially impeding, especially while driving the speed limit (or below) in what a lot of drivers consider to be a fast lane.
Linda sounds nice, so I don’t like thinking about her getting stressed out as she glances in her rearview mirror to see some aggressive, in-a-hurry driver tailgating her on the freeway. In my mind, this driver is behind the wheel of a huge, lifted truck with those chrome, side exhaust pipes (I’ll probably get some emails about that).
This time, we can put Linda’s mind at ease.
According to Sgt. James Prouty of the Washington State Patrol, if you’re following all the rules of the carpool lane — for starters, having the required number of passengers and none of them are blow-up dolls — and driving the posted speed limit, you don’t need to move out of the way for people behind you who want to go faster.
“They can move out of the lane to be courteous, but if they are traveling at the posted speed limit in the HOV lane and adhering to all restrictions, then they are not required to move out of that lane,” Prouty said.
Do you, Linda. You ride that carpool lane into the sunset, comfortably doing the speed limit and probably getting super decent gas mileage to boot. Instead of flashing their headlights and tailgating, maybe the drivers behind you will politely go around next time.