1. #1
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    Passing on a two lane.

    Hope everyone is staying safe out there.

    The route on my drive in to work is all on M-52 from Williamston to Chelsea. I know most of you wont know where that is, or what the road is like, so Ill try to explain.

    For about the first 15 miles, its straight as a ruler and flat as a board. On a clear day you can see well over a mile ahead. Heres my question.

    When there is one person going, say 45, (speed limit is 55), and there are anywhere from 3-5 cars stacked up behind them (sometimes more), and noone wants to pass, even if there is no oncoming traffic, is it illegal to pass more than one car at a time on a two lane road? Ive done it, heck, Ive even see the state police do it, but is it legal?

  2. #2
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    It is open to debate in our state.

    The statute (which is based on the same language you will find in most states when they tried to standardize traffic laws in the early 70's) says that you may overtake and pass another vehicle when safe to do so, there are no signs/marking prohibiting driving left of center, there is sufficient sight distance and it can be done without interfering with other vehicles.

    Some would say that if it is safe to pass 5 cars, you don't exceed the posted limit, it is a passing zone with sufficient clearance and you don't interfere with other traffic then it is a legal pass.

    Others say that the statute clearly states that you may pass "another vehicle" not "other vehicles" and that you must return to your lane after passing A vehicle.

    My common sense approach is this- if it can be done safely etc without speeding etc then I don't have a problem with it.
    ---Cut the red wire---

  3. #3
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    Based on the information contained within the following, I would say that a driver may pass another as long as it is done within compliance of these sections and is not prohibited by signs, signals or markings. If there is a double yellow line, two double yellow lines or signs posted that say "Do Not Pass" or "No Passing" you should be able to do so without fear.


    MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
    Act 300 of 1949


    257.636 Overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in same direction; limitations, exceptions, and special rules; violation as civil infraction.

    Sec. 636.

    (1) The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules stated in sections 637 to 643a:

    (a) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at a safe distance to the left of that vehicle, and when safely clear of the overtaken vehicle shall take up a position as near the right-hand edge of the main traveled portion of the highway as is practicable.

    (b) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of his or her vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

    (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.


    History: 1949, Act 300, Eff. Sept. 23, 1949 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 510, Eff. Aug. 1, 1979 ;-- Am. 1979, Act 66, Eff. Aug. 1, 1979


    © 2007 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

    257.638 Overtaking and passing on left of another vehicle; violation as civil infraction.

    Sec. 638.

    (1) A vehicle shall not be driven to the left side of the center of a 2-lane highway or in the center lane of a 3-lane highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side or center lane is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or the vehicle overtaken.

    (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.


    History: 1949, Act 300, Eff. Sept. 23, 1949 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 510, Eff. Aug. 1, 1979


    © 2007 Legislative Council, State of Michigan

    257.639 Driving to left side of roadway; limitations; violation as civil infraction.

    Sec. 639.

    (1) A vehicle shall not be driven to the left side of the roadway under the following conditions:

    (a) When approaching the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view is obstructed within a distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction.

    (b) When the view is obstructed upon approaching within 100 feet of a bridge, viaduct, or tunnel.

    (2) The limitations of subsection (1) shall not apply upon a 1-way roadway.

    (3) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.


    History: 1949, Act 300, Eff. Sept. 23, 1949 ;-- Am. 1978, Act 510, Eff. Aug. 1, 1979
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

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  4. #4
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    Yes, at least here you can pass them as long as you don't break any laws doing it, IE: don't do 60 to get passed them and you must exercise due care when passing.

  5. #5
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    Cool. Thanks for the info!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tactical208 View Post
    Yes, at least here you can pass them as long as you don't break any laws doing it, IE: don't do 60 to get passed them and you must exercise due care when passing.
    Same here.

    Quote Originally Posted by KAA951 View Post
    It is open to debate in our state.

    The statute (which is based on the same language you will find in most states when they tried to standardize traffic laws in the early 70's) says that you may overtake and pass another vehicle when safe to do so, there are no signs/marking prohibiting driving left of center, there is sufficient sight distance and it can be done without interfering with other vehicles.

    Some would say that if it is safe to pass 5 cars, you don't exceed the posted limit, it is a passing zone with sufficient clearance and you don't interfere with other traffic then it is a legal pass.


    Others say that the statute clearly states that you may pass "another vehicle" not "other vehicles" and that you must return to your lane after passing A vehicle.

    My common sense approach is this- if it can be done safely etc without speeding etc then I don't have a problem with it.
    Those "Others" you speak of are trying to read too much into the statute, reading intent that isn't expressed, or maybe just looking to find a reason for another stroke where none exists. In any case, they haven't learned to read law. If the law doesn't say you are limited to one, if it doesn't state you must return to your lane before passing "another" vehicle (after having just passed "another" vehicle), then you may continue to pass "another" and "another" until none are left or until it's unsafe or prohibited to do so due to sight or markings. "Another vehicle" is but one of "other vehicles", it was simply a way of referring to "another veghicle", not "one's own vehicle". Even if they had wrote "a vehicle", it still would not place a limit to one, as each successive vehicle is "a vehicle". Had the legilative intent been to limit one to passing a single vehicle and returning to the lane before passing a second, or third, etc.... they would have said so in a simple line.

    I understand that you understand it clearly enough though.
    Last edited by t150vsuptpr; 06-09-2008 at 04:31 PM.
    "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

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    Retired @ 31yr 2mo as of 0000 hrs. 01-01-10. Yeah, all in all, it was good.

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