Should slower vehicles move into yellow lane? Here's what the law says

Published Nov 29, 2019


JOHANNESBURG - For those who drive cars, it’s the bane of every long-distance journey on a single-lane road - slow trucks and the difficulty in getting around them. Truck drivers, on the other hand, often feel pressurised by motorists to move left past the yellow line to let their fellow motorists through.

But what does the law say about driving in the ‘yellow lane’?

According to Eugene Herbert, MD of driver training specialist MasterDrive, it really depends on a number of factors.

For starters, the Regulation 298A of the National Road Traffic Act stipulates that yellow lane driving is forbidden, except in the following instances:

- If there is a genuine emergency like a breakdown, when rushing to hospital or if you need to stop suddenly for a medical or other emergency.

- On a freeway, only emergency vehicles may use the yellow lane.

- Furthermore, the yellow lane may never be used as a passing lane on a freeway.

However, there is an exception to the yellow lane rule.

On single lane carriageways, vehicles are permitted to move over to the yellow lane to allow faster vehicles to pass, but this is subject to a number of conditions:

- There must be no chance of endangering anyone’s life.

- There must be a clear 150 metres of visibility in front of you. Thus, you may not drive in the yellow lane on a blind rise or in heavy rain or fog.

- Most importantly, drivers may only use the yellow lane during daylight hours.

Herbert further explains that while moving into the yellow lane is a form of courteous driving, it is not a legal requirement. 

“If the driver of a truck feels moving into the yellow lane will endanger oneself or others, he is under no obligation to do so. In turn, motorists should respect that and not pressurise drivers into making dangerous decisions,” Herbert said.

“Remember, a truck driver has a much better view of the potential dangers ahead and if they decide to not move into the yellow lane, they likely have good reason. Not only are they protecting their own safety but yours as well.”

However, the most important rule for motorists to remember is that it is never worth taking a chance and overtaking a slower vehicle when you are not absolutely sure that it can be done safely. 

In fact, as far as we are concerned those who are prone to taking chances when there are oncoming vehicles should not be driving full stop because, quite frankly, they are murderers in the making.

IOL Motoring

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