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How does merging work in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Personal injury

Driving in Pennsylvania can be stressful when you cannot control the actions of other drivers. This is especially true when drivers are merging on or off the freeway. You may feel like these drivers are putting you at risk by not merging properly. Proper merging can be confusing, as many of us have different ideas on how to merge. The following is an overview of how merging laws work in Pennsylvania.

Merging in the past

Around 1969, merging laws had motorists on the freeway stay in the right lane so that merging traffic could also access the right lane. If the driver on the freeway moved to the left lane to be courteous, it could lead to a citation for an unnecessary lane change. However, many freeways these days are not of sufficient length to let drivers speed up, and many motorists drive well above the speed limit.

Current merging laws

The current Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual says that motorists on the freeway can move to the left lane freeing the right lane to drivers merging onto the freeway. Does this mean that merging drivers have the right of way as the travel onto the freeway? Drivers on the freeway these days legally have the right-of-way. Drivers entering the freeway do not have the right-of-way. In fact, motorists entering the freeway are not legally permitted to pass motorists already on the freeway per Pennsylvania law. Moreover, Pennsylvania permits motorists on the freeway to move into the left lane to allow merging motorists to enter the freeway. However, motorists need not provide this courtesy. Motorists on the freeway have no obligation to move over for merging motorists.

Be a defensive driver

Ultimately it is important to be a defensive driver. Some motorists find that moving into the left lane is the safest thing to do if necessary. By paying attention you can detect whether a merging motorist is driving aggressively. Understanding Pennsylvania merging laws can help you avoid a car accident in the future.