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Illinois Passing Laws and Proper Lane Usage

Illinois Passing Laws

Illinois Passing LawsA driver must use caution when passing another vehicle. On a two-lane highway, the left lane should be clearly seen and free of oncoming traffic for a distance great
enough to permit passing. Do not turn back into the right-hand lane until you can see
the entire vehicle you have just passed in your rearview mirror. You must return to your
lane before you get within 200 feet of an oncoming vehicle. The driver you are passing must not increase speed until you have completed your passing.

Driving off the pavement or main traveled part of the road is not allowed when passing another vehicle on the right or the left. When passing a bicyclist or pedestrian who is riding or walking on the road or shoulder of the roadway, you must keep a minimum of three feet between your vehicle and the bicyclist or pedestrian.

You may pass on the right (but not on the shoulder except for authorized vehicles):

  • When you have enough room on a two-lane roadway, and when the vehicle you are
    passing is making or is about to make a left turn.
  • On a one-way street or on a roadway with two or more clear lanes in each direction.
  • At an intersection widened for this purpose.

Passing on a two-lane, two-way roadway is not allowed:

  • In an area marked for no passing by a solid yellow line on your side of the center of
    the roadway or a DO NOT PASS or NO PASSING ZONE sign.
  • On a hill or curve where it is not possible to see oncoming vehicles.
  • Within 100 feet of an intersection or railroad crossing.
  • When the view is blocked within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct or tunnel.
  • When a vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk or intersection to allow a pedestrian to
    cross.
  • In a construction zone. All constructions zones in Illinois are no passing zones.
  • In any school zone located in an unincorporated area.
  • In any posted school zone in an incorporated area.
  • When a school bus has stopped to load or discharge passengers.

Proper Lane Usage

You must drive on the right half of the roadway except:

  • When passing another vehicle moving in the same direction on a two-lane highway,
    interstate highway or controlled freeway.
  • When a blockage makes it necessary to drive to the left of the center line. You may
    drive on the left after yielding to oncoming traffic.
  • On a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic.
  • On a one-way street with two or more lanes of traffic.
  • When directed to drive in a left lane by traffic control signs and signals on a multi –
    lane, two-way highway.
  • When crossing the center line to make a left turn into or from an alley, private road
    or driveway.
  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle (when it is safe to do so).
  • When roadway construction is located in or in close proximity to the right lane or
    right shoulder.

When driving on an interstate highway or full access controlled freeway, a person may not
drive in the left lane(s), except when passing another vehicle. Exceptions include when:

  • No other vehicle is directly behind the vehicle being driven in the left lane.
  • Traffic conditions/congestion make it impractical to drive in the right lane.
  • Weather conditions make it necessary to use the left lane(s).
  • There is an obstruction or hazard in the right lane.
  • The driver is changing lanes to yield to emergency or construction vehicles.

Additional rules apply in certain situations:

  • Slow vehicles must use the right-hand lane except when passing or making a left turn.
  • Weaving from lane to lane to move faster than the traffic flow is unlawful.
  • Traffic must travel in the direction of posted one-way streets or roadways. This rule
    does not apply to police and emergency vehicles using sirens or flashing lights.
  • It is unlawful to drive across median strips such as unpaved strips or median barriers. A driver may turn left across a paved dividing-space unless it is not permitted
    by a traffic control sign or signal.
  • A driver must not enter or leave any controlled-access roadway except at a posted
    entrance or exit.

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