Driving Two Abreast in a Single Lane (46.2-857)

What if you’re driving down a two-lane road and the person ahead of you stops to take a left but there is a lot of traffic coming? You’re getting impatient waiting behind them and there is enough space in the lane for you to pass on the right, so you do. Did you just commit a crime? In Virginia, that might be considered Reckless Driving. Driving Two Abreast in a Single Lane is a form of Reckless Driving. The Reckless Driving, Driving Two Abreast in a Single Lane statute states;

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives any motor vehicle so as to be abreast of another vehicle in a lane designed for one vehicle or drives any motor vehicle so as to travel abreast of any other vehicle traveling in a lane designed for one vehicle.

Does that mean that you can never drive with two vehicles in one lane? No, there are several exceptions stated in the Reckless Driving statute. The exceptions include motorcycles, authorized parade vehicles, motorcades, or motorcycle escorts. Additionally, it is not a form of Reckless Driving to drive next to a bicycle or a moped. Finally, the Reckless Driving statute of Driving Two Abreast in a Single Lane does not prohibit anyone legally passing another vehicle in the same direction in a separate lane. This would include passing on a dotted yellow when clear or dotted white lines when there are multiple lanes going in the same direction. The exceptions in the Reckless Driving statute within the code specifically states:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit two two-wheeled motorcycles from traveling abreast while traveling in a lane designated for one vehicle. In addition, this section shall not apply to (i) any validly authorized parade, motorcade, or motorcycle escort; (ii) a motor vehicle traveling in the same lane of traffic as a bicycle, or moped; nor shall it apply to (iii) any vehicle when lawfully overtaking and passing one or more vehicles traveling in the same direction in a separate lane.

What if you are found guilty of Reckless Driving, Driving Two Abreast in a Single Lane? Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500.00. Additionally, reckless driving is a six (6) point offense on your driving record. A reckless driving conviction stays on your driving record for 11 years and reckless driving remains on a criminal record for the rest of your life and cannot be expunged.