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Illinois Passing Vehicles Laws

Posted on December 19, 2022

Whether you are a resident or a visitor in Illinois, you need to know the traffic laws in order to remain safe and legal on the roadway. This is particularly true for laws surrounding passing vehicles. Passing other vehicles, regardless of the situation, does involve some risk of crashing, and it is crucial to know what state law says about this driving maneuver.

Passing Vehicles and Your Responsibilities

Passing vehicles may seem like a routine procedure, but the reality is that there are many things that can go wrong. That is why it is crucial for individuals to follow basic traffic laws and use defensive driving skills when choosing to pass vehicles on the roadway.

The responsibilities of drivers when passing vehicles will vary depending on the type of roadway they are currently on. Here, we want to review some important reminders that every driver in Illinois should keep in mind when choosing to pass others:

  • On a two-lane highway where traffic in one lane is going one way and the other lane is considered oncoming traffic, the left lane should be visible and free from oncoming traffic for a distance great enough to allow for passing.
  • Drivers should not turn back into the right hand lane until they can see the entire vehicle they have passed in their rearview mirror.
  • Drivers are responsible for getting back into their lane on a two way roadway within 200 feet from any oncoming vehicle.
  • The driver you are passing has a responsibility to not increase their speed until you have completed your passing (no blocking you from re entering the right hand lane).
  • Driving off of the pavement or the main traveled part of the roadway is not allowed when passing another vehicle, either on the right or the left side.
  • Those wishing to pass a bicyclist or a pedestrian on the roadway must maintain a minimum distance of three feet between the vehicle and the bicyclist or pedestrian.

Drivers are allowed to pass on the right under certain circumstances:

  • When there is enough room on a two-lane roadway and when the vehicle they are passing is making or is about to make a left turn.
  • On a one-way street or road with two or more clear lanes on each side.
  • At intersections widened for the purpose of vehicles passing on the right.

Passing on a two-lane, two-way roadway will not be allowed in the following circumstances:

  • In areas where there is a solid yellow line on your side of the roadway or a no-passing zone sign.
  • On hills or curves where it is not possible to see oncoming traffic.
  • Within 100 feet of a railroad crossing or intersection.
  • If the view is blocked within 100 feet of a bridge or tunnel.
  • If a vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk or intersection to allow pedestrians to cross.
  • In any type of construction zone.
  • In school zones located in unincorporated areas of the state.
  • If a school bus has stopped and has its lights flashing and stop sign engaged.

Drivers wishing to pass other vehicles should not only make sure that the oncoming traffic lane is clear, but they should engage their turn signal, get into the passing lane, increase their speed enough to get past the vehicle, and then use their turn signal to get back into the desired lane.