How to drive in an extra lane?

The additional lanes are a tool with which to lighten traffic in situations that require it. However, they are not very common on our roads, so we do not always know how to handle them.

One of the main problems that our roads have is the traffic they support. An inconvenience derived from issues such as the large volume of vehicles that circulate through them at certain times and the inability to extend them to where it would be necessary.

Luckily, there are certain solutions with which to solve, in part, these drawbacks. One of them is the additional lanes. These are a punctual solution with which an extra lane is obtained on two-way roads. Something that allows traffic to flow more efficiently at times of high demand. However, it is true that the use of this circumstantial additional lane is not common, so it is common that we do not know how to handle ourselves if we find ourselves before one of them. 

What is an additional lane

According to the current traffic code, an additional lane is one that is installed in a timely manner on a conventional road and that aims to increase its traffic volume in one direction. These additional lanes are recognized for being marked by cones and occupying part of the road and the hard shoulder, taking advantage of the entire width of the road to create this “new” lane. Therefore, it is normal that when driving through these lanes we do so through areas of the road that we do not normally use.

It is important to know that these additional lanes are usually duly signposted both at their starting point and at their end. Throughout this section, the specific traffic regulations that we will mention later must be maintained, as well as the maximum precautions, given the particularity of this situation.

How to drive in an additional lane

Due to the special characteristics of these sections, the driver of the vehicle that uses the additional lane is subject to a series of specific regulations, which must be complied with.

The first thing we need to know is the types of vehicle that are authorized to use the lane. Specifically, the additional lane can only be used by passenger cars without trailers and motorcycles. The rest of the vehicles must compulsorily circulate in the right lane and may not overtake other vehicles while they are within the additional lane section. By the way, for authorized passenger cars and motorcycles, the obligation to drive on the right also persists as a general rule, except to overtake other road users.

The second important aspect of an extra lane is speed. In general, the maximum speed of the additional lane is 80 kilometers per hour , which applies to both lanes. A minimum speed of 60 kilometers is also established for vehicles traveling in the additional open lane, which does not apply to those traveling in the right lane. However, different limits within the lane may be established, depending on road circumstances and specific needs. 

Another important issue in the extra lanes is overtaking. Considering the aforementioned limitations, it is obvious that the only vehicles that are authorized to overtake on these sections are passenger cars without a trailer and motorcycles. The maneuver is prohibited for other vehicles.

The last important section, as far as the behavior of the additional lane is concerned, has to do with lighting . In this type of lane, the use of dipped headlights is mandatory at all times, while the use of long-range lights is prohibited, for obvious reasons.

driving in the other lane

Until now we have talked about the behavior when driving along the section with an additional lane. But the truth is that the way in which we circulate along the section that is limited to a single lane also varies.

The first prohibition is to overtake. Given that to carry out this maneuver it would be necessary to cross the line of cones, it is obvious that it cannot be carried out. Something similar happens with speed, which is limited in a generic way according to what we have already mentioned: 80 kilometers maximum speed. All this subject to the possible specific prohibitions of the route. Finally, we must keep the lights on, in the same way that the vehicles that circulate in the additional zone do.

As an additional precaution, it is key to maintain maximum attention when riding this type of section. Given that we are going to drive along a hard shoulder, which is not normally used for this purpose, the vehicle’s tires (by clicking on this link you can find some options to choose from) will be in contact with dirty surfaces, with gravel and other similar elements, which can cause a traffic hazard.

Frequent questions

Although we have already discussed the basics regarding how to drive in an additional lane, there are certain common questions that we wanted to highlight, so that you have a clearer understanding of the use of this type of lane.

Is a passenger car with a trailer allowed to drive in an additional lane?

As a general rule, vehicles with trailers are prohibited from driving in the additional open lane for reasons of fluidity, precisely so as not to congest it with a vehicle that is slower than a normal passenger car. The exception would be when the lane is opened due to works, in which case its use would be possible.

On this road, at what maximum speed will a passenger car with a trailer circulate? 

In this case, there is no difference with respect to a conventional vehicle or a passenger car without a trailer, so the maximum speed will be 80 kilometers per hour or that which has been specifically established in the section.

Is the use of lighting mandatory for passenger cars? 

All vehicles traveling in the additional lane must have their dipped headlights on, both day and night. The same must be done by vehicles traveling in the opposite direction to that of the additional lane.

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