Passing on the right on Rt 57.

Despite my handle, I do obey the traffic laws. I don’t think they’ve changed much in the last 40 years (shhh…dating myself). As far as I know, passing on the right is illegal, in most cases. Definitely on Rt. 57. It’s very dangerous….especially by Taco Bell and ShopRite. Yet, I still see ALOT of drivers still doing it. I stop. The folks behind get angry because they can’t see the person in front of me, waiting to make their left, or they don’t know the law. Anyway, I’m not risking serious injuries just to catch up with the “passing drivers” at the next light. It’s comical, sometimes. They beep, flip me “the bird”, whatever and I smile at them at the next light. Lately, the police are doing a great job attempting to cut down on the Rt. 57 passing business. Many accidents will be prevented. I know it’s frustrating, being late for work and waiting behind one car, forever, to make a left. If they change their mind, quickly, as you pass on the right…game over. Being late would be the least of your worries. No more monkeys jumping on the bed…or passing on the right, k?

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
1 week ago

If a car is stopped, making a left turn on a one lane road, you are absolutely allowed to pass them to the right on the shoulder if it is safe to do so.

ianimal ianimal
1 week ago

"Under NJSA 39:4-85, vehicles must generally pass other vehicles driving in the same direction on the left-hand side. If the vehicle in front is making a left turn, the driver can pass on the right, but only if passing is possible without driving onto the shoulder, sidewalk or otherwise leaving the road."

Meh. It's NJ you can drive wherever you like! LOL.

You're more likely to cause an accident by impeding traffic. I really do not understand how common sense and courtesy have gone out the window lately. People are wound pretty tight and for you to find their distress comical is disheartening. I would be careful- some road rager will pull a piece and then your law abiding be the least of your worries.

PS- If you see a car tailgating you, safely pull over and let them pass- that person may need a restroom.

If you are ANYWHERE in NJ and getting passed on the right- YOU are the problem.


Meaning you should either be in the right(er) lane- or if a single lane- already be passing the stopped car instead of backing up traffic.

40+ years and didn't know that? Hmmm...

And I'm NOT saying to speed or drive in an unsafe manner... just calmly keep the traffic flowing...

About 8 months ago I was traveling south on Rt. 31. A car was stopped to make a left onto school st in Glen Gardner. I passed on the left and a state trooper pulled me over a short time later and told me that was a violation. Gave me a warning. He looked like he was fresh out of the academy and this was a training exercise.

Pete Babich Pete Babich
1 week ago

Dear G-R,
The person behind you probably just finished merging lanes after the drag race from the Allen Road traffic light to just past the Shop-rite driveway. Can't you understand his feelings? He just burned a half gallon of gas getting there. ;o)
Ps. thanks for the wallet complement.

What I hate even more is when the light turns red on Mountain Ave, and you want to turn right onto Rt. 57. There is a lag between the red light and the green arrow because sometimes there are cars coming from the bagel shop area and other times, the opposing light (coming from Hastings) has the green arrow. If the light is red, I always come to a complete stop, and then turn right on red if it's clear, but for some reason, people always lay on their horns (or almost rear end one time). Drives me insane!

I hate waiting behind people making a left turn, on a busy road. I’m afraid of getting rear-ended by someone. I want to pass on the right, a lot. I got some good info here, so thank you for the replies. Stay safe, HtownLife buddies!

PS…Greg, thank you posting the actual law.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
1 week ago

Is it passing.... or 'going around' the guy?

mattnyd mattnyd
1 week ago

Well if you pass by the person while going around him I would go with you passed him.

Going around him could suggest a complete circle as in ring around the Rosie.

And if you keep passing on the right. you better count the Rosary... LOL.

In my case it’s “going around” a stopped vehicle, in front of me, that’s waiting to make a left turn, especially near Taco Bell/ShopRite area on Rt. 57(heading east). I could pass the car, on the right, using the shoulder. If the car in front, quickly changed their mind, gunned it and hit the right side of my vehicle, as I’m passing, going around… whatever…it would be my fault, yes? I’m trying to be specific here. Seems like some replies are trailing off the details of my OP. I do my best not to offend anyone so I don’t feed trolls.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
1 week ago

Greg:” Well if you pass by the person while going around him I would go with you passed him. “ LOL!
We were laughing at the same reply as you were typing the response to it. Going around IS still passing…but like I said, I try to stay out of conflict. Funny, though, how some people interpret certain words.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
1 week ago

As Greg posted, passing on the shoulder is illegal. Your chances of getting pulled over are slim since I’ve seen cars with cops directly behind them do it and the cops follow right along. But, if you want to be completely in compliance with the traffic laws in NJ, it’s illegal.

1 week ago

I believe passing a stopped car making a left turn is illegal IF you are crossing a solid line onto the shoulder. 517 in Panther Valley is a good example. Cars are supposed to slow and stop for the vehicle turning.

However if there is NO LINE, it is legal to pass the turning vehicle on the right. I believe the same applies to intersections.

Corrections? Comments? I would really like to verify the law on this.


I think passing on the shoulder is illegal and considered improper passing (NJSA 39:4-85)

"So what is improper passing? The law says you can "overtake and pass another vehicle on the right" only under certain conditions. You can pass a vehicle on the right if you're driving on a road with two lanes going in the same direction. You can also pass a vehicle which is making a left turn on the right.

But here's when you can't. You can't drive off the road to pass on the right. "In no event shall such movement be made by driving off the pavement or main-traveled portion of the roadway," the law says. So don't go off on the shoulder, especially if it is unpaved."

That’s how I understand the law, MAN, as explained to me by an off duty police acquaintance.

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
1 week ago

"main travelled portion" . If there is a solid white line on the right side of the travel lane, then you can't cross it while passing on the right?

ole' timer
1 week ago

You most certainly may not pass on the dirt, if you use the "shoulder" it's illegal but no one cares, or at least not very often. Damn, why have an SUV then :>)

So you can pass on the pavement, but not on the paved shoulder, not quite sure where I can find those roads..... maybe if I just accelerate, whip that wheel and go up on two wheels I can squeak by without hitting the shoulder..

Here's the kicker --- you're supposed to tap your horn as you pass. WOW --- how much fun will that be!! I can see the increase in road rage attacks if we follow the law on that one. Oh yeah--- except in business or residential areas. Guess that means Alamuchy until the Walmart Super Grocery goes in........

Thanks, most fun subject on HL in awhile.

I remember 30 years ago moving here from DC and seeing the circles. If DC it's man in the circle has the right of way. Since I had to take the test for a new license, I read up and I swear it said: man coming on the circle has the right of way. This made no sense to me as I could envision many cars getting on the circle via the RoR, but no one able to get off because of the RoR. Then it added: or follow the convention of the circle. So, before each circle, I would stop and hold a meeting to determine convention........

Then the limo driver, a fierce Jersian, told me the beauty of the efficiency and effectiveness of the jug handle. I thought ---- what a silly state.

What about traffic circles? New Jersey drivers in the circle used to yield to traffic entering the circle. Is it still like that? Asking for a friend....

Yes Bill

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
1 week ago

down the shore you must yield to cars in the circle

ole' timer
1 week ago

The worst light in town is the one on Willow Grove Street going up the hill to Main Street that only lets about 3 or 4 cars through then turns red . I remember two cars at a time going through the Grand Avenue underpass both ways years ago as a common practice . I guess cars got wider since then . Hard to believe with the size of some of those 60s and 70s land yachts .

Babbit:” Thanks, most fun subject on HL in awhile.“ Hahaha! You’re welcome. Next time I’ll post a 9 volume series about the history of falconry. That’ll really get this place going, huh? :-)
Funny, how these threads always branch off into sub categories. Thanks again for all the replies.

Guilty-Remnant Guilty-Remnant
1 week ago

I'm with the original poster. Back in the early 80's, when I got certified to teach drivers ed, you didn't pass on the right. I didn't think that changed. The only thing I know changed was the right on red that NJ didn't have back then.

Savage, your logic fails in normal traffic. I have been driving for over 50 years in at least 10 different states with numerous different regulations. I have never been ticketed for going around the car blocking traffic making a left on a one lane road. If you follow a car in front of too closely and maybe they do not signal soon enough you will be trapped behind that car. That's on you and the driver in front of you. The car behind you can pass if there is room to negotiate the act smoothly with no danger to anything on their right. Even on the major highways there is often a slower driver sitting the middle of a 3-lane highway. Don't pass on the right is not practical in that case either. So, your blanket rule of don't pass on the right doesn't make any sense.

Passing on the right on a interstate highway is a tradition reserved for any other state thats a aggressive driving ticket

"Passing on the right on a interstate highway is a tradition reserved for any other state thats a aggressive driving ticket" That's a big peeve with me. Not many states enforce "keep right except to pass" and many drivers use the left lane as a cruising lane which they remain in until they exit. If not a state law (not Virginia, for example) it's a courtesy for efficient travel. I pass them all on the right and have never gotten a ticket. And I've gotten more than a few speeding tickets.

Is anyone more disturbed by the person who said that he passed a left-turning vehicle ON THE LEFT? How does THAT work?

ianimal ianimal
1 week ago

GTA style! LOL

Pete Babich

Did you write that correctly? You claimed a car was stopped to make a left turn and you passed them on the "left". Did you mean you passed them on the right while they were stopped and the trooper ticketed you for that?

If you passed them on the left while they were stopped to make a left, that is highly dangerous, as well as illegal.


I actually wrote the above the same day as his comment, but hadn't posted it yet, since I wanted to look something up first and didn't have the resource at hand to look it up. I definitely agree with you, as it troubles me that Pete B. passed them on the left, according his own words. Doing that has resulted in injury and/or death in the past. I've read a number of news accounts from NJ stating those exact circumstances.

Savage and MK

Even in the 80's, NJ has had a provision in the law that passing on the right is allowed when there are two lanes (or more) going in the same direction and a car is stopped to make a left turn in the leftmost lane. It is also allowed when there are two or more "contiguous" lanes of traffic, which essentially allows lanes on the right to go by lanes on the left in the case of a traffic jam or heavy traffic, without being in violation of the law. Just because you can do it and it helps the flow of traffic and makes sense, doesn't necessarily mean it's actually legal to do. Again, cop's discretion.

Greg posts the actual law on the books as far as the original poster's query. Yes, it is technically against the law of you drive over the solid white line on the right side of the lane in order to pass a car on the left when they're making a left turn. Of course it's up to the officer, who may give people a pass, OR NOT. Someone I know had been a couple of car lengths up from his workplace's driveway on Rt. 206 and cars were stopped in front of him. He went to the right and pulled into the driveway, only to be followed by an officer who ticketed him for riding on the shoulder, which is technically any part of the roadway to the right of the solid white line on the right side of the single lane or far right of a group of lanes.

I think they may be targeting passing on the right due to the accident in Mansfield Twp. on Rt. 57 around 2pm on the Tuesday before Christmas right in the area between Taco Bell and the light by the Pho place. It looked as though someone passing on the right had rear-ended someone who pulled out from behind a car that was stopped for a left turn or some similar situation.


The writer of the article left out part of the law. You technically can't pass on the right just because there are two lanes going in the same direction. To quote the law they mention:

"If vehicles on the roadway are moving in two or more substantially continuous lines, the provisions of this paragraph and section 39:4-87 of this Title shall not be considered as prohibiting the vehicles in one line overtaking and passing the vehicles in another line either upon the right or left..."

The key here is "two or more substantially continuous lines," (aka contiguous) which essentially means heavy traffic, as I mentioned above. This is just to indemnify someone in a traffic jam from receiving a citation for passing on the right should the right lane somehow end up moving a bit faster than the left.

Of course there was an earlier law on the books that I think was removed in the 90's and I'd need to see my old copy of Title 39 to quote it, but if you came to a complete stop at a stop sign behind another vehicle, you could go when they went and any cars coming on the other road had to yield to YOU! You can see where someone technically following the law could be involved in an accident and while common sense would say that the vehicle on the through road should've had the right of way, the vehicle that pulled out from the stop sign would have the law on their side. Good thing that law was removed. Some may have known of it and some not, but major confusion!

Phil D. Phil D.
7 days ago

And when making a left hand turn across 2 lanes of traffic, please make sure both lanes of oncoming traffic are clear.
Hence the reason I now have to look for a new car. I was "hidden" by the car to my left.

Blackcat123 Blackcat123
7 days ago

Ian --- based on my experience --- passing on left can be dangerous if passed car is turning left.

We got licenses at 16; my friend got a call for an emergency pickup and jumped into his trusty steed and toddled off in a hurry. Ramping up to 45 on a 35, the car in front was moving slow so he moved to pass as they turned left..... It was a mess; no one hurt but as he got out of the car he realized he was in tight little gym shorts and nothing else, no shoes even.

He claimed no signal but it was on still in the car (or was it turned on after?) and given the legality of his apparel, good bye license, hello traffic school for life.

There's your answer to the soundness of this decision. Answer: not well.

His older brother tested the effect of ten boilermakers and that did not turn out well either, more traffic school and loss of license for awhile only though. Ah, different times, less cars, more rural, we did have some driving fun!!! (as long as no one got hurt)

"Never pass on the right shoulder of the road. This is against the law. (N.J.S.A. 39:4-85)"

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