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      Driving in the left lane could cost you

      You can see drivers in the left lane all too often on US Highway 41, but the Michigan Vehicle Code declared it illegal in 1949.

      "It is against the law to ride in the left lane, and if you're not considering making a left hand turn, you should be over in the right lane, and it is a violation," said Trooper Stacey Rasanen, Michigan State Police, Negaunee Post.

      It's a civil infraction that will carry a fine of $125, or $135 if there's an accident involved. The law applies to all highways with two lanes going in the same direction. There are exceptions during times of heavy traffic when both lanes need to be used, but drivers are still encouraged to ride in the right lane if possible. The other obvious exceptions are when you're passing a slower vehicle or you're preparing to make a left turn. Leaving the left lane open helps traffic flow more freely.

      "If you're an emergency vehicle, too, as far as being a police car, we have the right to be over in the left lane to be able to do our job," Rasanen said.

      For your average motorist, it's just a simple matter of courtesy, and for some, nothing is more irritating than dealing with those left lane abusers who just won't let you pass. On Facebook, Lolly Mager says, "My biggest pet peeve is a car in the left lane driving exactly the same speed as the one in the right lane." She's not the only one that feels that way.

      "It's quite frustrating sometimes when you're in a hurry, you got a doctor's appointment or something, and people just stay in the left lane on the side of another car, and they're both going 55 miles per hour, you can't get by on either side. They've got to learn that after they pass, they've got to get back in the right lane," said Negaunee resident Pat Gravedoni.

      "It's just common courtesy that if you're in the left lane and you're holding people up, get over," Rasanen said.

      In the State of Michigan, the law does not apply to highways with three or more lanes in one direction. On those roads, you can drive in any lane without violation unless you're driving a semi truck or other large vehicle.