Additional lanes are a tool 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. A drawback derived from issues such as the large volume of vehicles that circulate through them at certain times and the inability to expand them to where it would be necessary.
Luckily, there are certain solutions with which to solve, in part, these inconveniences. One of them is the additional lanes. These are a specific solution with which an extra lane is obtained on two-way roads. Something that allows traffic to flow more efficiently in times of high demand. However, it is true that the use of this additional circumstantial lane is not something common, so it is frequent that we do not know how to handle ourselves if we are in front of one of them.
What is an additional lane
According to the current traffic code, an additional lane is one that is installed in a specific way on a conventional road and whose objective is to increase the volume of traffic on it 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 on these lanes we do so in areas of the road that we do not normally use.
It is important to know that these additional lanes are usually properly marked both at their starting point and at the 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 travel in an additional lane
Due to the special characteristics of these sections, the driver of the vehicle using the additional lane is subject to a series of specific, mandatory regulations.
The first thing we should know are the types of vehicle that are authorized to use the lane. Specifically, the extra lane can only be used by passenger cars without a trailer and motorcycles. The rest of the vehicles must necessarily circulate in the right lane and may not overtake other vehicles while they are within the additional lane section. By the way, for authorized cars and motorcycles, the obligation to circulate also on the right as a general rule persists, except to overtake other road users.
The second important aspect of an additional lane is speed. Generally speaking, 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 may be set within the lane, depending on road circumstances and specific needs.
Another important issue in additional lanes is overtaking. Considering the aforementioned limitations, it is obvious that the only vehicles authorized to overtake in these sections are passenger cars without trailers and motorcycles. The maneuver is prohibited for the rest of the vehicles.
The last important section, as far as the behavior of the additional lane is concerned, has to do with the lighting . In this type of lane, the use of dipped headlights is mandatory at all times, and the use of long-range headlights is prohibited for obvious reasons.
Driving in the other lane
So far we have talked about the behavior when driving on the section with an additional lane. But the truth is that the way 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 generically limited according to what we have already commented: 80 kilometers of maximum speed. All this subject to the possible specific prohibitions of the road. Finally, we must keep the lights on, in the same way that the vehicles that circulate through the additional zone do.
As an additional precaution, it is essential to maintain maximum attention when riding on these types of sections. Since we are going to drive on a hard shoulder, which is not normally used for this purpose, the tires of the vehicle will be in contact with dirty surfaces, with gravel and other similar elements, which can cause a risk to circulation.
Although we have already commented on the basics regarding how to circulate in an additional lane, there are certain common questions that we wanted to highlight, so that you are more clear about the use of this type of lane.
Is a car with a trailer allowed to travel in an additional lane?
As a general rule, vehicles with a trailer are prohibited from driving in the additional open lane for fluidity reasons, precisely so as not to congest it with a slower vehicle than a normal passenger car. The exception would be when the lane is opened due to construction, in which case it would be possible to use it.
On this road, at what maximum speed will a car with a trailer travel?
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.