Most highways have the standard three or four lanes. However, in some states, like Virginia, the highways have a High Occupancy Vehicle System (HOV) lane. If you are not familiar with this term or type of lane system, it can be challenging to understand when you can and cannot use such lanes.

 Smoothing out the rules of an HOV lane

HOV lanes are for drivers with two or more passengers and commuters that participate in rideshare. Drivers utilize the lanes throughout the day. By using the HOV lanes they are helping traffic move more smoothly and reduce congestion.

Drivers who do not have two or more passengers cannot use the HOV lanes during specific restricted times. Even motorcyclists can travel in these lanes during specific times.

HOV lanes are often in the far left lane, have a white diamond shape on them, and barriers mark the entrance and exit. Also, above each entry and exit, a highway sign will state time restrictions and when they are in effect to help drivers navigate smoothly.

HOV lanes continue to improve road safety

These highly effective lanes have been around for close to four decades. While these lanes are managed differently in each state, they all have proven that ridesharing does improve traffic flow.

When it comes to safety, HOV lanes have made a positive impact on highways. These lanes allow a significant number of vehicles to travel safely, quickly, and efficiently through traffic, without the stop and go. Also, it helps to reduce exhaust emissions that contribute to cleaner air.

Road safety experts regularly track the safety, vehicle volume, how many people use them, and how many people changed their travel plans to use the HOV lanes and travel time saved, to improve upon the design and the efficiency of HOV lanes.

Save time and enjoy your ride

HOV lanes may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you understand how they work and use them, you will see they are a great way to avoid traffic and travel safely and with ease.