Rules of the Road for Drivers

ORS 811.295
Failure to drive on right

  • exceptions
  • penalty


A person commits the offense of failure to drive on the right if the person is operating a vehicle on a roadway of sufficient width and the person does not drive on the right half of the roadway.


A person is not required to drive on the right side of the roadway by this section under any of the following circumstances:


When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing this movement in ORS 811.410 (Unsafe passing on left) to 811.425 (Failure of slower driver to yield to overtaking vehicle) or 811.808 (Exemption from speed limits for funeral escort vehicle).


When preparing to turn left in an intersection, alley or private road or driveway.


When an obstruction or condition exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway, provided that a driver doing so shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within a distance as to constitute an immediate hazard.


Upon a roadway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable on the roadway under ORS 811.380 (Improper use of center lane on three-lane road).


Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.


The offense described in this section, failure to drive on the right, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §615; 1991 c.482 §15]

See also annotations under ORS 483.302 in permanent edition.

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute

Under former similar statute, the duty to drive in the right half of a highway was not absolute and the section did not establish a standard for negligence as a matter of law. Mennis v. Highland Trucking, Inc., 261 Or 233, 492 P2d 464 (1972)

In General

Infraction does not require presence of oncoming traffic. State v. Mealer, 129 Or App 456, 879 P2d 230 (1994), Sup Ct review denied

Chapter 811

See also annotations under ORS chapter 483 in permanent edition.

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute

A party in violation of a motor vehicle statute is negligent as a matter of law unless he introduces evidence from which the trier of fact could find that he was acting as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances. Barnum v. Williams, 264 Or 71, 504 P2d 122 (1972)

Law Review Citations

Under Former Similar Statute

10 WLJ 207 (1974)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021