Rules of the Road for Drivers

ORS 811.410
Unsafe passing on left

  • penalty


A person commits the offense of unsafe passing on the left if the person violates any of the following requirements concerning the overtaking and passing of vehicles:


The driver of a vehicle that is overtaking any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.


Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted under ORS 811.415 (Unsafe passing on right), the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of an overtaking vehicle and shall not increase the speed of the overtaken vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.


The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be completed without interfering with the operation of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or a vehicle overtaken.


An overtaking vehicle shall return to an authorized lane of traffic as soon as practicable.


This section does not authorize driving on the left side of the center of the road when prohibited under the following:


Limitations on driving on the left of the center of a roadway under ORS 811.305 (Driving on left on curve or grade or at intersection or rail crossing).


Passing in a no passing zone under ORS 811.420 (Passing in no passing zone).


ORS 811.295 (Failure to drive on right), 811.300 (Failure to drive on right of approaching vehicle) and 811.310 (Crossing center line on two-way, four-lane road) to 811.325 (Failure to keep camper, trailer or truck in right lane) that require driving on the right.


The offense described in this section, unsafe passing on the left, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §637; 1987 c.158 §168a]

See annotations under ORS 483.308 in permanent edition.

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