Lane Definitions

I need help. When driving down a two lane road, which is the “inside lane” and which is the “outside lane”?


If you’re going around a left turn the right lane is outside & left is inside.

And vice versa. The “inside” lane is the one taking the tighter corner.

What exactly are you asking?

The only really important thing to know is which is the left lane and which is the right - in addition to the driving rules in whatever country you’re in.

This is an ongoing argument I’ve had with my wife for the past 40 years. The issue is you are simply going straight. There are no curves or turns involved. Which is the “inside lane” and which is the “outside lane”…Is the right lane the “inside lane” or the “outside lane”?

Thanks and please agree with me.

If you’re going straight there is no inside or outside. There’s still just a left and a right. Inside and outside are about turns.

There is no “inside” or “outside” lane on only two straight lanes.
There’s your lane and their lane.

Ok - qualification. If you think only about an oval track - such as those used in NASCAR, the inside lane is the one closest to the inside of the track. So in that sense you could be going straight in an “inside” lane.

But that doesn’t transfer at all to normal roads - or even non-oval race tracks.

By a two lane road I assume you mean that the driver has the use of two lanes designated for only one direction of travel: a driving or travelling lane, and a passing lane that can be used without the danger of encountering oncoming traffic. This is actually a four lane road, not a two lane road. On a four lane road, the passing lane is the outside lane and the driving lane is the inside lane.
In many states in the US, use of the outside lane is restricted to passing, even on four lane roads. The reason for this is that the use of the outside lane increases the chance of a head-on collision.
On a two lane road, the act of passing a slower vehicle always carries the risk of a head-on collision, since you are travelling in the opposite lane of traffic.

Yep, sounds like a failure to communicate - OP seems to be talking about a 4-lane divided highway - right?

A four lane highway would not describe a 2 lane road as in the original question. Sure we could guess a 2 lane road really means a 4 lane highway with 2 lanes in each direction. Either way in the US an inside lane would mean to me the one furthest to the right.

The question only makes sense with a 4-lane highway. On a true 2-lane highway (one in each direction) to me there is no ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ lane, only ‘your lane’ and the ‘opposing lane’.

WRONG!! The inside lane is the one closest to the median. The outside lane is the closest to the outer edge of the road. I design highways, and this is the proper nomenclature.

Wow I am not saying I design roadways, but here is one Definition
"Outer lane
The lane nearest the center of the road. In those countries that drive on the right side, it is the lane to the farthest left without crossing over to the on-coming lane. In those countries where they drive on the left side, it is the farthest to the right without crossing over to the on-coming lane. "
I do see other references to the outer lane being the right hand lane. I guess we need the op to clarify the question.

OK, BK, so this only applies if it’s four lanes, right? As does Waterboys, too…

In modern traffic planning, passing lanes on freeways are usually designed for through/express traffic, while the inner lanes have entry/exit ramps

But also Same reference
In North American terminology, the passing lane is often known as a left lane or leftmost lane, due to left hand drive (driving on the right). In British/Irish terminology, the passing lane is termed an outer lane or outside lane, while a normal lane nearer the hard shoulder is termed an inner lane (or inside lane). However, associate engineer Michael Carmody strongly believes that the British/Irish terminology is wrong because the passing lane is clearly located on the inside of the road and should therefore be known as the “inside lane” while the lane nearer to the hard shoulder should be called the “outside lane”. Note that in some other countries, like Hungary, the passing lane is called the inner lane (bels? s?v in Hungarian), because this lane is the closest to the middle of the road, thus it is the innermost.
Clear as mud!

On an interstate, the left lane is the inside lane because it’s on the inside of the whole highway (Which consists of 2 strips of pavement)

The inside lane is the one closest to traffic travelling in the opposite direction. In the case of an oval track, the inside lane is the one closest to the center of the oval.

I thought so.

I wonder how much we are talking about highway and road travel and traffic inside traffic circles? No one asked about traffic circles or traffic rules while making any kind of turn. The question was, on a two lane road, which is the outside lane and which is inside?

On a two lane road, there is one lane heading in one direction and another heading in the opposite direction.
This is not question about oval tracks or traffic circles. This apparently has much more to do with how we pass other cars in the US. Here we pass cars in suicide lanes and into opposing traffic and on the left side of a four lane road.

Not to disagree with a highway engineer but the outside lane on the freeway has always been the passing lane or left lane and the inside lane has been the driving lane or right lane. As you can see though, there is no definitive resolution to this. The terminology is too vague and its like better on which came first the chicken or the egg. Unwinable so collapse the bet.