HOV stands for high occupancy vehicle. An HOV lane, also sometimes called a carpool lane, is reserved for those drivers who have at least one additional passenger in the vehicle with them. However, for most HOV lanes there are a few added rules and restrictions. We break down when you can drive in the HOV lane below.
When Can I Drive In The HOV Lane?
Before heading onto the HOV lane, it’s important that drivers understand the rules and regulations for whichever city they are driving in as not all cities operate by the guidelines set below. Failure to follow the correct usage could result in a traffic stop and a ticket.
In general, if you have at least one other passenger in the vehicle with you, it’s usually safe to head for the HOV lane. The HOV lane is usually marked by a diamond pattern and often has a lot less traffic than the traditional lanes next door, especially during rush hour when people are driving themselves to and from work.
In some cities, qualifying hybrid models are allowed to drive in the HOV lane regardless of their passenger count. In some cases, a special sticker or registration is required to prove that your vehicle meets local requirements.
Depending on the city and highway, some HOV lanes only restrict access to single drivers during specific times of the day, usually rush hour. During times when the HOV lane restrictions are not enforced, all drivers regardless of their passenger count can enjoy the lane.
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