7 Alaska Traffic Laws Drivers Commonly Ignore

Many Alaska drivers ignore fundamental traffic laws, such as passing on the left, yielding the right-of-way, and others.

As a driver in Alaska, it’s crucial to know and obey the state’s traffic code. Unfortunately, drivers often ignore these laws without understanding the potential consequences.

Here we detail seven of the most commonly ignored Alaska traffic laws. Keep reading to learn what they are and how you can ensure you follow the law when driving.

Review these resources to learn more:

1. Alaska Slower Traffic Keep Right Law: The “Move Over” Rule

If you are driving slower than the speed limit, the Alaska traffic code requires you to drive in the right-hand lane (or as far right as possible). You can leave the right lane to pass another vehicle or to prepare for a left turn.

When you are driving slowly on a two-lane roadway in a non-urban area, Alaska law says you must pull over if five or more vehicles are behind you. Once all the vehicles have passed, you can start driving again.

Upon all roadways outside an urban district, a vehicle other than an emergency vehicle proceeding at less than the maximum authorized speed of traffic must be driven in the right-hand lane or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway.

13 AAC § 02.050

A person operating a motor vehicle at any time on a two-lane roadway outside of an urban area shall pull the motor vehicle off the roadway at the first opportunity to pull over safely if there are five or more motor vehicles immediately following that motor vehicle.

AK Stat. § 28.35.140

2. Alaska Flow of Traffic Law: The “Minimum Speed” Rule

Alaska traffic laws ban drivers from moving so slowly that they hinder the normal traffic flow. The authorities can also put a minimum speed limit in place if they believe that slow-moving vehicles would interfere with the flow of traffic. A minimum speed limit cannot exceed 55 miles per highway.

The law allows slower driving as needed to safely operate your vehicle or comply with other traffic laws. For instance, if you delay other drivers by traveling at the speed limit, you won’t be charged with driving too slowly.

No person may drive a motor vehicle so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with statutes, regulations, or ordinances.

13 AAC § 02.295

3. Alaska Driving in Left Lane Law: The “Passing on the Left” Rule

In Alaska, you must pass other drivers to the left and allow other vehicles to pass you on the left.

To legally pass another car, you must pass on their left side and leave a safe distance between the two vehicles. Do not return to the original lane until you have safely cleared the other driver.

The law also requires vehicles being passed to yield the right-of-way if the other driver sounds their horn. If you are being passed on a two-lane road, you cannot increase your speed until the other car has passed you and is back on the right side of the road.

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the overtaken vehicle at a safe distance, and may not return to its right lane until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. Upon audible signal, the driver of the overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle.

If the driver of the overtaking vehicle must perform the passing maneuver in a lane reserved for oncoming traffic, the driver of the overtaken vehicle may not increase the speed of his vehicle until the overtaking vehicle has passed and driven back to the right side of the roadway.

13 AAC § 02.065

4. Alaska Rear-End Collision Law: The “Following Too Closely” Rule

The Alaska traffic code requires you to drive at least two seconds behind the car in front of you. It also says that you cannot follow “more closely than is reasonable and prudent.” So, in situations like severe weather, you may need to leave more than two seconds between your vehicle and the one in front of it.

A driver of a motor vehicle may not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent and at least two seconds behind the vehicle being followed, having regard for the traffic upon the roadway and the condition of the roadway.

13 AAC § 02.090

5. Alaska Mobile Phone Driving Law: The “Hands-Free Driving” Rule

In Alaska, texting while driving is a crime. Alaska law prohibits drivers from reading or typing text messages or other non-voice communications on a cell phone, computer, or a similar device while the vehicle is in motion. It is also illegal to have televisions, computers, and other screens on and in full view while driving.

A person commits the crime of driving while texting, while communicating on a computer, or while a screen device is operating if the person is driving a motor vehicle, and the vehicle has a television, video monitor, portable computer, or any other similar means capable of providing a visual display that is in full view of a driver in a normal driving position while the vehicle is in motion, and the monitor or visual display is operating while the person is driving; or the person is reading or typing a text message or other nonvoice message or communication on a cellular telephone…

AK Stat. § 28.35.161

6. Alaska Four-Way Intersection Law: The “4-Way Stop” Rule

In Alaska, the first vehicle to approach a 4-way stop sign goes first. But if two vehicles arrive at about the same time, the driver to the left must yield the right-of-way to the driver on the right.

Once the driver on the right has driven through the intersection, the driver on the left can go, even if another vehicle has since approached to their right.

When two vehicles enter or approach an intersection which is not controlled by an official traffic-control device, from different roadways at or approximately at the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right except as otherwise provided in this section.

A driver having stopped and yielded may proceed when a safe interval occurs and when other traffic in or near the intersection does not constitute an immediate hazard and while exercising caution, irrespective of the “vehicle on the right” rule. When so proceeding, other vehicles approaching or at the intersection must yield.

13 AAC § 02.120

7. Alaska Left Turn Intersection Law: The “Right of Way” Rule

When turning left in Alaska, let oncoming traffic go first. Drivers turning left must yield the right-of-way if it is not safe to turn in front of an approaching vehicle. This provision applies when turning at an intersection or onto a driveway, private road, or alley.

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

13 AAC § 02.125

The next time you are driving on Alaska’s roads, make sure to remember these seven laws. Following the traffic code will not only help you avoid a ticket, but it will also help you and other drivers stay safe.

Amy Grover is a licensed attorney in the state of Ohio. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, then passing the bar exam in 2014, Amy began her diverse career as a practicing attorney. Amy has a range of experience in the legal field, including work with the Department... Read More >>