SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This week's Why Guy question comes from Erin Yee on Facebook: "Why is the slow lane on our highways the higher number? Fast lane is labeled #1."
All U.S. Highways have the fast lane (the left lane) marked number one, followed by the next lane to the right as #2, and so on. The slowest lane will have the highest number.
Having numbered lanes is critical for first responders in identifying a problem, like debris in the number #2 lane or an accident in the #4 lane. No matter what, the numbering starts at #1 and goes left to right.
Caltrans labels the fast lane as #1 simply because we read left to right.
When ABC10 asked a Caltrans spokesperson how and why lanes were numbered the way they are, they didn’t know the history behind the decision.
So, what lane has the most accidents in the USA? It's the slow lane with people merging into traffic.
The fast lane or #1 had slightly fewer accidents, but they were more severe due to the higher rate of speed.
And what's the deadliest highway in America? It's Highway 99. Some of the reasons include drunk driving and poor visibility, especially at night with a lack of lighting.