Let's say that there are 5 lanes of the road. The two lanes on the left side are both going left, and the two lanes on the right side are both going right.

How can I differentiate them from each other? In other words, what should I call each road?

Update: Also, the reason why I'm asking this is because my brother drives me around sometimes and we both don't know which lane is called what.

Update 2: We would call them (from left to right), outer-left, inner-left, inner-right, and outer-right. Are these the correct terms???

Sorry about the confusion and thank you for taking the time to help me!

Update 3: I finally drew a picture because I left everyone even more confused!

Confusing California Roads

What do I call lanes A, B, D, and E?

Yup, these are how our roads are constructed in California.

closed as unclear what you're asking by cobaltduck, Hot Licks, Cascabel, aparente001, Laure Feb 8 '17 at 16:57

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  • Clarification needed: Are all these lanes travelling in the same direction, versus two in one direction and two in the opposite direction. Please edit your question to give this detail. – cobaltduck Feb 7 '17 at 20:51
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    Road lanes are typically numbered starting with Lane 1 as the leftmost lane for a given direction of travel. Then add the the road’s major direction: Lane 1 Eastbound, Lane 2 Eastbound, Lane 1 Westbound, Lane 2 Westbound. Or northbound/southbound as the case may be. – Jim Feb 7 '17 at 21:43
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    In the US: driving lane (right) and passing lane (left). – Hot Licks Feb 7 '17 at 23:43
  • I do NOT understand the situation. The update just confused me more. Also, in your title, does "Right" mean "Correct"? – aparente001 Feb 8 '17 at 5:01
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    Is this a four-lane highway, with two lanes going, for example, north, and two lanes going south? – aparente001 Feb 8 '17 at 18:16

One through N, from median, left to right in a given direction. In your example, one and two go left, while three and four go right. See diagram from the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition, below.

Diagram from the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition.


There are options.
If the road clearly is going mostly north-south, then there would be 2 north-bound lanes and two south-bound lanes. Each of the two lanes in a given direction could be identified as

right south-bound
left south-bound
right north-bound
left north-bound.

The same for an east-west direction road.
If the road has no clear compass direction, one may use a destination on the road

north, east, south or west of "Eksburg"
"Highway 1 going east out of Eksburg, left inside lane

"east out of Eksburg" establishes the direction the road is going; "inside" or "outside", which lane is identified..
If there is no clear direction of the road coming to or leaving from, then another destination may be used

Highway 1 out of Eksburg toward Eksville.

Then the lanes may be identified as above ("inside" or "outside").
Usage varies in different parts of the world. These examples should be useful almost anywhere.

  • Thank you! I figured there was an inside/outside designation on some of them. – Aurora Afable Feb 12 '17 at 1:11

slow vs. fast (or overtaking) Southbound

A passing lane (North American English) or overtaking lane (British, Irish and Australian English) is the lane on a multi-lane highway or motorway closest to the center of the road (the central reservation). In some countries, lanes are described as being on the 'inside' or the 'outside' of a road - which one the passing lane is varies.

This terminology is clear whether you are in a country which drives on the left or the right.

  • Of course, some people (and most people in some countries?) drive however fast they want to in whichever lane they want. – Scott Feb 8 '17 at 18:56

You have one leftmost lane, two leftmost lanes, one rightmost lane, and two rightmost lanes.

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