Q: I can be in any lane I want to, as long as I’m going below the speed limit, right?

A: The annual AAA transportation survey, released in February 1999, found that 97 percent of respondents agreed that slower highway drivers should always keep right and that 86 percent believed motorists traveling at the speed limit should always make way for faster drivers. In both cases, a large majority said they felt strongly about the issue.

Here are the two relevant sections of Massachusetts law (somewhat abbreviated):

1. Upon all ways, the driver of a vehicle shall drive in the lane nearest the right side of the way when such lane is available for travel, except when overtaking another vehicle or when preparing for a left turn.

In other words, always stay in the right lane, unless you’re passing someone going slower than you, or unless you’re about to make a left turn.

2.When passing a vehicle traveling in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle shall drive a safe distance to the left of such other vehicle. Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle.

Again, in plain English: When you’re passing another vehicle, do so on the left, unless you’re on a road where passing on the right is OK (usually highways, not secondary roads). And if someone behind you wants to pass, don’t be a pain: Move over.

So: How many people get cited for obstructing traffic compared to those cited for, say, speeding?

(Here is columnist Eric Peters’ take on the subject.)