Car pool lanes have become increasingly popular in the United States, with thousands of miles of them spanning many of the country’s states. These lanes help people who are carpooling – primarily workers sharing rides to work – and make commuting more efficient and enjoyable for many drivers every single day. In car pool (also known as HOV, or High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes, only cars carrying a certain number of occupants are allowed. This number is usually two (including the driver), but can be three or four, depending on the county and the freeway. Motorcycles are also allowed in car pool lanes, even with only one occupant, and some states allow alternative fuel vehicles (such as plug-in electric cars and gas-electric hybrids) to enter the car pool lane regardless of the number of occupants.
There are fewer carpoolers on the road than vehicles with single occupants, which allows car pool lanes to run at a high freeway speed, even during rush hour when traffic is moving slowly. This speedy lane rewards carpoolers, be they coworkers commuting together, or friends sharing a ride. It also encourages other drivers to carpool, which helps limit the number of vehicles that are on the road. Fewer vehicles on the road is beneficial for all, as it lessens the traffic, reduces harmful carbon emissions, and diminishes the amount of damage that is done to the freeways (which in turn lowers the road repair costs for taxpayers). Car pool lanes are successful in saving carpoolers time and money, and improving the efficiency and quality of the freeways.
Because car pool lanes are relied on by so many drivers, the laws for them are among the most important traffic rules. Car pool lane rules vary depending on what state you’re in, so you should always pay attention to the signs to make sure that you are following the rules in whatever state you’re driving in.
Are there car pool lanes in New Hampshire?
There are currently no car pool lanes in New Hampshire, despite the rise in popularity for them. New Hampshire is a very small states, and car pool lanes are generally reserved for states with heavily populated cities, such as metropolises. New Hampshire’s major freeways were also built before the implementation of car pool lanes, and rebuilding them to add car pool lanes would be an extremely expensive endeavor (and simply converting general access lanes to car pool lanes would be detrimental).
That said, while New Hampshire does not have any of its own metropolises, many residents use I-93 to travel into and out of Boston. Massachusetts has car pool lanes on I-93, both north and south of Boston, and the lanes could easily be extended into New Hampshire to aid commuters and travelers who are driving into Boston from out of state.
Will there be car pool lanes in New Hampshire anytime soon?
While car pool lanes would certainly benefit New Hampshire drivers, there are currently no plans to add them to I-93, or any other freeways in the state. However, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation often conducts studies to determine the best ways to improve efficiency on I-93, and the concept of adding car pool lanes is often discussed. The state has not yet decided whether implementing car pool lanes is the route that makes the most sense, but many plans and proposals have included car pool lanes, and it appears that the state is leaning in that direction.
However, there are not any definitive plans to perform construction on I-93 in New Hampshire, and until there are, there is little chance of car pool lanes being added to the state. While there are a fair share of critics who are opposed to the addition of car pool lanes, most citizens and public officials in New Hampshire agree that it would increase traffic efficiency for drivers.
It will likely be a while before New Hampshire drivers get to take advantage of all the benefits that car pool lanes offer, but in the meantime they can familiarize themselves with the state’s standard laws and rules, so that they are the safest and most responsible drivers possible.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What are the Car Pool Rules in New Hampshire? and was authored by Brady Klopfer.