Friday, May 6, 2011

Traffic Observations: Going Slow in the Fast Lane

I got rid of my worker bee job a couple of years ago and now earn my income from home – something that you’d have to pry from my cold, dead hands. I love it. I can set my own hours, I can work as little or as much as I want and essentially, the sky’s the limit. Also, I don’t have to drive with the worker bees on the freeway anymore. Let’s delve deeper into this, so we can understand just what I mean.

Yesterday, we had to drive into Newport Beach for a medical appointment. It made me real thankful that I don’t have to drive daily. We got there okay but we weren’t about to make the 1.5-hour trek home in rush-hour traffic, and so we caught dinner and a flick down there. Worked like a charm, for the most part.

While it was never really “stop and go” on the way home, I constantly encountered geniuses in the far left lane, also known as the fast lane, going well below the posted speed limit. Technically, there *is* no “fast lane,” and so they are probably doing nothing legally wrong. If you have ever driven on a CA freeway, however, you know that driving 60 mph in the far left lane is a no-no. It’s highly irritating for other drivers at best, and lethal at worst.

There is nothing more aggravating than to be gliding along at a reasonable 75 mph, only to hit the brakes and slow down to 60 mph because some idiot in the fast lane thinks they are driving a pace car. Oh man, gets me fired up every single time. And I’m not a fast driver – no accidents and never a speeding ticket. Not one. I get on the freeway to go places, though, not dilly dally.

There is something called the “flow of traffic,” which local police recognize readily. If everyone on the damn freeway is averaging 80 mph, it is not advisable to get into the far left lane and go 55 mph because you think that’s what should be done. You’ll cause more accidents than you prevent that way, trust me. I can’t tell you how many marked, black-and-white police cars I’ve past at well over the posted speed limit. They aren’t looking for a guy going 80 in a 75 zone in the fast lane; they are looking for the guy going 95 in a 75 and weaving in and out of traffic. That guy is going to kill people, plain and simple.

So anyway, I’m sliding along at 75 mph and I see a box, usually a mini van, ambling along in the same lane at a turtle’s pace. I literally cannot see anyone in front of that driver for two miles. So, I have to get out of the fast lane and pass the missing link on the right, something I really hate to do. But what else? On a ten-minute trip down the freeway into town, I can cope with going 60 mph. However, when I’m two hours from home, dropping from 75 mph to 60 mph can cause me to be on the road for another half-hour or more, and that just isn’t acceptable. Not when it’s completely preventable.

My question is this: Why in the world would *anyone* consider creeping along in the far left lane? Don’t they see that there is NO-body in front of them, and consider moving over to the middle lane, where 60 mph is just dandy? These people baffle me, and I suppose they always will. Even more baffling is that no matter who I talk to, they complain about moron drivers on the freeway, as well. What are the chances that *all* of my friends, family, and colleagues are the ones who drive really well? Not high.

I’m sure that those drivers who choose to go well below the posted speed limit in a socially accepted fast lane aren’t going to read this blog, because they probably can’t read. But it’s a rant blog, after all, and I figured I may as well tell you fine readers about it. That’s all for now but remember, don’t be the idiot who holds up traffic and makes people’s blood pressure rise unnecessarily. If you want to drive at a slower speed that’s more comfortable to you, please pick another lane. The far left one is for those of us who want to move.


Adelle said...

In Nevada it's illegal to drive in the "passing lane" unless you are passing another vehicle. You can get a ticket here for impeding the flow of traffic. People do it all the time and I hear ya, it's irritating to say the least! :-)

L.L. Woodard said...

I am one of those folks who travels the speed limit, but not above it most of the time. You'll find me in the far right lane almost exclusively, unless there is a left-hand turn-off that I need to execute. Then I speed up to the others around me, otherwise someone is on my bumper trying to push me down the road.

Andrea Coventry said...

In New York you are supposed to stay in the right-hand lane unless you are passing someone on the right. For the most part, at least on the Thruway, people seem to follow that. And then you hit Pennsylvania and Ohio....I had a lot of road rage driving back home tonight....LOL