Know Your Lanes

Today I witnessed a pretty bad case of road-rage that could have easily been avoided by people knowing the proper use of lanes.  This is always a problem on the highway, and I have to wonder how the hell people haven’t heard or figured out that lanes have a bit of an order to them.  Today, I will try to explain how everyone can get along on multi-lane roads.

Let’s start with a diagram, shall we?

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The left lane is the passing lane.  Note:  I am not calling it the “fast lane” for a reason.  Fast is relative.  You may think you’re going fast, when you really aren’t, which pisses off everyone behind you that wants to go faster.  It is not your job to block them to the speed limit–it makes everyone mad.

As for 3-lane highways, I tend to just leave the far right lane for super super slow vehicles/trucks and cars preparing to exit from the highway.

MOST IMPORTANT RULE!

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Always always always try to stay in the right lane.  There is really no shame in driving in the “slow lane”.  Remember, the left lane is for passing.  When possible, move back into the right lane after passing someone.  If you are not passing someone, you have no business being in that lane.

The following scenarios are in reference to highways.  Multiple lanes in city driving is a bit different because you have people preparing to turn every-which-way, so therefore it is more difficult to have a consistent lane pattern.  I wish that the left-lane-is-only-for-passing rule applied more strictly in those situations, but, life isn’t fair.

 

So let’s begin:

Exhibit A.

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Keeping in mind THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE, we’ll start on a two lane highway.  As you can see, there are two cars more or less side by side driving the same speed in front the of the red car, who wishes to drive at a higher speed.  First off, if you are the red car in this situation, DO NOT TAILGATE!  Unfortunately, tailgating seems to be the only way to get people to know that you want to pass because they just can’t stay in their respective lanes.  If you are the green car in this situation, be aware of your surroundings.  Are you driving the same speed as the car next to you for an extended period of time?  What brought you into the passing lane in the first place?  Realize that there is someone behind you.  What I do when I’m the green car in these situations is speed up in order to pass the black car.  To alert the person behind me that I intend to get out of their way, I’ll signal when I’ve passed about half the length of the car next to me.  And please, ALWAYS signal.

Where problems occur in these situations: One obvious issue is tailgating which is bound to happen if the black and green car continue to collaborate to hold up traffic.  The second major issue in this situation occurs when the green car finally passes the black car, but will not move into the right lane.  The person in the red car would be patiently waiting for the green car to get out of the way, and will end up even more frustrated when the car does not move.  Of course, it must be clear for the green car to move into the right lane.  If there were two or three or four or more cars lined up directly in front of the black car, there really isn’t much the green car can do, except go faster than those cars in the right lane to keep traffic moving.

This situation can easily be solved by staying in the right lane until you need to pass someone.  Two cars occupying different lanes and going the same speed is a GIANT no-no.  Trucks do this all the time in Pennsylvania and is one of the most ann… okay maybe not the MOST annoying thing… but it’s very aggravating to be stuck in that situation.

2.

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(The pink car should say 65 mph… not mpg, but that could technically work…)

Welcome to the scenario that I swear to god almost caused someone to get shot today.  Still keeping in mind THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE, this one is the most frequent and the most aggravating.  I repeat:  The left lane is for passing.  If you are not passing someone, get out of the lane.  In the situation today, I was behind a lifted truck who was behind a Subaru.  The truck was the red car in the diagram, and the Subaru was the white car.  The Subaru was driving at relatively the same speed as the people in the middle lane, maybe a couple mph faster.  The truck and I would have preferred to be going several mph over what the Subaru was doing.  However, despite ample opportunity, the Subaru would not go into the right lane.

I highly discourage passing in the right hand lane, but sometimes, those are really the only lanes open when they shouldn’t be (again, if people knew how lane assignments worked, this problem wouldn’t exist).  Anywho, traffic was relatively heavy, so there was no alternative to get around the slow moving Subaru.  Eventually, a very unsafe gap opened up, and the truck cut off the person in the right lane to get into that lane, and then severely cut off the Subaru to get back into the passing lane.  The Subaru had to brake hard, inappropriate hand gestures were exchanged, and then the Subaru decided to chase the truck, with both of them cutting off a ton of people in the process, for a good 5 to 7 minutes.  While watching it was slightly amusing, I couldn’t help but think how easily this situation could have been avoided (hence the post today).

Where problems occur in these situations: See the above story.  It causes people to start passing in the right lane, throwing hand signals everywhere, yelling at people from their cars.

The point of all this is simple:  If you are in the left lane and there is no one next to you, move into the adjacent lane.  If you are not passing someone, do not stay in the passing lane.  That’s really all that everyone needs to remember.  Everyone needs to train themselves to always need to be in the right lane/middle lane.  One should not cruise down the highway in the passing lane if there is a long stretch of open lane in the right lane.  Have I gotten my point across yet?  No?  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STAY IN THE RIGHT LANE!!!!!  (Unless you’re passing someone, of course)

Do not stop at green lights

Problem: While on the way to the bank, someone in a Lexus RX 350 (I think it was at least), had the genius idea to stop at a green light—a complete stop for several seconds.

Why it’s bad: Stopping at a green light is very dangerous for the people behind you.  They are not expecting you to stop.  You could get rear-ended.  Someone else could run into someone in the neighboring lane trying to get around you. And you’ll piss off everyone around you.

Solution: GREEN MEANS GO!  So when the light’s green, don’t stop (you know, given someone isn’t running a red light from the perpendicular direction or there are emergency vehicles or blocked intersections…. when it makes sense to go when the light is green, go).

Possible explanation for action: They seemed lost.  If you are lost, don’t do stupid shit.  I may have a little more lenience for your terrible driving if you are lost.  You may slow down a little at a light if you’re trying to read street signs, but do not stop if the light is green.  Also, do not go 10 mph below the speed limit, but that’s a whole other mess in itself.

Introduction

So, I’m starting this to vent my grievances with the ways that people CANNOT drive.  It started after a taxi ran me into a curb after crossing into my line in a two-lane turn (not the first time I’ve been cut off in a two-lane turn).  I welcome anyone else to post their terrible driver stories!