The left lane is for passing

PHOTO: Idiots driving in the left lane when the right lane is clear

I know you like the left lane. I know you feel comfortable there. I know these things. Man.

But, for the love of god(s) you have to get the hell out of the left lane if you’re not passing someone.

There. I said it.

When you do pass, do it as quickly as possible (AQAP!)

Oh, and if you’re passing someone, do it quickly. I know you’re going faster than the other person in the right lane. I know you don’t want to screw with your cruise control. I know. But, if you’re only going .1mph faster than the passee, you’ve got to either speed up or don’t even bother trying to pass. This will not only make the people behind you feel better, but also the person your passing. I know I’m not alone in feeling apprehension with another car driving right next to me for more than a few moments.

By the way, this applies to you truckers too. I know you’re driving giant slow behemoths and it’s difficult for you to pass quickly. But from my personal experience, 90% of all traffic problems on two lane roads are caused by trucks attempting a pass.

We should copy the Autobahn

In the United States we could go a long way toward solving some of our traffic problems by taking cues from the Autobahn. Here’s what I’m talking about (my emphasis):

The right lane must be used when it is free, (Rechtsfahrgebot) and the left lane is generally intended for passing maneuvers only. Drivers using the left lane when the other lanes are free may be fined by autobahn police.

A monetary punishment, if sufficiently pricey, can be great motivation.

Fix those damned potholes!

However, in order for this left lane scheme to work, we also need a more effective system for keeping our roads in good shape. It would be unfair to force people to drive in a right line full possible suspension damaging bumps and holes. When there is a pothole or a crack in the Autobahn, they close off that lane and repair the entire section of road. You don’t want potholes or shoddy repair jobs on a road where you are going in excess of 100mph. We shouldn’t accept amateur repairs on our roads either, even if we never theoretically go above 75mph.

I’m ready to help

Enforcing the sanctity of the left lane should also be accompanied by a little bit of PR magic. I’ll even offer to design the posters and brochures for free. How could they turn down someone so good at cartoons and charts?

Flickr photo by Ben McLeod

One Comment

  1. Ian

    I hate when people ride in the left lane. Know what I hate more? Tony Parker and Manu vaGinobli! Why won’t they die!?