Experiences of a frustrated driver--complete with tips on how to better your driving!

Check your blind spots… and your not blind spots.


After hearing many stories about being merged into, and being present for many instances of this occurring, I felt it would be a good idea to remind anyone reading that it is important to look around you, all around you, when you are planning to make a maneuver.  The maneuver that causes the most problems is usually changing lanes, but it could include pulling out of a parking space (I tend to be guilty of preferring to look out one side over the other), at an intersection, etc.  The list really could be infinite. I suppose the best way would be to address the issue by scenario.  

A. When changing lanes


So, let’s set up the scene here. We are going to do this from the perspective of the red car driver, indicated by the black square in the red car.  This picture roughly (emphasis on rough) shows the line of sight for the driver looking straight ahead. There should be a constant rotation in where you’re looking.  A very bad habit to get into is locking your vision on the bumper of the car ahead of you.  You may not always have to check the side mirrors, but definitely glance at the review mirror a lot and look ahead (past the car in front of you).  As I’ve said in previous posts, you want to constantly be keeping tabs on all of the cars around you:  Where are they?  How fast are they moving? What’s their driving style? Who’s exiting?  Who’s changing lanes?  Obviously you’re not going to be able to keep tabs on every single vehicle for however long you’re on the road.  You don’t have to spend a lot of energy on this, but you should just be, at minimum, paying attention to your surroundings.  

Okay, so, where was I?  Oh yeah, changing lanes. 

So, when you’re planning to change lanes, you should thoroughly check the direction you plan to move.  As seen in the picture below, by only relying on your frontal vision (and often rear view and side view mirrors), you miss cars located in your blind spots.  We’ve all heard of them and all our cars have them—some larger than others.  Problems occur when people do not check for vehicles in their surrounding vicinity, blind spot or not.



The picture below with all the pretty colors shows where you should check before making a maneuver, depending on the direction.  If the driver is planning to move into the left lane (top lane), he or she should look to the lime green and neon blue sides. And by look I mean actually turning to the side/turning around enough to completely see the area to which the car will be moving.  Mirrors lie.  Always look.


If the driver wants to move into the right lane (bottom lane), he or she should look into the purple and neon blue area.  Again, actually turn and look.  

And you should look before you make your move.  I occasionally will look as I’m changing lanes, which has led to a swift adjustment back into my original lane. If you do end up getting into one of those situations where you got lazy and didn’t look, and you happen to be running into someone, don’t keep going into that lane.  Go back to your original spot, maybe show some sort of apologetic gesture (not the middle finger), and wait until the coast is clear for you to move into the lane.

It really should be obvious—just look where you want to go.  If someone’s there, don’t go yet.  If someone’s coming up behind you super fast, don’t go.  If no one’s in the space you wish to occupy, go for it.


B. When backing out of a parking space

The main thing to remember here is to back out of a parking space slowly.  You never know what crazy driver/pedestrian is going to wander behind you.  Again, look behind you and to the sides.  You can follow a general pattern when backing out of a space:  look to the right, look to the left, back out a little bit, stop.  Look to the right, look to the left, back out a little, stop.  Do this until you’re more than half way out of the space.  After assuring that you won’t hit anyone or anything, you can go ahead and finish your maneuver to exit the parking space.  Sounds simple, but I’m pretty sure some people just don’t look…. or look once and assume that’s sufficient.  Or back up too far when someone’s behind them waiting to pull into the spot and get dangerously close to hitting them.  *Awareness of surroundings is key*  

Or—you could just avoid Walmart parking lots during peak shopping hours.


[[this post has been in the works for a couple days now, and as I was coming home from work today, this old fart in a Mercury decided to merge into me after I had changed lanes.  He wasn’t signaling either.  I honked my horn, and saw him turn to see me.  About two second later, still not signalling, he tries to push his way into my lane in front of me.  So, I sorta angrily passed him in an exit only lane, and yeah.  But seriously people!  There was plenty of space after to me to get into the lane and it’s not like the lane was ending any time soon.  Also, if you cut someone off, SPEED THE FUCK UP!  Didn’t I post that a long time ago?!  Ugh.  Anywho.  End mini-rant.]]


Importance of Proper Lane Assignments

So, I’ve already written a post on proper lane assignments, but while I was on my way to a meeting the other day, I realized that I never quite discussed why anyone should care about driving in the correct lane.  Alas, I shall attempt to explain the rationale behind lane assignments.

Why have multiple lanes in the first place?  So that traffic can move as efficiently as possible.  If you’ve ever driven on rural highways, where it’s one lane each direction, you know how bad it is to get stuck behind a semi with too much oncoming traffic to pass them.  Passing lanes are supposed to prevent the roadway from becoming clogged and allow people to reach their destinations without too much hang-up.

People, apparently, do not understand this and feel that they are entitled to drive in whatever fucking lane they so choose.  This lane is often the left lane, which creates a bit of a issue on the roadway.  You have people driving slowly in the right lane—as they should be—and people driving slowly in the left lane just because they feel like they belong in that lane.  No one is able to pass these two cars, and a giant queue starts to form, with many drivers becoming angry and impatient at the asshole in the left lane who really shouldn’t be there and is holding up traffic.  This slow poke in the left lane represents plaque in your arteries.  Clogging shit up and making it difficult for the system to work.  If the clog remains for an extended period of time, then frustrated drivers start trying stupid shit to get around the slow cars.  These things range from tailgating to passing on the shoulder.  And you can end up  with a cardiac arrest of the roadway, so to speak.

Is it really that difficult to just chill in the right lane?  No.  If you stay in the right lane, you are less likely to be tailgated because the person behind you can just pass you, and you are less likely to be the target of road rage because you are staying out of people’s way and being courteous to the faster drivers.  

By staying in the correct lane, not only are you getting to your destination in a happier place, all the other drivers traveling with you are also able to reach their destination without wanting to attach a bazooka to their vehicle.  As I’ve said before—driving is a group activity.  You have to think of others and take their actions and needs into consideration as well as your own….

But the more I think about the sentiment, the more I wonder if people just aren’t capable of that.

GET OFF THE PHONE!!!!!!

It makes you drive like a complete and utter douchebag!

In many states, it is illegal to use a handheld cellular device while driving.  But has that stopped anyone?  About as much as speed limits stop people from speeding.  

People texting at lights miss the light turning green, which pisses everyone off.  People texting or talking on the phone tend to go a lot slower while driving, or go up and down in speed constantly, which pisses everyone off.  They also fail to maintain their lane most of the time, causing them to have to jerk the car back onto the road or back into their lane to avoid hitting people.  

The whole talking on the phone while driving thing is obviously more problematic in states where it is not illegal to do so. The amount of times I feared for my life while encountering someone operating a vehicle while at the same time attempting to operate a phone is astronomical.  I’m sure this is no different from anyone else’s experience.  

Driving is the sort of the thing that should not be part of a multitasking endeavor.  You multitask with little things—talking on the phone while cooking dinner perhaps.  Or talking on the phone, typing on the computer, drinking coffee, and making frantic gestures to someone in the same room.  These are small things.  Unless you catch the house on fire while cooking, you’re not going to hurt anyone.  As cheesy as those anti-texting-while-driving PSAs may be, they’re in essence true.  You are far more likely to hurt/kill yourself and someone else if you’re multitasking while driving.  So don’t do it.

  • If you’re running late, don’t apply make-up, shave, or eat breakfast in the car.  First of all, your car deserves more respect than to have gross shit like that in it.  McGriddle wrappers from weeks past should not remain in the vehicle.  If you must eat something, eat at red lights.  Those things have a purpose… I guess.  
  • If you must talk on the phone for some reason while driving, make it brief or pull over somewhere to ramble.  Seriously, if you’re behind or next to someone driving like a dick, there’s a pretty big likelihood that they’re on the phone.  Or just a terrible driver.  It’s 50/50 at times.
  • Do not multitask while driving.  Driving is a very mentally active activity.  You should be taking in and processing the sensory data surrounding you at all times.  What are the traffic conditions ahead and behind you?  Where are all the cars in your line of sight?  Where are all of the cars behind me?  What are the driving personalities of those in close proximity?  Where am I?  What’s my nearest exit?  What lane should I be in?  Are there police anywhere up ahead or behind?  How fast am I going?  How fast is everyone else going?  What are the road conditions?  What’s the meaning of life?  I can understand how driving can get a little mundane if it’s a familiar drive or if it’s a long drive through the middle of nowhere, but that doesn’t mean you should try to watch a movie or play a game on your iPhone while driving.  
  • The only multitasking I approve of is singing along with the music you’re listening to.

I personally do not like to drive with passengers.  I’m not very talkative while I drive because I find myself not really listening to my passenger.  I have met some wonderful drivers who can hold conversations and drive perfectly well.  I, however, cannot.  When I drive, I don’t much like doing anything else other than drive.  I enjoy the act of driving, so why not focus on that?  Not everyone enjoys driving, just like not everyone enjoys spicy foods… Except people that don’t like spicy foods tend to avoid them, whereas people that don’t like driving are clogging the roads like plaque in arteries—and they’re just as dangerous.  And on that strange metaphor, I’ll leave with this summary:  While driving, drive; while talking on the phone, talk.  Just don’t do them at the same time.

Slow vehicle turnouts

On a joyous, though unfortunately slow, drive through some mountains yesterday, we came across a bunch of ass holes who, for reasons unknown, refused to use the slow vehicle turnouts kindly provided for them.  

Why?  Why will people not use slow vehicle turnouts when they are clearly the slow vehicle causing a blockage of over 10 cars behind them, putsing along going 35mph in a 40mph zone?  WHYYYYYY?????!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Several posted signs say that slow traffic MUST use turnouts.  It really should be illegal to cause a blockage of over 5 cars on any given road.  

Alas, today’s lesson is going to be about using slow vehicle turnouts (and the shoulder of a road if turnouts are not provided):

Part I.  The slow vehicle turnout

On many two-lane mountain passes, slow vehicle turnout areas are provided.  The purpose of the these areas is to allow slower moving traffic (the intended targets were/are probably trucks and larger vehicles) to get out of the way of faster traffic behind them.  This allows everyone to reach their destination safely and with their sanity still intact.  

But, for some reason, painfully obviously slow drivers refuse to use these ingenious features.  It’s not as if they don’t know one is coming—there are signs alerting drivers to the presence of turnout areas many many yards in advance (plus it’s not like these people are really driving too fast to miss them).  Yet even with someone driving very close behind them, flashing the high beams a couple of times, and swerving behind them, these idiots we were driving behind (I wasn’t driving, by the way) would not pull into any one of the four turnouts we passed.  Eventually the driver I was with that day pulled a bit of an illegal maneuver and we got around the person in front of us.  But all this could have easily been avoided, like everything else,  if people would stop being such dicks.

If it is clear, or even slightly hinted at, that the person behind you wants to pass you and turnouts are provided, please use them.  This really should not hurt your ego and doesn’t mean you “lost” some mental battle you’re having with the driver behind you (both which I’m assuming are the main causes for driver dickness).

Signal about 500-1000 feet before the turnout to tell the person behind you that you do have a soul and will be out of their way as soon as you can.  Move into the turnout, look behind you to see if there are any other vehicles coming, then move back onto the road when it is safe and continue on your journey stress-free.

To the drivers behind the slow-movers:  As I always say, try your best not to tailgate or be overly rude.  Also, try not to cross a double-yellow line to pass someone…  not a good idea and is illegal.  But, I’m just going to leave that at try not to do it.

Part II.  Using the shoulder

Basically, this one applies to every other two lane road in the US.  These roads don’t say anything about slow traffic pulling over (though they’ll often have a sign that says “do not pass”).  Given there is an appropriately sized shoulder, there is, in essence, a turnout area everywhere.  If someone is following too closely behind you or if you are simply sightseeing and are driving slower than usual, you can always just signal, pull over onto the shoulder, allow the driver behind you to pass, and continue on your way when the coast is clear.  Way too many people forget this or refuse to do it.  As I said in the post about speed a couple of weeks ago, it is not your job to regulate the speed of people driving behind you.  Do not think “I am already driving fast enough.   You can just hold your horses, mister.”… or whatever version of that you actually say to yourself in those situations.  Pull over, let them pass, and everyone will have a much happier driving experience.

The same note for the faster driver seen in Part I applies here as well.  

You could also wait for passing segments on the road you are driving on or passing lanes that may appear at some point.  Only pass when it is safe and when it is legal *cough*.  

To be perfectly honest, this really is the fault of the slower driver if they refuse to take the opportunity to allow those behind them to pass.  It’s creating a volatile atmosphere on the road which rarely ends well.  You slow people know who you are and you carry the responsibility to drive slowly safely, just as those of us who drive quickly carry the responsibility of speeding safely.  

Don’t pull out in front of people when there is no one behind them.

This is a pretty common problem everywhere.  You’re at a light or a stop sign, and traffic is pretty light.  There’s someone waiting to turn right.  There is a small gap between you and the car in front of you and absolutely no one  behind you.  The car waiting to turn decides to gun it to make it into the gap between you and the car in front of you.  90% of the time, they’ll pull out quickly, and then proceed to go at a ridiculously slow speed, causing you to slam on your breaks and ask the traffics gods what you did to offend them to deserve this.

A major part of driving is working together.  The other part is patience.  

Let us diagram this:

(Sorry for the small size…  Didn’t plan it that way.  And I’m really sad I couldn’t make it bigger because the stop sign I drew is totally baller.)

As we can see here, the black car is looking to make a right turn.  There is a potential space between the maroon car and the blue car, but there is also plenty of open space after the blue car.  All the black car needs to do is wait for the blue car to pass, and then they will be able to make their turn without endangering themselves or others.  

This scenario applies to light traffic.  If you’re at the intersection above, but there’s a long line of never ending cars, then you may have to take advantage of small gaps or people turning.  There is a right and wrong way to do this though.  

You may be able to pull out into traffic if someone makes a right turn onto the street you’re coming from:

This can be tricky though.  Are they actually turning?  Did they just leave their blinker on?  Are they turning into this street or the next street?  How quickly will they make the turn?  Will they make the turn from the shoulder allowing the cars behind them to pass, therefore eliminating your chance to turn?  You must take into account all the factors before you make a decision.  If the gray car in the picture above is not turning from the shoulder and can successfully block people from passing them during their turn, I would wait until the car just starts to make its turn before I’d pull out into the lane.  You can’t always trust people’s signals, and there isn’t a re-do button if you pull out in front of them and end up causing an accident because they weren’t actually turning (not experienced first hand).  If the situation seems unsafe, wait.  You won’t get in an accident if you chill at the stop sign a little longer (unless of course you get rear-ended by some asshole, but let’s not assume the worst case scenario.)

Another option is to go for it when you do see any opening.  The important part of squeezing oneself into gaps in traffic is acceleration.  If you’re going to pull out in front of someone, you better speed the fuck up.  Obviously, it will depend on the car you have as to how big of a space you need.  If you’re in an R8, you’ll probably be able to accelerate to an acceptable speed pretty quickly so you don’t need too big of a gap.  If you’re in a Tacoma, you won’t be able to accelerate as quickly as the Audi, and you’re a bit bigger, so you’ll need to wait for a larger gap.  Whatever you do, DO NOT pull out in front of someone and proceed to go slower than the flow of traffic.  Leave a following cushion between you and the car ahead of you, but do not let that car get too far away.  Keep up with the speed of traffic, and maybe the person you cut off will forgive you.  Go slowly, and they’ll plot to kill you in your sleep.

Please keep in mind that there is always the option of waiting for a safer scenario.  You may be waiting at that stop sign for a couple minutes before an acceptable gap opens up, but waiting is a lot better than crashing.  

For the love of all that is holy, please drive at LEAST a mile or two over the speed limit.


This one has been a long time in the making: A discussion about speed.  As most of you know (because I doubt anyone I don’t know really reads this), I have a bit of a lead foot.  I’m not an ass-hole speeder, though.  There are differences.  Ass-hole speeders 1) tailgate, 2) weave in and out of lanes of traffic, 3) honk at people who are driving slowly, 4) generally cross multiple lanes of traffic in one motion to get around slower drivers, 5) often don’t signal, and 6) piss everyone off.  I do not do these things when I speed.  I slow down when I approach slower drivers.  I may get mad at them, but I leave adequate room between their car and mine, I always signal, I go lane by lane (enter one lane, pause, enter the next, pause, etc.), I do not honk at people, and I try my best to not piss anyone off.  I like to call it “safe speeding”.  People laugh whenever I say that, but there is a right way and a wrong way to speed.

As I have said before, driving is a group activity.  Driving is also fun.  I’d like to emphasize the fun here.  When I speed, it’s not always to get somewhere.  I’m not necessarily racing people to my destination.  I speed because driving quickly is fun.  Driving slowly is not fun.  Granted, there are very legal ways to cure this fix—autocross, track days, organized drag racing, and many other organized auto sports that would allow me to cure the speed-need.  But, there’s a long time between seasons and I can’t so much afford the big time racing activities, so I drive “quickly” on the open road.

There are rules that govern my speed though.  I will not push my car to the limits around other drivers.  When I do have my fun and go 90+, 100+, 110+, 120+, 130+, I make sure that (especially when I drive over 100) that there are NO cars around.  When I went my fasted speed, there was NO ONE on the road.  Occasionally I’ll get in some little street races, in which case I kind of abandon those rules, but only twice have I gone over 100 for those… I think.  

An important note for this post would be to know the limits of you and your car.  If your car cannot handle going at very high speeds, do not attempt to drive at very high speeds.  If you can’t control your car at very high speeds, do not attempt to drive at very high speeds.  Figure out all your limits in a safe environment, like an autocross, before hand.  Do not try to discover them out on public roads.  You’re giving all quick drivers a bad name by going faster than you can go, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not knowing the capabilities of your car.  Using good judgement requires full knowledge of the situation.  Once you have that knowledge, use it appropriately.

Now, for everyone that is not comfortable with speed and prefers to lollygag about on the road, there are easy things you can do to avoid the speed demons from getting super pissed at you:

1.) Drive at least 5mph over the speed limit.  I’ve only heard of one instance where someone got pulled over going 5 over.  I have driven 5mph over the speed limit past a cop and did not get pulled over.  I was actually tailgated by a cop recently, but we won’t go there.  The only time when this rule does not apply is if you’re driving a gigantic monstrosity of a vehicle that has a difficult time going anywhere.  You may also be exempt from this rule if you have an old car that’s on its last tank in life and is spewing black smoke of death.  In which case, only drive your car to your nearest dealership or shop to get this problem fixed or adopt a new vehicle.  This is also the time to mention the all important use of hazard lights.  If you are going significantly under the speed limit (we’ll say 10mph under, though the actual law for this in each state may vary), turn your hazard lights on.  This will alert drivers coming up behind you that you are going super slow and allow them enough time to maneuver around you.  

2.) Drive in the appropriate lane.  If you have not read the post on proper lane assignments, make time to do that.  If you are going 65mph in a 65mph zone, and you’re in the far left lane, get out of it.  You are not going fast.  

3.) Don’t try to regulate other people’s speed.  I’ve been a victim of this thinking as well.  It’s okay.  You’re not alone.  Sometimes I’ll be going about 10-15 over and someone will be all up on my butt.  I have been guilty of thinking “I am going fast enough, thank you.”  This is not the way to think in these situations, and I do actually correct myself.  I will speed up just enough to get out of their way.  This is what I would want someone to do if I were the car behind me*.  

4.) When traveling up or down steep inclines and pull-outs are provided, USE THEM!!!  It is greatly appreciated.  

*The Golden Rule, treat others how you want to be treated, or the better rule—don’t treat others the way you don’t want to be treated—should be the first lesson taught to new drivers.  If you want people to let you onto the highway when you merge, let others onto the highway when you merge.  If you want people to signal, then you should always signal.  If you want people to stop running red lights, don’t run red lights yourself.  Road karma is rough.  I would know.  But driving is like life—there are complete dicks, people slow to catch on, people with too much power for their own good (horsepower in this sense… or cops).  Just be considerate.  If someone wants to go faster than you, get out of their way.

Merging

So, today we’ll be talking about merging onto highways.  A fair number of problems on the highway could be solved if people knew how to merge properly.  The rest are fixed through knowing proper lane assignments.  

Here, I’m just going to talk about regular highway merging.  Construction zone merging and other such stuff can be solved in sentences, not pictures:  take turns and don’t be the dick that tries to speed to the front of the line.  It’s still going to take forever no matter where you are.  

Back to my point.  In essence, merging is just changing lanes.  Only difference is that your lane is ending soon.  

Let’s just start with some basics.  For the love of all that is holy, DO NOT TRY TO MERGE ONTO A HIGHWAY GOING 45 MILES PER HOUR!!!!!!!  (unless traffic is moving slow, then fine, but under normal circumstances, don’t ever do that.  It doesn’t work and pisses off everyone else trying to merge behind you.)

So, let’s diagram this.

If you happen to be the white or blue car in this situation, move into the other lane.  It’s common courtesy to move out of the lane that people are trying to merge into when you can.  You then move back into the right lane once you’ve passed the  merging cars.  

If you are the black or red car in this situation, your goal is to get up to speed.  The purpose of an on-ramp is to give you ample time to get up to highway speeds… so use it!  It is so aggravating to be behind someone cruising down the on-ramp at a steady 40 mph when traffic is clearly going 20mph faster. 

Now, if merging was always that simple, there would be no need for this post and life wouldn’t suck.  Well, that’s a bit of a stretch, but still.

"difficult" merging doesn’t have to be that difficult.  As you probably didn’t notice, there is no speed limit and no one has an indicated speed.  These rules apply at any speed.  Whether traffic is steadily moving at 55, 65, or 6 miles per hour (though I doubt there’d be gaps going 6 mph) these are rules to go by to assure a safe merge.

At the number 1 diamond thing, you want to be checking the road.  Quick glances at the lane of interest are best—don’t run off the road, that’s bad.  It’s the “gathering intel” stage of the merge.  

Orange diamond number 2 is planning. *start signalling*  After you have collected information about the lane, it is time to adjust your speed (reasonably… not slowing down to 30 until something opens up) so that you can seamlessly move into the space that you found.  

Several spaces are circled in magenta (or pink for those who didn’t grow up with a 64 box of crayola crayons).  Some of them are a bit tight, others have more space.  Depending on the size of your car, you should plan to hit one spot over another.

Again, the people in the right lane have responsibilities too.  Driving is a group activity as much as each of us doesn’t want it to be.  The green car is able to move into the left, so it should do so.  The other cars are unable to move into the left lane, but they can still slow down or speed up to create openings for cars merging into the lane.  (some people don’t appreciate when you allow them to merge in front of you though… I’ve gotten the middle finger for doing this.  I hate people.) 

Anywho, it’s a bit of a difficult dance sometimes when merging into heavy traffic.  Some people merging don’t get the hint that there is a space being created next to them that they can easily take, and then there’s people that for some reason will not for the life of them have someone merge in front of them.  Other times no one is cooperating and you basically have to cut someone off to get on the highway (D.C., I’m looking at you.)  

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?

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!

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.

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. 

(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)