Friday, April 08, 2005


You're in rush hour traffic. It's a fairly light traffic day. You're cruising in the left lane at your usual 5-10 mph over the limit, just like almost everyone else in the left lane. Then it happens.

Up ahead, some dimbulb with their cellphone glued to their left ear is "camped" out in the left lane, going 2 mph under the limit. There's a quarter mile gap in front of them but they aren't going to move over. You cool down, but the guy in the tricked-out BMW in back of you gets pissed and does a couple of fast lane changes to get past the left-lane "camper". In doing so, he cuts off two or three people, causing a couple of near accidents. He makes sure he flips off the "camper" as he blows by him on the right, but he's so busy on his call he doesn't even see it.

In his 30 minute drive on that freeway, the "camper" unknowingly creates a dozen near accidents and impedes the natural flow of traffic.

Sound familiar? Happens every day, just about everywhere. I read a story a few months ago that a study done in the UK proved that left lane "campers" may diminish the traffic-carrying capacity of British motorways as much as 25%. Of course, I'm sure the "camper's" response would be "piss off, I'm driving the speed limit!" True, but even law enforcement recognizes that isn't the point. What causes accidents and traffic slow-ups isn't high speed or low speed, but cars in the same lane trying to travel at different speeds. It isn't democratic -- the slowest driver controls the lane.

So, what to do? More and more states are passing laws that say the only time you're permitted in the left lane is when you are passing another car (scroll down to the story titled "Road Rage"). That's OK, but still isn't the best answer.

What's the best answer? Be courteous. If you're cruising along in the left lane, even if you're traveling at 90 mph, and someone's on your bumper . . . move over!


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