Friday, May 16, 2008

The Privilege of the Left Lane

This past week in the Bay Area the heat has been scorching, reaching triple digits in some places. This first big heat wave always makes people more agitated than usual, especially when driving. And this certainly goes for me too as I have been very liberal with my horn usage.

There is a simple and basic understanding in driving etiquette that has had me laying on my horn now more than ever.

The left lane is the passing (fast) lane, and each subsequent lane to the right is a bit slower, until you get all the way over to the right lane which is for oncoming and exiting traffic, the slowest of all lanes.

I gained this knowledge early on in life and was lucky enough to be educated in the basics of driving by my parents. Since I turned 16 I have been conscious of this simple rule of the road.

Now more than ever do I realize not all drivers have been as fortunate to have parents (or just common sense) to educate them on this basic driving principle.

I cannot tell you how many times I find myself behind someone in the left lane with no cars in front of them and holding up a long line of traffic behind them. This act of complete unawareness while driving a car is what causes traffic...and road rage. The rule is so simple and basic, yet it seems that half the Bay Area population is unaware of it.

The left lane should be a privilege. Not all drivers should be allowed to drive in it. I propose, that at the very least, the DMV throw in a couple questions on your written driving test about the left lane. If you don't get these questions correct you are still allowed to get your drivers license, your license just has a mark on it denoting you are never allowed in the left lane, EVER! If pulled over for speeding (or driving too slow) in the left lane when banned from it the punishment is severe. I am talking about $10k+ fine, 6 months in jail, and 100 hours of community service type of punishment.

Of course I am kidding (kind of) and this is a pipe dream of mine that will never happen.

But really, it is so simple and basic to understand this concept. You should be passing cars to the right of you if you are in the left lane. And if you are in the left lane and passing people but someone is behind you going faster, pull over to the right.

I have been trying to find a real solution to this problem. I was initially having trouble as to how I would educate all of these drivers who needed this knowledge.

I can't pull you over and educate you. I can't yell out my window when going 80MPH and correct you. And I can't write a post on a blog that no one reads about the subject.

So after much thought and restless nights thinking over a solution I finally came up with one. My Horn! The horn or the lights are the only two instruments on the car that can communicate with another driving while moving at high speeds.

So if you see someone riding your bumper, blaring their horn, and possibly flashing their headlights don't get mad, understand I am trying to educate you the only way I can at that very moment.

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