ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Slow Traffic Keep Right
by Brian North
5/10/06

Time for a few road rants:

So there I was driving on I-95 North, headed to upstate New York to start a week long vacation and visit my family. But traffic was not running smooth, and I couldn't seem to get by anybody at the pace I desired. My biggest success passing other cars was in the right lane. THE RIGHT LANE!

I hate to sound like my elders, but when I was growing up, I was taught that you always drive in the right hand lane on highways. Those who wanted to drive faster could pass in the left hand lane. But the center lane has now become the new slow lane, and the left hand lane just gets clogged up with slightly faster but still slow traffic. That left the right hand lane open to do the majority of my passing, although it was more dangerous because of those who wanted to get on and off the highway.

It was just an observation and I don't want to stereotype, but I found more cars with Maryland license plates driving slowly in the left hand lane than any other state. And they would not get over even when the right hand lanes were empty. Do they not teach the "slow traffic keep right" method in Maryland?

I listened to a lot of talk radio, and there is a lot of wasted air and air time. Everyone had an opinion on the NFL Draft, but can anyone remember what was said now that the draft has happened? And what about those draft experts? How many picks did they actually get right? And what does it matter? It seems like everyone just wants to be able to say "I told you so" when they actually get something right. I switched to classic rock.

Where does all the toll money go to? And why do we have to pay tolls if our taxes already go to support public highways? Does it go to pay those 20 guys standing around watching one guy on the steam roller taking up three lanes and backing up traffic?

Instead of getting all mad at other drivers, wouldn't it be more productive to let those who drive faster go on their merry way, and give them a polite wave instead of the one fingered salute as they pass? Courteous drivers would make our roadways a much safer and friendlier place. Drivers would be a lot less road weary when they finally reached their destination.

Why does the state of New Jersey still not allow drivers to pump their own gas? I know some people like the service, but I would rather pump my own gas and also handle my own credit card.

Talking on cell phones is banned in New York, and there is legislation on the table to have the same law in many more states including North Carolina. I completely understand the safety concerns; I know I do not drive as well when I am on the phone. But if you ban talking on cell phones, shouldn't any other distracting activity in a car also be banned because it is unsafe? If the government makes a law for one action, shouldn't other similar actions also be outlawed? Eating in a car? Loose pets in a car (how can you drive safely with Fluffy on your lap)? Reading in a car? Putting make up on? Shaving? Getting dressed? Getting undressed? Playing with the radio? It seems like such a gray area.

People who slow down and rubber neck to check out an accident scene  are causing more accidents behind them. If you want to look so bad, pull off the road and take a picture. Otherwise, keep moving, or else someone who is not interested is going to come barreling up your backside, and then someone will be rubber necking at you.

Driving long distances puts me in awe of how the pioneers traveled across the country. A one day trip for us must have taken them weeks. Going over the mountains must have been a trip. I wonder how long it took them to get to the beach?

Have safe travels this summer on your family vacations, and remember to be courteous to others. And slow traffic, please stay in the right hand lane, please. I will wave appreciatively as I pass.
 
Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com