I’ve been commuting to work over and hour each way for about 4 years. It’s become increasingly apparent to me that the majority of accidents, traffic, congestion, and most anything bad on a highway leads back to some ignorant, oblivious person who thinks the left lane is for traveling. Even better they think they have every right to just “chill out” there if they are doing the speed limit, or otherwise.
In reality, what happens is Joe Shmo is driving along in what he believes to be the “I think I’m cool if I’m in it” lane. And regardless of how fast he’s going he’s not keeping the lane clear for people who are going as fast as him or want to go faster. The traffic accumulates behind him, and because he’s not taking the initiative to get past the car on his right and then get over to the right, the accumulating traffic gets to be a mile long. People get frustrated, distances between bumpers shorten because the people behind him are trying to get past. Then, when Joe Shmo romps on the brake for no apparent reason all of a sudden, there’s a 3 car pile up. Good going Joe Shmo!
Now, there’s always a number of people out there just like Joe causing congestion and rubbernecking, then there are people who drive fiercely enough to get to the front of the “group of traffic” caused by the lane blocker. Often the people who get past are usually so relieved to be free of it, they just drive past the offending car and move on, but I say – don’t do it! Use this time to educate the foolish driver.
This is where the real fun comes in to play. If the person is in the passing lane, doesn’t have a car in front of them, and isn’t getting over for you or someone behind them.. then check out this fab list of procedures!
Three great ways to get the point across that it’s just not nice to block the passing lane:
- The most obvious… “The Good ol’ High Beam” technique. Use caution when doing this. Make sure you’re not tailgating them (Just don’t do that in general, if you rear-end someone, it’s always your fault). Your target obviously doesn’t know what they are doing is out of whack and will initially think “this guy is being a dick” and likely romp on their breaks in retaliation. However, they may eventually figure it out if multiple people do this to them. Others understand and get out of the way.
- If the above doesn’t work, wait for a good time to pass them on the right. When you do this. BEEP YOUR HORN AT THEM. It’s been my experience that it takes about 5 – 20 seconds for this one to sink in.. look for them getting over to the right in your rear view.
- Some people are stubborn, stupid, or all of the above. If you aren’t in a hurry.. it’s time to bring the hammer down. Pull into the passing lane. And gradually slow down to as low as 40 miles per hour if need be. Watch their frustration in your rear view mirror. Oh poor them, a taste of their own medicine! Laugh as they flash you, beep, or flip you the bird. When they go to pass you on the right.. TAKE OFF AT TOP SPEED! And make a point to get over to the traveling lane to set an example. Pay attention. Some people don’t get it and you have the option to repeat this procedure until they do. I’ve enjoyed many absurd reactions to this. But the end result is always the same, they wonder why they’ve been singled out, and perhaps, they’ll get it.
I’ve also developed a few other fun techniques. These are extra points.
Memorize where all the “Keep right accept to pass” or “Slower traffic keep right” signs are. If you can catch someone blocking lanes when one of these signs are coming up, you can pull out in front of them and actually roll your window down and point at the sign. Pretty funny. I’ve managed to do this 3 or 4 times.
Get a decal from www.leftlanedrivers.org. I ordered mine, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Gets the point across in mirror writing. It’s a bit loud for my tastes, but I’m willing to give it a try since this aggravates me so much.
Edit: I just found this on facebook. Amazing.