Now before you get fired up to discuss last night’s GOP debate, stop right there. I don’t care, I really don’t unless they were debating Left versus Right lane etiquette. It’s not that I’m apolitical, but there will be plenty of people in the blogosphere covering that, just not me. Now this is sort of a personal PSA for America so just bear with me for a moment. There’s a strange and very serious medical condition which has been spreading from state to state that affects far too many American drivers today. It’s a condition affecting more and more drivers each year, and we need to stem the tide from this onslaught now! The condition’s official name is Temporarily Oblivious & Operating in the Left lane or T.O.O.L. and anyone who suffers from this condition is simply referred to as a TOOL. We have an obligation as drivers to preserve and pass on to the next generation the proper fundamentals that is of course until autonomous driving vehicles become viable take over and connect with SkyNet then we’ll be more concerned about cyborgs with Austrian accents and a gal named Sarah Connor who appears to be buffed and bitchin. Sorry for that 1984 apocalyptic tangent. I jest somewhat but TOOLs present a credible threat to everyone’s driving pleasure. Now I ask for your indulgence while I take a larger than usual amount of words to illustrate my point. A few things I learned on my 2,619 mile odyssey that took me from Maryland through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and back to Maryland again include the knowledge that people who habitually stay in the left lane probably don’t belong there, and that a 100 lb. dog in a car is not an air freshener fragrance you want to buy. Of these two observations the left lane violations are far more serious. But just in case you’re curious about the other, roll the windows down early and often.
My premise is people who habitually stay in the left lane do not belong in the left lane. Does anyone reading this disagree? I’d be curious about what other people think about this topic. I’m not sure what the driving handbooks from the many of the states I traveled through as part of my asphalt odyssey, but Maryland’s driver instruction manual states that as a general rule unless passing you should stay in the right lane. I think that’s just common sense which is what I think makes up most driving rules; pass with care, give yourself 3-4 seconds of following distance with the vehicle in front of you, and stay the hell in the right lane unless it’s to pass. Basically most of the bureaucratic printing stresses for humans not to be idiots (some days it’s harder than others apparently) and treat others as you would like to be treated (golden rule). Spending any length of time on I95 south of Washington DC, and you my friend might very well feel that you were driving in the UK. See what I did there, the Brits drive on the other side from us in the US. I saw footage of them driving on television awhile back. Any visitor to our country (especially Europeans) would be mortified to see the staggering amount of people that for lack of a better term “live” in the left lane. It almost seems as if random vehicles have formed a “No Passing Convoy” to secretly drive more business to roadside oasis’ such as Stuckey’s and South of the Border just to name a few. During my limited driving on the European continent, I witnessed first hand people moving to the left to pass and then promptly returning to the right lane once the maneuver having been properly executed. In the rare event someone was in the left lane and not passing the driver behind them flashed their high beams and that seemed all it took to shake the first driver out of their TOOL state and snap back to reality. For every instance of TOOL behavior it probably delayed the cars behind them for 10-15 minutes from overtaking a slower driver, but due to their position on the left and traffic on the right held everyone behind them as a “bottleneck hostage” unable to do anything other than 1) sit behind the person in the left lane hoping they will eventually overtake the vehicle on the right then yield or 2) exit the roadway for fuel and food with the hope that time away from the TOOL allows the flow to progress down the road allowing you to reset. We must respect the sanctity of the left lane (SOL).
I know most of you out there are probably visual people, and those that aren’t I wonder if you should really be driving at all. Take a look at this visual tool about the golden rule Left-Right lane etiquette, and watch out for TOOLS on your trip home!