You’re flying down the freeway, doing 70+ mph, in the passing lane or left lane or fast lane as it is fondly referred to. When, suddenly, as you come over a hill, there it is; that service truck with oversized sheets of glass perched in the back. It’s like a scene in Final Destination; you swerve into the middle lane to avoid a fateful accident.

This is probably one of the greatest riddles of all time “Why do people drive slow in the fast lane?” “Is the left lane the fast lane or only for passing?” One would think that, of all people, someone driving a commercial vehicle would certainly know better. And it would almost be expected from an elderly person or a new driver. Surely those driver education instructors are teaching new drivers that the left lane is for passing only. Perhaps these instructors should be teaching new drivers about the leading causes of road rage and car accidents.

You will see signs on interstates “Left Lane Is For Passing Only”. On any high-speed roadway, the left lane is supposed to be left open for passing and the flow of traffic. It is not just another lane to drive in.

On a multi-lane freeway or highway, if someone is backing up traffic in the left lane by going too slow, drivers will usually be unable to pass in the center lane because it is usually moving at the same pace. They will then often pass in the slow lane (right lane), at freeway speed or higher. This causes the merging traffic coming on from the ramp to match that speed, which is often impossible because entrance ramps are so short.

So, unless they have a crotch-rocket motorcycle or a really fast car, it will be impossible to get up to speed and merge. Now we have another potential accident or road rage issue, all stemming from that one person who is driving too slowly in the passing lane.

With road construction and many freeways down to two lanes, driving too slowly in the passing lane will surely cause other drivers to go ballistic. Every year the police say that they are going to start writing tickets for people holding up traffic in the passing lane. But I never see those criminals in my defensive driving classes.

So, just remember…  The RIGHT LANE is for entering and/or exiting the freeway and for slower traffic (i.e. someone body-surfing on a mattress in the back of a pick-up truck).  The CENTER LANE is for through traffic. The LEFT LANE is for passing other cars ONLY. And, it is a huge road rage issue. Be considerate of that when you leave the house today.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson

Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Left Lane is for Passing – Comedy Defensive Driving