Although I have never had anyone in my Comedy Defensive Driving School class for driving to slow (and unlimited students in there for driving too fast), slow drivers cause more car crashes than speeders. In my city, I have noticed that “minimum speed” signs are not present on the highways here. I am told by students who live in rural areas that, when you get outside of the city, there are still some signs posted for minimum speed limit and maximum speed limit.
Since driving “not with the flow of traffic” or under the flow of traffic has been proven to not only impede traffic which often times cause crashes, one should always keep to the right, unless you are passing. The left lane is not a “fast” lane, it is a passing lane, and should only be used for passing other cars. Impeding the flow of traffic by continuing to drive in the left lane is punishable by a fine up to $200 (not to mention the angry snarls you will get from other drivers).
In 1997 the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring that all “Slower Traffic Keep Right” signs be phased out in favor of wording that states, “Left Lane for Passing Only.” I believe all interstates display these signs. But, even if not posted on any high speed roadway, the left lane should always be left open for passing cars to maintain a smooth flow of traffic. When slow drivers linger in the left lane of a multiple lane road, you may be forced to pass on the right, causing confusion and disorganization that can lead to accidents. Cars on entrance ramps will then have to get up to speed with someone doing a higher speed in the slow lane. And we all are aware that some ramps are ridiculously short (I like to call those natural selection ramps). You may also be forced to stop suddenly, which can start a chain reaction of braking that could lead to accidents or road rage. Your trip to work may become a scene straight out of Final Destination.
So, I am curious, do some people just not know this? Or do they just not care? And who, pray tell are these naive, uncaring people? Well, apparently they’re sometimes just overly cautious drivers, such as visitors, drivers who have recently relocated to the area, new drivers and senior drivers (which is what I am about to become, so I no longer make fun of senior drivers). But, we all know that a majority of these left lane lovers are simply distracted drivers. You know, because when you pass them on the right, after riding behind them for 10 minutes, just hoping they will get over, you can clearly see that they are talking on the phone. They’d better be calling for an ambulance, eh?
Until next week…
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Slow Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving School