Thursday, August 31, 2006

Drive Right, Pass Left (Easy, Right?)

I still don't understand why such a simple rule of the road, namely "Keep Right Except to Pass," is so hard for most people to comprehend. At least it seems as though no one can comprehend this very simple concept. I suppose the more plausible explanation is that no one bothers to obey it mainly because the State Police don't bother to enforce it.

Everyone should realize that staying in the left lane and refusing to move over for anyone (well, except for a cop, of course) is actually a safety hazard. It causes road rage and encourages excessive passing on the right. I also don't buy the short-sighted excuse, "I'm doing the speed limit, so I don't need to move over." Please...

This is obviously an issue on the major highways, but is also a concern (at least for me) on the four-lane state highways (i.e., two lanes each direction) such as Route 31, Route 202, etc. With so many exits from the left lane, drivers seem to feel that they can justify staying in the left lane just because they will be eventually using one of these left lane exits. I've noticed this trend on Route 31 in both directions near the interchange for I-78. For those traveling south on Route 31 and wanting to exit onto I-78 East, drivers are staying in the left lane up to three to four miles before the exit. The same is true on Route 31 North as the Pennsyltuckians are heading home from work. There's no reason why you can keep right until it's time to move over to the left lane to make the exit. It's just the opposite of moving into the right lane at the appropriate time to make a right lane exit.

It's time everyone gets a clue about the concept of drive right and pass left. Just think about how much safer the roads could be if everyone really made an effort to practice this. I've been doing it for quite some time now, and it's really not that hard. I feel better about doing my part, but I must admit that it's challenging when I occasionally encounter a real stubborn "left lane dick." Despite my flashing headlights to encourage this inconsiderate person to move over, I am left with no other choice but to pass on the right.

Oh well, behaviors do change very slowly, and my hope is that this issue can change over time. The State Police can be a big help, but in fairness to them, they are dealing with the nuts on the road that are committing more egregious driving stunts.