February 20, 2009

When Did the Left Lane Stop Being the "Fast" Lane?

It's not like I just began noticing this past week that the left lane no longer seems to be the passing or "fast" lane, I just began wondering why that is.

I remember studying for my driver's license when I was 15 or 16 and on a two-lane road, you are supposed to drive in the right lane, unless you are passing someone. On the freeway, the general rule of thumb was always "slow traffic keep right". Faster traffic generally moved in the left lane.

That old rule of thumb doesn't seem to be around any longer. Whether on the freeway or on a two-lane road, there always seems to be those drivers that will just sit in the left lane, no matter how many vehicles pass them on the right, no matter how many people ride their tails or flash their lights at them.

Unless you're taking a left exit on the freeway, or coming up on a left hand turn you need to make (and by that, I mean a turn in less than five miles), why do people do this? Why don't people move over (if possible) if someone wants to go faster? This isn't personal. Really, it isn't.

Did the left lane being the fast lane go the way of using turn signals? I've noticed that fewer and fewer people use turn signals. Are we really so afraid of the next person knowing our move that we're not going to use them? Or have we gotten so lazy that it's simply too much work to flip that stick by the steering wheel? Perhaps we're too busy finding the right station on the satellite radio, lighting a cigarette or yapping on the cell phone to be bothered with using a turn signal.

Myself, I still use my turn signals. If nothing else, I consider it a little piece of C.Y.A. And I still move over (if I can) if I'm in the left lane and someone wants to get around me. I don't think I know the person in that car behind me and I don't think it's personal. Last I heard, it's not a race either. Although I will admit that the competitiveness of our society has gotten to me at times . . . I have caught myself speeding up when there is a break in the flow of traffic and cars waiting to merge.

Shame on me. And shame on the rest of us for (generally) not being considerate to other drivers.

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