This is for anyone who drives, or who may drive in the future. It’s not specific to frequent or infrequent drivers. If you drive at all, this is for you. The only exclusions are people who do not live in America, and will never drive in America.
Let’s talk about the rules of the road. There are laws, which vary by state, but as you’re expected to know those before you get your license, I’ll skip most of them. The most important ones are: red means stop and green means go, we drive on the right, and never cross a double yellow line. While those are important, I would like to talk to you about highway lanes.
Most highways are three lanes, at least where I am. Some have six or more lanes. Some only have two. It depends which road you are on. Anyway, I want to talk about highways, and other roads that have more than one lane. Did you know that each lane has a purpose? On a typical three lane highway, the right lane is called the slow lane, the middle lane is called the cruising lane, and the left lane is called the fast lane, or the passing lane. Now these seem pretty self-explanatory, but since most people don’t seem to know what to do in each lane, let me explain. The right lane, the slow lane, is for slower traffic. If you would like to travel at the posted speed limit or below, you should be in this lane. The middle lane, the cruising lane, is for people travelling at, or just above the speed limit. The left lane, the passing or fast lane, is for people who are going more than slightly over the posted speed limit for the purpose of passing slower drivers. Please choose your lane accordingly.
Every state has different laws regarding the left lane. In some states, you could get pulled over for travelling too slow in the left lane. The reason? It’s for passing slower drivers, not driving slowly. Get out of the left lane!
You may be thinking, what’s your hurry? Why can’t you just go the speed limit? Well, maybe I have somewhere to be. Maybe I’m late for work, maybe I’m trying to make it to the theater for the start of a show, maybe my family member needs to get to the hospital. You can’t always rely on the ambulance, they take a while to get to you and they are expensive. None of these reasons, by the way, are reasons to drive recklessly. Reckless driving, in most places is considered more than 15 mph over the posted speed limit. Don’t do that. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter why I’m driving faster than you. You’re enjoying your vacation or retirement or whatever, and I, clearly, have somewhere to be. That’s fine, there’s a solution for that. The different lanes.
Studies have found that a car moving under the speed limit is more likely to cause an accident or traffic jam than a car moving over the speed limit. If you are driving slower than everyone around you, make your way to the right lane.
Please watch this video for further explanation.
That being said, if you are driving in any lane, and someone is coming up behind you, clearly travelling faster than you, and it’s safe for you to get out of their way, do it. It’s not a big deal and it saves them having to slow down, which is one of the leading causes of traffic jams. If we allow everyone to travel smoothly, at their speed, traffic will move smoothly.
I know that everyone is sick of stop-and-go traffic, so let’s do what we can to prevent it from happening. Drive in the lane that matches the speed you are travelling. Please.
A final note, if you are a new, or nervous driver, or anyone for that matter, drive the speed that you are comfortable driving, just do it in the proper lane. Also, only make lane changes that you are comfortable making.