Are you a highway travel righty, lefty, changer, or somewhere in between?
The rules of the road are set to help us when we travel but when some follow and others don’t hairy situations that lead to avoidable situations happen.
Lane Courtesy + Highway Travel.
Whether you are driving a 2 lane highway, or a 6 lane exchange there are rules of the road, and if you have a driver’s license you’ve been schooled.
In a recent podcast I released after a few weeks of traveling by car on highways, and turnpikes, it is a very notable and unfollowed law that has captured my attention 6x in 3 weeks.
Lane courtesy is not heeded by many and it is dangerous, arrogant and sometimes like a helicopter parent who constantly hovers over their children because they know best, now their behavior on the road is not to hover but to block to try to school everyone driving behind them with what can lead to very steep, harsh, and unnecessary consequences.
The Passing Lane Courtesy Thing
If you are just beginning to read this and haven’t quite caught on to what Lane Courtesy is, I’ll define it a bit more here.
Scenario 1: Is this Lane Courtesy?
What lane do you drive in when you are on the highway? If it is a 2-lane highway are you predominantly the right lane? Do you switch lanes?
Jenny has her cruise control on and for some reason on this 2-lane highway Jenny the car in front of her is not going the speed. Jenny decides to change lanes while she travels and to pass the slower car. Jenny signals, follow all the rules of driving for passing, and then passes the car and returns to the right lane. Her ride carries on smoothly until the next slower car and so on. Jenny rocked lane courtesy.
Scenario 2: Is this lane courtesy?
When you need to get around a slower vehicle, do you signal, then just decide to stay in the left lane?
Jerry had a driver in front of him who had a large payload and could not maintain speed going up a hill on the turnpike. Jerry followed all the rules of proper passing and got into the wide-open left lane.
What a rush, no people in front of him and the ability to go the speed he wanted. Here he stayed.
Jerry found extreme joy in left-lane driving with no one in front of him until some ‘idiot’ came up behind him and rode his bumper! Then Jerry went into defiant mode! “You are no getting my lane and I am not moving, I am setting the pace, stay there!”
Everything that happens from this moment forward was avoidable IF Jerry had maintained lane courtesy.
Which driver scenario above are you? 1 or 2?
The Reality of Lane Courtesy and Our Current Lives
A lot of what we learn in driver’s education does not translate beyond our licensing day. Now I won’t say I am a perfect driver ever either but I will say, there are things that MUST be followed because nothing good can come from defiance.
Left Lane Driving + Lane Courtesy
Maybe look at driving differently if you have more identified with Scenario 2.
The fact that there is a 2nd lane anywhere when driving is an amazing thing. Why? 1 lane, no-passing routes do exist and these can be aggravating and intensely upsetting if you are running late and get ‘that driver’ in front of you who won’t even go the minimum speed limit or who might be texting the whole time and really swerving. We all can identify with this.
Therefore, once given the grace of a second lane (a left lane), use it to your advantage and not as an ‘I’m gonna get you sucker for all the anger and hatred I have inside of me’ scenario. Because what happens once you lane change is everything and can change the pace of the road, all the traffic, and any vehicle YOU interact with.
Lane Courtesy ~ The Left Lane Is:
Using the left lane on a multi-lane highway, turnpike or road is perfect for passing.
Lane courtesy is about signaling from the lane you are in (obviously we are talking about the lane right next to the passing lane), and getting in the left lane, moving your vehicle at the appropriate speed to pass whoever is not driving fast enough in your lane and then moving over back into your original lane. Short. Sweet. Simple.
Used correctly lane courtesy allows you to ‘bob and weave’ without being obnoxious but to keep pace at the appropriate speed of traffic, hopefully without slowing your drive, and enabling you to get to your travel destination on time (whether it is work, or pleasure)!
Lane courtesy means that you will get ahead, where you need to be, and use a higher speed to do so, for a short burst of time, then you will repace yourself, place where you need to be and avoid a ticket from a cop who is just waiting for ‘that’ person who is speeding consistently in passing lane!
Also, using lane courtesy keeps you on your way without crazy happenings (solid finger strikers, honking, etc)
More Reasons To Use The Left Lane
When there are vehicles on the shoulder, roadside, you definitely don’t want to be close to them, so make sure to move over to the left lane (safely, following proper driving techniques).
Other times you might find a ton of right lane mergers, in an area like that you probably will need to use the left lane more, so those merging can get on safely.
Allow traffic to keep moving along with a non-packed left lane. Pass to bypass traffic issues, slower drivers, exits, and merges.
Hope You Like The One Finger Salute: The Left Lane Is Not…
Don’t use the left lane to ‘teach other people how to drive the speed limit’ not only is it not your job, but we are adults who also went to driver’s education to learn the rules of the road and do not need to be schooled by you.
The left lane is not a lane for you to cruise at the pace you want and create the ultimate traffic jam behind you. Look in your mirror (driver’s education taught you to do this right?) and use it to school yourself that you are being an #s!H#($ to others and move back into the other lane you came out of. Allow the lane courtesy to perpetuate!
Getting in the left lane is not a time to decide if you have the ‘balls’ to actually pass a truck or slow-moving car. If you put your car out there, move that thing and safely merge back into the right lane you came from! The left lane is no a training school, it is reality!
The left lane is not a great choice if you don’t like road rage. You see, if you hold everyone back behind you, consider it an issue and a problem. What you might conclude is that somewhere out there in that traffic behind you is someone who is looking for a reason to just let it out, and you might create a road rage situation.
Left Lane. Lane Courtesy. Drive Safely
Drive safe. Use lane courtesy and enjoy your trip no matter where you are traveling to work, vacations, outings, etc.
If you need a refresher course on successful passing check out this article.
Be safe. Remember the rules of the road and that we all have been schooled on driving already, so don’t use that lane to school anyone on what YOU think the speed should be.
Passing is a necessity so roll with it, and let everyone take their turn lane-changing and moving along. ~Dana XO