Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Left Lane

The far left lane on the interstate is not for such as me, slowpoke at 65 mph. The fast lane is for the frank speeders, the fwaumm flyby of Harleys or the tornado roar of a semi.

It is also, of course, where speeders go and are spotted by the law. To slot yourself into the far-left passing lane and stay there invites the radar gun.

Like most urban interstates, our local five-lane (ours are the Inner and Outer Loops) has exits every two miles or so and connects with four other major interstates in its clock-face circle. Three lanes become two, become Exit Only; your on-ramp is now an off-ramp. Riding the right lane as a demure Slow Driver means constantly adjusting to accommodate people zeroing and zooming in on the exits. Exits are where mistakes are made, where accidents happen. Signage over a hill or curve can confuse on first glance by tricks of perspective and angle. I prefer to stay out of crowds trying to figure out, at highway speed, Where am I s'posed to be?

This leaves the far-left lane unoccupied, a clean tube, for miles at a time, even in heavy traffic. So I shift over, keep an eye on the rearview for fast-approaching Speederados, and move out of the way when I need to. Sometimes I can stay in the left lane, doing 65/60 (my speed/speed limit), for many miles without blocking any other driver. Just move out of the way and let the SUV doing its comfortable 80 mph go by.

I like the left lane. It's a notch quieter. I'm away from the lane-shifting taillight-flashing exit dance. Speeders pass me one right lane over. Grassy medians are more attractive, although the close dance with metal barriers can be unnerving if you ever think about it.

I'll get out of your way too.


Donna O said...

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they drive. For example, yesterday I was driving at a steady 65 mph on Hwy 270 (of course it was way past rush hour(s). I was in the lane to the right of the far left lane. I thought it was a safe lane. I was going at a respectable speed and I wasn't passing anyone. Suddenly, I "felt" the presence of an oncoming car and looked in my rearview mirror to see the hood of the car tailgating me. Unsurprisingly, it was a 20-something male. I was hoping he could feel me glaring at him through my rearview mirror. (I normally tap on the brakes to ward off these preditors, but he was actually too close for it to be safe.) Of course he lost patience and very quickly jumped in the left lane to pass me. I glared as he passed me on my right, thinking "what is your problem? How many lanes do you think belong to you?" Well, he waved his hands, gesturing that I should have moved out of his way when he approached. Is he serious? As he sped off, I thought you are a person I could never be friends with. You're domineering and selfish. I'm sure those traits shine through in many aspects of his personality. Or, maybe he just lost a fight with his girlfriend and felt the need to dominate. Other thoughts?

Driver said...

You know what else is true, for myself at least? I'm always much nicer when I'm not behind the wheel!

The sudden tailgater: a good topic, think I'll steal it.