Matthew R. Bisson

Just Move Over Already

Look behind you… (Photo, courtesy of Conrad Nutschan)

The passing lane is for passing. Just like how coffee is for closers, Virginia is for Lovers, and ‘C’ is for ‘Cookie,’ the left lane of the highway is for passing vehicles to your right. Do not sit there in the passing lane and drive the same (or a slower) speed as the cars beside you. If you’re reading this, thinking, “how rude… who would do such a thing?” then you’re not alone. Even if you’re thinking this, however, this might be an accurate description of you. Next time you find yourself in the passing lane of a multi-lane highway, staring at a long expanse of highway in front of you, try checking your rear-view mirror occasionally. We all need to do it. If you look behind you, and lo, there’s a trail of fifteen cars behind you, you may be the root cause of major annoyance in many people’s commute to or from the office.

You see, when you are on a crowded highway, sitting behind someone going the same speed (or slower) than someone to your right, you are presented with a total breakdown of road society. Each car behind the slow driver must somehow find its way around the offending vehicle — scratching and climbing over each other — cars must work their way through traffic to go the speed that they so choose. Everyone handles this differently (and with multiple degrees of danger to themselves and others). Some will chose to tailgate the car in front of them. Some will chose to swerve across three lanes of traffic just to find an open space to maybe get ahead of the slow driver (and the ten cars behind him or her) — this rarely works. Others will patiently wait for one car after another to filter around the slow driver until they are the one immediately behind the vehicle and can look for their opportunity to pass. Opportunities to move around the vehicle are few and far between, of course, as they are moving the same speed as cars to their right. All this chaos can just be avoided if you move over when there’s space.

I simply can’t understand your reluctance to move over the right. Why must we all move around you? What’s worse is that you probably pulled into the passing lane right in front of a vehicle (trapping them there) and immediately halted progress in that lane by pacing the car you supposedly intended to pass. What the hell is so difficult about that?

…Jerks.

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