As a longtime commuter (six years of driving more than 60 miles to work and another 60 home), I’m here to tell you that I am positively thrilled about Michigan State Police officially reminding folks about the laws of driving in the passing lane.
And the law is “don’t.” Don’t drive in the passing lane unless you’re – c’mon, you can guess this – passing. And in case you don’t think there is a law, think again.
Look, we all went through driver’s education at some time or another and, we all learned this. But a lot of you have forgotten. Get over to pass, and then go back. It really is simple.
Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in my car yelling at people who slide left and then choose to stay there doing 69 or 71 mph, often right next to the guy in the right lane doing 69 or 71 mph.
Sometimes I get stuck behind a semi as it slides left to pass another semi, and the passing lane slows to about 63 mph. But those truck drivers always move back, they are a considerate lot for the most part.
Michigan law states that semi-trailers or truck tractors are not supposed to operate above 60 mph. Usually they are going 65, but they are considerate of each other when they pass. If I’m behind them, I’m patient and I wait. No problem.
The problem is usually with car drivers, any kind of car – Volt, Prius or Dodge Charger with a supercharged 6.2L Hemi V8 – the folks who think they can just slide into the passing lane and drive like it’s a fine sunny Sunday out in the country.
Yes, I know 70 is the speed limit, I also know that the people I encounter are most often going at least 75 mph. There are also a whole bunch of you who think 85 mph is too slow, but you pains-in-the-butt are for another day’s commentary.
Right now, I just want to remind folks that the left lane is for passing.
Pass and get back. Everything will move smoother. Some of you are going to complain about tailgaters – and I agree – except that very often, the reason for the tailgating is because you are going too slow.
Last week, while driving home, I moved into the passing lane to get around a slow-moving semi. But moments into the left lane, I realized we were going very slow. I don’t like tailgating, so I leave a large space ahead of me, which means cars are constantly cutting in front of me just to apply their brakes and slow.
As we head into a curve, I look ahead to see the trouble – some poor slow-poke a half mile ahead holding up everybody trying to pass the chain of semis.
Here’s a trick, if you see a mile or two of traffic behind you in the rear view mirror, you’re doing something wrong.