The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 July 2004

A blow to the Anti-Destination League

I missed this completely, probably because almost every mile I drove in Colorado during the Tour was along a two-lane road (US 385), where it's irrelevant.

Still, it's worth mentioning, and worth suggesting to other jurisdictions:

If you are caught lagging in the left lane, you will be subject to a $35 fine, an additional $6.20 surcharge and a three-point penalty to your driving record.

Three points, of course, will do more damage to your wallet, via increased insurance premia, than $41.20 worth of fines. In my experience, the number of left-lane bandits is relatively small, but it only takes one to screw up traffic flow for miles.

(Via Baldilocks, no doubt a glorious travel companion.)

Posted at 12:55 PM to Driver's Seat


I'll at least *go before* we get on the road.

Posted by: Juliette at 1:02 PM on 20 July 2004

This is in line with my Second Law of Travel: "Never assume there will be another toilet."

(The First Law? "Take half as much clothing and twice as much money.")

Posted by: CGHill at 1:07 PM on 20 July 2004

It seems to me that laggers would not be as much of a problem if there were less speed demons.

Posted by: Babs at 1:57 PM on 20 July 2004

To some extent, this is true; where speed is an issue in an accident, it's because of a substantial difference between the speed of traffic generally and the speed of that one vehicle.

But it cuts both ways: going too slow constitutes as much of a hazard as going too fast, and while it may be satisfying to park in the left lane at 59 mph and glare at the frustrated hot-rodder, it's not by any stretch of the imagination a safety measure. If someone is driving like a maniac, well, that's what we pay the guy in the black-and-white to deal with, and I'm willing to bet he'll do a more efficient job of it than I can.

In the 4088 miles of WT04, I don't think I saw more than a dozen characters I'd characterize as "speed demons," and about half of them I saw again farther down the road, in the custody of Smokey. For myself, I keep within 5 mph of the posted limits unless I've got to get around some laggard, in which case all bets are off until he's in the rear-view mirror where he belongs. And, given the fact that I drive a sedan with a modest four-cylinder powerplant, I plan my passing well in advance.

Posted by: CGHill at 2:40 PM on 20 July 2004

Another point that I finally got through to my wife is, if someone is, in your opinion, an unsafe driver, why on earth do you want to keep that person near you (read, tailgating you) in high-speed (though not as high as the other might like) traffic?

The safest place for drivers like that to be, from my perspective, is as far away from me as I can let them get.

And this doesn't even get into the risks of road rage.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:29 PM on 20 July 2004

Does lagging mean doing only 5 miles over the speed limit as opposed to 15 or 20? In that case I'm guilty. I was raised with the left lane on interstates being the 'through' lane, for folks passing through, not merging or exiting, but going on through. I also learned that the speed limit in the left lane was the same speed limit as in the right lane.

On the shoulder was another thing entirely.

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 3:36 PM on 20 July 2004

If traffic is moving smoothly at 15 to 20 mph over the limit, the place to do 5 over is the right-hand lane.

I can see some potential issues, were something like this to be enacted here in Soonerland. For one thing, we have rather a lot of left-lane exit ramps; someone who otherwise meets the description of "laggard" might simply be getting prepared to get off the freeway entirely. And if the right lane is getting much more use than the left lane, guess which one is going to be closed for repairs first?

Posted by: CGHill at 3:47 PM on 20 July 2004

I also maintain about 5 mph over the limit, but in the left hand lane. If a speedster tailgates me, I will move into the right lane; unless it means getting behind a laggered. Then the speedster just has to wait until I can pass with convenience.

This correlates with the repair issue. As the right lane is most often used, it is most likely to be in the worst condition. How right you are Charles.

In addition, have you noticed if one highway in OKC is under road construction then three are in the same condition . . . with the right lane closed?

Posted by: Babs at 7:00 PM on 20 July 2004