Double yellow swine

Eric Scheie contemplates the left-lane bandit (Decelerus scumbili):

What I would love to know is what it is that makes certain swinish people think that they have a God-given right to occupy the passing lane and refuse to move.

I suspect that, like so many others, they have remade God in their own image, and conflate His interests with theirs.

While I try to understand people by putting myself in their position, where it comes to this business, I’m stumped because I am in their position all the time. I have to drive in the left lane a lot, because here in Michigan, trucks are forced to stay in the right and follow the slower 60 m.p.h. speed limit, which means that cars that travel at their speed limit of 70 must either get in the left or be forced to slow down to 60. Under this system, naturally there are often people who driving faster coming up behind me. Sure, some of them are rude about it, but I always get over, just as I would expect the same from a driver in front of me going more slowly. It’s just one of the basic rules of driving on the highway, and I have been doing it for many decades. But it seems that there are more left lane road hogs than ever before, though. Is it because there are more drivers and they stand out more, or might the problem be that driving schools have stopped teaching that the left lane is for passing? Or are people just ruder?

The same two-tier speed limits prevail in Texas — on the fastest non-toll roads, cars go 80, trucks 70 — but Texas has some semblance of lane discipline, and similarly enlightened states, such as my own, will happily bust you for plodding along in the left lane.


  1. fillyjonk »

    13 March 2013 · 9:43 am

    What gets me are the people who seem to be traveling two abreast, one in the right lane, one in the left, at the same exact speed, just five mph below the speed limit.

    It’s kind of like the families at the grocery store who form a “flying wedge” in the aisle, effectively preventing anyone from going up the aisle they are coming down, or preventing anyone from moving through an aisle faster than they are.

    I think the “Or are people just ruder” answer pretty much covers it, covers it all: cell-phone behavior, library behavior, grocery store behavior, driving behavior….

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    13 March 2013 · 3:13 pm

    To keep from making myself hoarse from screaming my fool head off, I tell myself that these members of the ADL are just oblivious. It’s all they can do to watch where they are going and keep their car in their lane. Any more than that simply never occurs to them.
    I think the world has gotten a lot more complicated and some people just aren’t up to handling the additional complexity. Or maybe the world has become too well padded and more numb-skulls are surviving now and clogging up, well, everything.

  3. sya »

    13 March 2013 · 7:28 pm

    Yeah, I’m kind of stumped, too. I really want to know the rationale left lane road hogs have where I live. Because the roads here are practically empty of traffic most of the time.

  4. Jeffro »

    13 March 2013 · 7:33 pm

    You can imagine that truckers don’t care much for the dual speed laws. Apparently those who “know better” have decided that all the studies showing that all vehicles staying within a certain percentile of speed rather than tiered speeds are safer are ignored in favor of the inevitable conflicts and speed differentials that actually cause accidents.

    And believe me, when I have to be out in the fast lane to pass someone going slower, I’d dearly love to mash on the gas and get around so as not to hold anyone up, but the probability of a ticked kinda rules that out. My continued eating weighs more heavily than politeness.

  5. Eric Scheie »

    13 March 2013 · 8:54 pm

    Thanks! If only Michigan had the good sense of your state.

  6. McGehee »

    14 March 2013 · 9:14 am

    I’m not sure if it’s that they’re ruder, or just thoughtless. I’ve found that in, say, a supermarket one frequents, it’s possible to minimize things like aisle blocking simply by consistently saying excuse me in a polite but firm voice. At least, it’s worked for me.

    Unfortunately that’s not an option among the anti-destinationeers. Horns don’t have a “polite but firm” setting.

  7. hatless in hattiesburg »

    14 March 2013 · 11:47 pm

    re “Texas has some semblance of lane discipline” – hmmm, i got the impression oklahoma was better at that.

    granted i haven’t traveled nearly as many miles in ok as tx, but those miles were relatively adl-free, especially compared to our major metro areas (or the even fewer miles i’ve driven north of the mason-dixon).

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