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Am I The Only One?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Left-Lane Drivers

I heard an interview recently with Indycar ├╝ber-cutie Danica Patrick. Ms. Patrick may be as hot as a hottie can get without any trace of a rack whatsoever (what is the proper cup size for "not at all necessary"?), but she makes up for it in the sassy department, and in this interview she fingered left-lane drivers as a pet peeve.

This makes me instantly want to drive in the left lane.

Of course, my wife would say that I already do. "What the heck are you doing in the left hand lane?? It's for passing only!"

"Really? Where does it say that?"

"Driver's Ed. Don't you remember?"

"I think that's just a term they used. I don't think it's a law."

"Well, probably not. But you're supposed to pass in the left lane and then get back over to the right."

Ah, but you see, there's a differnce between supposed to and illegal. For instance, I drive about 70-80, and I'm usually passing cars steadily. I drive in the left-hand lane because otherwise I am swerving back and forth between lanes. For that matter, I'm not supposed to drive 80 either, but whattergonna do.

While I'm on the subject, I remember hearing a radio talk show where the call-in guest was a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation. A lady called in to complain about drivers that wait until the "last second" to merge in with traffic when there is a lane closure ahead. I was ready for the ODOT guy to politely explain to the old biddy that the lane is free and available for use right up to the merge signs, and that if they wanted us to merge earlier, they would move the signs accordingly.

However, the lady had found a soulmate. The ODOT guy said, "Yeah, most folks get over to the slower lanes early, but then you have those cheaters..." He said the last with an annoying singsong voice, like "CHEEEEE-terrrrrrz....", I wanted to rip the radio out of my car and throw it in his direction.

Ok, ODOT, all of you are ordered back to traffic planning 101 immediately. If there is a legal, open lane available, no one is cheating by driving on it. Go ahead, check, it's probably on page 3. If you really want to create a severe backlog of traffic, post signs that say, "Lane closure in 15 miles, merge left now or else you are cheating." Follow that with one that says, "Lane closure in 10 miles -- snipers trained on right lane." A sign that says Lane Closed 1 Mile tells me that I have one mile left to get over at a time of my choosing. And if the other lanes are choked, then I'm doing no one a favor by adding to it further back than I need to. It's called bandwidth, ODOT.

On second thought, maybe Danica and I have a lot in common.

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