Slow driver? Get out of the left lane

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

If you are not at­tempt­ing to pass a ve­hi­cle, or are at­tempt­ing to be passed by an­other, get out of the left lane. It is con­ceded that traf­fic con­ges­tion will only get worse in our fine county while we are plagued with only two lanes of traf­fic in each di­rec­tion for a ma­jor­ity of the “su­per high­way” U.S. 301.

Week­end con­ges­tion and by­passers from other states fur­ther ag­gra­vate our daily com­mute. A sin­gle trac­tor trailer ne­go­ti­at­ing a plethora of Christ­mas tree lights re­duces the crawl to one lane of vi­able travel. With a “cherry on top,” what makes it all un­bear­able is the ca­sual — and of­ten in­dif­fer­ent — left lane trav­eler de­ter­mined to dis­rupt and de­ter the most hope­ful driver.

Well, are there laws to pro­tect us against such be­hav­ior? Mary­land Law (An­no­tated Code of Mary­land, Trans­porta­tion Ar­ti­cle Sec­tion 21-301) re­quires slower traf­fic to keep to the right. As a courtesy, driv­ers in the left lane should al­ways yield to faster traf­fic, re­gard­less of the pass­ing car’s speed or other fac­tors. More sim­ply stated, if you are not try­ing to pass a ve­hi­cle to the left, or some­one is at­tempt­ing to get by you in the left lane, sim­ply move your ve­hi­cle to the right and “slow lane.” It’s a novel con­cept — and it works.

U.S. 301 has be­come par­a­lyzed by the act of in­con­sid­er­ate driv­ers camped out in the left lane. You sim­ply do not have the ab­so­lute right to travel the left lane; just like there is no ab­so­lute right to free speech (yelling “fire” in a crowded theater). Jus­ti­fy­ing left lane travel by re­quir­ing a left turn 3 miles down the road is em­bar­rass­ing.

Peo­ple com­plain about road rage, but are of­ten them­selves the guilty party. We mis­tak­enly fo­cus on the end re­sult and not the causal re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two acts. How many times have you wit­nessed the flash­ing lights? The blow of a horn? Or even a dar­ing pass to the right to get around a ve­hi­cle in the left lane de­ter­mined to im­pede the flow of traf­fic? Please tell me, who here is the rude one?

Let us be con­sid­er­ate, keep the flow of traf­fic open, and I as­sure you, road rage will be di­min­ished.

Wil­liam M. Burgess, La Plata

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