When Should I Be Courteous To Other Drivers?

     In the last year, my commute has changed drastically. It went from 5-7min to a 45-50min. Before my new job in Sacramento, I rarely used highways, but now they are a necessity for speedy travels to and from work. Besides the considerable amount of extra time I’ve acquired, which I have filled with audio messages, music, or some daily prayer, I have become extremely annoyed with other drivers.

I’m sure I didn’t draw out a gasp from anyone. This is hardly a new frustration for anyone with a drivers license. First, I’ll admit that though I would like to award myself with the “World’s Best Driver” trophy, I am far from that position of honor. I, however, have never been in an accident (while I’ve been in control of the vehicle) and though I’m still bitter as tohow I received my first speeding ticket, it was recently removed from my record. But I’m not here to talk about the past. I’m here to talk about an epidemic that is sweeping the nation:

Slow Drivers in the Fast Lane. 

     I know I am not the first person to encounter this phenomenon. How do you get past them? Do you ride their rear just a little closer, hoping they get the picture to move over? What if they are not paying attention? Do you flash your lights or honk your horn?

Now you have all recalled all the times you have been in this situation and are frustrated, let me turn the tables on you. What if you were that slow driver, what would you do? Do you let them pass or stay and let them go around you?

I tend to find myself in this situation more often than not. I hate to dwell in the past, but I must share the story of my first speeding ticket to set this up (and don’t pretend like you weren’t curious).

It was in September of 2007, when my wife and I were engaged and planning our wedding. We were looking for venues and decided to check out a friend’s house outside of Plymouth, CA. We were on Highway 16 heading up to the foothills. The posted speed limit was 65 mph and, like a normal person, I was driving over 70mph. Suddenly, the speed limit dropped to 55 mph and to my dismay, a highway patrol car was waiting for me. I haven’t been perfect, but ever since then I’ve done my best to not exceed the speed limit. Which brings us back to our topic.

If the average speed limit for highways in California is 65 mph, then why am I considered the “slow driver” if I am legally going the fastest I can in the far left lane?

California, along with most of the States, has a rule that slow drivers are to stay in the right lines and let faster cars pass on the left. Why do I have to concede to the jack[wagon] who is deliberately breaking the law by driving faster than the posted speed limit?

I understand safety laws and rules of the road and how it is safer for cars to pass on the left, but is it really safe to drive at 90+ mph? I feel that by the very act of moving over for these lawbreakers enables this kind of behavior. I feel like I’m holding the door open for a bank robber or looking the other way when I see a crime being committed.

The rule for slow traffic to keep right is for the consideration of others. How can one honestly deny the inconvenience of moving out of the way for someone who is clearly being reckless?

The far left lane is not a “speeding lane,” but it is a “passing lane.” If I drive the legal limit then I should be driving as fast, if not faster than everyone. So in theory, I should not need to defer to a faster driver, rather I’m the one passing everyone.

Is the posted speed limit the real speed limit?

     One fascinating idea came up as I searched this topic. The phrase “Reasonable and Prudent” was thrown around a lot, but many do not know where it comes from. I found many States, including California, use this idea of “reasonable and prudent” to determine the proper speed limit for a road or highway. It is called the Basic Speed Law.

Many have used this law to justify driving faster than the speed limit. The problem is that the state has determined the speed limit based off of that law already. If you try to use this law with a highway patrol do defend your speeding, then you would be telling him/her that you do not agree with California Interstate Laws and that you are a better judge than the officer who just pulled you over. That takes a lot of gumption or stupidity to do that.

What do you think?

    Am I the only one who feels this way? What are your thoughts? Is it unreasonable for me to drive the legal speed limit in the far left lane? Is this something that I need to suck up and comply with no matter how inconvenient it is?

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One Response to When Should I Be Courteous To Other Drivers?

  1. Andre says:

    I appreciate your desire to want to follow the law, and I do not feel it is wrong to drive 65mph in the left-most lane. I try as well to follow the law, to the best of my capacity. I do find it difficult to strictly follow the 65mph limit. Sometimes it is easy to follow, other times I want to get to my destination faster. I always move over for drivers who want to go faster than I am. My preferred lane is towards the shoulder(so long as it isn’t torn up). I dislike when I encounter a driver who feels they get to be the road nanny, making sure no one goes faster than they.

    No one of us is perfect, we ALL have our struggles. Speeding is or talking on your cellphone whilst driving(no hands free) is against the law. Downloading or sharing music, which, if you haven’t purchased it, or been given it with permission to have it for free by the author, is stealing.

    I feel that if you are going to take a stand and be an active citizen there are much better causes that will help people who desperately need it. Blocking all traffic by driving 65mph next to another driver who is also driving 65mph is not helping people. Your efforts could be better spent in a hundred different ways that would benefit and bless people.

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