Thursday, August 02, 2007

Driving Me Crazy

We took a short trip Wednesday, about two hours and twenty minutes away. Most of the trip was Interstate highway, so it’s not a bad drive, unless there is a lot of traffic, which there was, or if there is a lot of construction, which there was. We encountered no fewer than seven areas where the Interstate was narrowed to one lane in first 85 miles of the trip. Seven. And some of them had absolutely no work being done.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

One of my pet peeves is people who drive in the passing lane, but who are not passing. They aren’t going faster than traffic in the right lane, and sometimes are going slower than traffic in the right lane. It’s as if they feel they have special dispensation to use the passing lane for their personal convenience, and other drivers are expected not only to know that, but to give them free use of that lane, despite all of the problems that result from their apparent disregard for normal driving etiquette, and their lack of concern for the plight of other drivers (or even the recognition that there are other drivers). Other cars pull up behind them, expecting them to move over … they don’t. The drivers most often go around them in the right lane, and you might figure they would get the message that they should move into the right lane. Sometimes they do, but often, they don’t.

A single driver behaving so arrogantly is bad enough, but what I encountered on this trip was far worse.

I have learned from experience that you can drive a few miles above the posted speed limit without fear of being stopped, and many or most drivers also know this. I know that in a 70 mph zone you can drive 77 mph and police officers just watch you go by. It is not unsafe, in most situations, to do so. On this trip there was a “convoy” of motorcyclists, nine of them, and the group was driving the speed limit or perhaps two miles per hour faster. That’s slower than I usually drive, and slower than most of the traffic on I-77 was driving. Now, I don’t object to drivers/riders going only the speed limit; that is their choice, and perhaps it is safety thing for bike riders. But I object strenuously when in doing so these bikers ride parallel in both lanes and refuse to move over to allow faster traffic to pass. It probably took a good five minutes to work my way through this bunch of yahoos, and if safety happened to be some part of this mindless behavior, it occurs to me that they defeated their own purpose by forcing cars to maneuver in and out of their formation to get around the obstacle to smooth traffic flow that they created.

It was inconsiderate and dangerous, and if there are any bikers reading this that indulge in this asinine practice, I hope you’ll reconsider it.

I should add here that this is the first time I've encountered this phenomenon, and I hope it is the last.

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