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If you’re a motorcyclist, odds are that you aren’t one of those car drivers that squats in the left lane plodding along exactly at the speed limit while everyone else stacks up behind you with their blood pressure nearing the bursting point. Then again, maybe you are one of those mouth-breathers who believes it is their God-given right to drive in whatever lane they want, no matter who it inconveniences. (If you are, we’ve got a special place in Hell carved out for you to spend all of eternity listening to the Barney Song turned up to 11.)

While we’ve all experienced the aggravation of the left lane squatter, it turns out that slowing down traffic in the left lane is also a safety hazard because it forces faster drivers to weave back and forth between lanes, which can cause a cascading wave of deceleration in the right lane that further slows and stacks up traffic. Oh yeah, it increases the odds of an accident, too.

So, next time you see some doofus online, bloviating about how safe he is going the speed limit in the left lane instead of sticking to the right unless he’s passing, point him in the direction of the video below. While it probably won’t change the blowhard’s behavior, you might just inform some less experienced driver, like the narrator in the video, about proper lane discipline.
Read more about The Safety-Based Case Against Left Lane Squatters at Motorcycle.com.
 

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Devils advocate here, if everybody drove/rode exactly the speed limit there wouldn't be any accidents caused by differences in speed.
Devil's advocate's advocate...

If the speed limit were actually adhered to, then travelling at the speed limit in the left lane would be fine, the other lanes would be taken up by vehicles choosing to travel slower than the limit (I think people sometimes forget that a limit is a maximum speed, not a required speed)... such as me plodding along in my Land Rover Defender at 90-95kpm in the 100kph zone.

There shouldn't be anybody being held up by vehicles doing the speed limit.

Of course, it could be argued (and probably is) that the speed limit should be increased on certain roads. Good luck with that in our nanny-state overly-safety-conscious world...

Cheers!
 

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Idle comments

Most states denote that safe passing occurs at 10-15mph above the car being passed. Since many states have 75mph zones, it's my conclusion that 90 is a safe cruising speed unless you need to pass someone, in which case it would be 15mph higher.

Slightly more serious, wasted time from point A to Point B is wasting life. We only get so much time in a lifetime. Making everybody go slower because some vehicles are poorly equipped or maintained and most drivers are idiots is a slow death for the rest of us.

Accidents in the left lane are so rare. You could rear end somebody if you are not being alert but driver's that are driving fast are not nearly as likely to be in an accident as drivers falling asleep from having to drudge along. It's lane changing though cars that are going various speeds that creates the risk, especially when someone doesn't want the cheater to be able to get to his destination faster. Blocking the cheaters is what causes traffic pulses and congestion. Congestion causes accidents.

The other day a sport bike went by through some sweeping turns on the freeway near my home at, I'm quite sure, 130mph+. He used all the lanes and I don't think he would have been able to make the turns if he didn't. His lean angle was impressive. Luck or proficiency, the spacing of the cars in light-moderate traffic somehow worked out. He had a helmet on to compliment his T-shirt, shorts and Nike's.
 

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Max speed limit here is 70mph. Most traffic on the Interstate is running about 75. A few slower, and a few faster.

State law says to stay in the right lane unless you're passing someone. No camping in the left lane allowed.
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Faster traffic is a relative term, faster than whom? Left lane is only for vehicles exceeding the speed limit and once beyond the slower vehicle that was in front they should move to the right and resume the speed limit, correct? The US ain't Deutschland where the left turn signal in left lane on Autobahn means get the F&$* out of my way. So if I'm traveling 58mph in the middle lane and approach another vehicle travelling 55mph I move left, then someone comes up from behind travelling 63mph and is on my ass before I can get passed the slowpoke in the middle lane unless I want to surge ahead to 70 and/or dive in close in front of poor granny in her Yugo while I get the finger from the guy who has to slow to 60mph (the posted speed limit) for 10 seconds. WAAAHH!!! Sheesh. Left lanes on interstates for through traffic in cities, right lane for persons exiting the highway. Then there is the jackass who zooms up the left lane only to zip across 3 lanes to hit his exit at the last minute. And motorcycles get the raw deal if they use the left shoulder to pass traffic jams.
 

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Maybe I can get some locals to chime in, but here in South Alabama either lane is fair game for slow or fast driving. There is VERY little adhering to one of driving's basic rules-of-road: Fast=Left, Slow=Right.

I'm a speed limit--5mph over interstate driver (I10 for those who are familiar with it). My daily commute is 1hour and 20 minutes each way for 5, sometimes 6 days each week. I usually use that time to mentally get ready for my day or wind down from it on the way home.

What I find very frustrating are the left-lane drivers who will not go with the traffic flow (literally) and will not move over into the right lane letting the faster drivers pass them up.

What compounds this scenario and adds to my frustration are those drivers who feel that the only way they can achieve what they want (getting around the left-lane slow poke) is by getting into the right lane to pass them. I don't care if they do this, the frustration comes in when I'm in close proximity to the slow-pokes.

In most cases these folks jump in behind me and assume the mating position. I've had them so close that their headlights were almost invisible to me.(My AM commute is pre-dawn) Somehow they feel if they can't get what they want in the left lane I'm automatically obligated to speed up so that they can continue their pace.

I usually don't give in. Not because I'm being a ball-breaker, but because IMO, I'm in the right lane for a specific reason: I don't want to play Freeway Racer. I like my 70-75mph pace. If these folks have issues with slow drivers in the left lane (and they're correct in feeling held up), their frustration should be taken out on those drivers, not those of us in the right lane.
 

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Geez Paisano, that's a heck of a commute. I could almost drive from Slidell ,MS to inside the Florida border in 1 hr and 20 min.

I'd be psychotic if I had a commute like that.

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In most cases these folks jump in behind me and assume the mating position. I've had them so close that their headlights were almost invisible to me.(My AM commute is pre-dawn) Somehow they feel if they can't get what they want in the left lane I'm automatically obligated to speed up so that they can continue their pace.
Assume the mating position. That's funny.
 

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Speed limits here are 65mph but left lane travelers are going anywhere from 75-90mph. Law is that left lane is only for passing and it's illegal to sit in the left lane but everybody and their mother does it. So then you get road raging drivers, stuck behind a sitting driver who is doing doing 65 in the left lane and then the road raging driver (or person in a hurry) has to go all the way to the right lane to find an open spot, pass, and then cut back to the left lane because a driver was hogging the left lane doing the speed limit.

On the bike I can just lane split past them, but in the car I have no choice but to sit there and wait for an opening in another lane so I can pass the left lane hogger, mind you it's illegal to pass on the right. I've never seen a cop pull one person over for sitting in the left lane. Maybe that's why so many people do it. I tell all my cop friends that if I was ever a cop I wouldn't even write speeding tickets I would just go after left lane hoggers. I see nothing wrong with speeding on the highway as long as you are in the left lane and know what you are doing. But for someone to hold up traffic because they see an open space in the left lane and feel more comfortable there, that is what pisses me off. I feel like that is the sole reason we have so much traffic in jersey even when it's not rush hour.
 

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The overall problem is that there are too many cars with a single occupant on the road day in and day out.

Regarding speed, there's a great deal of efficiency which could be realized if people drove more courteously. People who drive slowly in any but the right lane really clog up the works. I was in France recently; on the Autoroutes, the trucks go 90 km/hr and cars can go 100, in some places 110 km/hr. The trucks ALL stay in the right lane. They NEVER block traffic. EVERY time a faster driver comes up behind someone the slower vehicle moves over and let them pass, and NOBODY, I mean NOBODY rides the left lane. Everybody uses their signals and headlights to indicate in advance what they are going to do. Cars are, in general, much smaller so more of them can fit on the road. When traffic gets very heavy, all this doesn't matter, but the other 90% of the time it makes for a very pleasant driving experience... you can almost always travel at or slightly above the speed limit (European countries are big on photo radar... if you are faster than 4 km/hr over the posted speed, you are busted).

I think as much as anything else it's a cultural/societal thing... people see other people being good drivers and they do the same. Bad drivers get ticketed, unlike here where I'll bet that the percentage of tickets given for driving too slowly or for impeding traffic is mighty small, if it's even measurable.

Like everybody else, it frustrates me particularly when someone in the left lane is travelling 0.001 km/hr faster than the guy in the right lane and figures its' his or her God-given right to take 6 minutes to pass a single car. Or the guy on the two-laner that consistently drives 10 km/hr below the limit in the curves but accelerates to 20 km/hr above the limit on the infrequent straight-away passing sections.

Not that I've got lots of extra time to waste, but I don't think that periodic re-testing and re-training of drivers would be a bad idea... I've got a couple of teenaged kids right now, one of whom just started driving (has her learner's license for both car and motorcycle!) and re-learning and practicing all those good habits so as to be a good role model for my daughter has made me a better, safer driver. It's unfortunate that ongoing driver training is only required AFTER a driver has proven that they need it, usually by either causing an accident or as a condition for re-claiming ones' license after an alcohol-related offence.
 

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I spent 4 days riding in Germany 2 weeks ago and I don't think it would be possible for me to convey how much better drivers they are as a group... and one of the fundamental reasons is that they follow basic rules that when followed by everyone make travelling safer and more efficient.

Some of those rules address lane usage... and they're pretty basic... these are what I absorbed based on observing traffic - they might not be exactly this but these are how the drivers actually behaved:
- If the lane to the right of the lane you're in is clear... move into it... ALWAYS.
- If you are NOT in the farthest right lane and faster moving traffic is approaching you... you MUST do what you can to clear the lane. If you're passing multiple vehicles and there's a gap then you MUST move into it to allow the faster traffic to pass before completing your pass (you can't hog the left lane moving 50mph slower than approaching traffic just because there's another vehicle in the right lane 300 yards ahead that you also want to pass. If you're preparing to pass and you see a faster moving vehicle approaching from behind you MUST wait for them to complete their pass before moving into the left lane to pass (either that or speed up so you don't impede faster traffic).

I cruised at 180 km/h (120) for some distance, most vehicles were moving in the 120-140 km/h (80-100) range (trucks were limited to 100 iirc). I was only occasionally held up by someone passing and they always yielded immediately when they cleared the car they were passing, even if there were more slow cars in the line to the right. The one exception was when I passed through a city with heavy traffic... at that point both lanes were occupied and traffic was slow - no way to avoid that.

It seemed like the general rule was "the faster car has the right of way" rather than "the slower car has the right of way" which is how it works (by default) here in the US.

Most drivers obeyed the speed limit (no '10 mph over' rule there), the one notable exception were bikers... some of those guys absolutely FLEW.
 

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when I was in the US I found driving more relaxed than here in Europe.
Here everybody is in a hurry.


Know why bikers are flying in Germany?
And cars are not?
Photo cams have to take a picture from the front and your face has to be visible.
No license plate on front and a helmet makes that impossible for bikers.

I think you have @-holes everywhere....
 

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I'm pretty happy to have found this. There absolutely NEEDS to be a case against travelling turtle speed in the passing lane. 11 years commuting I-95 has taught me the path of least resistance rules, IE: let the higher energy drivers go by. This will avoid road rage/cut-off situations from frustrated drivers that naturally travel at a faster pace.
My 2cents

-Mario
 

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All my life I have been working towards one goal - working from home. On the way I did my time commuting and because I bounced a few jobs I found every time a major factor in taking the work was how far I had to drive to get there. Moved a few times to work out an advantage on travel time.

Having admitted these details, today I still find, oh, twice a month at least, that I have to take on the expressway for work involving over 220 miles. In my state there are 100's of square miles of isolated areas and the speeds people run reflect that. Sure, speed enforcement is a major revenue for these isolated areas so you have to be wary. Sadly, it is not unusual to see some out of state Winnebago caravans hauling a trailer at 58mph on a 75mph 6 lane freeway hogging the left lane - I dunno why but I wonder if they simply got in that lane and never could see if it was clear to move over?

The majority of the traffic is approaching 95mph if it is a light traffic day between Tucson and Phoenix, so this becomes a dangerous ballet of speed differential when the snowbirds show up in the left lane. Once I trailed a 6 door black limo one day doing 145mph with a helicopter escort overhead and at least two blocking cars ---- I don't have any answers here, but I just want to say that at least of half of our brethren on the the freeway at any time have no high speed driving skills at all, and even though I do - it is too easy to come to a bad end.
 

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Speeding drivers are less of a concern than Passive drivers...

A speeding driver is on a mission where a Passive driver has Zero worries They are a nuisance and most likely in their own world.

Now My Research is vast and maybe a bit biased.

The passive drivers are more likely to be Female and "Racially handicapped"....
Ok that was joke with some truth and zero political correctness...

Being passive and then you add the other annoyances added into the scenario like not caring or looking at your surroundings, and they have no idea what is in their own danger zone they don't check the placement of others compared to themselves.
Just looking straight ahead no mirror checks .

In their own world protected by their ultra safe VOLVO.
Then you get the person driving yakking at their passengers and the hand waving gestures ( could be of European background) joke. Enlightening their passengers.

Pass them on the right with a long horn bast and flip of the bird. They will automatically look thru their steering wheel at their speedometer and give you the WTF look I ain't speeding.

Up Here we have got to behave there are FEW MARKED Patrol cars and so many unmarked police vehicles from pick ups vans and many brands.

Our major highways go down to 2 lanes and I have been behind trucks playing leap frog for far to many miles Both Truckers not slowing down for a minute so the other IDIOT trucker can't pass or to pull in and abandon the trying to pass the IDIOT who won't let the other trucker pass. (out of Province Quebec Truckers) Jk

So Simple so much less stress to let the fast drivers (who should be paying attention to reach their goal) just pass.

Our posted limit is 100 KPH with 125 being the shouldn't get ticket speed. And many areas where 135KPM is the fast norm when conditions are right.
We don't get bothered by the Police from simple speeding. BUT get aggressive and expect to get attention.

Idiots are everywhere learn to deal with them , sos it don't make your day a bad one.
 

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Maybe others can back me up on this, but California drivers are a particular type of stupid and speed no matter what lane, camp regardless and hang in your blind spots to the point of not remembering they can pass you.

Example: in my electric car, as opposed to the bikes, I generally lock in the cruise control at 2-5 mph over the posted speed limit. The physics of going faster deplete the battery and range more than I might need for a trip. But, regardless I'm doing the limit or slightly faster to keep up with traffic.

However, I'm pretty much going to stay in the right lane or the next to right due to congestion or exiting/entering traffic. Generally this is at least 2 or 3 lanes away from the action and what this thread is discussing.

That being said, there is no shortage of retards that follow me a foot off my bumper honking or flashing their lights, when the next lane is unoccupied. Many a time someone gets irate that they have to pass a car in the far right lane and then cut me off and gesture. This happens on 4-6 lane roads as well, when there is no exit for a few miles and people can't seem to grok that slower traffic moves right. If I stay at the speed limit I'm guaranteed to have someone almost rear end me. IN THE RIGHT LANE.

Based on how little frontal brain activity is going on with most drivers here, when on the bikes I'm usually moving faster than traffic unless there is a situation, as has proven time and again that bikes that follow the speed limit ultimately get boxed in making a more dangerous situation. This includes lane splitting or passing cars (safely) that are going the speed limit in the left lane.

It appears that CHP doesn't even patrol the highways here anymore for traffic safety violations. I usually just see them bunched up 4-5 vehicles at a time on backup for a bust or illegal on the shoulder for an expired reg. Definitely a sign of the anti-police, pro-crime mentality of the Bay Area.

If this state has a revenue shortfall, there would be no end to income from hiring a few more LEOs and reigning in the insanity, but to be O/T and snarky, that would take real leadership. Instead we have the leader of our Senate in open session admitting to aiding and abetting criminals in his family for identity theft and how it's wrong to persecute them, which will likely carry no repercussions.

I used to think CA was motorcycle heaven, but this state is so boned and will implode shortly.

Geoff
 
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