Life

Proposed Fast Lane Law Reveals Drivers’ Double Standard

A South Carolina lawmaker has decided he wants a bigger fine for fast lane drivers who won’t either drive fast enough or get out of the way.

Few things get drivers more riled than the fast lane on our interstate highways. A South Carolina lawmaker was just riled enough to introduce a bill that would cost motorists who drive less than the speed of normal traffic in the passing lane a $200 fine.

As motorists reacted to the proposed bill, an interesting double standard fell into view.

Some motorists — I’ll call them Team A — applaud the idea because they hate the “slowpokes” they insist clog up the passing lane at every opportunity, forcing them to ride their bumpers and flash lights incessantly until the slower drivers finally move over to the right lane, where they should be to begin with.

But other motorists — I’ll call them Team B — say the issue isn’t so much drivers in the fast lane who are going to slow, but impatient drivers who are trying to pass them and who are putting everyone else in danger because they’re driving too fast.

Those on Team B will come right out and say they’ll flash their lights and even honk the horn to force people moving too slow (for their taste) in the left lane to get out of their way.

I’ve heard a handful of those on Team A, however, suggest that they might just move into the left lane to pass then linger there a bit to send a clear message to the interstate’s speed demons: Slow it down.

Team B then reacts strongly to this: “It’s not your job to police speed limits.”

Curious.

It’s not Team A’s job to police speed limits by trying to force folks in the left lane to reduce their speed, but it’s apparently Team B’s job to police the fast lane by signaling, honking and/or screaming at the drivers they feel are causing a hindrance at any given opportunity.

Let’s be honest about the left lane.

People who are traveling in the left lane of our interstates aren’t just speeding up to pass. They’re speeding up period. I was on the interstate the other day in a section with a posted speed limit of 70 miles per hour. As a general rule, I’ll set my cruise control in such zones at four miles above the speed limit. So while I’m cruising along at about 74 miles per hour, people are passing me in the left lane doing at least 85. They pass me and a car or two in front…and some of them stay in the left lane as long as there are more cars, even in the distance, they want to pass. They don’t always immediately move over as they insist the law requires.

And traveling at those high speeds is a danger to everyone because if they manage to wipe out, the speed along is going to send debris everywhere, including into the path of other vehicles.

If people in the right lane are going 70 miles an hour and the speed limit is 70 miles an hour, you have to already break the law to pass on the left by speeding. So it’s more than a little hypocritical to be shocked that someone else might be breaking the law to prevent you from doing so.

The law either matters or it doesn’t.

The left lane is supposed to be for passing motorists that are going near but not near enough the speed limit. It’s not meant for racing. It’s not meant for the lane that you put multiple drivers’ safety on the line just so you can get where you’re going 10 minutes sooner.

If there’s going to be more tickets handed out on our roadways, maybe we need to deal with the speeding issue first.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.