Sunday, July 12, 2009

Passing Lane 1 Mile

You know when your driving down a two lane highway and there is no opportunity to pass because there is either too much oncoming traffic or the road is too curvy to safely do so. It can be maddening because not everyone drives at the same speed on the highway. And let’s face it; very few drive as fast as I do. I’m the guy that wanted to race the formula one car but never did and now I wreck havoc on the open roads.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you approach a passing lane opportunity that suddenly everything changes? It’s as if everyone switches into a different mental gear. Suddenly that “Passing Lane 1 Mile” sign has been translated to equate to a starting line at a drag race.


It’s ridiculous. You can be stuck driving in traffic along a highway at 50mph and suddenly you have a passing lane and everyone is driving 70mph. Why didn’t all those damn slow drivers just do that on the non-passing sections? We wouldn’t need the passing lanes then!

Perhaps there is some kind of competitive mentality going on subliminally here. It’s as if it was a race and everyone needs to get into first to be free to cruise on down the highway without anyone ahead of them. Of course, that never happens. There is always somebody ahead. It’s like trying to get just the right amount of milk-to-cereal portions correct at breakfast time. You can explode by continually adjusting them. But I digress…

There is also another irritating concept that happens when a passing lane appears. It’s what I call “the fear of being left out.” That is, if you get in the right lane to let the really insane drivers like me pass, you might never get back into the fast lane again so that you can pass that really slow RV that invariably clogs the roads in the summer. Your fear suggests that being the nice guy will only mean there will be a solid line of cars passing and once you reach the RV, nobody will let you get around it. Therefore, you never get in the right lane, you stay in the fast passing lane along with everyone else and so nobody really gets to pass anyone other than those lucky enough to pass the RV by the time the jam up in the fast lane has squandered the ability to actually move fast. Let me help with a visual:


Personally, I’m going to design a car that is one foot wider than any other car and that can raise it’s entire chassy over any other car so that you can literally drive right over a slow car without touching it. I’ll make millions…

51 comments:

ReformingGeek said...

Remind me to drive in front of you.....

You should just get a helicopter and be done with it. ;-)

I love the picture on your sidebar!

Carla said...

lol! This is so true. I think it's just in North America though that people don't know how to really use those passing lanes.

VE said...

reforminggeek - Helicopters crash easily...I don't like the survival odds when they do...

carla - Well that is true. In Europe they are much more orderly in their use of the lanes. I remember driving 130mph in Germany in the left lane and 'spacing out' because I was simply going faster than everyone but then a motorcycle came up from behind me and I had to remember that I didn't necessarily 'own' the fast lane...

zelzee said...

And those middle lane turning lanes are a visit to hell in my opinion!

subtorp77 said...

VE, love the cereal/milk ratio reference! And I've got a book you shuold read...

Quirkyloon said...

VE? Did you watch the movie Duel?

Ha!

subtorp77 said...

And friggin' blooger is S.N.A.F.U. again. Email me on the link, as I can't find yours!!!

lifeshighway said...

I am always "that person" the person stuck behind the RV, horse trailer, dump truck, the gravel truck or the worse... old man in a hat.

Gladys said...

That would be me that all those cars are passing. I one time got out of a ticket for going 125 in the slow lane just a big talking to by the officer. I was 18 in a Spyder and wanted to see how fast I could take the turns. Then the officer made me scoot over and showed me the "correct" way to take the turns.

Gladys said...

I should have added that since I turned 180 years old and have blue hair now I drive 45 everywhere I go. :)

Dot-Com said...

Ha ha, you should move to the UK. They drive fast over there! The limit is 70 on the motorway, but they tend to move about about 90, and that's just the cruising speed!

Bazza said...

It's nice to know it's exactly the same in your country as it is in ours. Just goes to show there's dickheads everywhere.

The Incredible Woody said...

What about those people that creep along until you pass them? Once you pass, they stomp on the gas and pass you. And then proceed to creep along again. God, I just love those people.

VE said...

zelzee - Middle turn lanes are an high-risk passing zone in my opinion. I use them when I'm really desperate...

subtorp77 - A cereal book? A book on cereal-milk algorythms? I don't know...

quirkyloon - Watch it? I've lived it! Yes...that was Spielberg's big break.

subtorp77 - If you want to get a hold of me just email me at ewelter1 (at) comcast (dot) com

lifeshighway - I know...my gnomes like to take photos of you when they are in front of you in the RV, horse trailer, dump truck and gravel truck. They laugh and laugh...

gladys - That's pretty impressive. I got caught going 85 in a 35 once (well, I did lay on the brakes and he only caught me doing 54 so no jail time...) I've mellowed since then thankfully.

gladys - Does hair turn blue at around 145?

dot-com - I have driven over there. These damn cars kept coming at me when I was in the right lane though...

bazza - There are no borders for stupidity!

VE said...

incredible woody - Ha! Sounds like one of my gnomes. They would totally do that.

Megan said...

"wreck havoc" - bwahaha!

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

I also love the ones that pull out RIGHT in front of you when you are going 70 and slowlllly accelerate as you hit the brakes to avoid hitting them.

VE said...

megan - Hey...I turned from the center lane...about a half a mile down the road. How did I know there would be a jam up in the main two lanes but nobody using the middle turn lane?

perpetual chocoholic - I just hit them...it's more fun.

Roy Scribner said...

I'm up here in Oregon this week and I'm having a blast on I-5, which is only two lanes between Albany and Salem. I'm sure everyone can immediately spot the California driver, who is drafting and weaving in and out of traffic like Ricky Bobby.

Maureen said...

I don't recall any passing lanes like that on my recent 1700 km drive thru North Dakota/Minnesota... probably because I took the interstate the whole way. I DO know that no one abides by the speed limit. Just to keep up, I was doing 140kmh (90 mph) at times. Made going down to 55 mph in construction areas feel like we were crawling.

Ronda Laveen said...

Sometimes, when I see that polite driver who doesn't just jet out into the fast lane but does get stuck behind the RV due to selfish drivers, I use my power of speed for good. I'll use my speed to get up to him and then slow the whole line down so he can get out. Even if I don't make it around myself, it's worth it to me to make a point and I'm sure it just pisses everyone else off. I hope they are thinking, oh, I wish I wasn't such a little piggie...but I doubt it.

VE said...

roy - When I lived in the Bay area I had a girlfriend in Portland and used to make the drive every weekend (yeah...I was that stupid). I know about the fast driving and weaving!

maureen - My last 3 day road trip in Germany I averaged 210kmh...

ronda - How kind of you. The gnomes would have done that...but right at the end of the passing zone so that he couldn't get around the RV anyway. Then they'd laugh and laugh...

Bonnie the Boss said...

I would buy one! most the time I just wish there was a ramp on their car and I could just drive over them like a wee hill in the road.

VE said...

bonnie - They'd never let you use their ramp though...damn them.

Uncivil said...

I usually just set the cruise on 80 and stay in the passing lane until someone comes up behind me really fast.

VE said...

uncivil - 80? I'm reporting you to the authorities. We'll have none of that slowness...

lime said...

i'm holding out for jetson cars so i can just hover over everyone who is slow

Janna said...

Somewhere around 15 years ago, I had a red car.
There's a theory that cops stop red cars more often.

It's true.

I got so many speeding tickets with that red car, the state sent me a letter saying I'd have my license revoked if I got one more ticket.

I switched to a different color car, and have not had any speeding tickets since.

Freaky.
And annoying.

subtorp77 said...

VE, no a book about Road Rage but with an incredibly humourous bent to it. Here's a link

Elizabeth said...

We have these problems here too, and there's only 40 miles of road in Juneau!!

Alex L said...

Can you fit some machine guns to this car your making... for safety of course...

Chris C said...

I am convinced drivers like these do this crap on purpose.

This is why I prefer highways. At least there are multiple lanes.

Kurt said...

I'm so thankful I don't have a car anymore. Driving made me want to kill more than anything else.

Quickroute said...

I'm afraid to admit there's a bit of a drag racer within me too and it's foot to the floor once I see that sign

VE said...

lime - I so wanted a Jetson hover car when I was leaving the Coldplay concert on Friday night. It took nearly two hours to get out of the ampitheater where they were playing. Uggh...

janna - I had a tricked out orange VW bug once and it was the same thing; they once stopped me in a storm because they said I was "weaving". No shit...ever drive a VW in the wind? Of course it was weaving...

subtorp77 - Thanks...I'll check it out

elizabeth - That's just ridiculous that you have it there. I've been on those roads! Well, most of them.

alex - Ha! Sounds like you've got your own Road Warrior agenda...

chris - When my book gets done it'll have a story very applicable to that...(I know, I'm a tease)

kurt - You're in a city where you don't need a car. I would have quite a hike just to get to the bus to get to the light rail system. Not convenient in a town that is very wet.

quickroute - You should fit right in with the drivers in Taiwan then. I feared for my life there once...

thinkinfyou said...

Sounds like you are talking about creating a monster truck,and they already exist.

VE said...

thinkinfyou - But they're always big, this one will scale up to pass than then scale back down to a regular height...

freetheunicorns said...

I'll buy one of your fancy Inspector Gadget-like cars. But only it has a naked chick riding a unicorn painted on the side.

gab said...

I've come to the conclusion that those folks who were driving 50 miles an hour then speed up to 70 in the passing lane zone just dont want you in front of them. They want you behind them so they can say ha ha look at me I'm in front of you. I cant wait till we start driving in the air.

Jaime said...

sign me up! i want one of the first VE special cars. can mine be red?

VE said...

freetheunicorns - Dang...somebody leaked the prototype design!!!! You got one, my friend!

gab - When we can fly in the air I won't have to worry about fences and traffic cones and such. Privacy will take on a whole new concern!

jaime - Red it is then. The cops will give you more tickets but you can always drive over them too...

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

I'm the person driving that RV. Really. I am. Slow and steady....old lady-like. Sorry.

VE said...

I should have known! You're time is coming though. No really. You're up next for blog spoof! Muh ha ha

nursemyra said...

is that the american way of spelling chassis?

;-)

thevinylvillage said...

Ive never been on a road trip of an hour or more where I did not encounter that most annoying creature--the passing lane cruiser. Usually a glazed over look, clueless as dozens are forced to pass on the right. One of these days Ill rent a car, take out the insurance, and drive people like that into the wall. It would do wonders for my blood pressure.

VE said...

nursemyra - Ha! I think I was reading a Playboy during that spelling lesson in school. For the articles, of course...

vinylvillage - Here's what I'll do. I'll open up a Rent-a-Junker and then you can hire a person with diplomatic immunity to drive and you and they can go crash out moronic drivers with no repurcussions...I'll make millions...

Mrs. R said...

I want one of those cars if you do make one.

I love the people on freeways who are going 50 until they see you trying to merge and speed up to 80, forcing you to have to go from 0-90 in 2.6 seconds to get on the freeway without dying. And then, once that has been accomplished, they slow back down again.

Which is why I think that stupid DMV test should be modified to a personality and IQ test...

VE said...

mrs r - You know exactly what I am talking about, I see...

Anne said...

everybody goes faster when there is a passing lane because typically the road is wider and thus conducive to driving faster, then they slow back down when the road is narrow.

VE said...

anne - Wimps...

Mrsupole said...

I just say slow down and smell the exhausts flowers. Oh, what could be better than to just creep along and wave at all the other drivers passing your ass up.

Oh all right, it could be better to speed up and flip off all the slow drivers.

Okay, now breath, breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out. Whew, that feels better.

God bless.