Opinion: Part One: Rules of the Road

I’m a day late with this, and for that I apologize. I also apologize for the fact that this is a two-part opinion.

I originally wanted to make my post on the upcoming July 1 Indiana law change regarding driving on the left lane on multi-lane roads. But based on some of the opinions I saw, I thought I’d add other stuff to that, and it turned into another rant on a similar but different topic.


Rules of the Road

Please don’t get me wrong, I am far from a perfect driver. In fact, although I don’t see many who I consider good drivers, I don’t think there is a perfect driver out there. Definitely can’t consider those who are just coming out of driver’s education classes to be perfect because they’re being “trained” by imperfect driving instructors.

First and foremost, speed limits.

Contrary to popular belief, the signs out there that say “45”, “55”, “70”, are not the posted speeds that everyone has to drive. There are words over those numbers that say “SPEED LIMIT”. This means that this is the fastest you are allowed by law to drive. Basically, if you’re in an area (zone) that has signs that say “SPEED LIMIT 30”, please don’t think that this is the slowest you’re allowed to go and anyone who’s going slower than this shouldn’t be driving or they can only go this speed if it’s inclement weather.

If you’re driving along and you find yourself closing in on the car in front of you, it will mean one of two things: you are speeding or they decided they aren’t going to go as fast as the speed limit (ie. the fastest speed the law allows in that zone). Either way, it would be to your benefit and safety if you don’t tailgate that person in your attempt to try to get them to speed up.

Unless you’re going to be paying their ticket, points, increase cost of insurance, court fees and any possible damage that may occur, you might want to back off.

Lights

Speaking of inclement weather, if it’s raining, snowing, foggy – you know, basically when it’s not a nice sunny day – please, please, please put on some lights! The newer models have an option of letting the car determine whether it’s dark enough to automatically turn on lights (hence A for auto). Choose this setting if you think you’re going to forget or you don’t really know. For the older models, yeah you should think about it.

Some people aren’t able to see you on clear days (because they’re not paying attention – but that’s another topic), so if you think they’ll see you on days when it’s harder to see, you’re sadly mistaken. Be proactive! Turn on your lights if for no other reason than to have everything on your side.

“Officer I had my lights on and I wasn’t speeding but this driver just came in front of me and there was nothing I could do aside from slamming on my breaks. I couldn’t turn the wheel too much or I would have – hit the oncoming car, driven into this building, something.”

Speeding

I understand, you’re running late for whatever reason you chose to do this. Just as I say that I’m not going to speed for these people, it’s your dime and your time if you chose to mismanage yourself. Pass me if you absolutely have to, but please don’t tailgate me. I’m already doing the speed limit and I will not go faster. Don’t flash your lights at me, I’ll think you’re a police officer and will slow down just in case I have to pull over for emergency vehicles.

Just remember, Karma’s a bitch. There’s a marked vehicle up there somewhere that will catch you if you aren’t again behind another law abiding citizen, coming to a stop sign/light or stopped by a train or accident.

Slower Traffic

Yes, I will bow down to those who complain about slow drivers. Maybe in my old age I have mellowed out a bit, but there’s a difference between opting to not go as fast as the speed limit and there’s just trying to piss someone off (and getting off on that).

Inclement weather – common sense (yes I know, what is that?) dictates that if the weather’s bad, go 5-10 miles under the speed limit to avoid accidents or worse. If the weather’s good, and you’re opting to drive five under the posted speed limit, fine. There’s no law that says you have to go 30 in a Speed Limit 30 zone.

However

If you are going less than 15 under the posted speed limit, then you really need to pull over somewhere and wait out whatever is causing you to decide to go that slow. Although many areas I drive in don’t have a posted Minimum Speed, 15 is pretty much the safest bet there is.

Again, inclement weather making you go that slow – yes, you can chance it, but it’ll be tricky. I know – I’ve already had a couple of close calls in all my years of driving and I wasn’t even going that fast.

Good weather and you’re going 20-25 miles under the speed limit – either have your flashers on (and no I don’t mean someone in your car flashing other drivers – I mean lights) or get off the road. You are a safety hazard like the speeders are.

Have You Complained About Everything Yet?

This list isn’t all inclusive. These are just the tip of my pet peeves when it comes to driving. I can’t tell you how many stop sign and stop lights I’ve seen ignored in any state I happen to drive in.

Now, we get to the point that started this whole thing.

Slower Traffic Keep Right

In major cities that have multi lane highways and freeways, it’s pretty much a given that most of the slow traffic will be in the right most lane. These are the people who are going well under the posted speed limit for whatever reason, those just coming onto the highway or freeway that haven’t quite gotten up to speed and for anyone who is going to exit really soon.

Seriously, don’t expect these people to go fast because you can’t manage your time. It’s called the ‘Slow Lane’ for a reason.

Some areas that have three or more lanes – these middle lanes are for faster moving vehicles and those who are going to be on this stretch of the road for a long time. They’re going to be going the speed limit or about five over or under.

The left most lane is the passing lane. Or in some instances, the car pool lane for bigger cities. These people are the speed demons who are going to be going anywhere from 10-50 miles over the speed limit. This in itself is wrong to begin with, but we’ve become sheeple so no one bothers to do much about it. Technically these are the people who are going the exact speed limit and are passing everyone else driving in the right (two or three) lanes.

And now, in Indiana, there’s a law on this. I’ve heard that we’re not the only state to have this.

More to come…

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