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Old 09-02-2011, 07:30 PM   #1
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Post Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Moving Violations:
Speed Limit Follies
There's nothing wrong with going the speed limit - That is until you change lanes.


By Jonathan Swigart - AutomotiveForums.com
Sept. 2, 2011

For many drivers, the speed limit that is posted is more than suggested pace and the law - it's a way of life. And for many of the drivers who adhere to this limit, life is much simpler than it would be if they ignored it.

Their safety is a little more assured as they aren't traveling at an excessive rate of speed, their fuel economy is less likely to suffer and therefore impact their pocket books; even their car is likely to fair better due to less wear-and-tear from driving too fast.

However, associated with the speed limit are a few caveats that some drivers fail to recognize while they're out on the open road - some of them leaving the potential to cause major problems. One such caveat is driving the speed limit in the left - or passing - lane.

This is something in particular that is near and dear to my heart, as I have experienced it time and time again. I'm not sure what the standard is in other countries, but in the U.S., when you're on a two-lane road - whether it be highway, interstate or in-town - the right lane is considered the driving lane (or the slow lane for those of you unfamiliar with the terms) and the left lane is the passing lane (the fast lane).

The "unwritten rule," so to speak, is that if you're driving in the passing lane, you're doing so in order to pass someone who is in the driving lane, with the overall intention of either getting BACK into the driving lane or to put yourself into position do to so.

Instead, many people will not only drive in the passing lane, they will do so while driving UNDER or AT the speed limit.

What's that, you say? The speed limit is to be obeyed? Yes, that's true. However, if the fact that you're obeying the law in the passing lane is holding up the flow of traffic due to someone in the driving lane going the same speed, you are creating a dangerous situation.

What you're doing is slowing the overall flow of traffic (which you're supposed to go with, despite the speed - meaning if they're speeding around you and you're going to be in traffic, go the speed they are) and causing a bunch of already-in-a-hurry drivers to be compacted together in a small area of road. From this point, all it takes is one impatient idiot to do something stupid and cause an accident - all due to the improper usage of the passing lane.

In Florida, you might even get a ticket for driving slow in the passing lane, based on a bill passed in April of this year.

According to an article in the Florida Times-Union, "The bills in the Legislature would require slower drivers to move over 'if the driver knows, or reasonably should know, that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.' "

That's right - if you're aware of another car behind you going faster than you and you fail to give way to them - and the traffic - you may end up with a $143 ticket.

And personally, I think that's the way it should be. If you are impeding the flow of traffic because you're not paying attention, you're too afraid to speed or you're just trying to "show" the car behind you who's boss for tailgating, then you might need a friendly reminder from your local law enforcement that what you're doing is not only annoying to your fellow drivers, but also potentially hazardous.

Is there a problem with going the speed limit? Absolutely not. But you need to be cognizant of the other drivers on the road - not just cognizant of how fast the state says you should go on a particular stretch of that road.

-------------------------------


Jonathan Swigart is an award-winning journalist and has been around the automotive world his entire life. This is his first entry for "Moving Violations." In this column, he will explore some of the basic aspects of driving that drivers often overlook, among other topics. He lives in Champaign, Illinois with his wife and son and works at the University of Illinois.

You can reach Jonathan by emailing newsdesk@automotiveforums.com
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

It's a global problem, and it will only ever get worse as our societies become more and more focused on the individual.

Here in NZ, the road code states that you must keep left unless passing, and there are road rules that allow the police to issue tickets to people who obstruct the flow of traffic.

None of which means shit, because no one reads the road code the police have a mandate to make people drive slower, so don't stop those who obstruct traffic.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:08 AM   #3
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Great article, well done Mr. Swigart. We look forward to reading many more "Moving Violations".
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:32 PM   #4
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Quote:
Originally Posted by AF News Desk View Post
And personally, I think that's the way it should be. If you are impeding the flow of traffic because you're not paying attention, you're too afraid to speed or you're just trying to "show" the car behind you who's boss for tailgating, then you might need a friendly reminder from your local law enforcement that what you're doing is not only annoying to your fellow drivers, but also potentially hazardous.

Is there a problem with going the speed limit? Absolutely not. But you need to be cognizant of the other drivers on the road - not just cognizant of how fast the state says you should go on a particular stretch of that road.
Well said. Sometimes the slower driver can be just as dangerous as the erratic or fast driver.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:58 AM   #5
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Well said Jonathan.

As Mopie pointed out, it's a universal problem. Where I live, there are usually two types of drivers - those that treat the roads as THEIR own personal race track (& you therefore should not be there) and those that are too scared to go anywhere near the speed limit (& often sit in the passing lane).

I did read a complaint in the local paper from one driver a while back that got booked for sitting in the passing lane & he complained bitterly that the cops should be out catching real criminals - and here I was thinking that a criminal is one that breaks the law of the land......
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Old 09-09-2011, 06:41 AM   #6
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Totally agree with the article, but here's my problem. I'm in the left lane trying to pass let's say a big truck. Speed limit is 55, Truck is going 60 so I'm doing around 65 trying to get pass him and move back over into the right lane. Along comes some idiot behind me doing 75 and he comes up on my bumper and starts flashing his lights even though he clearly can see I can't move over until I get pass the big rig. Then, before I even have a chance to put my flasher on and move back over he squeezes around me and tears off down the road. That's when I fantasize about having that laser cannon mounted on the hood of my car.....
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

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Originally Posted by Tinovolpe View Post
Totally agree with the article, but here's my problem. I'm in the left lane trying to pass let's say a big truck. Speed limit is 55, Truck is going 60 so I'm doing around 65 trying to get pass him and move back over into the right lane. Along comes some idiot behind me doing 75 and he comes up on my bumper and starts flashing his lights even though he clearly can see I can't move over until I get pass the big rig. Then, before I even have a chance to put my flasher on and move back over he squeezes around me and tears off down the road. That's when I fantasize about having that laser cannon mounted on the hood of my car.....
I know exactly what you're talking about and it drives me nuts.

I think that is one of the exceptions to the rule, so to speak, since you're already going above the speed limit anyway and this guy is likely moving faster than the flow of traffic.

I've always wanted some spiked barbs that drop from the rear of my car like a Batmobile would do. That would stop the tailgating really quick .
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

I have a piece of information I'm not sure it is correct 100%
When exceeding the speed limit by 1 km above the rate of accidents at 2%
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:24 PM   #9
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

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Old 09-23-2011, 06:38 AM   #10
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

what bugs me more is when people drive the road speed limit in the middle (of three) lanes on the UK motorways.
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Old 09-23-2011, 09:43 AM   #11
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinovolpe View Post
Totally agree with the article, but here's my problem. I'm in the left lane trying to pass let's say a big truck. Speed limit is 55, Truck is going 60 so I'm doing around 65 trying to get pass him and move back over into the right lane. Along comes some idiot behind me doing 75 and he comes up on my bumper and starts flashing his lights even though he clearly can see I can't move over until I get pass the big rig. Then, before I even have a chance to put my flasher on and move back over he squeezes around me and tears off down the road. That's when I fantasize about having that laser cannon mounted on the hood of my car.....
A CB radio ''Brake 19'' might work better in this case instead of a cell phone,or Txt Msg.
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Old 09-23-2011, 02:39 PM   #12
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

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Originally Posted by egpigeon View Post
I have a piece of information I'm not sure it is correct 100%
When exceeding the speed limit by 1 km above the rate of accidents at 2%
What?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drunken monkey View Post
what bugs me more is when people drive the road speed limit in the middle (of three) lanes on the UK motorways.
Actually that makes a bit of sense. The center lane shodul be the one for regular travel with the iner lane (right lane in the UK and left lane in the US) used for passing, and the remaining outer lane (again, left lane in the UK and right lane in the US) used for entering and exiting the motorway (interstate in the US). I have to drive there (center lane of three) when I'm towing a trailer on the interstate as people merging onto the highway are generally clueless, so I leave them a lane to merge into.
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Old 09-23-2011, 07:53 PM   #13
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Re: Moving Violations: Speed Limit Follies

This is such a huge problem here in Utah. I see a lot of people that immediately after entering the flow of traffic will head instantly to the left lane. Even when there is very light traffic. Light enough that the next person in front of them is 1/4 of a mile away and they aren't going to pass them any time soon.

Most of them refuse to move when you come up to the them. I couldn't count how many people I've passed on the in the driving lane, using it as intended. Some of them will speed up to try and prevent you from passing. I've even had one swerve towards me. May favorite are truckers that get into the passing lane on the interstate. I can understand it on two lane sections and they need to pass. However, they sure know how to do and the most inconvenient times. Still, I see a lot of them doing it more and more when there is more than two lanes. Which is illegal.

Don't even get me started on the carpool lane.

It's just asinine. What I don't get is that it's the law. Slower traffic keep right. And we have to pass a bill for the damn highway patrol to do their job? It's pretty stupid if you ask me. But, whatever it takes to get shit done about it I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blazee View Post
Haha!

What's funny is that I've ridden with people that do this and it drives me nuts. Inevitably someone will tailgate them and they get upset. They still don't get the hint so the person goes around them cutting them off. Hmm, they still don't get the point. They get all frustrated and I can't keep my mouth shut anymore and I say:

If you're being passed on the right, guess what? You're in the wrong DAMN LANE!
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