The left lane: Not just for looking at

On my daily I-20 commute, I am constantly flummoxed and frustrated by drivers who appear to not see that there is a third lane to their left. These drivers will tailgate the person in front of them, then zip into a tiny opening between two cars to their right rather than pass in the open left lane.

Are they afraid they’ll get pulled over if they’re in the fast lane? Not sure that reckless driving is going to help. Or is that third lane, opened towards the end of last year and therefore new, invisible to them?

Granted, it is annoying for someone to drive too slowly in the middle lane. Slower traffic should stay to the right. But there are times when it’s good to hit up that middle lane, like when there’s traffic merging onto the interstate.

These left lane avoiders will ignore the merging situation and plow right into whatever’s going on in the right lane, oblivious to the cars trying to join the flow of traffic, rather than oh, say, I don’t know, follow the law and pass to the left!

I really wonder how much of the road people are watching. Do they only pay attention to what’s directly in front of them? How many cars are they watching? You can’t avoid accidents without watching all the cars and paying attention to the speed in every lane.

I treat driving like a game, the goal of which is to avoid accidents and maintain the flow of traffic. I watch far ahead to see what troubles might filter back to me, I pay attention to how each car is moving to see if someone’s telegraphing a turn or lane shift (because people can’t be trusted to put their blinkers on), and, yes, I am considerate. If someone needs to merge into my lane, I let them, and if someone wants to pass me and there is no lane to the left, I get over.

But I am constantly trapped between a tailgating left lane avoider and traffic merging into the right lane. There is no good way to get out of that situation other than moving into the left lane–the fast lane–and letting the tailgater pass to the right. As you can imagine, this utterly offends my OCD.

The left lane is for passing, not for being passed! If you want to pass, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, use the left lane!