I don’t get frustrated with many of the bad driving habits I see daily on our roads. After spending over 20 years commuting to Toronto, I believe I have more experience with traffic than the average person who commutes, as an example, 5 or 6 km to work. I logged over 2 million kilometers during my commuting days, not as many as a trucker, but a significant number regardless.
One of the major contributors to traffic congestion, and one that can be solved without expensive lane expansions, is the left hand lane traveller. This leads to congestion, passing on the right, frustration, is a contributor to road rage and supports bad habits in traffic management. We all have a responsibility to be courteous on the road. We also have a responsibility to know the rules and to follow them.
Why do some highway drivers insist on travelling in the left hand lane when they do not need to do so to pass someone? The following are a list of “reasons” I have assembled by asking others why they think these drivers choose to do this.
- They are going at or above the posted speed limit so it is acceptable to do so.
- They enjoy the fact that there is no traffic in front of them so they don’t need to worry about breaking or watching traffic closely. It is more relaxing.
- They aren’t comfortable with changing lanes so this eliminates that.
- They didn’t know it was wrong.
- There are trucks in the center and right lanes and they can’t see around them.
- They know it is wrong but no one has ever stopped them for doing so. As a result, they just continue.
- There is traffic entering and exiting on the right so and they are going straight.
The challenge is that none of these excuses are justifiable and none of them can be considered acceptable reasons.
I believe that this should be considered dangerous driving and that the authorities should address it. A blitz to tackle this issue with more media attention and a focus by the police, would address this the way consistent blitzes have addressed seat belt infractions and more recently, distracted driving issues.
Awareness is important here but many of the excuses noted above are not through a lack of awareness, but rather through drivers considering themselves only and not others that they share the roads with .
Brian Bazely is co-founder of Driverseat, a personal transportation company.