Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Are you Bogarting the left hand lane?



Bogart - v. To hog something which is supposed to be shared, e.g., a bone or controller. To keep something all for oneself, thus depriving anyone else of having any.
n. A person who bogarts
n. The act of bogarting.


Why has bogarting the left hand lane on a multi-lane road or highway become the national norm? According to the driver's manual in most of the 50 states, the left hand lane is for passing or turning. But, on average today's American drivers have decided the left hand lane is the lane of choice. If a vehicle is in the left hand lane of a multi-lane road (not just a highway) and multiple vehicles are passing on the right, someone is bogarting the left hand lane. Why? Perhaps the left hand lane has taken on the same value as the remote control, when someone has it, they feel power and control and relinquishing the left hand lane to someone else is giving up control. At some point in time did they quit teaching children to share in kindergarten or have we decided that since we are adults, we don't have to share anymore?

This morning as I started my commute I was positioned behind a cage (car, truck, minivan, non-scooter, non-motorcycle type transportation) waiting to turn right onto a mutli-lane highway. Cages were turning left from the otherside of the intersection and into the left lane. The cage in front of me would not move even though the right hand lane was empty. It did not bother me as I figured the cage driver was being cautious. But as soon as the traffic on the other side of the intersection finished turning, the cage in front of me turned out onto the empty highway and directly into the left hand lane. It was readily apparent that the cage driver wasn't being cautious at all, just waiting to stake claim to the left hand lane.

As I passed by in the right hand lane, I was a bit more aware than normal how many vehicles were lined up in the left hand lane driving below the speed limit and that the right hand lane was empty. Is it lack of education? Have the Slower Traffic Keep Right signs disappeared? Do we not keep right because we don't want to feel like slower traffic? I've traveled on multi-lane roads in early morning hours when there were very few vehicles on the road and noticed a high percentage were driving along in the left hand lane. Is it a comfort thing?

As over-crowded as most of our roadways are these days, we all need to do our part to make traffic move along as best as it can. Keeping to the right except when passing or turning does just that. Bogarting the left hand lane establishes rolling roadblocks which congest traffic worse than it already is. Use the left hand lane as much as you need, but don't have your mail forwarded to the left lane. Ride to the right and allow others to pass and allow traffic to flow.

2 comments:

Aaron said...

"Slower traffic keep right" signs are about as useful in Atlanta as "DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION" signs. Unfortunately, they don't change anything.

As a general rule concerning traffic in this city and operating a motorcycle, I observe two rules:
1. Always keep left. Partly because of rule #2 and it's easier to identify someone sneaking up on you when you have one less lane to worry about.
2. Always drive faster than traffic. Honestly, I feel safter on a motorcycle than a cage. I can accellerate/break faster and manuver easier. Of course, if you get hit, you were better off in a vehicle anyway. Back to the point, if I'm passing the majority of traffic, then I don't have to worry (usually) about folks startling me.

AngiPants said...

I try to keep to the Carpool lane to avoid all those left lane idiots.

My big complaint when in the carpool lane is people who jump the quadruple yellow lines and get into the carpool lane when they shouldn't.