Sunday, April 28, 2013

Slower Traffic Keep Right

Okay, okay, so I'm a little behind in the A-Z Challenge, but I'll tackle that issue in my next post.  For now, I want to discuss a topic I've been wanting to write about for awhile.  I think, no I know a big solution to the some of the traffic problems in New York State, especially the NY Metro area. Yes, stay tuned for a rant. Well, sort of...


I once ranted about getting a speeding ticket in the Town of Southampton and getting convicted for parking violation, along with 100 or so of my fellow speeders (see What a Racket).  I ranted that officials in that town and many others across the state don't really care about the speeding, they just want the money.  Well, I have a way they can still make money and put a halt to real traffic problems on the roads today.

Speeding is NOT the Biggest Problem

I know that I'll probably get a lot of flak for this one, but I don't think that speeding is the worst offense on our roads today.  Sure, excessive speed is dangerous, but maybe the 55 mph speed limit for the most part is just too low.  I think more people, including me, drive over that limit while moving on a highway than don't.  I probably travel an average of 65-70 when I can, and I don't tailgate or weave in and out of traffic either.  When there's space to drive a little faster than the 55 mph speed limit, then you should be allowed to do it.

Of course there are speed demons who weave in and out of traffic and tailgate every single car they get behind, and these are the ones who should be ticketed, but those of us who stay a little over the limit are not causing any problems, except that we're breaking a traffic code and therefore must pay a fine.  The real dangers on the road, the ones that cops never go after, are the slow drivers that do not keep to the right like they're supposed to, especially here in New York.  (Brake monsters are among these unpursued scofflaws!)

Slower Traffic Keep Right 

One of my old customers in the bank was a Suffolk County detective and he once told me that traffic was caused primarily by braking.  "One person hits their brakes and there's a chain reaction for miles."  He should know, he saw this many times from police helicopters.

Really, there are few state laws that require drivers to keep to the right when going slower than the flow of traffic.  In fact, only six states have actual laws that strictly state that the left lane is for passing only (Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine and Massachusetts), but they should all have them.  In most places, drivers do move to the right if you're approaching at a faster level of speed, but not here in New York.

Having lived here all my life and driving the roads every day, I know the mentality of New York drivers.  They generally don't seem to pay too much attention to what's around them on the road, and the ones who drive slow in the left lane are thinking, "I'm doing 55, so I'm not going to move out of the way."  Meanwhile cars behind them are sometimes forced to brake when they shouldn't have to, thereby causing slower moving traffic.  And a lot of times these are the same drivers who don't signal when changing lanes, or text or talk on their cell phones while they're driving.  So, they pick and choose which laws they're going to abide by.  I see it every day. Grrrr....

Whenever I leave the state I'm always amazed at how people do move out of your way in the left lane as you approach them.  It's courteous and it makes for safer, smoother moving traffic.   If these laws were on the books everywhere and they were enforced, there'd be less traffic and generally less problems on the road, of that I am sure.  But I know this is only a pipe dream and that it will never happen.  In the meantime, I'lll just keep on dealing with these idiotic obstructions as I move about my way on the roads.  Ugh!

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