The Slow Life in the Fast Lane

Freeway Traffic Southern California

Ever get stuck behind a slow driver in the fast lane on the freeway?

It’s not a new problem but it’s getting new attention.  According to an AP report the other day, several states are now cracking down on drivers who go slow in the far left lane.  The message of the effort is simple: get out of the way.

Most states already have laws about maintaining a minimum speed on freeways but now some states have new laws with higher fines and stricter enforcement.

The goal is to keep drivers who don’t keep up with the traffic from driving in the far left lane, known as the fast lane or the passing lane. 

The report quotes experts as saying that driving too slow in the fast lane is at least as dangerous as driving too fast because it can suddenly slow the flow of traffic.

And other drivers who get backed up in the fast lane become impatient and start changing lanes quickly, sometimes dangerously, and causing accidents, which of course then slow traffic to a standstill.

In the state of Oklahoma just last week, a new law took effect which requires drivers there to stay to the right unless passing or preparing to turn left and the law carries fines of more than $200 for left lane slow pokes.

An Oklahoma state police spokesman says they hope the new law will reduce road rage incidents that are caused by dawdling drivers in the fast lane.

In Michigan, state police have launched what they call the Southpaw Initiative and are giving warning tickets to slow drivers in the far left lane.

All of this obviously makes common sense, but sometimes laws are  needed when, among some drivers, common sense is missing.

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