Keep right except when passing

It's a simple rule, "Keep right except when passing", and it's a law! Don't think it's an actual law? Read it for yourself... (http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.100)

The reason seems obvious to me... it's meant to help keep the roads safe, to keep people from passing on the right side. But it seems that it's not enforced much by highway patrol, if at all. Based on my experience it's not a rule that's followed by many here in the northwest (Oregon and Washington). I've met some people that blatantly break the rule. The problem is that not following this simple rule creates traffic jams at best, and high speed deadly accidents at worst.

The Fast Lane Squatter

I have personally met and discussed this with a person that unabashedly admitted that when he gets on the freeway he sets his cruise control to the speed limit and camps out in the left most fast lane. His argument is that he is doing the speed limit and no one should be going faster than he is. What a great argument and reason, right! So, he is acting as a freeway speed governor. He believes that no one should be going faster than he is. What an ego! I couldn't get through to him.

If your one of the people camping in the fast lane, please share your reasons for doing so, I really do want to know the reason.

Truckers OWN the Center Lane

I know you've seen it, big rigs are almost exclusively in the center lane. Even if there is no other traffic around, they are there in the center lane. I "think" I know why they do it, they don't want to get over when traffic is joining the freeway. If that's it, it's understandable, because so many people that get on the freeway expect you to get out of their way. But, to be honest, its not a good solution and an re-enforcement of a bad habit. Those joining the freeway need to learn to merge with traffic, no better way than ending up on the shoulder because you weren't paying attention if you ask me.

There may be other reasons that truckers take the center lane. Maybe they just don't want to change lanes. But... you know what, truckers are not supposed to use the fast lane in a 3 lane scenario unless there are special circumstances. This is actually in the "Keep Right Unless Passing" law, I didn't know that until I read it. So, in essence they are also "Fast Lane Squatters" since that is their fast lane. Have you ever seen the scenario where there were 3 big rigs taking up all 3 lanes? I have.

To be fair, it's not just truckers that camp out in the center lane though. I've approached cars on a completely empty freeway that just sit in the center lane. Since there's no traffic I'm in the right most lane, like I should be. But, to pass this person legally I need to traverse the center lane to the left most lane, pass, then keeping with the law I need to go from the fast lane all the way to the right most lane again. This rarely seems to phase the person that's camping in the center lane in my experience. They are oblivious to the world around them and don't care that they're a hazard on the road.

Put These Problems Together

If you put these fast lane campers and truckers together you get some pretty dangerous situations! Imagine that you have a fast lane squatter keeping pace with a trucker that's camping out in the center lane in a 3 lane scenario. Yeah, I know, never seen it before right... HA! If you're approaching this scenario, what do you do? Most will pass on the right. But, in heavy slow traffic I've witnessed this happen...

There were lots of cars held up by this same scenario. One car moved to take the right lane and pass and the trucker. The right lane was completely empty so why not! But the trucker at the same time decided that he was going to get into the right most lane... well, the driver of the car was forced onto the shoulder. But, instead of slowing down, proceeded to pass the truck on the shoulder and sped away. This is a huge potential for a serious accident. All because people don't follow this simple rule.

I'm not just writing this to rant and moan about it, I'm hopeful that it will get through to a few people and convince them to become better drivers.

There are lots of stories like this one and bad situations created from it. Please share your experiences here and help me to convince people to keep right unless they are passing.

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