Do you practice lane courtesy every time you drive?
The National Motorists Association uses the month of June as a platform to encourage all drivers to practice lane courtesy. The NMA strongly supports the simple but significant concept of slower traffic using the right lane and vehicles in the left lane yielding to faster traffic.
If there are more than two lanes, please remember the middle lane(s) need to be used by trucks to pass so don’t stay in the middle lanes either if you can avoid it.
Don’t be a Left-Lane Hog or Middle-Lane Hog for that matter!
Lane courtesy laws (sometimes called slow-poke laws) are now in the majority of states but before these types of laws were crafted lane courtesy was an unwritten rule of the road. Laws that require the practice of lane courtesy are helpful in that they provide a platform to promote lane courtesy and to educate the public on the benefits of this practice. As enforcement devices (like many traffic laws) they are of marginal value and they are difficult to enforce.
For lane courtesy to flourish it must be accepted as the ethical and right thing to do, not because it’s the law.
The current concept of lane courtesy, which is also called lane discipline, evolved in the United States with the development of the Interstate Highway System. However, the idea that slower traffic should yield to faster vehicles is even older.
Most states have rarely enforced traffic laws that require slower traffic, upon being signaled by a following vehicle, to pull to the right so the faster vehicle can pass.
Before 1973, rural speed limits were more likely to reflect realistic travel speeds. That meant that slower vehicles were driving under the speed limit and had no excuse to block the progress of faster traffic. The 55-mph National Maximum Speed Limit changed all that.
The 55-mph speed limit caused a total breakdown in lane courtesy.
Slower drivers that would have stayed in the right hand lane before, felt they could drive wherever they wanted now because they would still be go the speed limit or faster. This process was reinforced for more than two decades and it left an impression on a whole generation of new drivers.
In 1995, through the efforts of the National Motorists Association, the 55-mph limit was repealed.
Since then, several states have raised their speed limits and some even reflect actual travel speeds. Unfortunately, almost a quarter of century of poor lane courtesy had a lasting, negative impact.
When drivers choose to block the left lane, whether intentionally or not, they are making the roads less safe and efficient for everyone.
Here are some of the benefits you and the other drivers on the road will notice if you keep the left lane open for passing:
You’re less likely to be in an Accident
By not obstructing other drivers, traffic is able to flow more smoothly. When traffic flows smoothly, there is less tailgating, less weaving in-and-out of traffic, and therefore fewer accidents.
You’ll Get Better Gas Mileage
Lane courtesy promotes the smooth flow of traffic and helps drivers maintain an even pace. Vehicles use the most gas when accelerating. Less braking followed by acceleration will improve fuel economy.
You’ll Get to Your Destination Faster
Yielding to faster traffic reduces congestion. When traffic is flowing smoothly, highway capacity can be utilized to the fullest extent.
You Will Not Have to Deal with Road Rage
There’s little doubt that “left lane hogs” are a source of irritation for many drivers. The courteous act of moving to the right can eliminate driver stress and conflict.
Lead by Example
Practice lane courtesy whenever you drive. Tell your friends and family to do the same and explain to them why it’s important.
Write a “Letter to the Editor” to your Local Newspaper
The whole point of Lane Courtesy Month is to raise public awareness about this issue, and your letter will help. Click here to view a sample letter.
Contact your state legislators and urge them to support stronger lane courtesy laws.
Click here to see if your state has a lane courtesy law.
If your State already has a Lane Courtesy Law
Write the commander of your state police or highway patrol and explain to him why enforcing this law is so important.
To support the NMA efforts on Lane Courtesy and many other important motorists’ rights, consider joining TODAY!