June Is Lane Courtesy Month: Do Your Part!

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Editor’s Note: Tomorrow is the first day of June, which the National Motorists Association has deemed “Lane Courtesy Month.” What follows is a piece entitled “Lane Courtesy: A Driving Ethic,” which was originally posted at the NMA’s website. There, the NMA has dedicated a whole page to issues of lane courtesy, including studies, fact sheets and other resources for the promotion of lane courtesy. TTAC thanks the NMA for drawing attention to the perennial aggravation of “Left Lane Bandits” and encourages you, our readers, to learn more at the NMA’s website and spread the good word. With just a little more awareness of lane courtesy, a better world is indeed possible…

While there are always “exceptions to the rule” there are many elements of human conduct that are ruled not by laws or regulations, but rather by common courtesy, ethics, self-interest, and social habits.

Adherence to these unwritten patterns of human interaction is typically more consistent and predictable than behavior dictated by government edicts and orders. For example, if one stranger greets another stranger with a simple “hello” or “good morning” it would be extremely rare that the other person would not respond in a similar manner, even if only to nod or smile. To do otherwise would be considered rude and unfriendly, but it is not illegal.

The same is true for interactions between motorists, unfortunately, the insulating quality of an automobile retards or distorts these interactions.

When motorists enter a construction zone where two lanes narrow to two the natural pattern that evolves is that the drivers take turns entering the single lane; first from one lane and then from the other lane. No law, just a common courtesy. The same interactions take place when vehicles enter and merge onto limited access and divided highways.

The point is that much of our driving behavior is really dictated by patterns that have evolved over the past century. These patterns are now part of our driving ethic. Lane courtesy, the practice of yielding the left lane on multi-lane highways to faster and passing traffic, should be part of that ethic.

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.

Courtesy: The National Motorists Association

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  • JMII JMII on Jun 01, 2011

    June is the start of hurricane season too. Among others things left lane (ab)users do that makes me nuts is not using cruise control. I do alot of towing (200 miles per weekend) and the split second people see a boat they attempt a pass - which is fine, I drive at or just below the speed limit when towing (65 mph normally). So they lane bandits wiz by assuming I must be going S L O W. However a mile up the road I'm forced to pass them as they are now coasting at 50 mph enjoying the view. But once I pass them they speed up again... I can almost hear them saying "don't let that slow-azz boat trailer get in front of us; he'll slow us down". The difference is truckers: not only do they drive at nice constant speeds (better for mileage as everyone should know) but they flash their lights indicating when its safe to rejoin their "slow" lane after a pass. I always give a quick flick of the parking lights as a thank you. With a trailer in tow I need extra room to complete a pass so lane courtesy is very important to me.

  • Nikita Nikita on Jun 01, 2011

    HOV (Carpool) and toll lanes in SoCal further exasperate the problem. Its single file for miles and no one is allowed to move right except for very sort areas or face horrendous fines. At least hybrids lose the single occupancy privilege next month!

  • Theflyersfan I pass by the "old money" neighborhoods next to the golf course community where many of the doctors and non-ambulance chaser lawyers live in town and these new Range Rovers are popping up everywhere. It used to the Q8 and SQ8, but I'm thinking those leases expired, traded in, or given to their never leaving home son or daughter so they can smash it at a DUI stop, get on the news, and get out of jail free. I'm not getting into their new design language, and I like Land Rovers. They aren't supposed to look like smooth bars of soap - they need a few character lines or hints of offroad ability, even though the odds of this getting on anything other than a gravel parking lot are less than nil. And with the new Range Rover's rear and the taillights, if I wanted a small solid red bar for a lamp that did everything and then dies and then I can't tell what the car wants to do, I'd follow a late 80's, early 90's Oldsmobile 98.
  • Lou_BC Legalize cannabis for racing
  • Add Lightness Range Rovers have come a long, long ways from their original concept of a gentleman's Land Cruiser. Pretty useless off road now but the wannabees will love them until the warrantee expires.
  • ToolGuy 'Non-Land Rover' gets 2 bonus points for the correct use of carbon fiber in an automotive application. 🙂
  • ToolGuy "a newly developed vehicle platform it says will double driving range"• Anyone know what this is about?