Friday, December 09, 2005

Key to the Highway

I understand that HOV lanes are a big hit in some areas, such as L.A. and other big cities. There is even talk of allowing single occupied vehicles access to the lanes via a toll, which would be a moving price based on demand. Here in Nashville, single occupied vehicles don't have to pay a toll to ride in the HOV lane. They just do it. And there is no penalty for this action because there is no enforcement of the law.

I don't like HOV lanes. I believe they make traffic worse, not better. And the impact on the environment is negligible at best. Every driver is paying for the interstate system, yet we are not allowed to use certain lanes at certain times of the day. And for those of us that do follow the law, we must deal with three different types of asshats on the roads.

Asshat #1 - The person just flat out ignores the HOV lane signs. This is the guy who just doesn't care about the signs. That is, until they are getting ready to pass a cop. Which is very rare, because the police never watch for HOV lane violators and if an officer happens to be on the interstate, they are usually going faster than everyone else, so the violator never catches up to them. This morning I saw the king of these asshats. He whizzes past at about 85 in the HOV lane, obviously alone in his Buick Rendevouz. It has dealer plates, so the guy is probably a car salesman, which already makes him an asshat. He comes up behind a car going 65 in the HOV lane (see next paragraph) and proceeds to tailgate the offending car. I don't mean a "I’m a slightly unsafe distance from your car" tailgating, I mean a "stuntman can jump from my hood to your trunk" tailgating. I pass both of them in the lane next to the HOV lane. He squeezes between me and the car, rides my bumper until he gets around and starts to try to squeeze back to the left lane, getting very close to my bumper. I, of course, let off the gas so the gap doesn't widen as quick as he estimated, but he missed me.

Asshat #2 - The person who thinks because they have 2 people in the car, they MUST ride in the HOV lane. Okay, the idea behind the HOV lane is that when traffic gets heavy, those who are carpooling can ride in a less congested lane, thereby going faster than other traffic. If regular traffic is going as fast as the HOV lane, there's no reason to ride in it, if you are planning on going slower than traffic. That is what the right hand lane is for. The person who was being tailgated in the above example was this type of asshat. She was going 65 (the speed limit is 70) in the far left lane when just about everyone else was going 70. Tennessee (and most other states) specify that slower traffic must keep right. Which leads us to our final asshat type (at least for today).

Asshat #3 - The person who drives slow in the left most, non-HOV lane. When the HOV lane is in effect, the lane next to it should become the "left" lane for single occupied vehicles. For example, there are 4 lanes at one point of my commute. Starting with 1 for the right lane, you would have 4 3 2 1. 4 is the HOV lane. So 3 should be the "fast" lane for non-HOV cars. Some people don't get this. They driver slower than traffic in that lane. I can't pass on the left without breaking the law and I can't pass on the right because they get people seem to get a herd mentality on the interstate where they want to drive in tight packs with other drivers.

If you are one of these types of asshats, pay attention to your driving! Quit shaving, putting on makeup, eating, talking on the phone, reading the newspaper, reading a book or sending e-mail* and drive!

*Yes, I've seen all of those things being done by someone while driving.

Listening: Trip Through Your Wires - U2

1 comment:

Brian McCord said...

Hey Jeff,

It's Brian McCord. Remember me?

Anyway, I have a blog too, and I have posted on this very subject. Read it here:

See ya later.