The Spectacle Blog

The Day Ahead: November 12

By on 11.12.09 | 5:25AM

Today on the main site:

Comment of the day:

Reader John S. on On Speed:

Mart,

There is a simple rule of the road: Keep right, pass left. If you are not passing cars to the right of you, or worse, you are being passed on the right, you are the problem. It is not the absolute speed that is the problem. It is the relative speed. If you are keeping pace with the car in front of you, other drivers don't weave in or out.

Try a simple experiment next time you are on a highway. Observe a bunch of cars, "a pack", and then the distance to the next pack. I bet you will see a substantial distance between packs. The danger is the tightness of the packs. You will note that the cars in the left lanes are not passing cars in the right lane.

I travel the Garden State Parkway with a 65 mph limit. You will find packs of 40 - 80 cars doing 65 - 70 with only a couple of feet between them. This is dangerous. But, you look up ahead and there is a half mile gap from the next pack.

The cars in the center and left lane heading the packs are the problem. They are going too slowly, relative to other drivers. Driver after driver catches up to the pack and can't get through.

If you and other drivers follow, then keep left, pass right rule, and tight packs wouldn't occur and the weaving will decrease. In Germany, on the Autobahns there were no speed limits. The rule was you only got into the left lane if you were passing or, you kept your lights on to indicate you were driving at a very high rate of speed. It is very effective.

Regarding, not driving, in the right lane because of merging; some one above made a comment about active vs. passive drivers. Driving is an important action. You have to be alert and should never be on auto pilot. If you drive in the right lane and you see a car merging, your responsibility as an active, courteous driver is to carefully move to the left lane and allow the car to merge; or to speed up so the other car can merge or slow down. Regardless of the choice, the responsibility is yours to be an active driver.

What to watch for:

  • The Department of Energy has announced that Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be travelling to India and China from November 12-18 to discuss "Clean Energy" partnerships the US.

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