Americans are a passive people — much as they like to imagine themselves vigorous, decisive, and independent. They like to watch football. And they certainly don’t do much more than that behind the wheel.
Driving is an active verb.
But observe the typical American driver. He is soporific passivity personified. He coasts along, lost in thought (or lost in chat). Eyes half-closed, mind half lit, he rarely pays much attention to things outside his immediate orbit — unless it’s something edible. Forget about what’s happening in the rearview. He target fixates on the bumper of the car head. He plods along in line with bovine serenity.
If there are two left turn lanes at an intersection and the car head of him ambles to the rightmost one, in line with the cars ahead, so will he — even if the leftmost lane is completely empty. It will not occur to him to use that lane. Such thoughts do not penetrate his stupor.