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Old 05-06-2008, 03:24 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by monroe74 View Post
And when cars came along (on the same road, in the same circumstance), I made them pass me on the left. It just seemed to make sense to do it this way (that I would move over for trucks but not for cars), for fairly obvious reasons.
Why for trucks, but not for cars? Why not be consistent?

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If I'm on a road with only one lane in each direction, sometimes I'll move over to the shoulder to let someone pass me.
Do you mean that you actually pull off the paved surface onto the dirt/grass shoulder? If so, why? Isn't that excessive? Why not simply slow down just enough to allow them a feasible opportunity to pass (if and when the lane markings and oncoming traffic conditions permit it)?
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:40 AM   #42
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Your average speeder may know to stay in the left lane and fly by traffic.
Here in metro Atlanta, I've noticed an interesting (opposite) phenomenon that I've noticed only in this area and nowhere else in the country (I'm originally from FL and have driven in about 20 different states over the past 20 years). Many drivers here tend to pass in the 1 or 2 rightmost lanes (depending on number of lanes available) and then go back to the leftmost lane to continue their cruising. It's like they have it backwards (i.e. cruise in the left lane and pass on the right). Where did these people get this crazy idea?

I assume that they do this in response to the "left lane losers" (LLL) that I previously mentioned or they just don't know or care that they're not supposed to pass on the right.

Before I started hypermiling last spring, whenever I encountered a LLL (who was obviously just hanging out and ignoring the flow of traffic and other drivers), I'd just politely, but firmly, make known my intentions of passing. I'd first employ the headlight flashing from a safe distance. If not noticed or ignored for a reasonable time (about 20 seconds or so, sometimes longer), then I'd politely honk (assuming that they didn't see me already). If their ignoring continued, then I'd just ride their bumper while honking steadily until they moved over. You wouldn't believe how many people just flat out refused to obey the rules of the road (not to mention common courtesy of highway driving in this country for many, many years) and stayed firm in their left-hand (inside) lane choice.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:17 AM   #43
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"What's the benefit of this to you? What's the benefit of this to the truck driver?"

[Regarding me moving over to the left to let the truck pass me on the right.]

The benefit to him is that he just keeps going. He doesn't have to do anything to deal with me. That's marginally easier for him than switching lanes, passing me, making sure he's safely past me, and then switching back.

The benefit to me is that I feel a little bit safer when I'm not relying on him to perform that maneuver safely.

By the way, most of these vehicles were triple-trailers, a type of LCV ('Longer Combination Vehicle,' or road-train) not legal in 37 states (including your state). I was in Nevada and Utah, at the time.

If a reader is from one of those 37 states, they may have never seen one of these. A photo is here.

When that large vehicle is near me, doing 80-85 mph, I'm happy if he's just going straight, rather than attempting any maneuvers of any kind (the limit was 75; I was doing about 55). Any needed lane switching is much more easily done by me.

And if I require him to pass me on my left, I'm counting on him to keep track of me, and I'm counting on him to not switch back (into the right lane) too early. When he passes me on my right, it's much easier for him to keep track of me (and I'm certainly having no trouble keeping track of him, no matter what side he's on).

When he's that much bigger than I am (the ratio is roughly 60:1, by weight), when I make things easier for him I end up feeling safer. And they all thanked me.

"A pain? Really? How?"

[Regarding why it's a pain to switch lanes in a big rig.]

When I very deliberately move to the left, when he's about a 1/4 mile behind me, then he knows I'm an alert driver and I'm paying attention to him, and I'm interested in showing him courtesy. (Recall that this is a situation where there is literally miles of visibility, and there is no one else around. So he has been watching me for a while, and he knows what I did is not a random maneuver.)

But let's say I just sit there (in the right lane). When he comes up behind me, with me doing 55, he doesn't know if I'm alert, or awake. He doesn't know if I see him. When he overtakes me on my left, he has to watch me constantly, using his right-hand mirror. What if I decide I don't like being passed? What if I decide to speed up? What if I wander close to him, out of pure carelessness? What if we approach a grade, and suddenly his speed drops, and I carelessly continue to sit in his blind spot?

He also has to make sure to move back at the right time. If he moves back too early, he squashes me. But he also doesn't want to move back too late. Why? Because he has to take into account the possibility that approaching from our rear is a Corvette doing 140, who might be tempted to pass the truck on the right if the truck lingers too long in the left lane.

Everything is much simpler if the one who moves over is me.

"Why for trucks, but not for cars? Why not be consistent?"

I think the various reasons are pretty obvious, but I'll explain one aspect of it a bit more.

The truck is not capable of maneuvering suddenly. That's physically impossible. So at the critical moment, when he's in the right lane and is about to pull alongside me, I can feel sure that he is not going to suddenly change his mind and decide to get behind me instead.

If he were to make that choice (let's say, because he suddenly decided he didn't like the idea of passing me on my right), I would see him start to maneuver, and I would have a relatively large amount of time to react, in whatever way I chose. And I'm much more maneuverable than he is, so it's relatively easy for me to get out of the way, one way or another. And/or downshift and accelerate, if that seems like the best move.

But if the other vehicle is a car, he is physically capable of making that move (to get behind me, instead of passing me on my right) in a very abrupt manner. He could choose to do that. That's a fundamentally much more dangerous situation. Better to just let him pass me in the normal way. Since he's in a car, he can do that very easily and quickly.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:17 AM   #44
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"Do you mean that you actually pull off the paved surface onto the dirt/grass shoulder?"

Yes, depending on the conditions.

"Why not simply slow down just enough to allow them a feasible opportunity to pass (if and when the lane markings and oncoming traffic conditions permit it)?"

You answered your own question. Sometimes the conditions don't offer any other means to safely pass.
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Old 05-06-2008, 05:17 AM   #45
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"then I'd just ride their bumper while honking steadily until they moved over"

I think you're choosing to do something that's more dangerous than passing them on the right.

"You wouldn't believe how many people just flat out refused to obey the rules of the road"

In certain places, "the rules of the road" say that the horn should not be used except if there's a safety reason, and that the horn should not be used to try to get a slower driver to move faster. So if you want people to respect "the rules of the road," it could be that you're setting a poor example.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:31 AM   #46
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Here in metro Atlanta, I've noticed an interesting (opposite) phenomenon that I've noticed only in this area and nowhere else in the country (I'm originally from FL and have driven in about 20 different states over the past 20 years). Many drivers here tend to pass in the 1 or 2 rightmost lanes (depending on number of lanes available) and then go back to the leftmost lane to continue their cruising. It's like they have it backwards (i.e. cruise in the left lane and pass on the right). Where did these people get this crazy idea?
Considering many people in the south have emingrated from New York, that is probably where they learned that "skill."

I also noted that behavior in NY (grew up in upstate NY, college in Long Island). If I were traveling, say 70 to 75 in the left lane, and that wasn't fast enough, people would simply go around - usually on the right.

Frankly, I'd prefer that to the tailgating.

Even better would be the European rules along the lines you specified. However that doesn't work in the US. Not sure why. I spent a month in Italy, and let me tell you that driving there is simply heavenly compared to stateside.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:48 AM   #47
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It's not actually illegal to pass on the right up here, it's frowned on though. It's funny to do it to people with NY plates... coz they'll panic and swerve right just after you pass.

We've got some messed up highways though, left lane exits and merges... I ask you..
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:51 AM   #48
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A few years ago (10 ?) a study was done by the anti gun lobby, i think they came up with one in every three cars has a gun. That was here in the Los Angeles area. So i just try to be polite and not get any body angry. Just in the last month we had a rash of shooting deaths on the freeways.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:35 AM   #49
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That's marginally easier for him than switching lanes, passing me, making sure he's safely past me, and then switching back. The benefit to me is that I feel a little bit safer when I'm not relying on him to perform that maneuver safely.
But...do you feel safer when, at the same time you're executing your right-to-left-courtesy-to-the-truck-driver lane change, that 'Vette runs up on you at 140mph out of nowhere?

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By the way, most of these vehicles were triple-trailers, a type of LCV ('Longer Combination Vehicle,' or road-train) not legal in 37 states (including your state). I was in Nevada and Utah, at the time.
Thanks for the clarification.

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When that large vehicle is near me, doing 80-85 mph, I'm happy if he's just going straight, rather than attempting any maneuvers of any kind (the limit was 75; I was doing about 55).
If he's really going that fast (and I don't doubt that he is) while pulling that kind of volume and weight, then he's the one taking chances and he's the one who's assuming all the responsibility of the risk. Regardless, how difficult is a single lane change when he has that much (i.e. considerable amount) lead time to do so? I've never driven a truck that large; however, I fail to see how, when he has that much visibility (i.e. "miles"), a lane change could be any reasonable risk.

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Any needed lane switching is much more easily done by me.
Agreed, but AFAIK, there's no law nor commonly accepted courtesy practice for doing this.

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And if I require him to pass me on my left, I'm counting on him to keep track of me, and I'm counting on him to not switch back (into the right lane) too early. When he passes me on my right, it's much easier for him to keep track of me.
Isn't that his job as a professional driver? Didn't he receive considerable training and licensing to operate a vehicle of this size and weight? Doesn't he likely traverse these same roads much more often than you? If so, then shouldn't the responsibility of this fall upon him?

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But if the other vehicle is a car, he is physically capable of making that move (to get behind me, instead of passing me on my right) in a very abrupt manner. He could choose to do that. That's a fundamentally much more dangerous situation. Better to just let him pass me in the normal way. Since he's in a car, he can do that very easily and quickly.
Well, what if you compare a 2,500-pound small car to a 7,500-pound large SUV? There's a 3:1 weight ratio there. Using your logic, why not move over for the large SUV (assuming that you're in a smaller passenger vehicle)?
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:39 AM   #50
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Yes, depending on the conditions.


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You answered your own question. Sometimes the conditions don't offer any other means to safely pass.
Well then, perhaps it shouldn't be critical that they pass you then. In my experience, these rare circumstances exist for only relatively short distances (i.e. 5 miles or less).
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