Lifestyle by Blaze Media

© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Free our roads from the scourge of left-lane blockers
Paul Brian

Free our roads from the scourge of left-lane blockers

A seasoned motorist offers a plan to deal with these Spocks of the interstate.

No matter where you drive in America, be it the California freeways, West Texas straightaways, or the winding switchbacks of Appalachia, you'll find them. Or rather, they'll find you, the way they always seem to.

Just when you're ready to open it up a little bit, there they are. Blithely puttering along in front of you, unconcerned that they're the only thing between you and the freedom of the open road. I'm talking about the dreaded LLBs: the left-lane blockers.

You are Captain Kirk, itching to put the USS Enterprise's warp drive through its paces. The left-lane blocker, on other hand, is all Spock: "I'm going the posted speed limit."

If this doesn't ring a bell, I'm afraid there's a good chance you're one of them. Here's a quick quiz to help you figure it out.

When you enter a multiple-lane highway, do you find yourself instinctively, mysteriously drawn in a specific direction, like some kind of migrating bird? Irresistibly drifting left, more left, and ever lefterer until you're hugging the shoulder of the leftmost lane?

Does this lane, for gut-level reasons you can't quite explain, feel like home? A sanctuary that not even the phalanx of vehicles stacking up behind you, with their honking horns, flashing lights, and middle-digit-extending motorists, can disturb?

No? Good. Let's talk about how to solve this problem.

The mind of an LLB is quite legalistic. It does not respond to emotion. You are Captain Kirk, itching to put the USS Enterprise's warp drive through its paces. The LLB, on other hand, is all Spock: "I'm going the posted speed limit. I've paid my registration fees, as well as the taxes that help fund this road. Therefore, I'm entitled to use any part of it — and I choose here. Your frustration that I'm in front of you is highly illogical."

Now, there is a legal solution to this. State troopers in my home state, the People’s Republic of Illinois, do have the power to issue tickets to LLBs, but they rarely do. I did the math: The most recent annual numbers I got from the state showed a total of 117,953 speeding citations and 84,257 written warnings.

In contrast, LLBs (which are classified as “reckless driving”) reached — are you ready? — 287 in total. Remember, not all reckless driving citations are for left-lane blocking, so it’s an even smaller percentage of the total mix.

If the stick doesn't work, it's time to try a carrot.

Working for the Milan-based Alfa Romeo racing program has led me to log a decent number of hours on the Italian Autostrada. What I’m going to suggest is quite commonplace there, as it is on Germany's Autobahn and the French Autoroute (where they have specific lanes for cars with only one forward and six reverse gears).

If a car is in the left lane and you’re overtaking it, you simply put on your left-lane turn signal, and voila, in a miracle worthy of Fatima, they move over and let you go by. Quaint? Perhaps. Civilized? To be sure. A lot better than what we do here in the States? By orders of magnitude.

As we've established, the average LLB has no hate in his heart. He just enjoys following the rules. Consulting that speed limit sign and ensuring that it matches the number on his speedometer fills him with civic pride.

We simply need to make heeding the command of the left turn signal equally as satisfying and automatic.

"It appears the motorist behind me has activated his left turn indicator. As we are already in the leftmost lane, any attempt to 'switch lanes' in that direction would likely result in a negative outcome. Therefore I can only conclude that the motorist is employing the agreed-upon signal that I am to vacate said lane. Makes sense."

So may I suggest, gentle reader, that we start spreading the word in the simplest terms possible? Something catchy. Maybe, "Don't think, heed the blink"? OK, I'm open to other ideas. The important thing is to help LLBs realize their proper place — anywhere but our passing lane!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?