Slow drivers in left lane pose traffic concerns

by KACI LIVINGSTON//Staff Writer

There is nothing more irritating than being stuck behind a slow driver, except for when there’s an even slower driver in the left lane.

In all their years of driving, most people in their ‘20s are not the best drivers out there.  However, I do believe that some of us are better than that grandma driving 45 miles per hour in her Buick in the left lane. 

When growing up in Lubbock, you more than likely encountered bad drivers. When there was a wreck, or an uncalled-for slow down, it was not uncommon to hear a parent say, “Lubbock drivers are the worst.”

Not only is it unsafe to drive at a slower rate of speed in the left lane, it is illegal as well.  Most people fail to realize that. Some drivers completely ignore the signs on the road clearly stating, “left lane for passing only,” or even, “slower traffic keep right.” Yes, this happens everywhere. Yet at 7:30 a.m. on Texas Highway 114 on the way to Levelland, it seems to be even worse.

Students on their phones texting and driving, speeding, and just not paying attention do not help the cause. Even though the sunrise has the best lighting on your highlighter, you probably shouldn’t take that selfie.   

Most of the drivers do not consider their driving to be a risk. Crazy, right? There are more than 100,000 wrecks in Texas each year caused by distracted driving. Think about it. The speed limit is 75 miles per hour, but most people drive closer to 80 miles per hour, while looking at their phone. Does that not sound absolutely absurd?

Then there’s Grandma driving 45 miles per hour on the same highway, in the left lane, as these distracted drivers whiz by in the right lane. Farther ahead, in the right lane, there are some 18-wheelers and other traffic going 75. Most drivers will somehow think it is possible to pass Grandma without interfering with the flow of traffic. This is where you are wrong, because Grandma is, well, a grandma. It will cause a complete domino effect, causing a slowdown for everyone in the left lane to start driving at her matched speed.

You could try to get over if there was room. But there’s not since everyone who was illegally driving in the left lane is now getting over to the right lane, so now the traffic stack has begun. With nowhere to go, road rage building. It is nearly impossible to keep yourself contained.

This could be easily avoided if people took the time to read and understand road signs.  The signs are not there just for decoration. They are supposed to serve a purpose, to avoid similar scenarios.

So next time you are driving, be it to South Plains, back home, or anywhere where left- lane driving is illegal, be aware of what is going on. Keep a constant speed. Don’t tailgate the car in front of you, limit distractions, and unless you are passing, stay in the right lane for the safety of yourself, the cars around you, and Grandma in the Buick.

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