Dear morons who drive in the wrong lane

Andrew Clark is an award-winning journalist and screenwriter living in Toronto. His last book, ‘A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle’, was nominated for the Pearson Writers’ Trust Non-fiction Prize, Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Literary Non-fiction. He is a professor at Humber College and director of its Comedy Writing and Performance  Program, has received two National Magazine Award nominations  in the “Humour” category. He has been nominated three times before and won the Gold once. Clark has written for the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, The Globe and Mail and was a senior writer for Maclean’s magazine. He is currently at work on a novel.  He has a dramatic series in development with the CBC.

This article appeared in the Globe and Mail on March 14th, 2013 and is reproduced with kind permission from its author.

Dear middle-lane moron,

Each year at this time I write a column about how much I hate you. Well, not you precisely; I hate the way you drive slowly in the middle lane of a three-lane highway or slowly in the left-hand passing lane of a two-lane highway.

It’s a terrible habit that endangers your fellow motorists and causes untold traffic mayhem. I mean, how can you drive 70 km/h in the passing lane? Did you know that a 2004 British survey found that middle-lane hogs waste up to a third of highway capacity during peak hours? How can you do that?

You know, scratch what I wrote earlier, it’s you I hate.

Okay, sorry, I apologize. I promised myself not to get aggressive this year. True, in the past I’ve called for the use of cruise missiles to obliterate middle-lane hogs. I’ve called for “traffic laxatives” and “electro-convulsive therapy” to stop middle-lane slugs. This was excessive and it didn’t make a dent in your behaviour. My ire achieved nothing.

That’s why this March (I always pick a date closest to the Ides of March) I am reaching out to you on a human level in the hope that non-judgmental discourse will succeed where unbridled animosity and venom have failed.

Middle-lane moron: When I drive up behind you and have to slam on my brakes to avoid rear-ending you I feel like you don’t see me as a person. When I have to pass you on the right-hand lane (a manoeuvre I normally avoid) and I drive by and see you opening a sandwich on your steering wheel, paying no attention to the road, I feel like you don’t value me as a person.

Your driving at a maddeningly slow rate of speed in the passing lane affects me in these ways:

  • It makes me want to fire a cruise missile at your vehicle.
  • It makes me want to go back in time to prevent your birth.
  • It makes me wish I could fly, so I could soar above the traffic, and not have to deal with congestion and rush hour and also fly above you and drop a bomb on your car.
  • It makes me want to go back in time so I can study physics at a prestigious university so I can invent a way to shove the phone you are texting on into one of your orifices in such a way that you can never get it out.

It may be that you simply aren’t aware that driving at a snail’s pace in the passing lane is extremely dangerous.

All the other drivers who are going the speed limit (or a little over it) have to pass you. The more people have to execute passes, the more dangerous driving becomes, because each time you pass, there is a risk of an accident occurring.

So you need to stop this. If you want to drive slowly, why not drive in the right-hand lane, that’s where it is perfectly acceptable to be the way you are. It’s like a “smoking lane,” but instead of it being okay to smoke, there it’s okay to be an utter pinhead who doesn’t know how to drive.

In previous columns, I reminded you that Section 147 of the Highway Traffic Act states that on a highway with more than two lanes running in the same direction the slow traffic is to occupy the right lane. Just try to keep this in mind. Powerful people don’t want you to plug up the passing lane.

You know, maybe it’s me.

As many of my readers have pointed out, I’m not a nice or charitable person. I have my flaws. When it comes to criminally negligent behaviour executed on a daily basis that disrupts the already broken flow of traffic and jeopardizes the safety of countless motorists, I’m quick to anger. Maybe you’re right and I’m wrong.

Maybe the highway was actually made for you.

Maybe you’re the only one that matters. If you want to crawl along in the passing lane, like an anxiety-ridden turtle paralyzed by fear, or a narcissistic distracted driver overloading on his tweets, then it’s your right to do so.

Maybe it is your world and we’re all just living in it. You’re Sinatra and we’re all Joey Bishop.

But, on the slight chance that this is not the case, could you do us all this one small favour?

If you want to drive slowly, could you just pull into the right-hand lane? It would be a way to show me that you respect me as a human being and that you are not one of the dumbest people ever to climb behind the wheel of an automobile.

Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy

See the South Carolina cop perpetrated Left Lane Banditry that went viral here.

Comments

  1. Angelo Diplacido

    January 13, 2014

    You are a Professor and director of “Comedy writing.” What we have here is simply an eloquent piece of road rage by another one who commutes 30 kms to work and home. This is the level of “Proficiency” in driving most people like yourself have. The lack of understanding or proficiency in ‘ The Art of Driving,’ is what breeds the anger and unfortunately, behind the wheel. A “Good Driver” is not only about operating the vehicle safely, but also defined by there willingness to accommodate others on the road regardless of their behaviour (etiquette ). To be non-confrontational to others. The left lane hog is a fine example of this execution as there are always at least 2 motorists involved in any confrontation. The lane-hog is holding up traffic, but it only becomes dangerous when the drivers in the rear don’t or are not willing to diffuse the situation with patients. If you have children, I’m sure your aware that “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” When someone gets in your grill ( PTP ), do you come to blows or do you walk away and diffuse the situation? It is generally understood that “Proficiency” in a trade,job, or in music is achieved at 10,000 hours of duty. It would naturally suffice that our opinions would be at the opposite end of the spectrum since I passed 100,000 hours a long time ago. You have no currency in “The Art of Driving.” The difference is vast when you consider most drivers pass a road test and the training stops. They are left to their own devices to develop a proper understanding of what is “SAFE.” It’s a shame that some failed basic physics where the “2 second rule” is derived. My training lasts a lifetime and is refreshed every 3 months. I take my cue from veteran professional drivers, police, veteran engineers, and lest we forget, Sir Isaac Newton. The lane-hog doesn’t compromise the safety cushion or “2 second rule,” The choices you make to address the situation most certainly does.

  2. Dan

    September 17, 2013

    I would like to thank you. I thaught I was the only person that felt this way. Another problem is “Big Rigs” in the passing lane not passing. They should be made to stay in the right lane unless they are passing. Most of these trucks should not be going over the speed limit. GO WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC PLEASE. It will be a safer way.

    • Kary

      September 21, 2013

      I got hit by a semi a year ago. Found out from my lawyer transport trucks aren’t legally allowed to be in the left lane unless passing another transport truck. Start calling those dipshits in :)I’m hanging one out to dry as we speak…

      • larry

        November 14, 2016

        how do you hand dip shit drivers out to dry? i just had a moron/dip shit in a through lane on 17a make a left turn in front of me while i was halfway through the light and in the correct lane.

        thanks
        larry
        tsawwassen

  3. Len

    September 16, 2013

    Education is required. It is time for new drivers, as well as old ones, to be taught that the left hand lane is for faster and passing driving. How drivers can stay in that lane, and be honked at, lights flashed at, or giving the finger and sign to move over and still stay there is beyond me. These drivers are dangerous and pizz off other drivers, like me. There needs to be enforcement to get these fools to use the right hand lane, not nail the driver that has to go around one of these morons illegally, and maybe endup with a ticket for passing on the right.

    Some BC drivers needs to get with the program. The BC government needs to get out of the 20th century and fifties mold and get into the 21st century higher speeds mold. Cool idea.

  4. Lausanne

    September 14, 2013

    Dear Mr. Clark 🙂
    thank you so much, (SO) is in bold fat big, giant letters 🙂
    I enjoyed reading your article & I couldn’t agree with you more.
    you bring up an excellent point of stupid drivers slow in passing lane …. am speechless and have not much to say because I simply agree with you and every word in the article speak loud & clear of many of us having to deal with that (Dear morons who drive in the left lane) you are right.. we need angry people like you to say what we all want to say … smart guy you are 😉
    thank you

  5. Michael Hockney

    September 13, 2013

    A letter to Chris Thompson…

    As a UK trained driver one of the most unpleasant facts about living in BC is the standard of driving in the Province. Driving skills here are simply atrocious, I am sure you already know this. What I want to say is that your films analysis is spot-on in that the focus of highway safety is not on the poor driving but on the obsession with drinking and the breaking of speed limits that are deliberately set low to raise money.

    I believe speed keeps drivers alert while too low speeds encourage lazy and non-alert driving habits. I had a piece published in the Times Colonist saying exactly this. No German or Brit would dare hang in the overtaking lane holding up traffic. It simply does not happen and that behaviour is likely to get one killed or seriously injured in those countries. Crawling to a red light because drivers are unable to conduct a progressive stop, a car taking 6 attempts to parallel park, cell phone use etc…. Its a tirade of ineptness that every day tests my patience.

    Why am I qualified as a driver to say these things? Well, although UK trained with over a million kilometres under my belt, I have lived in Canada for 22 years and driven all over this great country. I have also lived in a country people vilify for its bad driving, Russia. To be honest, I would rather drive in Russia than in BC. The bad habits are there in spadefuls BUT the difference is speed limits are sensible and one does not have to suffer the daily dose of non-alert driving. The majority of people there, at the very least, drive fully conscious of what is around them. I am absolutely sure that if most cars in BC had dashcams like the Russians do, BC would be made a laughing stock as the atrocious driving was revealed to a world audience. I actually hope it happens.

    I would go further, I would ban BC drivers from UK,French and German roads because most drivers here actually pose a significant menace to road users there because of their poor driving skills. Fact. Just look at the crash rates per capita from these countries compared to BC.

    So Chris, thank you for being smart and articulate in your arguments. It was truly brilliant to see and I applaud your efforts.

    • Steven Odgey

      September 13, 2013

      By your inference….Ontario and other Canadian drivers are more skilled. I hope that is what you are saying because it is my experience. i was on holiday this year in vancouver island and was shocked at the driving abilities there. Grey hairs and nearly deads were some of them but not all. Something is wrong with the driving examination system in BC ….or else why is it happening? Speed limits in Nova Scotia and NB are noticeably higher than in BC, especially the highways.

      Steve
      Moncton

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