Just switch lanes already!

Okay, so maybe I’m not the best driver. I’m also not the slowest driver… or the kind of driver that minds the speed limit to the exact mile per hour. I’ve gotten much better over the past five years I’ve had my license and do regret the two tickets I’ve received years ago. But one thing does get under my skin while driving, above all else. This is those drivers who deem it necessary to drive unreasonably slow.

Early this month LZ Granderson wrote an article for his column that describes his personal frustration with the same topic, and I found the topic quite entertaining and full of his usual sarcasm.

He opens this column with the declaration, “There is a place for people who enjoy soaking in the beautiful colors of fall and all the other amazing scenes of nature as they drive down the open highway. It’s called the right lane.” Of course, this comical first couple sentences immediately grabbed my attention, a rhetorical strategy that LZ has brilliantly mastered.

There are several reasons for why slow drivers are a burden and an actual hassle on the road, all that give this seemingly superfluous concern legitimacy. The first of his arguments is that driving under the speed limit infringes upon the rights of other drivers and is a passive aggressive way of hostile driving.

LZ then makes a somewhat leap in his discussion when he says that these drivers are aware but completely ignore the impatient head bobs of cars stuck behind, the flashing headlights, bobbing in and out of other traffic, etc. I’m sure some drivers do, but its likely that many are just ignorant to their driving behavior or are just completely unaware.

Some other brief arguments made in the column (which are pretty light-hearted and funny) include the fact that cops aren’t going to be able to hand out as many speeding tickets if people can’t speed and coffee shops are going to lose business if people rushing on their way to work don’t have the extra few seconds to spare for a coffee purchase.

Also, providing the facts that there are about 312 million people in America with 250 million registered cars is a way for LZ to describe the relevance of this issue. He states, “There will always be somebody somewhere driving faster … it’s easier for everyone to just let them.”

Concluding the article, LZ places aside the sarcasm and witty remarks about slow drivers and all the “harm” they cause by actually transcending this issue to a real societal challenge. He states, “How to share the global common space that is slowly becoming more crowded, requiring us to be more aware of the needs of the people all around us? Because at the end of the day, that’s what the left lane is really all about. It’s not about how fast someone is going. It’s about having an agreed upon space where we let each other pass on by.”

This really got me thinking. Yes, drivers in the slow lane are simply annoying and sometimes a nuisance on the road. And petty problems they cause for other drivers might in fact include missed coffee opportunities or cops to be more bored on the job. However, with the increase in population and the always growing amount of drivers on the road, we do need to be aware of and sensitive towards other people’s needs, including their right to space.

So all in all, LZ and I share the same sentiment: Please drive the appropriate speed limit, and if someone is trying to pass you in the left hand lane, just politely switch lanes. It’s the nice thing to do.


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