Roy, I understand your need for speed, at our age we need to waste as little time as possible. But here is my opposing viewpoint.
If a state trooper pulls me over for going 70 in a 70 mph speed zone, what is the penalty for not speeding? When it comes to trial the trooper would have to say "your honor this man was driving the speed limit, and everybody else wanted to exceed the legal speed limit, so I nabbed this safe driver to get him out of the way of the race car drivers who continually break the law."
Georgia in particular has a "super speeder law" which carries some kind of gigantic fine at 20 mph over the limit, maybe that's why they want to get the law abiding citizens off the road. As an added benefit, ticket revenue should increase from super speeders.
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I'm 100 percent behind this law. Lane discipline is a lost courtesy. There are a few things that folks should remember while driving (you know, that thing you do with the steering wheel and pedals between texts and Facebook updates). I've driven all over the country, and a few places stand out as being pregnant with horrible drivers. Listen up Boston, Miami, Phoenix, Albany and Chattanooga.
Chattanooga? Yep, it's my opinion that Chattanooga is home to the most ridiculous drivers I've ever experienced. I'm not even going to talk about the guy who was reading a novel while driving on Brainerd Road. Or the woman who was eating what appeared to be toast with grape jelly while driving on Interstate 75. She even had it on a plate propped against the steering wheel. Good, defensive, attentive drivers will observe and avoid them, as if their vehicles were on fire and covered in hungry lions. The aforementioned drivers need not worry about high blood pressure or cholesterol. An airbag fueled ceramic dinner plate to the face at 200 mph takes care of all future worries.
I'll get back on track. There are a few things that people can do on the road to make the commute a little less stressful. Mr. Exum hits the nail on the head. Lane discipline should be a law everywhere. By that, I mean that people need to choose their lane based on need and opportunity, not simply by where you ended up after you looked up from your text. Think about it. There is absolutely no reason for someone to be in the left lane if they are not actually in the act of passing someone else. I'll use an example we can probably all relate to. How many of us have traveled on I-24 Eastbound over the ridge at 27 mph. You know, because two tractor trailers are side by side, and that's just all the git-up that Sir Isaac Newton will allow. This one little "speed bump" backs traffic up to what seems to be somewhere around Nevada. That's an extreme example, and it is through no fault of the semi truck drivers. I simply want to make a point.
The left lane is for passing only. People do not expect to be passed on the right. It's not safe. Imagine a world where everyone has good lane discipline. Traffic flows smoothly. Tailgating is a thing of the past. People pass, then move back to the right. Then they get passed, then that person moves to the right. Traffic flows freely. There is no longer a need to slam on the brakes and change lanes every few seconds. Imagine how nice it would be to use cruise control, instead of stabbing wildly at your gas and brakes? This "slow poke" law really doesn't have anything to do with punishing folks who drive below the speed limit. Driving in the left lane is pointless unless you are passing someone. I'm behind this law 100 percent and hope that it is enforced with enthusiasm. In the end, I think it will reduce accidents and calm some of the road rage we see so often here.
While on the subject of lanes, let's try to pick the lane we belong in, and stay there. The guy that switches lanes 400 times in 100 feet because "that ones moving now" ends up right next to me in the end. If, while in heavy and slow traffic, we just stay in our lane, we will move more quickly. Switching lanes every time the guy next to you gains a few feet is only going to slow everyone down (including you Mr. Lane Changer).
While I'm ranting, I would also like to bring up intersection discipline. Quite simply, if you can't make it all the way through an intersection, don't enter it! I'll use the intersection of Shallowford Road and Gunbarrel Road. I get hives just thinking about it. We've all seen it. Your light turns green, but you sit there, stuck, because a line of cars is draped across the intersection like the rope in a bank lobby. Nope, sorry buddy, I'm just going to run this red light real quick before you take advantage of that green light. Just as soon as the next light turns green so I can get out of this intersection. If traffic is backing up, and I can't make it all the way through an intersection, I'll stop at the white line. At a green light! You should hear the horns blaring! Then the light turns red, and I'm right where I should be, instead of blocking the traffic that now has the right of way. The honking usually stops. This simple common sense approach to intersections is a great way to avoid what us Yankees call "gridlock". It's real, and should be feared.
Lastly, please realize that you are not in fact the car in front of you. You are a different car. Unique and special in your own way. Please don't confuse your own car with the rear bumper of the car in front of you. When the left turn arrow turns yellow, you may want to evaluate the situation. Can you make it through the intersection? If not, stop. Please do not "virtually attach" yourself to the vehicle in front of you and close your eyes. It's not safe, and if you get stuck under that traffic light in the middle of the intersection, you have just started the chain reaction that leads to ginnn-giiii-vitus. And gridlock.
Basically, we just need to be considerate of each other. Keep traffic moving smoothly, and watch the traffic lights. Driving isn't just about reaction. It's about anticipation. Pay attention, and plan your actions. Be aware of your surroundings, and act accordingly. Everyone will be happier in the end. The Slow Poke law is a great start.
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I disagree with Andrew Peker's "slow-poke" law. Here's why. My granddaughter, living in Atlanta, was on her way to work and driving on the freeway when her transmission stalled and her vehicle didn't pick up to speed. Before she could pull over to a slower lane she was pulled over by a cop who wrote her a $200+ ticket.
She told the judge she tried to explain to the cop what had happened, but the cop was so eager to meet his quota that he would hear none of it. The judge dismissed the case, but she was still out of lost wages for that day from having to appear in court and fight the charge.
This will just turn out to be another one of those dreaded "money grabbers" just like Mr. Peker complained those laser camera would be. But at least with the laser cameras there would be no chance for any assaults or worst to take place at the hands of a rogue cop.
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Multi-lane highways were not created for purpose of providing drivers with options of which lane to drive in. They were created to help provide better traffic flow, with the idea being everyone drives in the right lane, and if the person in front of you is going slower than you are, you get in the left lane, pass him, and get back in the right lane. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Mr. Presley brings up a scenario where he gets ticketed despite the fact that he isn’t speeding. Mr. Presley, speeding isn’t the only driving law. An absence of speeding doesn’t make one a safe driver, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re not hindering traffic. The fact that you raise this particular issue, that you suggest that it would be unjust to be ticketed for driving the speed limit in the left lane while obstructing traffic behind you, shows me that you are part of the problem. It is not your job to police other drivers. It is not your job to make sure no one drives faster than you. Any police officer will tell you they’re perfectly fine with people driving 75 mph in a 70 mph zone, yet because you only want to go 70, you think there’s no problem with holding up X amount of drivers behind you.
But let’s forget about traffic flow for a minute. Forget that people who refuse to move out of the left lane, and who love to get beside a vehicle in the right lane and match speeds with them, cause traffic problems. Forget about all of that… Why not just move over out of simple, common courtesy? If you’re going the speed limit, and a car coming up behind you is going faster than you, why not just turn the steering wheel a fraction of an inch and let them pass? It doesn’t affect you in any way whatsoever. On the flip side, your decision to not move over does affect the other driver. In essence, you’re telling them “Because I only need to get to where I’m going at a rate of 70 miles every hour, then that’s the rate that you need to get where you’re going as well.” Forget about the law. Just make a conscious decision to not be a jerk and let them pass. It’s the best of both worlds. You’re not affected, and neither is the other guy. And if the car coming up behind you is driving at an excessive rate over the limit, why on God’s green earth would you not want them to pass you? If I’m worried about the way someone is driving, I want to be as far away from them as possible, not directly in front of them. Use your head.
Ms. Washington, let’s pretend for a minute that the example you mentioned is based on fact. So you’re going to suggest that a law is bad because of something that would far and away be the rare exception? And even in this trumped up rare exception, the charges were dismissed. What a travesty.
(by the way, give the whole 'rogue cop beatings' thing a rest. You're making the boy who cried wolf look like Honest Abe).
That being said, the law is very simple, and is the most common sense law I have seen in my 42 years. It’s a law that is intended to help multi-lane highways operate the way they were designed to. People need to learn that there are driving laws concerning things other than their rate of travel. I cannot wait for the day when I see a police officer pull over a car for obstructing traffic, because that will hopefully mean that people will start paying more attention.
If you don’t like this law, I have a fool-proof way of making sure it doesn’t affect you: Drive in the right lane, unless you’re passing someone or exiting. You’ll still be able to drive as fast, or as slow, as you do now. The one difference is that now, you won’t be ticking off every other driver on the road in the process. It’s a win-win.
Jim Dothard, Apison