Trapped in the Overtaking Lane

March #SOL15 Day 3

sol[1]The phrase “pet peeve” is thrown around somewhat loosely, if you ask me.  I really feel that if a particular annoyance meets the criteria of “pet peeve” then it should really, really irk us.  Not once in a while, but every time it happens.  Webster says that a pet peeve is usually something that bothers that person, but not necessarily anyone else.  I have a hard time with that.  My pet peeve should exasperate everyone!!

My pet peeve is when people drive in the left lane.  I mean when they drive in that lane – like for miles and miles.  I ask myself, as I drive under the posted speed limit, gripping the steering wheel, yelling at them from my car…. Where did this person learn how to drive?  Don’t they know that the left lane is to pass, not drive like it’s Sunday afternoon? 

Lest you think this only happens in big urban cities, I can personally attest that people all across this great country of ours are afflicted with this ailment.  Last summer, on my road trip with Kathy to the west coast and back, we witnessed countless “left lane drivers.”  From Cedar Falls to Cheyenne.  From Lincoln to Denver.   No matter the locale, they all behaved in the same way.  Talking and/or texting on the phone.  Chatting with their passenger.  Singing (poorly, I’m sure!) to the radio.  Simply staring off into space without a care in the world.  This typical ne’er-do-well is sitting back in their driver’s seat as if they were lounging with their feet up in their living room.  Relaxed.  In no hurry.  Oblivious to the long line of cars behind them all anxiously hoping this improper lane usage driver will wake up and move over!

One of the problems with being behind a left lane driver is that they are almost inevitably driving at the same speed as the cars in the lanes beside them.  In effect they have us trapped with nowhere to go.  As much as I hate to do it, I will pass in the right lane if left with no other choice.  But these derelict drivers don’t give me that opportunity.  So there I am.  Imprisoned in a concrete jungle with nowhere to go.  Where the flailing of my arms falls on deaf eyes.

I shared this aggravation with a friend the other day.  She informed me in that in England they refer to the left lane as the “overtaking lane.”  Yes!  The overtaking lane!  It made sense not to call it the left passing lane since the British actually drive in the left lane, opposite from what we do here in the U.S.  But, I still couldn’t help but love this term.  I felt a kinship with my brethren from across the pond.  They understand my pet peeve enough to give that passing lane a descriptive name that says it all.  I feel better…..until my car is hopelessly stuck in limbo behind those aggravating slow pokes on the drive home tonight!



26 thoughts on “Trapped in the Overtaking Lane

  1. I’m a right lane driver:) I hope you still love me. Driving in Ecuador would suit you…fearless in passing,..and challenged by the terrain. Your post gave me pause. I will never travel in the left …unless I’m turning left. xo

  2. I miss my days of living in the city. I do not miss my days of driving on the Dan Ryan, the Kennedy Expressway, or the Circle Interchange (I am not sure if that is still the name). I feel like you – imprisoned in a concrete jungle with nowhere to go. I often want to get out of my car and drive the other car for the person. The police, of course, are never around when you need them. I will make sure I move out of the way when XOXO is speeding up on me.

  3. I couldn’t agree with your post more. I yell the same thing from my car. Last year on our trip to Florida from NY and back, I encountered this up and down the east coast and it made me insane. We started calling them “Left Lane Louis” because they were totally oblivious to the miles of cars behind them. You really captured the feeling of us drivers who understand the passing lane.

  4. I try not to let things like that bother me anymore, but I feel your pain 😉
    I wish I had a flashing sign on my car that said “if people are passing you on the right, you’re in the wrong lane”

  5. I can relate to your outrage every day on my drive on the Kennedy and Eden’s expressways. It seems as though so many people have developed tunnel vision and are unaware of their surroundings. Unfortunately, they are behind the wheel of a vehicle at the same time. I have been rear-ended twice because drivers are busy texting, rather than looking at the road and the rush-hour traffic. Now, I find myself routinely checking out my rear-view mirror and moving to a different lane when I see the driver behind me looking down at his/her phone. Holding up traffic in the left lane, ramming people from behind, driving has become a “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” experience every day!

  6. I share this pet peeve. Here’s a little additional peeve to add to the list. People who stop walking to text or gawk around when others behind them are trying to walk . This morning in getting on the train at the airport, a gentleman (I use the term loosely) got aboard immediately ahead of me and before moving all the way into the train , paused to look at his phone causing me to be rear-ended by those trying to board behind me who had the altogether reasonable expectation that they could continue to move into the train. I glared at this buffoon who was blissfully unaware of the chaos he had caused. Oh man I feel better having unloaded that on Carrie’s poor readers. Thanks for the catharsis!

  7. It is also my pet peeve! I don’t have as much patience as you though….I am the driver that will ride your tail till you move over. When I am on the expressway, I am trying to get where i am going as quick as possible!!!

  8. Imprisoned in a concrete jungle with nowhere to go. Where the flailing of my arms falls on deaf eyes.” These are the funniest lines ever written, I think. Oh, the image in my head.

    I am guilty of driving in the left lane. Pardon me, the overtaking lane. I will never do it again. 🙂

  9. Totally! What do people not understand about this? Has the rule been abolished? Or do people really not care? I laughed at how you compared it to be imprisoned. LOL

  10. Aghhh this describes my daily frustration on the long commutes to and from work…The worst is when they are keeping pace with the cars in the other lanes and you’re stuck! This definitely falls into the category of “pet peeve!”

  11. Oh you had my attention from the first title, I just knew this was going to be the subject and you did not disappoint! I’m not a driver (my friends say I have “shot-gun rage” I shouldn’t be behind the wheel), but even as someone always riding shotgun this is a major peeve of mine. Your ardent frustration comes through so clearly I wanted to reach out and say “There, there now”. This truly qualifies under Pet Peeve!

  12. Ha! I don’t drive, therefore, but most certainly have witnessed many drivers that share your “pet peeve”. I assure you that you’re not alone, and love that you have shared it with us. This was a fun slice, I enjoyed it tremendously!

  13. Seriously! You know what I hate even more? People who speed up a lane that is clearly about to end and then cut right in front of you! I dealt with both them and left lane drivers today on 55 while going to my mom’s. GRRRRRR….

  14. I have become one of hose people who get all shaking my fist at a left hand driver who I have creeped up upon, and will not get over so I can pass them! Ugh! What a great piece…I can relate to that frustration every day to and from work!

  15. Carrie, I love your writing style! I read this post from a couple of days ago on the “Overtaking Lane”. I have also harbored a deep seeded hatred for those who hog the left lane. Except now, I’m feeling slightly sheepish as I read this post because I have a teen driver and he is constantly “hanging out” in the left lane. Daily I remind him (without being too critical – they don’t like that) that if he is not passing anyone it would be better to look for an opportunity to move to the right. I’m sorry about that. I feel sorta responsible.

  16. That is so funny!!! Please do your best to get your son on the straight and narrow so we don’t have to slice about him in the future!! Thank you so much for the compliment 🙂

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