LEFT LANE FOR PASSING ONLY

I’m sure you recognize the title. Too many drivers pay no more attention to it than a “Drive Friendly” sign. It is the most disobeyed traffic sign in the United States. I will even bet that most drivers don’t know that it is not just good advice or more than a mere suggestion, it is the law. Texas Transportation Code § 545.051.

 

Beyond any doubt, those who disobey this law and this traffic sign are engaging in dangerous behavior and they cause other drivers to be angry, frustrated and impatient. Those feelings lead directly to risky driving that causes crashes, injury and death.

 

If you have driven in other countries, particularly European countries, you will know that driving in a lane reserved for higher speed traffic will immediately provoke flashing lights, honking horns, and obscene gestures. It is conduct that simply won’t be tolerated.

 

I have never seen nor have I ever heard of a traffic citation being issued for failing to drive in the righthand lane while not passing. For some reason, it just doesn’t happen. That should change.

 

My further opinion is that the sign should be changed. The current sign is plain white with black lettering. It seems so innocuous that it gives the impression of being advisory rather than a commandment. The sign should be yellow or red and the message should convey a clear order, or even a threat.

 

Drivers’ education these days is woefully inadequate, but to the extent that it does exist, drivers should be taught that this law is just as important as stopping at a stoplight or a speed limit sign.

 

If we can change this dangerous and discourteous behavior, we will all be safer and a lot less stressed.