Tuesday, July 14, 2009

pass on the left, please!

One a recent drive down to Cape Cod and back I almost lost it. I don't know if I'm just getting older and less tolerant or if people truly are driving more and more like self centered maniacs. Cape Cod attracts people from all the surrounding states and you really can see the different terrible driving habits of every New England region when they come together in this melting pot of a sand dune.

I'm making some blanket statements here, and I know I'll offend someone, but these are the general bad driving habits according by New England State:

Massachusetts: my home state. People born and raised here pass on the left, on the right, in the middle... Basically they have no respect for the rules of the highway lanes. People: PASS ON THE LEFT!! It actually says this in the Massachusetts driving manual:

"• Stay to the right and only use the left lane for passing. If you are traveling on an expressway with three or more lanes in your direction, treat the far right lane as a slower-speed through lane, the middle lane as a faster through lane, and the far left lane as the passing lane."

I am sick and terrified of people in their giant SUVs tearing up on my right going 80 miles an hour. That is the SLOW lane. I've taken to parking myself in the far right lane and doing just over the speed limit to block this behavior. Not only is it unnerving to be passed in the slow lane but it's extremely dangerous. It's actually recently illegal in Kansas and hopefully will become so everywhere else soon.

Believe it or not parts of route 93 and 128 actually allow travel in the breakdown lane during rush hour. I had forgotten about this until my nightmare commute to Cape Cod last Monday evening. Instead of using the lane for a bit of extra room, people were using it to get past everyone else and they weren't nice or slow about it. So I pulled my classic maneuver and went 60 in the breakdown lane as far as it was allowed. I really pissed off a lot of people but it calmed the whole commute down.

People from Massachusetts also tailgate. And they're often nice people. Many of my friends tailgate. I think they're just clueless. Also extremely dangerous. I was taught a minimum of one car length per ten miles and hour. So if you're going 60 there should at least be six car length between your front grill and my rear bumper, NOT THREE.

Maine: People in Maine generally drive really fast. Having spent a lot of time going from place to place in Maine I can see why. Popping out to the local pizza place for take out could take you a half hour drive. I'm OK with them speeding since they're generally nice about it, don't tailgate often and rarely pass on the right.

New Hampshire: Live free or die. It actually says that on their license plates. They don't much like people telling them what to do. I don't often see a NH plate tailgating me, but they tend to plant themselves in the passing lane and stay there no matter how fast they're driving. Most of the New Hampshire plates I see are hightailing it back over the border on the way home from their Massachusetts jobs. They love to complain about us Mass-holes to the south, and yet most of them work here.

Connecticut: Drivers from Connecticut are serious weavers. They'll pass you anyway they can and get real real mad when they can't find a way around you.

Rhode Island: Also serious weavers but have no idea what a turn signal is. I think they've had them all removed. Oh, and they speed too.

Vermont: I honestly can't say most Vermonters do anything obviously wrong. On occasion one might tailgate or pass on the right, but for the most part they're nice, lawful drivers. I'd move there in a second if they had salt water.

So the moral of this post is to please be mindful while driving. Take a deep breath and say to yourself "If I weave in and out of traffic, pass in the slow lane and ride three inches off the next guy's bumper will I really get there faster?" Probably not. A few months ago my husband was tailgated out of our town by an impatient driver who then weaved dangerously in and out of traffic on 128 all the way to the same exit my husband got off at. Then the guy pulled into the same office parking lot and they actually rode the elevator up to their floor together. My husband bit his tongue the whole way up....


  1. I've had a driver's license since I was 14 and did most of my driving in Houston. In Houston most drivers were very courteous. When we moved to Austin, I was appalled by the drivers.

    What completely ticks me off is where you are in the right lane, a driver comes up fast on the left, pulls over in front of you in the right lane, goes about 100-200 feet, slows to an almost stop to turn right.

  2. Interesting observations about the various states and their driving habits. I used to drive fast & furious but I've settled down alot. I worry about hitting deer or an amish horse drawn buggy so I go the limit or a few miles over.
    Doug was following - (not tailgating) a car, when suddenly the man stopped, blocked the bridge, got out and shot himself right in front of Doug. Thankfully he never even looked at Doug but it made us aware that you just never know what the person in the other car is capable of.

  3. Over the course of more than a few years I have had drivers licenses in five states. While I really can't tell that much difference from state to state I did see a dramatic change when cell phones became so common.

    I still can't figure out how someone can drive a car, eat a burger, talk/text on the phone, tailgate me and not wind up in a ditch or worse.

  4. Hi I don't know how to drive but i' m trying some time if i do have time. because i am i little bit scared of driving.but you are so very observant in driving. that's a good thing.


  5. Well I have finally found one good thing about Illinois. Generally we pass in the correct lane.
    Tailgating though drives me crazy.

    I am having a few problems with my blog. Don't think it is gone. I am working on it.

  6. Hiya !

    occupying blog !!!


  7. Hi Kate,

    You know one thing I hate when driving are those traffic enforces who enforces more traffic jams as if they're the king of the roads and know everything about traffic! LOL well it happens everywhere Kate, same here when BIG BUS cuts you and you can't do anything but remain patient! Ho hum.


  8. Lynn: Last time I was in Austin there seemed to be a lot of transplants from New England, maybe they're the bad drivers!

    Lisa: that's a crazy story about Doug! I'd have nightmares for months, a good reminder to be wary while on the roads...

    SQ: I, too, wonder how people get away with multitasking while driving. I wish Massachusetts would outlaw using a cell phone like some other states have.

    khaye: driving is overrated, don't rush out there to learn! Sometimes I wish I never did so I could do away with my car!

    Rae: You're OK!! I was worried, I tried to log into your blog a few times yesterday and it was empty! I hope you're up and running again soon!

    Escapist: thanks for visiting from so far away! Hope you come back soon!

    AL: I agree about traffic cops, they do tend to make more of a mess!

    thanks for visiting everyone! -kate

  9. Anytime you try to leave a correct amount of space between you and the next car, somebody just sees it is a chance for them to cut in front.

    The worst drivers always have the biggest cars. Always.

    And Cow hates being terrorized into driving a bigger vehicle than she wants just from fear of these behemouths of the road, but thinks its a major reason there are so few little cars anymore on the roads.


  10. Kate,

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog. I would like to share something with you. Email me at greenegenes1@comcast.net if you don't mind letting me know your email. If not I understand.

  11. Cow: I have good news for you, the Hummer dealer near me has turned into a Smart Car dealer....there's hope!!

  12. there are A LOT of things illegal in kansas but that are done anyway....


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