I spent nearly 40 hours of the past week driving the highways of the United States. Unfortunately, there was one consistent element to the entire drive that we need to address as a nation if we’re to have any future:
People need to learn to pass.
Being a fairly aggressive driver, I was traveling at higher speeds than most everyone on the highway. This meant I was passing people quite frequently.
While people did a solid job of driving in the right lane unless they were passing (except for in California, Oregon, and Washington, where they have all sorts of driving issues), they did a horrible job of actually executing the pass.
I can’t tell you how many times I would be coming up on a string of two, three, or four vehicles only to have the last car in the string pull into the left lane, just in front of me, to pass the others.
First off, if you’re the last car in line and you’re going to move out to the left to pass, don’t pull in front of an oncoming vehicle that is traveling far faster than yourself.
Second, when you do pull out, you don’t then drive the same speed as the cars you just pulled out from behind. This was the single greatest issue of the drive.
Cars would pull out to pass and then drive the same speed as the cars it was intending to pass. Inevitably, it would start to slowly speed up and pass the cars traveling at speeds that seemed roughly 1-3mph faster than the cars they were passing.
The result was passing that seemed to take minutes when it should have taken second. If you’re going to pull out to pass someone, step on it, get past them, move back in ahead of them, and move on – especially if there’s a car waiting for you.
Your job as a passer, just as it is as a resident on this earth, is to stay out of the way and have as little negative effect on others as possible. If you’re going to pass, pull out, step on it, and get past the cars you’re passing as quickly as possible. The result will be that no one has to wait for and be inconvenienced by you.
Just as it is your core job to make sure the car behind you gets through the lights when you’re making it through an intersection, it is also your job as a passer to get it over with as soon as possible so a faster car behind you waits as little as possible.
Adhering to these rules will make highway driving that much better for everyone.