June is Lane Courtesy Month and RightTurn is here to help you mind your manners on the road with the hopes that your lane courtesy carries over to all other months — because being courteous never goes out of style.
Look, driving is really difficult! If you take a moment to think about all that’s going on around you, you’ll notice that there’s a ton of information your brain has to examine and evaluate in a matter of milliseconds. One of those things is other drivers. And when it comes to fellow motorists, it’s time to use our common sense and be courteous to help save time, money, and lives!
Driving in the Left Lane
This is a question I always struggle with. What is the law concerning passing in my state? Is there a law? As it turns out, every state has some language concerning restriction of left-lane usage. In fact, 29 states have laws stating that any vehicle moving slower than the average traffic needs to be traveling in the right lane. In 11 states, the left lane is for turning or passing only, regardless of your speed.
I don’t advocate for speeding under any circumstance, but you could still be in the wrong if you’re driving above the speed limit in the left lane but still slower than most traffic. So be courteous and make your way over to let speedier cars go by. It’s actually safer in the end, since a speedy driver will take more chances changing lanes to get around you, potentially causing a fatal accident that may involve you anyway.
Some drivers feel unsafe and contest that that driving well over the speed limit is dangerous. But take the German Autobahn for example where there is no posted speed limit. There are over twice the road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year in the United States as compared to Germany. And surprise, surprise! Passing on the left is STRICTLY ENFORCED. Not to mention it might reduce some road rage incidents. Some drivers are even being ticketed under a more recently passed “Slow Poke Law.” So be courteous and be safe — it improve the flow of traffic, prevent accidents, and even save gas money!
Bike Lane Courtesy
Lane courtesy doesn’t just begin and end with the left lane lollygaggers. As summer approaches you’re guaranteed to see more cyclists commuting to work, or just plain riding for fun. The thing to remember is that we all have places to be and we all would like to get there safely. So here are some tips for drivers as you embark on your summer journeys:
- Obey the speed limit.
- Yield to cyclists when turning.
- Look before opening your door. This is known to cyclists as “getting doored.” And it ain’t pleasant.
- Depending on your state, you must give cyclists a certain number of feet when passing. Make sure you know the laws in your state.
- Don’t park in a bike lane.
- Some drivers feel that a few moments parked in a bike lane won’t hurt. But even if one bicycle rider is forced to veer into regular traffic flow due to a car parked in the bike lane, it could cause an accident that is easily avoidable. Many cyclists take it upon themselves to exact a small amount of revenge by putting I parked in a bike lane stickers on these violators’ cars. Although I don’t condone this behavior and am one for making a safe merge in with traffic to continue my ride, I have to admit it’s kind of funny.
Cyclists need to do their part as well, but this is all part of common sense driving! During the month of June, let’s do our part and please be mindful and courteous to those around us and share the road with the goal of safety for all in mind. It’s one thing to be in a rush, but it’s another to be rushed to the hospital!