Phil Cobb

Phil Cobb

Why do people drive in the left lane?

We recently returned from vacation, and like we do every year, much of the trip was spent riding in the car.

When you spend a lot of time on interstate highways, you notice things about the way other people drive that tend to make you want to pull out your hair.

The most infuriating thing for me is people who insist on driving in the left lane, even when they aren’t passing anyone.

Now, I’m convinced that you’ll never find anyone who will admit they drive in the left lane or defend their reason why, but these people are out there and they are living among us.

Usually, it’s someone who is passing an 18-wheeler and going about a half a mile an hour faster than the truck.

Of course, I’m inevitably behind that car, maintaining a safe distance when someone who wants to drive 90 passes me on the right, only to be trapped behind the semi. I think I hate that guy even more than the left-lane loony.

When I was learning to drive with my dad in the car, he would always tell me that if I was going to pass someone, get around them and don’t linger in the left lane.

Many times, they aren’t passing anyone, just driving one mile per hour under the speed limit, oblivious to the world, amid their left-lane-loving lifestyle.

This makes me want to pass them on the right, which I know I’m not supposed to do, but I do it anyway, because if I don’t, the 90-mile-per-hour guy surely will.

We witnessed one of the scariest near catastrophes we’ve ever seen last Friday, while driving through the panhandle of Oklahoma. 

This particular road was a two-lane highway, but I wonder if the guy in front of me forgot it wasn’t an interstate.

Anyway, we were behind a little SUV that was following a Federal Express truck pulling two trailers.

After traveling for what seemed like hundreds of miles on straightaway roads, we came to a very long, gradual curve in the roadway.

This is when the driver of the SUV decided it would be a good time to pass the big truck.

Well, instead of accelerating and getting around the big rig, he just kind of hung out in the left lane.

When he was about half way around the semi, we noticed ahead that another car was coming from the other direction.

It quickly became obvious that the SUV wasn’t going to make it, and here’s where it gets good.

Realizing a multi-fatality (the SUV had at least five people in it from what we could see) traffic accident was about to take place, the obviously well-trained Fed Ex driver, who deserves some type of commendation, yanked his rig over to the right shoulder, barely maintaining control of the extra-long load.

This maneuver alerted the driver of the oncoming vehicle, which also steered onto the shoulder, narrowly avoiding the SUV.

Thank God the shoulders in that part of Oklahoma are nearly as wide as a full lane or I’m sure we would have been calling 911 for more than one ambulance.

Fortunately, all escaped injury and before long we were crossing the border into Kansas and well on our way back home.

Let me take this opportunity to express how much I oppose the “merge like a zipper” BS that is currently being promoted by MoDOT.

The only thing that gets close to pissing me off as much as a left-lane driver, is the guy who clearly sees that the left lane is ending, yet races to the front and expects someone to let him in.

Then some dumbass always lets them in.

Happy driving, all. 

 Phil Cobb is the owner and publisher of The Maryville Forum and The Post.