PSA: The Left Lane Is for Passing

Keep right, pass left. Come on!

3 min readFeb 28, 2022
David Tadevosian on Shutterstock

A new epidemic is sweeping the nation: people who “park” in the left lane on a highway, driving the same speed or slower than the vehicle in the right.

This isn’t new, but in my 29 years of driving, I’ve never seen it this bad.

I was traveling Route 81 North through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania yesterday. For probably 90% of the way, various slow vehicles in the left lane were making things more dangerous for everyone.

…they had no clue.

They cruised at nearly the exact same speed as the vehicle in the right lane. Perhaps due to a general lack of situational awareness, digital or human distraction, or an irrational fear of slightly exceeding the posted limit.

No matter what the reason, a line of cars built up behind them, all tailgating each other, with a few drivers teetering on rage as they zipped left and right into spots with no more than 12 inches between another bumper and theirs.

All while the “parker” remained oblivious.

As much as 1/3 of all traffic accidents are associated with tailgating — tailgating is often caused by parkers.

Up to 10% of highway accidents can be associated with lane changes — excessive lane changes are often caused by parkers.

While the aggressive and frustrated tailgater or lane changer is technically at fault if something happens, the instigator of these faults is the parker — and fault doesn’t care whether people live or die.

The parker is the chicken, while the multitude of infractions behind them are the rotten eggs. Without the chicken, there would be no eggs to rot.

Of course, some drivers are always rotten, but most others are rotted by reckless disregard by others.

Congesting the left lane not only endangers people on the road but also off. Emergency vehicles are often delayed due to slower left-lane drivers. When a few seconds can mean life or death, a left-lane “parker” can unknowingly endanger people who aren’t even on the road!