Left lane on interstates

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by millican, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. millican

    millican Been here awhile

    Oct 10, 2013
    Ocean Springs, MS
    It it just me, or is the left lane where the worst drivers tend to spend their time and create the most hazards? After a year of a commute that included 70 miles of I-10 every day, I have the sense that it's just a magnet for bad drivers. I've passed everything from plane crashes to motorcyclist fatalities that seemed pretty much limited to the left lane. I even passed a pickup that had just rear-ended a full-sized refrigerator that was standing upright in the left lane. (I never did figure out where that fridge came from.) I tried searching online for actual statistics instead of relying on my probably flawed anecdotal evidence, but found nothing. Do any of you guys know anything about this? If there is a fundamental difference in driving/riding behavior between lanes, what drives it? (No pun intended; it was inevitable.)
  2. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

    Sep 19, 2018
    Several reasons I think. 1 is poor education, new drivers not getting this drilled into their heads that the left is a passing lane. My father is an otr truck driver and it could be stressful when he was in the car with me driving. 'what the hell you riding the left lane for'. 2 is people not having a clue what the word and concept 'merge' means. To me it means enter a traffic pattern without affecting it, to the best of your ability. Bad merging and inattentive drivers who won't let them in create problems in all lanes. 3 is some people are just inconsiderate. All of the above pisses other drivers off creating more instability in the traffic pattern passing on the right and just being too aggressive which pisses more people off. Here in the mountains trucks and rvs who don't know the area cause alot of problems when they get surprised by a long steep grade, then people pass on the right not letting them back over ... ...... Sigh. I like back roads.
    brianpeck, FJ Fun, ohgood and 7 others like this.
  3. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Sep 6, 2011
    Left lane is where the most aggressive drivers tend to gravitate.
    Whodatschrome likes this.
  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Cereal Killer

    Mar 19, 2008
    Between the Great Lakes and Appalachia
    Oh, Christ. Not this crap again.
  5. Boatman

    Boatman Membership has it's privileges ;-) Supporter

    Mar 9, 2005
    Mill Spring, NC

    Pretty much agree with this.

    I drive a significant amount of miles all over the country. I'm getting to the point that I can almost tell what state a driver is from just by their driving tactics. I swear some states teach new drivers to drive in the left lane. I see them enter the interstate with basically no traffic and go right into the left lane. Usually when I pass them they have the cell phone in hteir hand. Some of those states include SC, PA, MD and NJ
    NJ Moto, khager and Amphib like this.
  6. fast4d

    fast4d Long timer

    Jul 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I drove in france last year. holy shit, it was expensive but the left lane is never used except for passing.

    people here think if they are going a few mph above the speed limit it's OK to camp out in the left lane. I use the right lanes to pass more than I use the left one.
    FJ Fun, Bobo, CSI and 2 others like this.
  7. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

    Feb 6, 2011
    Broken Arrow, OK
    It must be different here. I commute daily during rush hour. Although we have an epidemic of left-lane drivers going 10 under, nearly all the accidents I see are in the right lane. I would guess 95% of them. Here, they think nothing of coming to a complete stop on the highway because some idiot tries to merge from the on ramp at 25 under.
    Tinker1980 likes this.
  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Apr 5, 2011
    Western Sierras
    When travelling on the interstate, I use the left 2 lanes. I try to stay out of the far left lane (fast lane), but will jump back and forth occasionally as necessary.

    I find you're far more likely to get pulled over for doing 15-20 over in the far left lane than the one next to it.
    FJ Fun likes this.
  9. millican

    millican Been here awhile

    Oct 10, 2013
    Ocean Springs, MS
    So it sounds like it varies by region and country. If that's the case, I can see how any studies on the subject by insurance companies or IIHS could come out inconclusive. Thanks guys.
  10. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Mar 30, 2005
    I've recently discovered stupid, asshole drivers tend to congregate in the southern states in general. Texas to Floriduh, and up to Tennessee/Missouri. Nowhere else in this country have I seen such ass-hattery behind the wheel, and only Saudi Arabia have I seen worse.
    mitchxout and millican like this.
  11. Teaksmith

    Teaksmith Adventurer

    May 30, 2010
    Here, for now...
    OP I've spent a lot of time riding on the MS Gulf Coast and I consider I-10 between Mobile and Lafayette to be about the most dangerous stretch of highway I've ever encountered, at least as far as insane, stupid, clueless drivers.

    I don't envy you commuting 70 miles of that stretch every day. Ride safe!
  12. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

    Jan 22, 2012
    I don't know why left lanes attract bad drivers.
    The typical increased speeds of "passing" and the tailgating and frustration of the "fast and furious" make efective accident avoidance beyond the skills of many drivers.
    It seems to me that right lanes are equally conflictive and accident prone.
    Basically, any lane carrying a distracted driver is a bad lane for a rider to be on or near.

    Copied from

    "Speed and Lane Selection:
    Generally, the right lane of a freeway is for entering and exiting the traffic flow. It is a staging lane, for use at the beginning and end of your freeway run. The middle lanes are for through traffic, and the left lane is for passing. If you are not passing someone, you should not be driving in the left lane. If you are traveling on a roadway with more than two lanes, you should move out of the right lane unless you are driving at a slower speed or preparing to enter or exit."
  13. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Long timer

    Jan 7, 2012
    Corrales, New Mexico
    It is not just Interstate Highways
    My favorite is in Colorado when the 2 lane roads in the mountains, have a passing lane on some of the steep parts, with big signs "Keep Right Except to Pass"; someone always stays in the left lane even when there is very little traffic. The ones I have seen almost always have Colorado plates.
    I guess the signs are only for us tourists.
    FJ Fun, Colorad0 and Motonirvana like this.
  14. RowBust

    RowBust Been here awhile

    Sep 6, 2013
    Same in Australia except all of the slow and bad drivers use the rh lane (we drive on the left ), one driver told me he drove in the RH lane because it must be the safest because that's what the other slow drivers use
    Rockred, CaptCapsize and lnewqban like this.
  15. mpenner

    mpenner Heavy Cruiser

    Dec 17, 2008
    Centerburg, OH
    After traveling through Alabama a few times, I concluded that the motto for Native Alabaman’s was, “I was born in the left lane of an Alabama interstate and I have never left “
    FJ Fun and Teaksmith like this.
  16. mslim

    mslim If it's worth doing... it's worth overdoing

    Jan 11, 2015
    Austin of the Ozarks
    I saw a tv show with a ride-along interview with autobahn cops, I guess the equivalent of our Highway Patrol. They said the biggest hazards were drivers following too close and passing on the right.
  17. steingar

    steingar higher life form

    Sep 27, 2010
    I'm so glad I no longer commute on motorcycle. I'd be dead by now if I did.
  18. Florida Lime

    Florida Lime Long timer

    Sep 5, 2008
    As stated and not often enough in Robbinsville, NC
    I'm so glad I commute on motorcycle. I'd be completely crazy by now if I didn't. :D
    FJ Fun, palinka, mitchxout and 8 others like this.
  19. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

    Mar 7, 2014
    NW Illinois, Driftless Zone
    Some folks use the fact that they are in an enclosed, self locking steel box, and allow all of their negative behavioral traits to be displayed while on the road. The Left Lane is a magnet for such types.

    Not much you can do about it. Pass 'em on the right and live to ride another day. Law of Averages and Karma predict that sooner or later they'll get what is coming to them, just not from you.
    CaptCapsize, lnewqban and Amphib like this.
  20. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    May 28, 2008
    Huntsville , Al
    Having lived in 10 different states on all 4 coasts my conclusion is that there are good and bad drivers everywhere. Probably the most curteous and least aggressive drivers where in Maine. That doesn't mean the drivers there where proficient or knew how to merge or anything like that.

    The worst drivers (of the places I lived) where in New Orleans. They were just plain incompetent.

    Huntsville drivers are better than average. The rest of Alabama not so much.
    FJ Fun, M3B, Tall Man and 1 other person like this.