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E pur si muove

How to drive on a motorway

Sunday, December 06, 2009

If you are driving on a motorway where I am driving too, here are some rules you should follow. I think you should even follow them when I'm not around.

  1. Be sensible, this one overrules all the others
  2. Keep left unless overtaking
  3. KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING
  4. KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING
  5. Always indicate when changing lanes
  6. Pick a speed and stick to it, avoid speeding up or slowing down whenever possible
  7. Be courteous, even when people make mistakes

It's not that hard, try it and you'll realise traffic would be a lot more fluent if everyone stuck to these rules.

PS: Don't forget to substitute left with right depending on your country.

Sunday, December 06, 2009 |

6 comments:

Travis Bradshaw said...

I have to strongly disagree with "6. Pick a speed and stick to it, avoid speeding up or slowing down whenever possible."

I don't know what typical driving is like where you're at, but here in the midwestern United States, this leads to drivers with their cruise control on 60.5 passing someone going 60 and small variances in speed block traffic for up to 15 minutes.

Additionally, those with the cruise set at 60.5 will turn into the left hand lane in front of much higher speed traffic, making no speed adjustments for the adjustments ("cutting them off") for the duration of the pass.

I think that #6 might be better replaced with some sort of rule that demands "situational awareness" when driving. Pay attention to your driving and the driving of those around you. Make speed adjustments as necessary to help everyone drive the speed they feel most comfortable. Speed up or slow down as necessary to unclog traffic and generally get out of the way.

Honestpuck said...

I really like this post and agree with Travis - people who take a long time to pass another vehicle can be troublesome.

Perhaps we need another rule "Pass promptly and RETURN TO THE LEFT HAND LANE."

Floris Bruynooghe said...

You're right about #6, I think I should have had something like "Be observant and anticipating to ensure safe and fluent traffic" in between #5 and #6.

What I meant to address with #6 was people who will overtake, the go back to the nearside lane and slow down right in front of someone they just overtook.

OG's Monkey said...

#6 works OK if you are in the leftmost lane. Specifically, do not drive at around 65 mph and then speed up to around 70 mph when someone starts to pass you. If your were happy driving at 65 mph then stay happy. The person who moved out to pass may not be happy to go above 70 to finish passing and may be equally
unhappy to slow down enough just so they can safely move back to the inside lane. I think that once you move out to overtake you should accelerate appropriately, but you should not feel pressured to exceed the speed limit.

Basically this all boils down to common courtesy. Do not assume that everyone wants to drive the way you do. You should certainly not expect others to break the law for you're convenience nor tolerate your own law breaking.

Greg M. Johnson said...

I disagree, as far as the quality of "more fluent" means doing everything to accommodate (get out of the way of ) the bloke who wants to go 20 MPH over the limit.

As I understand it, traffic jams are caused by a density of cars that makes the whole mass act as a fluid with waves. The closer packed they are, the more they have to over-react to a small brake tap in front of them, making the next car stop even more, etc. The real culprits then are those who fill up every hole in front of them to form this dense fluid.

The bloke who wants to go 80 is usually spending most of his time tailgating the bloke who only wanted to go 75. And that guy is tailgating the guy who only wanted to go 70. Often I see, while driving the speed limit, us slowpokes spaced 5-10 car lengths apart in the slow lane, and the passing lane has a long, dense, line of cars in such succession.

I just don't see how accommodating the whimsy of the 80 MPH'ers does anything but help create traffic jams ahead.

Floris Bruynooghe said...

No, the "keep left unless overtaking" is actually directed at those people who go and tailgate each other in the right hand lane. As you say they end up way to close to each other, hence inevitably slow down and then you end up having to slow down in the inside lane to avoid undertaking.

Now most people do actually leave the 3rd land from time to time, but the whole problem is compound by large group of people who seem to avoid the left hand lane at all cost, thereby just obstructing traffic for no reason.

The end result is that people who are just following the law, including keeping a safe distance, end up having to significantly slow down just because people don't keep left and hence cause slow traffic in the right hand lanes. That's the situation in the UK anyway (and to a lesser extend in Belgium).

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