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Breakdown lanes

I was dismayed to hear one of you admit to zipping along in the breakdown lane the other day. (Imagine a mother saying, “I’m very disappointed in you,” with that look on her face.) If there were someone actually in the breakdown lane, as a result of having broken down, you’d be in danger of rear-ending that vehicle. Worse, you could kill someone who was alongside or behind their stopped vehicle. I understand that, especially in our state of Massachusetts, the rules often appear to be just suggestions to our state’s creative drivers, but this particular law is kinda important. Please don’t encourage people to use the breakdown lanes as just another passing lane. Other than that, thanks for your ridiculous show. Signed, Marcia Morrison (Prius driver since 2001)

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Actually, in parts of Massachusetts, especially on Rt3, the state even posts signs that say “travel permitted in the breakdown lane between the hours of xxx and xxx” (or words to that effect).

I agree with you that it’s a bad idea. Apparently the state of Mass does not.

It’s a cost thing: they should have added a couple more lanes to these roads 10+ years ago.

Part of route 93 north of Boston has it, southbound in the morning, northbound in the afternoon. Also part of route 128, south of mass pike. It’s clearly marked, only during posted rush hours. There are extra pull out areas added outside the breakdown lane.

Route 3 (north of 128) used to be only two lanes, was widened to 4+ lanes about 10 years ago. never had legal driving in breakdown lane.

I live in Massachusetts, too, and even after all these years since they allowed driving in the breakdown lane, I still can’t believe they did it. The state with some of the worst drivers, extremely high accident rate, and they allow something so inherently dangerous ? Now when a car comes down an onramp, cell phone pressed against the left ear of the driver who is staring straight ahead, there’s even less room for error. Usually, during rush hour, the three travel lanes are moving at a snail’s pace while the breakdown lane drivers fly by at 40 - 50 MPH. Just an accident waiting to happen. Amazing for a state that outlaws anything that appears even remotely risky. Ride a motorcycle? Better wear a helmet. Same goes for a bicycle, for crying out loud. Don’t forget your seatbelt. But you want to run 60 MPH on the shoulder? By all means, go right ahead.

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Is this yet another Stream of Consciousness post?

Driving in the breakdown lanes is not a good idea in my opinion. Massachusetts has a bad idea but Texas may have the worst to come: They are seriously considering raising the speed limit to 85 on some highways. All I can imagine is the horrifying wrecks when some speedsters add 10-15mph or higher to the posted speed limit.

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You’re right. I dropped a 9 in the post. Rt3 should have read Rt93.

The new Rt3, as phenominal an improvement as it is, is the waveiest road ever. It’s like being on a 35ft boat 12 miles out.

Yeah Texas!

Anything to shorten the drive so you don’t fall asleep on mostly flat, straight, boring roads is a good thing. Honestly I’d go for a vehicle inspection and required driver skills test if they would let you go whatever speed you wish in rural areas. Montana had a great idea there…

If you’re from a tiny highly-populated state like Mass, I forgive you ignorance on why this makes sense since you can cross the entire state from Boston to Card Pond in about 2.5 hours. We’ll let you drive 55 MPH if you wish out here too. Just don’t expect us to do that.

Some of the highways in Texas and in the plains states are long, straight, boring drives of hours on end. The roads just go straight and flat ahead of you until the disappear into the horizon You can see another car coming from 16 miles away.

85 mph would be suicide in NH, but on the roads in question I honestly don’t believe it is.

As Hallkbrdz said, I can understand why someone who’s never driven the roads in question would think 85 mph to be crazy. But it really isn’t.

Our association of the higher interstate speeds with “danger” in the US is just a symptom of much deeper issues having to do with people knowing knowing how to drive. Highways like the Autobahn do fine without speed limits because people know how to use the roadways. So there’s no simple “higher speed = more & worse accidents” kind of thing.

In fact, I drive many many miles on interstates on a very regular basis. And every single day I encounter very dangerous stuff. Almost none of that dangerous stuff has even the slightest bit to do with excessive speed.

Yeah - more or less. It happens all of the time - a show reference on the tip of the poster’s mind but not anyone else’s. This one’s actually over a month old on top of it. Someone dug it up & replied which revives it. Doubly out of the blue.

What boggle my mind is that even though it is obviously as you say, there are folks who either can’t or won’t figure it out, but see it as an opportunity to be prickly: “What are you talking about? If it’s about the show, I don’t listen to the show! Grahhhh!”

I don’t even remember which users I’m talking about but it’s not you.

I’m trying to figure out who on the level of the State of Maine would block breakdown lanes from vehicular traffic. Even on slower roads - 45 mph, drivers refuse to slow a tad if there is a car in front of them that is turning, even if there are no oncoming vehicles that would necessitate any sort of delay at all. Drivers immediately move to the breakdown lane to pass the vehicle. It is an epidemic.

Even to slow down to turn into a driveway, drivers behind continue their speed as if there is no one else on the road. Turning into a driveway can be dangerous. Children have been killed.

If anyone has any ideas about blocking the breakdown lanes where there is need for them, please respond with ideas of how to address this. Police will not enforce speed limits, so it is unlikely they would become involved.

Well WI and MN went from 65 to 70, which means 75 to 80, cut an hour off my 500 mile plus drive, certain times the flow of traffic was 85. If legal, then that would mean 10+ is 95. I would probably stick at 85, on the interstate. 85 was not a white knuckled ride of death, 95 I have not tried, the biggest concern to me is many LT and truck tires are only rated at 70 mph.

All you need is a barrier in the breakdown lane every few hundred feet. That still allows the lane to be used for breakdown but prevents any driving along it.

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… but that would hamper emergency vehicles (fire trucks) getting to the accident scene.

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Even though this is an OLD post . . .
this may be more relevant these days ;

When anyone needs to use the phone or GPS the RIGHT way . . . ?

    • Pull over and stop ! - -
      so ?
      So . . you may find even more vehicles pulled over in that lane these days , if even for a short while, to correctly use their devices.

( I’ve seen it. . I do it )

Travel in the breakdown lane is permitted on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour also.

It is unfortunate that the brain stops working in direct proportion to the amount of frustration one is feeling. Of course. Barriers. They would have to be collapsible because people will still attempt to move around vehicles. Yesterday, there were so many people moving into the left lane to pass vehicles that were turning right - in 40 mph speed zones, it was unbelievable.

There are also many crashes with injuries and deaths when drivers cross the center lane. I did suggest to the state that barriers- solid ones - are needed to separate lanes along Route 1. Preferably, all those drivers would not drive.

Most drivers aren’t moving over to allow emergency vehicles the right-of-way. Getting legislation passed to prohibit this behavior isn’t likely to get passed. (I tried). A driver sitting at a light might be planning to turn right, (with signal lights on - but who can see these tiny lights on many new vehicles), but does not want to make a right on red – it is not a rule that you must make the right on red, but this is now considered abhorrent behavior by others drivers, no matter how dangerous an intersection has proven to be - driver 3 or more cars back who wants to make that turn, but refuses to wait, could end up slamming into that front care. This has already occurred. So - if the barriers - what else could be done - were of soft material… anyway - the emergency vehicles would have less use if drivers were taken off the road for these actions.