Interstate passing situation - jerk, driving psychology, or physics?


My brother used to tell the story of one of his HS classmates who, while being taught to drive by his father, was told “Always watch the road in front of you, Nino”.
After Nino rear-ended someone on his 4th day behind the wheel, it turned out that he was–literally–watching the road in front of him, rather than actually looking at the car in front of him.
I guess that Nino took things a bit too literally.

My other theory regarding tailgating (since the major offenders are almost always younger women) is that a man who drove that way would have his lights punched out as a result of that type of driving behavior, but because most of us would hesitate to take violent action against women, these tailgating chicks don’t get the type of negative physical reactions that men might receive, and as a result they just keep driving 5 feet behind the car in front of them–at 65 mph.


I had a tailgater on a 2 lane road this am, just chose to ignore him, 10 over is my limit. Another one I hate is people that will go 45 in a no passing zone for 55 mph speed limit and speed up to 60 in a passing zone. I give them a bit of this nonsense on 2 lane roads with curves, hills and frequent pass no pass zones. before I crank it up and pass them when legal and safe, (Hands on head awaiting beatdown)


This perfectly puts the benefits of relative speeds into perspective.


If you are really trying to make time, never stopping does you a lot more good than speeding does. A 10 minute pee stop is almost impossible to make up for by speeding.
On a race track, never going slow through the turns trumps high straight away speeds.
Watch on board camera video shot from a Kawasaki Ninja 250 ridden by an expert racing against much bigger and more powerful bikes.


I always have my trailer loads pretty well tied down but still it always surprises me when I have a full load of tree limbs and brush, how close people will follow behind. Maybe they just never saw anything blow off a trailer before, I dunno, but I always stay back from trailers and garbage trucks.


yeah, I once saw a truck ahead of me dropping a piece of trash every hundred yards or so. Didn’t have a cell phone at that time or I would have called it in.


It’s a psychological phenomenon. People have a tendency to drive at the same pace as the vehicle next to them if there isn’t much speed difference. You see the same thing when you try to pass someone that is only going slightly slower than you. They have a tendency to speed up.

I encounter this all the time. My solution is to speed up and pass the car in front of me before the other car gets there.


A Guardian of the Left Lane! Making driving safer for everyone by not allowing speeding.


For several years I drove a parcel delivery truck about 340 miles every day making a great many delivery stops and in hundreds of thousands of miles never got a ticket or had a wreck. Several drivers whose routes were shorter and less busy never did understand that their tickets were the result of too much small talk and not properly planning their routes.


If it’s a psychological phenomenon, which I don’t buy, they have never had driver’s training, defensive driving, or had any training whatsoever. You always want to keep space on all sides of you, right, left, front, back. Then you have room to maneuver if you need to.


The passing driver could be slowing down for many reasons, some of which might be:

-The car doesn’t have or isn’t using cruise control, and the driver doesn’t realize he/she is slowing down, doing it unintentionally.

-The passing car isn’t actually slowing down, and the car in front of you is speeding up. The car might not have cruise control, or the driver might not be using it, realizing how slow he/she was driving and having sped up.

-The passing driver sees brake lights at the top of the next hill, and let off on the throttle.

-The passing driver sees a possible police car ahead. It might be in an oncoming lane, on the median, on the shoulder, or traveling in the same direction.

Whatever it is, I don’t think pondering the cause in any particular scenario is a productive use of your brain power. It’s best to accept this phenomenon is one of the things you will never change.


As much as I like lane protocol, that seems harsh. A $200 fine would make the same point without depriving a small family of its monthly grocery budget.


Do those at the two extremes of driving style share in a disregard for other drivers? I drive on interstates and freeways infrequently but when I do it appears that most people are relatively attentive to the situation around them and make reasonable efforts to allow for those who prefer to drive faster or slower than themselves. But as I have stated before somewhere cruise control often results in drivers becoming fixated on maneuvering to avoid interrupting their ‘auto pilot’ speed whether higher or lower than the predominant flow of traffic and for some the fixation is quite obsessive. And at the extreme are those who allow their rage to become violent. I wonder if those people’s entire lives are emotionally unstable.


Earlier today, on I-287 (which has a speed limit of 65 mph, and a prevailing speed of 70+ mph), I was cruising–as usual–in the right lane.

I came upon a Hyundai Santa Fe (with Pennsylvania plates, naturally!), that was driving in the center lane at ~55-60 mph.
I rapidly passed that vehicle on the right–as is legal in my state–and I observed that many other people did the same thing that I did.

Other vehicles passed him/her on the left, and then sharply cut into the center lane, and during the period of time when I was able to observe the situation, it appeared that at least 12 vehicles–in succession-- passed that highway blood clot–either on the right or on the left.

I have to wonder if the oblivious driver of that Santa Fe had any clue regarding why everyone was passing him/her. The last that I saw, he/she was still cruising–very much under the prevailing speed-- in the center lane.


I think “oblivious” is the key word there @VDCdriver. Some people are in their own little world until they are forced to do otherwise.


Suppose you are trapped in the center lane by a long string of cars passing you on the right? That’s the whole reason for Germany’s “no passing on the right” law, it prevents people from being trapped in the left lane by passing right lane traffic. I think you can’t even establish an overlap with a car in the left lane from behind. It effectively gives the left lane cars the right of way to merge to the right.
Should we adopt this law? I don’t know, perhaps we need a law that makes it illegal to establish an overlap on a car in the left lane that is signaling an intention to merge to the right.
Also, there is the situation where the freeway is a parking lot, with the traffic in all three lanes at a stop. What happens if the right lane starts moving, is everybody trapped in the center lane breaking the law now?
A retired cop told me that lane usage rules only apply to free flowing traffic. In congested traffic, the left lane is needed just to handle the traffic and there is no such thing as a “passing lane”.


We have rural roads with completely unnecessary 90 degree S curves for that “reason”.


For WHAT reason?


Usually around here when they did that it was to follow a farmer’s boundaries or topography or something. Not to create a menace for the driver.


That leads me to one of my lifelong questions, why do so many roads go between the barn and the farmhouse?