Passed & Forgotten

car in rear view mirrorThe topic of choice in the DriveSmartBC e-mail box this past week has been about drivers who pass you in the left lane of a multiple lane highway and then immediately change lanes back in front of you. This action leaves less (sometimes much less) than optimum following distance between you and the driver who passed you. It's as if once passed, you are completely forgotten by the other driver.

Since the driver who changed lanes doesn't seem to care suggested one correspondent, she had to keep dropping back to re-establish a reasonable following distance. Of course, once she did that another driver would fill it in again. Travelling this way on lower mainland highways almost became an exercise in going backwards.

I've written about this once before in an article titled Forced Tailgating. The Inland Island Highway is often relatively quiet, yet a driver often passes me in this manner when there were literally kilometers of empty highway in front of both of us, forcing me into a tailgating situation. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.

It should not be this way though. Have you ever used the mantra mirror, signal, shoulder check, change? If you can't see the entire front of the vehicle behind you in your center rearview mirror, you are not far enough ahead to change lanes yet. Having trouble fitting in? Perhaps an adequate signal of your intention will result in the other driver politely making room.

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I'm guessing, but I'll bet that someone is going to tell me that signalling will result in the vehicle behind in the adjacent lane jamming up behind the vehicle in front of it to prevent a lane change. Let's see if I'm right...

What has happened to me sometimes is that when I wait until I can see the full front end of the vehicle in the right lane before changing back into that lane, someone tailgating behind me tries to pass me on the right because they seem to think I should immediately change lanes at the instant I overtake a slower vehicle in the right lane. Usually they end up changing lanes at the same time as me, at which point they abort the lane change and go back into the passing lane. only a formality.

I only signal when there is space to go into. And only in the most rarest of the circumstances I use the signal as the "excuse me, can you please let me in here, I'm ignorant and I didn't think ahead; so sorry".

Majority of the time my switches and turns are executed as to not affect any traffic at all - the signal at this point becomes more of a ritual rather than a necessity.

Regarding the people taking over the maneuver initiative from behind - they got somewhere to be - get out of the way. I'm nowhere near as important as them - so I'll just tuck myself away from harm and point them by.

The highway becomes hell for the entire day if someone rear-ends someone - it really makes no sense to tailgate so persistently. It's like those who tail-gate have never been stuck on the highway because of the other tailgaters. Somehow they just don't connect the dots I guess.

Perhaps there should be a 3rd party inconvenience levy when involved in an accident that was preventable and that affected the flow of traffic. A dollar per second ;)

Cutting in too close :

Another relevant topic, and close to my rapidly beating heart.

On my recent trip to Alta, I was passed three times by the same car between Kamloops and Jasper.

Each time I thought the guy (gal ? ) was going to take my left front fender off.

I finally got his Lic #, and will drop a note to Motor Vehicles when I get back.

Between his tailgating, passing with his wheels on my side of the yellow line, cutting in (way toooooo) close,

and his final pass in a 70 KPH zone in Jasper (with everyone else at, or a tad, over70) , across a double yellow,

merit a "Tsk Tsk", from them, at the least.

Fingers crossed for the return trip.

On my front bumper and I would get hit by some of these drivers that pass and then pull back in front on multi laned Hwy's, and as you say even with no one else in sight as far as you can see,,,,, Boggles my mind:-) I often now if no one else for miles will switch into the left lane until the vehicle that passed is a few seconds ahead before moving back to the right lane, and this happens regaurdless if I'm driving semi truck or passenger vehicle..... I find it funny though how some people comment on how it's worse if it's an Alberta driver, I have driven from Dawson City Yukon down past Mexico City, this insane driving behaviour is universal. One reason I wished they had video speed cameras, that way tailgaing and cutting in too soon, could also be ticketed as well as speeding, the Hwy's would be a much safer place to drive:-)