Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Speeding up in the passing lane

This last weekend we drove from Portland to Reno. Most of the drive was on I-5, a nice wide highway that has at least two lanes in each direction. Four hours of it was on a 2-lane road through some very beautiful national forests. The only problem with 2-lane roads is when you get behind someone who's driving enough slower than you are to make you want to beat them over the head with a lead pipe until they speed up. Fortunately there are usually plenty of places to pass, either a nice long stretch where you can see no oncoming cars so you can pass, or a real "Passing Lane", you know, where your one lane becomes two, the slower traffic moves to the right so you can pass them on the left.

At least that's the theory.

Why is it you are behind someone going 10-15 mph slower than you want to drive and as you come to a real passing lane, while they do move over to the right, they also speed up to how fast you want to go and sometimes faster? THEN when the passing lane is over, they slow back down to their original speed!! What is up with that? And it happens way too many times to be just someone being a jerk. Or maybe all of them are jerks, I just happen to find them all the time.

While this does annoy the hell out of me, I think I know what's going on. These people have one lane in their direction. On their left is another lane and on their right is unpaved earth (or a cliff or something like that). It's a normal width lane, but it feels narrower and they are probably a little nervous driving too fast on it. Then they get to the passing lane, there's now another lane next to them, their lane doesn't seem so narrow anymore, they feel more confident, and they speed up to how fast they'd really like to go. I'll bet if that whole way there were two lanes going in their direction instead of one they'd drive that faster speed the entire way.

At least that's my theory. Doesn't make it any less annoying, but sometimes rationalizing something makes me feel a tad less stress; enough to put the lead pipe away for another day.