posted by Matt W on September 11th, 2013

People driving in the left hand lane have always pissed me off. Seriously, it’s for passing. If you’re not passing another car, get out of it.

Well, the other day, as I drove back home through the winding North Carolina Mountains, I was stuck behind a white Subaru in the left lane. There were eight cars behind me. The driver will not move over and is seriously having a hard time just negotiating the mountain roads.

I don’t know if this happens in other states but recently there is a large group of people that feel it is their responsibility to slow down traffic. While in the left lane, they pull up next to a slower car in the right hand lane and go the same speed as that car for miles. If the car in the right hand lane slows down or speeds up, they react accordingly to continue with Operation “Traffic Plug.” I am actually curious to know if the Southern Baptist Church has told ministers to mention this in their sermons as it is happening more and more often in the South, and it’s the only “logical” explanation. Not only is this practice really annoying but when the plug finally breaks, the people that were struck behind the offender go crazy, releasing a scary speed free-for-all. I usually honk at them as I drive by.

Living in Tennessee, you have to be a little careful when using your horn to express “thoughts.” People in Tennessee don’t like to be told what to do and usually are packing. I typically do a quick assessment of the car and driver before giving them the get-out-of-the-left-lane honk. When unleashing my wrath, Priuses are always safe, but are rarely in the left hand lane except when doing “their Baptist duty” (see above). Volkswagen bugs are also usually safe and almost always involve a girl texting. They also usually move quickly to the right out of embarrassment. Buick’s and the gray haired person that is inevitably driving them are usually only in the left hand lane as a mistake and I typically give them the benefit of the doubt. Pick-up trucks, never. I never honk at people driving pick-ups. I would venture an educated guess of 75% of pick-up driving Tennesseans are packing, pissed and able to dispose of a body. The rest are usually on a case-by-case basis.

Back to the other day in the Carolina Mountains, my wife wakes up just as the frustrated craziness unfolds that usually happens when people are stuck behind idiots. First a big pick-up passes everyone on the right shoulder at about 90 miles an hour to get in front of the Subaru (Seriously, don’t piss off pick-up truck drivers in Tennessee). I then get a small gap in the right lane and pass him laying into my horn as I drive by. The car behind me squeaks through the gap behind me at about 90 and zooms off. The other cars also find random, fairly unsafe ways to pass the traffic clogger. He finally moves over. As my wife is used to me honking and even she thought he was an idiot, she didn’t say anything as I passed.

After a quick pit stop, miles down the road she says “Is that the same car you honked at earlier in the right lane ahead of us?”

“Yes” is my reply.

“Wow, he is actually in the right lane; that’s unexpected” is her surprised response.

“Like I always say, ‘I’m doing a public service, honey”

“Well, maybe this once” is her reply as she drifts back to sleep.

“You’re welcome,” I whisper in response as I pass in the left lane.

File Under Jack of all Trades