I love a good Awareness Month. There is a month for everything.
June is, just in case you didn’t know, the month for Turkey Lovers and Audio Book Appreciation. I can’t make this stuff up.
This also happens to be Lane Courtesy Month.
Go ahead, take a guess at what “lane courtesy” refers to.
Courtesy – you know, that whole being polite thing – might conjure up images of people giving a friendly wave-in to drivers desperately trying to merge onto the interstate during high traffic.
Maybe it means actually selecting a lane on the freeway and just driving in that one, you know, instead of riding the white line between two lanes. That, my friends, is not the focus of Lane Courtesy Month.
Perhaps you think it means slowing down a little and not driving so close to the car ahead of you that they can count your teeth. Well, now you’re getting a little warmer … but, not quite hot.
The polite gesture the founding fathers of Lane Courtesy Month want you to practice is getting the heck out of their way. So, if the person behind you in the left lane is so close they could change the dial on your radio, you’re the one who needs to step up your game, be polite and move it!
On the one hand, I believe human nature dictates that, to most of us, anyone driving slower than we are is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a maniac. On the other hand, it just is not okay to ride someone’s bumper. It’s dangerous and, frankly, not very courteous.
With all of that said, here are a few facts.
In Michigan, if you drive under 72 miles per hour in the left lane, on the interstate, you can get a ticket. Yes, that is two mph over the speed limit – but, that is not important right now.
Technically, the only people who are supposed to drive in the left lane, at all, are supposed to be passing someone going too slow in the right lane. You pull left, pass, and then push back to the right lane.
Left, pass, right, is supposed to make for fewer traffic jams and make the roads safer and decrease the risk of road rage. It will also, supposedly, help you get better gas mileage.
This is what the good people at Lane Courtesy Month headquarters – also known as the National Motorists Association – want you to know.
I cannot, based on my own lack of true education on the topic, argue with the NMA’s assertions about left lane use. I won’t do that here.
What I will do is suggest that in this, the official month of lane courtesy, everyone try being a little kinder to your fellow motorists. There is no way to know what kind of day other drivers are having, why they are in such a hurry or going so slowly. Perhaps, try thinking of other drivers as people you know, and decide whether getting where you’re going a little faster is worth their life or yours. That simple mindset is probably the best way to ensure safe roads.