Keep to the right

As motorists, we were taught to “stay right except to pass.”

In late March when the B.C. Liberal government introduced proposed amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act to penalize slow drivers who fail to stay right, it was common-sense legislation at its best.

As motorists, we were taught to “stay right except to pass.”

Unfortunately, we were also taught it was a courtesy to leave the “passing lane” open for faster drivers.

However, the reality of staying right when travelling slower than the traffic flow is an essential safe-driving measure.

All of us have felt the frustration of being caught behind a slow-moving motorist who is travelling in the passing lane.

With summer holidays just around the corner, most of us dread the traffic lineups behind slow motorists pulling trailers and boats, or those who refuse to move over to the right because they’re confused or lack the confidence to change lanes.

Equally frustrating are the transport drivers who tailgate you while you’re driving downhill, but think it’s perfectly OK to move into the passing lane because they can go a couple of kilometres per hour faster than the other transport driver who is travelling 30 or 40 km/h under the posted speed limit while going uphill.

When two vehicles are travelling virtually the same speed and blocking other motorists from passing, driver behaviour turns to frustration, which, in turn, leads to aggressive driving that sees motorists weaving in and out of lanes.

The government listened to the numerous complaints from the travelling public about slow drivers, or “left-lane hogs,” when it asked British Columbians to give them their thoughts about speed limits on provincial highways in 2013/14.

Last year, the B.C. Liberals released the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review that clearly stated slow-moving traffic in the left lane led to increased driver frustration, “which can result in erratic, unsafe driving behaviour.”

So, when Transportation Minister Todd Stone introduced the amendments that would give clarity to when drivers should stay in the right lane and when it’s OK to drive in the left lane, it was legislation that was long overdue.

Obviously, educating new and experienced drivers about the importance of staying in the right lane, and the new highway signage, will help drivers get the message.

However, making it easier for the police to ticket the “left-lane hogs” will soon drive the message home.

Because of the increased traffic on the highways, summer is the most dangerous season for the travelling public. There are more driving fatalities during the summer than there are in the winter.

Let’s all remember that we should all drive in the right lane unless we’re passing, merging, turning, or avoiding official vehicles in the right lane.

– 100 Mile Free Press