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driving on the 5 - a mild rant

Original post made by poster boy, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Sep 21, 2009

I drove down and back to/from LA over the weekend and came to the realization that on interstate 5 I was passing more people on the right than on the left. The left lane was traditionally known as the passing lane, while the right lane was for slower traffic, but it seems like most people have decided changing lanes is too much effort so they just stay in the left lane the entire time. Traffic starts to bunch up and the next thing you know, the right lane is now the passing lane. 300 miles of this can be very frustrating.

I read once where basically the only traffic law that's enforced on the German autobahn is people driving slowly in the passing lane...if only they'd do that here. I know this isn't earth-shattering, but I'm sure some folks out there might take this as another sign of our declining values or the eroding of our rights as citizens...As for me, I'm inclined to blame the liberal media.

Comments (14)

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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:01 am

They do ticket(well, sometimes)for "Slower Traffic Keep Right" on I-5. The CHP gave my friend the choice of a ticket for "holding up traffic"(he had a line of cars behind him - which included the CHP Officer), or, a ticket for 79mph... He took the "Holding Up Traffic" since he was told it was cheaper than a speeding ticket...

When on I-5 I "normally" travel at approx. 75mph(yep, I'm a law breaker)in the right("slow")lane and have people tailgate me waiting for a break in traffic to get to the left lane...

If you go any slower some of the big rigs will blow you off the road or you get the "salute" from some motorist that seems to be in a hurry...

When I do drive in the left("fast")lane, my pet peeve is the big rig that pulls out to pass another big rig knowing there's a line of faster traffic coming up behind him/her...

As for me, I'm inclined to believe the cause for your dilemma can be traced to Bush, or better yet, Chaney...:)


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Sep 21, 2009 at 6:40 am

Hey here is a solution to two problems. Start giving tickets for going over the speed limit like there is no tomorrow and people will slow down and also the fines could go to Pleasanton schools......................just obey the law.


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Posted by I-5 traveler
a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Sep 21, 2009 at 8:08 am

The right lanes for both I-5 northbound and southbound are in significantly worse shape than the "fast" lanes and result in an bumpy ride due to damage from the frequent truck traffic. Until caltrans repairs the damage many vehicles will prefer to stay in the left lane as a result.


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Posted by J
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Blaming the "liberal media" for people who don't understand basic highway safety? That's rich! Why not just blame Congress? Wouldn't blaming the agencies responsible for highway safety make more sense?

I'm more concerned by those doing 50mph in residential neighbors while driving with their kneecap, checking their hair in the mirrors, fiddling with the radio, and making cell pohones calls, then I am the people who opt to go a little slower then necessary. Yes, it would be nice if the slower folks would merge over so more confident drivers could get around them, but if they are being that cautious, it probably reflects their comfort level and being unfamiliar with the roadway.


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Posted by baddriver
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Driving to LA is terrifying, I would never do it, because you have to drive either 55 or 95. All the while you feel like, well, you know because only bad food is offered along the way. We go every year atleast to pray at our holy site, disneyland ofcourse. My husband drives 95 thankfully but it still takes 6 hrs to get home.


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Posted by Jerry
a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

J, I took the "liberal media" thing to be a "tongue in cheek" comment, if you know what I mean. That's why I blamed Bush and Chaney in the same manner...

I agree with badbriver. I have a friend that was a CHP Officer in LA until he could transfer back north. He said an accident during commute hours down there meant they stacked them up 10 - 12 at a time...

I had a relative from the south eastern part of the country visit and one of his comments was, "Ya'll need to slow down a little bit"...


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Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 12:11 am

Another comment:

It is impossible to drive the speed limit. If I tried to drive 65, I'd be run off the road even if I were in the slow lane. The only time I see people driving 65 on 580 or 680 is if (1) there is a CHP cruiser in the vicinity or (2) it's raining really hard and the visibility is low

By far the biggest complaint I have about driving in california is how adamant some people are about moving up a couple of car lengths even in heavy traffic. I like to maintain a certain follow distance with the next car. If I open up more than a car length gap, it's almost inevitable that someone will slide into that spot and force me to hit the brakes.


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Posted by Kafka-esque
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 22, 2009 at 10:06 am

In my observations this seems to be a western United States highway etiquette issue. If you've ever driven on the east coast, especially in the New England States NOBODY ever seems to drive in the left lane. It is used almost exclusively as a passing lane only even if there is considerable traffic in the right or #2,3, etc. lanes. While driving through the southwest I noticed the same thing making a trek from New Orleans to LA almost everybody on I-40 were using the right lane(s) & the left for passing. Now the passing lane was probably going around 80-95+mph. but at least they were using it for passing. As soon as I got to AZ everything changed. Idiots driving 55 mph. in the left lane, dumbasses zig-zagging in & out of traffic.
It was almost as bad as LA. Well...almost.

Lane etiquette needs to be taught in every drivers ed class & hammered home with PSA's & radio & TV spots. Next to scratchy underwear there's nothing worse to have to deal with.


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Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Sep 22, 2009 at 11:08 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Agreed regarding teaching lane etiquette. I'm sure the migration east from LA to AZ for many folks has helped to contribute to the problem.
Another problem I found driving down I-5 in April, was the proliferation of Toyota Pious's and their loopy drivers who think they are saving the planet by forcing all those in the left lane to slow down as they block the flow of traffic. They must be busy monitoring all their little dashboard gauges to see if their rubber bands need winding again.


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 22, 2009 at 11:25 am

Just drove up to British Columbia and back with my husband and kids. Oregon filled up with Prius and they drive about 50 MPH and everyone else drives exactly 69 MPH as the speed limit is 70. Same in Washington and what is real frustrating is that both lanes drive exactly 69 MPH and sometimes they just stay side by side for miles and miles. As soon as we hit California my husband said it was like being at Talldega.


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Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:30 pm

@ J - I think your sarcasm filter is malfunctioning, tap it a few times and then re-read Poster Boy's post. There, isn't that better?


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Posted by Henry
a resident of The Knolls
on Sep 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Probably someone on the cell phone holding everyone up in the left lane.


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Posted by J
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 22, 2009 at 3:38 pm

The "Blame Congress" thing is an old joke, I"m probably dating myself even mentioning it. Sorry if it came across as other then a weak attempt at humor. I was serious in asking why nobody wonders where our law eforcement people are in those situations though. The more ridiculous the circumstances, the less likely any law enforcement will be present to resolve the issue. Are they are furloughs like everyone else?

Has anybody else run into this one?-
Sitting at a signal light during my Friday commute home, the driver of the car in front of me decides he needs to get something from the trunk. He turns on his hazard lights, exits the car (leaving his door hanging open) and walks to the rear, leaving all of the cars behind him stuck as the light changes. Then, rather then hurry back to the driver's seat, he calmly finishes whatever he went back there for, waving his hand as people scream and honk.


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Posted by M.
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 23, 2009 at 4:34 am

M. is a registered user.

I feel your pain, doing that drive on I-5 is always painful. I would advise taking 101 all the way down, even though it is a good 45 min trip just to get to it, and is a longer drive overall. The upside is that it is a lot less stressful, and a lot less boring of a drive. The other alternative is to make the drive late at night when the traffic is a good deal lighter, but that's pretty boring too, and you may not have that time luxury on your side.

As for me I blame the letter B and the number 4.


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