Saturday, March 7, 2015



Nothing poisons the mood on a congested highway quicker than some idiot dawdling in the passing lane. It can turn a simple trip into a difficult one as the other drivers start zipping around as if they're in a stock car race.
The dumb driver hunkered down behind the wheel, ostentatiously ignoring the glares, is a slap in the face to the rest of us, a reminder that there are a lot of stupid people in the world and most of them live in the left lane.
Ancient map makers used to mark the unknown territories with a warning that "here be dragons." We should paint that on the passing lane pavement.
Maybe a little name calling would work. After all, there are fines for the really slow drivers blocking that lane and it doesn't seem to work, probably because the police are more interested in speeders or erratic drivers rather than those who probably bought their licence rather than fail again in taking the test.
British Columbia is said to be contemplating more powers to allow the cops to curb this blight on traffic moving at a reasonable speed. Ontario may boast of being among the North American jurisdictions with the best accident stats but some days, looking around, it appears that happens more by luck than by enforcement.
I remember with fondness my driving expeditions on the super roads of Europe where some drivers are moving at incredible speeds and blast with horns anyone who impedes the passing lane. I suspect road rage incidents there are limited to a few cases of an European driver blasting with a bazooka any North American nerd who dawdles.
A example of the muddled thinking that some authorities have about this problem, which causes accidents as much as it wastes gasoline and time, is the latest Bush to run for president.
Jeb as Florida governor vetoed  a law in 2005 forcing slow drivers to keep right because he said it hurt "cautious and careful drivers" and just helped speeders and those with emotional intemperance.
Now that may appeal to all those old farts living in God's waiting room but it's another reason why there shouldn't be a third Bush in the White House unless it's a plant.
Surely it's obvious, unless he never looked out the window of the limousine, but the slow driver blocking the faster traffic causes cars weaving in and out, which adds to the danger. Passing on the right is always a trifle more dangerous, mainly because the drivers shoved over to that side of the highway are now travelling with all the poorer drivers who are only on the highway in the first place because they can't figure out from the map how to get there on a secondary roads.
New Jersey has doubled the fine to $300 for slowpokes in the passing lane. There are laws in some states saying you have to yield the lane to a faster car no matter if you are speeding yourself. And there are many laws saying you can't go slower than the speed limit in the passing lane.
It's time for Ontario to get serious about that. The OPP should lay more charges, and the punishment should be increased. Perhaps forcing an offender to listen to 20 hours of the premier's speeches would work. 

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