If you’re a motorcyclist, odds are that you aren’t one of those car drivers that squats in the left lane plodding along exactly at the speed limit while everyone else stacks up behind you with their blood pressure nearing the bursting point. Then again, maybe you are one of those mouth-breathers who believes it is their God-given right to drive in whatever lane they want, no matter who it inconveniences. (If you are, we’ve got a special place in Hell carved out for you to spend all of eternity listening to the Barney Song turned up to 11.)

While we’ve all experienced the aggravation of the left lane squatter, it turns out that slowing down traffic in the left lane is also a safety hazard because it forces faster drivers to weave back and forth between lanes, which can cause a cascading wave of deceleration in the right lane that further slows and stacks up traffic. Oh yeah, it increases the odds of an accident, too.

So, next time you see some doofus online, bloviating about how safe he is going the speed limit in the left lane instead of sticking to the right unless he’s passing, point him in the direction of the video below. While it probably won’t change the blowhard’s behavior, you might just inform some less experienced driver, like the narrator in the video, about proper lane discipline.

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  • Starmag

    This should go without saying, but given the self-centeredness of some, can’t be said enough.

  • JMDonald

    Lane squatters are known to be the underlings and lower downs in the I.Q. Departments of rationalizationists. A pox on them. I’m going the speed limit or less. You will too by God.

  • Douglas

    Shoot, I think speed limits should be done away with, as they “force” certain individuals to be lawbreakers. I mean, are speed limits laws? Can you be cited for breaking them? Do good citizens adhere to laws, or do as they please, regardless? The problem is, as I see it, isn’t so much speeding (that is driving fast attentively) as driving in a hurry (as in “I gotta get there, outa my way!”, or “I’m too hot a driver to be behind YOU! The sign may say 60, but it’s 70 for ME!”). Actually, you gain nothing by speeding, especially in town. The pucker factor kicks in for a lot of folks and they just can’t stand it….”I’m being held back!!!…”). Wise up. The limits are the same in all lanes, are they not?

    • Buzz

      You’re the exact a-hole for whom this post was intended.

      • Douglas

        So it’s all about YOU and what YOU want, huh?….gotta have yer adrenaline buzz and show everyone else on the road what a hotdog you are. Like I said, abolish traffic laws so you can just run wild.

        Actually, I’m kinda surprised EB would even advocate speeding….sounds like he’s been listening to oatmeal-4-brains Glen Beck, who sez speed limits serve no purpose other than revenue generation for cities, states, etc. Real smart.

        • Buzz

          Well you’ve successfully checked the leftist totalitarian box.

        • Evans Brasfield

          I’m advocating more efficient – and safer – traffic flow. My position on speed is that, as a motorcyclist, I like to go at a minimum slightly faster than the flow of traffic which keeps the bulk of the hazards in front of me. I will admit, that depending on my mood and the bike I’m riding, “slightly faster” can cover a wide range of speeds.

          • Blah aka Piglet

            If you do not go slightly faster than the flow of traffic on multi-lane roads, you will be tailgated by some clueless cager. The same is true on two-lane highways, as most cagers will tailgate but many are afraid to pass, so getting around a slower vehicle will improve your safety, as it blocks the potential tailgater.

        • jim mueller

          Ok smart guy. I’m taking my wife to the hospital and she is in labor. Do you think that is a good time for you to be the lane monitor Mr. Junior highway patrol? The point of the law is for you to yield to faster traffic no matter what you think is right as you have no idea why people are speeding and your feelings are irrelevant. In fact, you are saying it’s all about “you”.

          • SerSamsquamsh

            Why is a red light different than a speed limit? Are you going to tear through a red light because you feel your situation warrants it?

          • Blah aka Piglet

            If I am in the ‘hood, and there are potentially threatening pedestrians approaching, I have and would run red lights again – better than getting a gun stuck in one’s face.

          • SerSamsquamsh

            There’s no disagreeing with that. I stay 1000 miles away from those kind of places.

          • jim mueller

            A red light is an absolute and the speed limit is not. Yes, I would go through a red light if the situation warranted it. Law enforcement and emergency vehicles do it all the time.

          • SerSamsquamsh

            So, a red light is not absolute either. Emergency and police have the training, equipment and authority to break the rules. “Jimmy” – does not have those tools or the judgment to selectively disregard the law.

          • jim mueller

            You know what training I have? Interesting. Red light is an absolute in that you always come to stop. Speed limits are suggested maximum speeds but they can change based on circumstances like emergencies, road or weather conditions, etc. Just get out of the damn way and mind your business.

          • SerSamsquamsh

            Well that is my point; No one has any idea what your training is. Perhaps you are one of millions of drivers with no training or insurance? Driving drunk with a flat tire? It is a fundamental human error to over estimate skill. Plus Americans instantly bridle at the idea of rules, constraints or qualifications. The easiest thing is to set a low speed bar. Perhaps you should consider leaving for your destination earlier?

            If I need to be in the left lane just wait patiently.

          • jim mueller

            We bristle at the idea of being bridled!;)

        • Ian Parkes

          Nope, it’s really not about “showing everyone else on the road” anything at all. God knows why people like you take people overtaking so personally. It’s nothing to do with you. If other people want to go past, just let them. It’s no skin off your nose.

        • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

          So why do you own a motorcycle that can exceed the speed limit, hot dog?

    • Evans Brasfield

      This post and video are addressing lane discipline on highways, not through town. In actuality, even people going the speed limit do it in different ways. Some let their speeds go up and down as the terrain varies. Others not only go the speed limit, but they also strive to maintain what they deem proper following distance between vehicles, causing them to go slower than traffic at times. If people stayed to the right except when passing, traffic would flow better while accommodating a variety of driving styles. This would allow chronic speeders the means to get through quickly and enable those going the speed limit to get past those whose driving style makes them have wider speed variances. The fact that it has been proven to be safer is a plus.

      • fzrider

        In the last few years, I’ve noticed a strange phenomenon. On the open interstate at 75 to 80 mph I will get passed and pass a few cars. When I get into the city traffic, everything speeds up and 85 to 90 is needed to keep up with the flow of traffic. It seems like the closer together everyone gets the faster they want to go.

      • John A. Stockman

        You’re just trying to make sense, common sense at that, which is obviously not part of the majority thinking anymore. Driver training in this country is deplorable; teaching young people how to operate the controls is NOT driver training. Not only learning about road rules, but how to handle a car/truck in emergency situations and bad weather. With current thinking, it’s all about hit the brakes, rely on ABS and the air bags, not proper swerving or even paying attention. I’ve met way too many riders who think because they’ve been riding for 10, 15, 20+ years, they don’t need any training…”I have years of riding experience”, but the old adage is they have 1 year of experience and bad habits multiplied by x-number of years. The multiplier does not equal being a better motorcyclist and having worthwhile, usable experience. It must be some sort of ego thing, but talking to those with that mind-set about taking a class together, or just joining me for an informal practice session, well, I might as well have insulted their mum. The resistance to learning doesn’t make sense to me. Driving seems to be, at least here in the US, some sort of divine-given right not to be interfered with. Just riding for a few miles with those who don’t think training/instruction has a benefit, or it’s not for them, shows me how little they actually know. Which is why I choose to ride solo about 98% of the miles I ride. I practice in local parking lots, once a month, early Sunday mornings when the establishment is not open. Done that for decades and not once has anyone bothered me or asked me to leave. It’s more fum when you can enjoy it with a few like-minded friends anyway, but I can only control what I do and how I choose to approach being a motorcyclist.

    • Billy Jack

      So, your point is that people who drive faster than the posted speed limit are both breaking the law and being selfish. What I can’t figure out is whether you move right for them, or break the law yourself by keeping left to “teach them a lesson”?

      It sounds like it’s the latter. Which is, of course, every bit as illegal, and arguably even more selfish, given the traffic/safety repercussions.

      • jim mueller

        So it’s really about him. So funny.

  • john phyyt

    God bless America. In many other places in the world. You are told that breaking speed limit is homicidal. And speed control so enforced that should you try and act sensibly you risk very high fines and even prison.

    • Ian Parkes

      Evidence?

      • john phyyt

        Japan. Sweden. Australia. Try and go over maximum speeds ever and there are constantant reminders that even small ( less than 5 k/hr) over blanket speed limit always less than 110 km/hr (66) will risk a fine or worse with fixed and mobile speed cameras set up everywhere.

        • Ian Parkes

          Okay, I’ve got personal experience of one of those, Australia. While it pays to be selective it’s not all that bad. I’ve used a good deal of a hired GS1200’s performance on a lovely riders’ road there and I wasn’t pepper-sprayed once. You cite three countries. I’m sure there are others, but surely the US is just part of a comfortable majority of nations, rather than especially blessed?

  • BDan75

    What’s striking is how little of this you see in Europe. I spent some time in Italy recently, and you just flat didn’t see this happening on the freeways. Such a downer to come back to the States and be confronted with it immediately during the drive home from the airport…

    • Bananapants Ficklefart

      they pretty much think that if you’re out of the city on a “motorway” you can handle driving at a speed your car can handle.

      Meanwhile, in the states we have jackholes who will brake check you if THEY feel you’re going to fast, and police departments who derive REVENUE from issuing tickets to someone trying to get home at 80mph.

  • fzrider

    California is bold enough to give lane-splitting a try, perhaps some other state could simply remove the speed limits from selected stretches of interstate. (outside the cities) Then charge the driver who causes an accident with a criminal offense, and see how it goes. Even in states where carrying a gun is legal, you still cannot misuse the gun and injure someone without facing criminal charges.

    One a lighter note: I was a grade school student when interstates were just coming into widespread use. We were shown a video, narrated by Daffy and Donald duck which explained how interstates worked. (Traffic flow) How to get on one by matching traffic speed and merging with traffic. How and why to drive in the right lane unless you encountered a slower moving car, and so on. Anyone else ever see that video?

    I also was lucky enough to spend my Army career stationed in Germany and I can tell you it’s not the police you must fear on the Autobahn, it’s the other drivers. They simply drive up to within inches of your rear bumper, flash their high beams on and off and lay on the horn until you move over.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      Often they don’t even have to. Seeing a 911 approaching you at 300+ kp/h is a message to be understood even by the the most dumb people.

      • fzrider

        Very true. To this day I remember my first time pulling into the left lane to pass a slower car. (It took me a few days to actually find one) I checked my mirror and except for that one small dot way way back, the highway was clear. I pulled out to make my pass and about half way around something flashed in my rear view mirror. I looked up and the car was closing at an incredible rate. Lights flashing and horn blaring. By the time I could move right he was inches from my bumper and getting closer.

        • Ian Parkes

          Yes, you have to take a decent look to assess how fast those dots are moving. And keep an eye on them. If they flash you when you pull out, move back in smartly.

      • jim mueller

        The problem is sometimes they are going so fast that you need the lights to alert you that they are coming through. I have been driving 120 mph and been passed like I was standing still!

    • jim mueller

      No offense but the US ain’t Germany when it comes to driving. Our drivers are so untrained that an unlimited speed limit here in high volume areas would result in catastrophic accidents. Also, Germans follow rules. When it says 100 km they drive the posted limit (by in large), they keep right, and they can damn sure parallel park!

      • fzrider

        No argument on that.

      • fzrider

        As long as were discussing German drivers, the first rule seems to be: When the light turns green go right now! You have approximately .75 sec. till five cars behind you lay down on the horn.

        • jim mueller

          Yep and they will stop and watch you parallel park. If you don’t make it in three turns, they will walk away in disgust. Hilarious rule following SOB’s. I love Germany but I am a proud, rule breaking American (that speaks German).

  • mugwump

    And in many states it happens to be the law.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    So can we contact a senator or something that can start enforcing these rules here in CA??

    In myy commute this morning, I had 5 of those doofuses on the HOV lane and did the up wave with my hand after passing them

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      Ah, but the HOV lane isn’t the passing lane. The next one over is.

  • Bananapants Ficklefart

    As much as I hate Vox, they are 100% right here. To see this phenomenon in its truest form, try driving down the Garden State Parkway in NJ on a Friday night to Atlantic City.

    I guarantee you there will be a car with NY plates on it in the fast lane doing 65-68 mph as CARS lanesplit to get ahead of him.

  • Could be Anyone

    In California the driving classes are teaching new drivers to stay in the left lane because “it is the safest lane” in regards to less people merging and exiting at different speeds etc.

    Yes they are literally teaching them to disobey the legal code on the books for the state of California, but nobody bothers to correct them or put a stop to it.

    • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

      No disrespect, but I call BS on that. This is the relevant section from the DMV handbook:

      https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/traffic_lanes

      And here is the actual text from the approved new-driver curriculum:

      https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/68bf500d-ee68-45a3-ba02-2bfbfc21eb8e/unit_7.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

      “The right-hand lane(s) on a freeway is (are) for slower moving
      traffic and leftmost lane(s) is (are) for faster traffic. Move to a
      slower lane if a vehicle is following closely behind you, even
      if you are obeying the speed limit. Left lanes should be used
      for passing slower moving vehicles. If you are driving a bus,
      towing a trailer or another vehicle, or driving a large truck, you
      must use the right lane or a lane specifically marked for slower-moving
      vehicles. When approaching an interchange, you should
      anticipate and move well in advance into the lane you will need to
      take. Avoid using lanes that are inappropriate for your speed.”

      I’m curious about where you got your information.

      • Could be Anyone

        I don’t care what the curriculum says. It is what the instructors are literally telling the new drivers that is causing the problem. Kind of like the Federal Government saying “Marijuana is illegal”, but then Colorado saying “Naw it’s Ok”. What is written and what is practiced are many times two completely different things.

        • http://www.motou.info Gabe Ets-Hokin

          What instructors? Where? How do you know?

          And you use the word “literally” way too much.

          • Could be Anyone

            And you are a jackass critiquing my writing effort. Piss off then as it makes zero difference to me whether you find the info for yourself or just go on believing that it isn’t true.

          • Evans Brasfield

            It might matter if you want to helping fellow motorcyclists with information that you claim you have. Otherwise, your posts are just another internet pudding match.

  • Billy Jack

    Good video, Evan – thanks for posting.

  • mikeinkamloops

    It’s now the law in BC, Canada, that you are not allowed to be a left lane hog. The signs say “keep right except to pass” and “keep right, let others pass”. The old signs used to say “slower traffic keep right”, which was ambiguous to those who would say “but I’m not slow, I’m doing the speed limit”.
    Anyway, these signs have improved the situation somewhat, although more driver training is essential. For example, just yesterday we followed a car full of young girls who insisted upon riding in the left lane, at BELOW the posted limit. Flashing headlights and even a tap on the horn didn’t make them move — they were completely oblivious.

    • jim mueller

      A well placed tap on the right of their bumper did the trick.;)

      • Blah aka Piglet

        Richard Petty did that, and it was not well received. :(

  • jim mueller

    Trust me. If you think this fundamental lack of driving acumen bothers you, try being someone who grew up in Germany seeing driving done correctly and then try driving here! They don’t just hand out licenses based on if you have a pulse like they do here either. There is a long and expensive process to become licensed and people take driving seriously. if the average driver doesn’t understand the passing left lane theory (you can be ticketed for passing on the right in Europe!) and that rule is probably the most debated and reinforced by exasperated drivers every day, then how many other laws do we not fully understand. Don’t get me started on stop signs, right of way , crosswalks…;)

    • spiff

      I’ve driven in Europe, including Germany. It was a pleasant experience. Everyone is paying attention, and running a brisk pace. In Germany especially you pass then get back to the right. Odds are there is a 4 door Audi on their way though going 120ish mph (We were running about 95mph, about all our rental was worth). It should be illegal to pass on the right.

      • jim mueller

        I got the requisite headlight flash on a wet Autobahn driving a rental Audi with the pedal literally on the floor. I told my girlfriend to grab the camera so we could snap a photo of the 911 throwing up the rooster tail as if passed. I changed lanes and it went by so fast she didn’t have time to raise the camera. It was easily doing 180 mph if not more. Moral of the story, “when you see the lights flash, move”!

      • Blah aka Piglet

        I will agree with making passing on the right illegal, once hogging the left lane is made illegal AND enforced. Otherwise you will end up at the front of a cluster**** of cars, with the nearest one tailgating you.

  • Paul Young

    You need me to pull over so you can speed and the police officer can catch up to you,by all means come on by. I thank you for keeping them so busy! Your loud exhaust and blinding HID/led headlights are really annoying by the .way

  • Paul Young

    Also, rather than venting your spleen and getting paid for it, the legislative process allows the changing of laws to common sense like stay to the right unless passing. Just a suggestion.

  • Richard

    You should refer to the slow and fast lanes, not left and right. We don’t all drive on your side of the road you know.

  • Michael Robinson

    Thank you, I been saying this for years.

  • Fast eddie

    This may be proper and true in a car. But on a motorcycle and in 3,4 or 5 lane freeways, the only safe lane is the left if traffic is heavy. There’s usually a shoulder as your safety outlet. Every other lane is jammed and you have nowhere to go in an emergency. I’m usually at 5 – 10 miles above speed limit. If some idiot wants to go faster than that he can go around.