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Old 06-28-2012, 07:46 AM
 
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Since when is passing on the right on a highway illegal? As far as I can tell, this is perfectly legal. If you are speeding, then that's a crime; but passing in a valid, usable lane is always acceptable, correct?

The VA DMV manual speaks of passing, but it's related to two-lane roads; where you may have to go into the on-coming traffic lane or pass a turning vehicle.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:27 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 875,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICS67 View Post
This discussion and the issues it brings up allows me to write about something I've observed of late that I find more than a bit bizarre. Namely, who on the road is being targeted by Fairfax County police, MWAA police, and Virginia State police.

Let me state up front that I'm all for law enforcement going after poeple doing 80 or 85+ on highways, driving aggressively (e.g. tailgating), blatantly speeding on secondary roads or in special zones (e.g. school zones), and the like. That's especially true given that law enforcement has only a finite number of resources to deploy to keep the roads safe. But the following examples, most of which I've seen in the last month, make me wonder what the priorities are -- keeping the roads safe or hauling in revenue. In all five cases, it was daytime, sunny/dry weather, and light traffic.

#1) On the southbound Dulles Greenway, just before the main toll plaza by the airport: I don't recall what the speed limit is there, but I was about 5 mph above it. About 300 yards in front of me a police car is pacing the car in front of it. To judge by our relative distances, we're all going the same speed. All of a sudden the police car pulls over the car it was pacing, I'm guessing for a speeding ticket.

#2) On the eastbound Dulles Toll Road: as I get onto it from Rt. 28, an MWAA police car enters in front of me and gets into the far right-hand lane. I'm travelling the next lane over at the speed limit (55 mph there?) when the police car flicks on its lights and pulls over the driver in front of him, who could not have been going more than 60 mph (again, to judge by our relative distances).

#3) On the southbound Fairfax County Parkway, near Rt. 123: a Fairfax County police car perched on a small hill overlooking the Parkway suddenly pulls out just after I pass it. I was probably 3 to 5 mph over the speed limit, but I'm still thinking I'm toast. Fortunately for me, he's after a car in the far left lane which was probably 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit.

#4 & #5) On the southbound stretch of Soapstone Drive in Reston between Glade and Lawyers, the posted speed is 25 mph. Twice in the last 10 days there has been a Fairfax County police officer with a radar gun 100 yards from Lawyers ticketing motorists just after they've come down a steep downhill stretch where you have to ride your brake the entire time to stay under 25 mph. Except for two small cul-de-sacs near the Glade end of the road, there is open space on both sides with one marked pedestrian crossing on a nature trail. I was on foot when I saw the first motorist being ticketed, so I don't know his speed, but I was in front of the second when he was ticketed, and he could not have been going more than 30 mph.

Is this the new normal? Go even 5 mph over the speed limit, even when it's perfectly safe to do so, and risk a ticket? Yes, technically that's breaking the law, but I can't help but feel there are a lot bigger issues related to speeding and/or dangerous drivers with which law enforcement around here should concern itself.
Just to let you know - the reason police officers often tail for a little while before they pull someone over (or drive away), is to run their tags. They often randomly select tags to read or of cars that happen to be in front of them to ensure that the person driving (or registered to the car) isn't wanted, has a suspended licenses, or other things. They do it even when your speeding to ensure the person they are pulling over isn't a person who has been convicted previously for having weapons or something of that sort. They try to be as prepared as possible before they are pulling someone over.

So it is very possible the people they were pulling over werent being pulled over for speeding, they could have ran their tags and found out they were driving on suspended license, or had a warrant for their arrest, or whatever the plenty of other things that could have been places in the database about the registered driver of the car.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:34 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 875,998 times
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And come on folks... lets not act like you have never been in a situation where someone elses driving has frustrated you to a high level.... and you didn't want to, in some way possible, let them know what they were doing. And give them the benefit of the doubt that they just didn't realize it... and weren't simply just being a rude person with no care for others. Although it is still pretty bad if you are so oblivious to what's going on around you that you don't notice you're holding up the left lane traffic.... then... you probably shouldn't be driving because I bet you cause accidents by being so oblivious.

And yes to that one post - I agree left lane exits are a bad idea..... and that "rules of the road" change in different situations... but just goes to show that if people were full aware - and possibly cared a little bit about others, how much smoother something like driving around here would be.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:24 PM
 
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The problem with the left lane is for passing rule around here is even the 'interstates' are very congested during rush hour. Even on days when traffic is moving at a good pace on the beltway during rush hour it's still congested. So say you're doing 65 in the left lane(speed limit 55), and the people in the middle lane are going 60-65, and some clown comes tearing up behind you wanting to maintain his 70-80 mph clip, but moving out of the way isn't always that easy like on a real interstate stretch of highway where you have 100 feet between each car. Add in the fact that there are left exits, and it's not as easy as the speeders make it out to be to just get out of the way. Also, it may be rude to not get out of people's way who are tailgating you. But what's not rude about driving 15-25 mph over the speed limit?

The bottom line is if it's not easy or safe for a person to move out of the way then they shouldn't, and the person behind them should refrain from acting like a jerk.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:29 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 875,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCNova View Post
The problem with the left lane is for passing rule around here is even the 'interstates' are very congested during rush hour. Even on days when traffic is moving at a good pace on the beltway during rush hour it's still congested. So say you're doing 65 in the left lane(speed limit 55), and the people in the middle lane are going 60-65, and some clown comes tearing up behind you wanting to maintain his 70-80 mph clip, but moving out of the way isn't always that easy like on a real interstate stretch of highway where you have 100 feet between each car. Add in the fact that there are left exits, and it's not as easy as the speeders make it out to be to just get out of the way. Also, it may be rude to not get out of people's way who are tailgating you. But what's not rude about driving 15-25 mph over the speed limit?

The bottom line is if it's not easy or safe for a person to move out of the way then they shouldn't, and the person behind them should refrain from acting like a jerk.

I think most of us are in agreement on situations like that - and we are more so referencing standard jerk move across the board. Safety is always priority... or should be - and high traffic time periods, especially around the DMV - if there some jerk tailgating you at a high rate of speed in the left lane.. because they just want the road cleared for them.... that is clearly not the intentions many of us are speaking of. Especially if because you are going 65, and the folks next to you in the right lane are averaging around 60 or a little above...you are still passing them.

If there is nowhere to get over...and you are keeping up with traffic (as in the average in that lane... not the random speeder on your butt)... just ignore the jerk the best you can.... they are the ones who tend to cause those accidents during rush hour that make rush hour even worse.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:31 PM
 
7,966 posts, read 9,718,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Since when is passing on the right on a highway illegal? As far as I can tell, this is perfectly legal. If you are speeding, then that's a crime; but passing in a valid, usable lane is always acceptable, correct?

The VA DMV manual speaks of passing, but it's related to two-lane roads; where you may have to go into the on-coming traffic lane or pass a turning vehicle.
Maybe people are misinterpreting the "left lane for passing" law (which I am not sure is even an acutal law here, as it is in many states).

"Left lane for passing" means that the left lane is to be used exclusively for passing another vehicle. It does not mean that the left lane is the only lane that can be used for passing.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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Only a few days left, but June is LANE COURTESY MONTH. And by "lane courtesy", they mean yeilding to faster traffic.

Lane Courtesy | National Motorists Association
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:43 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,978,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCNova View Post
The problem with the left lane is for passing rule around here is even the 'interstates' are very congested during rush hour. Even on days when traffic is moving at a good pace on the beltway during rush hour it's still congested. So say you're doing 65 in the left lane(speed limit 55), and the people in the middle lane are going 60-65, and some clown comes tearing up behind you wanting to maintain his 70-80 mph clip, but moving out of the way isn't always that easy like on a real interstate stretch of highway where you have 100 feet between each car. Add in the fact that there are left exits, and it's not as easy as the speeders make it out to be to just get out of the way. Also, it may be rude to not get out of people's way who are tailgating you. But what's not rude about driving 15-25 mph over the speed limit?

The bottom line is if it's not easy or safe for a person to move out of the way then they shouldn't, and the person behind them should refrain from acting like a jerk.
I agree with you if it's a busy interstate and the person in the left lane can't readily move out of the way and/or there are left-hand exits.

The GW Parkway isn't like that, though. Going north in the evening, traffic is light. Now as I said before, if someone has their left-turn signal on, then I understand completely that they have to slow down to make the turn from the left lane. My beef is with the person whose head is in the clouds, listing along in the left lane with few other cars in sight, no signal--just blocking that lane for no reason.

Also, if there is just ONE car to that person's right, they can easily pass that car so they can move into the right lane.

Re. the speed limit: I'm routinely passed when I go 60 in the 45 there. Even on the Beltway (speed limit 55), 70 seems to be average. Anything above 75 on the Beltway, though, and I agree that's getting into reckless territory.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 06-28-2012 at 02:01 PM..
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Hudson County, NJ
1,491 posts, read 2,684,176 times
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Stay out of the middle and left lanes. People LOVE to drive slow in the middle and left lanes, I'm not sure why. So in turn, you get people passing on the right. If there is room to the right of you, and youre going as fast as other cars, you should be in it.

I don't care if I'm going 20 above, if I see a car behind me approaching and going faster, I get out of the lane to let them pass.
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Old 06-28-2012, 01:47 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
460 posts, read 875,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Maybe people are misinterpreting the "left lane for passing" law (which I am not sure is even an acutal law here, as it is in many states).

"Left lane for passing" means that the left lane is to be used exclusively for passing another vehicle. It does not mean that the left lane is the only lane that can be used for passing.

I dont think anyone ever said it was a law.... and if they did... whatever I'm not sure. But the point of the matter is it's a "common rule of the road" - meaning an understanding, and often taught to new drivers.

The point of this is to keep a consistent flow of vehicles as well as help with safety.

Just imagine this - we are on a three lane highway... joeshmo is in the right lane, he doesn't have to get off of the highway (or beltway) anytime soon, speed limit is 50, he's going a steady 48-53 mph. The folks to the left of him, a steady 54 - 58 mph. The folks in the far left lane, a steady 59 - 65 mph. constant flow - now Joeshmo comes up on someone going 48, and he wants to 53, so he hops in the left lane, passes that car, and gets back over and continues in the right lane going a steady 53.
Bob has been in the far left lane going 65, but his exit is coming up in the next mile, so he finds an opening (using his blinkers and checking his mirrors, as well as over his shoulder), and gets into the middle lane, slowing with the pace of 56 or so, then proceed to do the same thing into an opening in the right lane, and slows to a speed of 52 - - his exit is coming up in a couple hundred feet, that says 30MPH, so he gets in the DE-ACCELERATION lane, applies his breaks until he is at a comfortable speed to take the exit, but all lanes are still passing him. If there is little of a de-acceleration lane, or none at all for him... he has his blinker on, so people know he is exiting, and the pace in the right lane has to slow shortly as he exits, but then bumps back up.

Ideally speaking of course... it's just a known understand to help the above scenario occur. Although that would probably never happen around here generally speaking haha.
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